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THREE years ago, one Mr. Smith, a gentleman
engaged in iron-works in Australia,
made his appearance at the Government House,
Sydney, with a lump of gold. He offered, for
a large sum of money, to point out where
he had got it, and where more was to be
found in abundance. The Government,
however, thinking that this might be no more
than a device, and that the lump produced
might, in reality, have come from California,
declined to buy a gold field in the dark, but
advised Mr. Smith to unfold his tale, and
leave his payment to the liberality of Government.
This Mr. Smith refused to do, and
there the matter ended.

On the third of April, 1851, Mr. Hargraves,
who had recently returned from California,
addressed the Government, stating that the
result of his experience in that country had
led him to expect gold in Australia; that
the results of his exploring had been highly
satisfactory; and that for the sum of five
hundred pounds he would point out the
precious districts. The same answer was
returned that had disposed of Mr. Smith, but
with an opposite effect; for Mr. Hargraves
declaring himself "satisfied to leave the
remuneration for his discovery to the liberal
consideration of the Government," at once
named the districts, which were Lewis Ponds,
Summer-Hill Creek, and Macquarie River, in
Bathurst and Wellingtonthe present Ophir.
Mr. Hargraves was directed to place himself
at once in communication with the Government

Meantime, the news began to be whispered
about. A man who appeared in Bathurst
with a lump of gold worth thirty pounds,
which he had picked up, created a great
sensation, and numbers hastened to see
whether they could not do likewise. The
Commissioner of Crown Lands became alarmed.
He warned all those who had commenced
their search, of the illegality of their
proceedings, and made earnest application for
efficient assistance, imagining that the doings
in California were to be repeated in Bathurst,
and that pillage and murder were to be the
order of the day. The Government
immediately took active measures for the
maintenance of order. Troops were despatched to
the Gold fields, and the Inspector-General of
Police received a discretionary power to
employ what force he thought proper.

Great was the excitement in Sydney upon
the confirmation of all this intelligence. Hasty
partings, deserted desks, and closed shops,
multiplied in number. Every imaginable
mode of conveyance was resorted to, and
hundreds set off on foot.

On the fourteenth of May, the Government
Surveyor reported that in communication with
Mr. Hargraves, he had visited the before-
mentioned districts, and after three hours'
examination, " had seen quite enough:" — gold
was everywhere plentiful.

A Proclamation was at once issued,
forbidding any person to dig without a license,
setting forth divers pains and penalties for
disobedience. Licenses were to be obtained
upon the spot, at the rate of thirty shillings
per month, liable to future alteration. No
licenses were granted to any one who could
not produce a certificate of discharge from his
last service, or otherwise give a satisfactory
account of himself; and the descriptions of
such as were refused were registered. A
small body of mounted police were at the
same time organised, who were paid at the
somewhat curious rate of three shillings and
threepence per day, with rations, and lodgings
when they could be procured. Fortunately,
there was no attempt at disturbance, for the
Governor in a despatch states, " that the rush
of people (most of them armed) was so great,
that had they been disposed to resist, the
whole of the troops and police would have
been unable to cope with them." The licenses,
too, were all cheerfully paid for, either in
coin or gold.

On the third of June, Mr, Hargraves (who,
in the meantime, had received a responsible
appointment) underwent an examination before
the Legislative Council, when he stated that
he was led to search in the neighbourhood of
Bathurst, by observing the similarity of the
country to California. He found gold as soon
as he dismounted. He found it everywhere;
rode from the head of the Turon River to
its confluence with the Macquarie, about one
hundred miles; found gold over the whole
extent; afterwards found it all along the
Macquarie. " Bathurst," observed Mr.
Hargraves, "is the most extraordinary place I