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SUNDAY AT THE DIGGINGS.

411

“I say, Bill, this here's rayther respectable okipashum—that cove with the specs is a first-class swell in Melbourne, and there's a lot in the same party with him. The greatest nobs are all the same as uz snobs! I saw Mr. - from the Barwon here this morning : he found his shepherd in a hole getting gold, an no mistake! He comes with his brother to have a turn with the rest ; but when he saw him he looked non-plushed, and said to himself, “Well, I can't go down to this," —and I believe the fool started back ;—but come, it's our turn now.'

“ The evening shadows fall, the gun from the commissioner's tent is fired, the signal for digging to cease, the fires blaze up, the men gather round them for their evening meal, their smoke floats over the trees as over a city, the sounds of labour are hushed, but are succeeded by loud voices and ringing laughter, mingled with the bells of the browsing oxen, and the dogs baying more loudly as the darkness grows more dark. A party of gamblers are staking each a pinch of gold-dust on the turn of a copper. The native police, lithe and graceful as kangaroo-dogs, are enjoying a round of sham combat; one black fellow attacks with a frying-pan ; the other pretends to shoot him with his knife : a painter. might study their attitudes. Hark! to the sax-horns from the Black Hill floating to us across the valley ; close at hand the sweet melody of German hymn in chorus rises ; and then down from toward the river comes the roaring chorus of a sailor's song. The space and distance mellow in one harmonious whole all the sounds; and as we retreat they fall upon one wearied with hard labour, like the rich hum of an English meadow in harvest time.

“A flash ! a bang! another! now platoon-firing, become infectious : the sounds of war mingle with and overpower the music.”

Sunday at the Diggings." The warm day terminated in a bitter cold night, and a storm of snow and hail ushered in Sunday; for we are 1,200 feet above thu sea. On the Sabbath digging and washing gold cease; but the axe and the hammer ring continually, and the crash of falling timber booms over the hills. The miners, with what few wives are there, are building huts, mending tents, gathering firewood, and washing out their mud-stained garments.

“The men soon assume a clean and more civilized costume, form groups, compare notes, make calls. The unsuccessful wander off into remote spots, prospecting. Some start for the post-office. The tide of emigrants flows in, and men who never before dwelt out of reach of an inn and a waiter have to learn now to camp under a tree and cook a chop without a frying-pan."

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SKETCH BY AN EYE-WITNESS.

413

"THE DIGGINGS.

*the same as tu

and there's a les table okipashum--that case

Alexander by an eye-witness :

“MOUNT ALEXANDER, March 2 terday evening from the Forest Creek diggings, after a sojourn vs, during which time I have employed myself in collecting v prove serviceable to your readers.

the scene which bursts upon the new comer as he order the creek would be next to superfluous, for so re in the portraiture of your own numerous diggings n were I to delineate those of Mount Alexander. te blazing watch-fires, the same barking of dogs

hum of man invading the territory hitherto savage; all these are the same as with you—if I, us there is much more of each and every of them cony. The Forest Creek diggings extend for a distance re miles down the creek of that name, which is a tributary of

whole of the short ridges and gullies running down into it ved highly auriferous, while many of the back ranges and gullies o produced good samples of gold. · Two miles further down the creek the tent of the commissioner is situated, sorming of course the official, though not the real, centre of the diggings; and around this, as if his very presence gave security, innumerable stores are built, while the whole space is thickly covered with tents. Just at this spot, also, Fryar's Creek joins the Forest Creek, the diggings extending some eight or ten miles, if not more, from the junction ; the road, however, crosses the ranges a little below the post-office, extending about five miles, when it comes upon the Creek in the heart of the diggings. The first range, or rather ridge, below the post-office, is the celebrated Red Hill, where such large amounts of gold were collected, and at the base of which the great surface washings lay. This base is a freestone rock, with a slight slope to the east. On this lies a heavy concrete mass, principally of ironstone, while the whole of the soil to the surface is strongly impregnated with iron, giving the hill the red appearance from which its name is derived. On the top of the ridge the holes that have been sunk have seldom exceeded twenty-four or twenty feet when the rock was reached ; but at the base the rock seems to have been almost cleared, doubtless by the action of floods of the mass that must have at some time covered it, leaving it in many cases bare, and scattered the golden treasures that reposed upon it among the alluvial soil of the gully. Next to the Red Hill is the Adelaide Hill, and beyond that again the White Hill, both of which are also not unknown to fame, from the vast quantities of gold that have been drawn from their bosoms. In a narrow gully across the creek, and nearly opposite the post-office, is the cemetery of the diggings ; already there are six graves, the last having been filled so late as Thursday last.

“ These were the first localities upon which digging was commenced, and yet there are still very many of the holes that are being profitably worked. From these the diggers have gradually extended themselves, till there is hardly a range or a watercourse that has not been delved into in search of the 'glittering dross. This is more the case at present than at any other time, as the scarcity of water will not allow of any earth being washed but such as will produce a very large amount of gold. Water is attainable, but not in the waterholes of the

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