The Library is closed onsite, open online. See updates here.
State Library of NSW
Selection from William Anderson Cawthorne diary, 1849-1859 Manuscript
(Sketch of the diggings)
Feby. 24. 1852 – Returned – pennyless & ill with rheumatism - & dreadfully debilitated – Reported to have been a corpse – my wife & mother came to fetch me either dead or at the point of death – abandoned all at the Diggings & returned to Adelaide. – Abstract of the Adventure. 4 days on the voyage – heavy gale all the way – very sick – watched the horse night & day – had nothing to eat but salt horse – & filthy mutton went on shore at Melbourne on Sunday night – at last found a lodging – bad – next day lived upon bread & water – I saw a woman murdered in the street slept on wet ground on the Yarra river – next day fared no better – slept d(itt)o; next day started for the Diggings – 80 miles away – had to stump it – pushing the cart up the hills - & holding on down the hills – bad roads worse water – very hot & very cold – rascally company – looseness of life horrid drunkenness – plenty of revolvers - & guns & shooting – got to the diggings such a sight – gold working & sinking in holes 25ft-30ft deep & in the morning, got ill – spasms & Rheumatism – no water – returned 2 days there – saw enough – 2 days back spent them with an out & out blackguard – applied for a situation – did not get it – came back.
was 14 days coming – a job of wind, driven 100 miles out of the way – off to the S. pole – broke sails – bad food – very ill – got to Adelaide very debilitated & very hungry – mother & wife rushed down to the Port – heard I was dying – thanked god, I was back – but very ill – head all in a whirl – bad for a week afterwards - & now Feb [indecipherable] March 5 – tolerably well – I was generally reported to have died – all the Diggers are liars – Adelaide in an awful state all gone – my school gone – no men – no children, no money –
Thursday March 18. Gold fever yet hundreds going – scores returning with gold & various excess, things very bad - I not heard that 18 sheep are dead & that 82 have the foot rot.! I am highly distracted – as I am paying to the Society 7/- per week for them – them in foul play.
April 1. fool day – I was a fool – in more ways than one. Mother has just gone Tuesday Mar: 30.1852. to Kangaroo Island to live with Mr C. – rather to take care of him I was going, but at the 11 hour decided not – my school requires nursing - & not running to & fro – Cape Willoughby – is a grey place - & the communications with very little – few & far between – shall perhaps not see them for months perhaps a year or so – poor mother how she is knocked about with Noah’s dire - can find no food whatever in the “Yatala” –