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Selection from William Anderson Cawthorne diary, 1849-1859 Manuscript
Jany 3d 1852 – Just returned from a trip to Port Elliot - Goolwer – Sea mouth of the Murray - & Currency Creek – wretched roads – bushed it all the time - & plenty of rain – the furthest point about 80 miles – a wild desolate place.
A new year! - Ah! A new year – it is a sad new year – every thing dull & gloomy in Adelaide and prospects very bad. All gone gold seeking – a very bad state of things many private houses – have chalked up - “gone to the diggings” – The same with shops – What shall happen to me in the next? - where shall I lie? Will I go to the land of gold! I think not – I cannot write any reflections – because my mind, as well as my [indecipherable] prospects are so unsettled – if this coming year is as good as the past one – I shall have a considerable amount perhaps £ 50 – in my pocket – but alas! Affairs are very gloomy The colonies are always up or down – you never know – how one month will be with another profits are so high – speculation so rife & credit so extensive – that any risks are undertaken – a moral indifference also as to results pervades the man. – Insolvencies are confirmed - & the Bill system continued What am I better this year than the last? – do I love the world more? – Am I nearer the other world? – have I risen or fallen – more a devil or a God? –
Gold! Off to the Diggings –
Gold! Gold! Gold! – all for gold – Butchers – bakers – miners – hawkers – fishers – grocers – tailers – workmen – schoolmasters – clerks – officers – all! All! “for the diggings’ – many have come back everyone from £ 50 to £ 500 & this in a few weeks – some 3 some 6 or 8 weeks all off again with their families – the ministers are even going The Wesleyan Sunday School indecipherable] has closed for want of teachers – the revenue has fallen to half the amount – Thousands are going shops are shutting – houses emptying - money scarce – we gain the whole world & lose our own souls –
Jany 19 1852 – I am off to the Diggings!!!!!! – who would have thought it – but all are going – great & small – no exception the colony is ruined Sub officers going off salaries of £ 300 & £ 350 – to go – I leave my school (?) with my wife & mother – who cannot stand these times – we must go – there is no help. God grant I may be successful – The av: gains is £ 40 per week –
Jany 27th Off today – Curse the Gold Diggings – that caused some to riot. All for a supposed fortune.