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Sir Thomas Mitchell

Sir Thomas Mitchell diary, with comments on the discovery of gold, especially in the Bathurst district - p.3

Transcript: 

years before, by which two hills cd. have been avoided and the road shortened and made to pass by the Inn door instead of at a distance as at present.

Tuesday, 3rd June 1851
Went out rather late from the Weatherboard Inn that the horses might refresh the more.
[In the evening Mr. Peter White – “stick to your hole” – and the strange gentleman with his 4 masons &  £150 outfit – ].
We met many groups of two or three returning from the Diggings, all admitted there was plenty of gold – but that they could not stand the cold or pay the licence or as one man said, could not make wages out of it.  There was a manly cheerfulness under this disappointmt. conspicuous in all these persons returning highly characteristic of fine feeling.  One poor fellow – limping with one foot and thin pale and meagre only said – There was plenty of gold but – he “could not bear to wait!”  The crowds going forward covered the road with their overloaded carts which some pushed behind, others drew in front, harnessed to the shafts – Sieves – kettles – tinpots – and cradles always appeared on these loads – and many clumsy hands carried guns apparently for the first time.  The air was redolent of tobacco.  We reached Blackheath at an early hour.

Wednesday, 4th June 1851
This morning an old sergeant with a Waterloo medal passed along the road or highway to join the Mounted Police – His whiskers were much greyer than mine - He knew me.  We found the road very good down Mt. Victoria and indeed all through – but the long pull up from the Cox River is distressing from its uniformity.  The descent to it is what I suppose the Bathurst people meant by Lambies Hill – is still worse because more continuing still.  The only remedy by which all these mountains may be avoided is by making a railing in the direction suggested by me to General Darling for a great road to Bathurst, mainly up the Valley of the Grose – through a tunnel of a mile under Darlings Causeway and down the Valley of the Fish River crossing it five times.  We reached the Inn at Solitary Creek about sunset.
(Subsequent arrivals – novel style of black - guardian worse than New [indecipherable]).
The rocks about the river Lett and Cox’s River seemed likely to be auriferous.