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Selection from William Anderson Cawthorne diary, 1849-1859 Manuscript
Dec 12 Adelaide is in an awful state everybody leaving it – for the gold diggings at Mt Alexander - Ballarat – Men there are getting fortunes – in a few weeks – men are [indecipherable] on going away – leaving their wives & children behind – the Cads – work of all kinds is stopped – people are becoming insolvent right & left – altogether dreadful –
The most expanding excitement prevails hundreds are leaving for the Victorian Gold diggings - & hundreds are making their fortune in a few weeks, this town is in a most distressed state. No money – no people many insolvencies –
31 people just returned from the diggings
Over a few weeks, some 4 or 5, got £600. – they return merely in [indecipherable] of ‘no water’ – 6d a pint. –
Anecdote of dogs
Anecdote – About 90 or 100 miles S is the Biscuit plain – forms a most extensive flat of several miles – in length & breadth - & during the last severe winter – have been unprecedently overflowed – forming a lake of water varying from inches to several feet deep near open 70 miles – less – Through this lake – the overlanders whether horseman or drays have to wade about 3 a h weeks ago – a dray came through it - & belonging to it were 2 dogs a little & a big one – the big one managed pretty well – now walking then swimming – but owing to the depth of the water – the little dog after swimming, without scarce any [indecipherable] – for two days – as men reached a little knoll or island where they rested – both wearied to death On the morrow – they allowed the dray to proceed – the man thinking they’d follow – the big dog followed – swimming - & looking back to see the little dog trying to follow & it could not – it actually returned back - & ultimately died with his companion – both being found dead some two or 3 days after.
Dec 24. Adelaide is nearly ruined all are off to the Diggings – great remains of diggings being here - - but plenty [indecipherable] – Burra shares are very low – All sorts of reports about the one universal talk is – off to the diggings – I am going to the diggings - off to the diggings tomorrow Goodbye off to the diggings – ‘diggings’ etc – from pulpit to the [indecipherable]