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able time, i. e., watched until a favourable opportunity presented itself to attack him. That opportunity, lucklessly for the poor fellow, occurred; he was
“ bailed up” by four men, and just as the party was leaving him, the disguise of one of them fell off, by which accident he discovered the robber, and calling him by name, the party returned and cut his throat; happily these horrid wretches have been captured. At the Ovens river a case happened which came to the knowledge of the writer by a private channel. The Commissioners, to defeat as much as possible the schemes of these thieves, give to the depositor a receipt for his gold; the bag containing it is registered with the name of the digger (or owner) written by his own hand, but a blank space is left in the receipt to be presented at the Treasury or Bank, to be filled up by the applicant or his agent, so that if a person is robbed of this voucher, unless the blank could be filled up, no use could be made of it. A man was known by a gang to have made a deposit of treasure a at the Commissioners', and to have in his
possession a receipt with the blank space to be filled up by himself with his own name, when presented for the deposit ; they “ bailed him up,” and insisted on his filling up the blank with his own hand-writing to be by one of them presented at Melbourne ; he for some time refused to do so; to murder him would not have served their end; they therefore kept him in durance, and punctured him with probes, until, finding himself growing faint from loss of blood, he was compelled to fill up in due form the Commissioners' receipt, which one of the party took into Melbourne before any intimation of the circumstances under which it had been obtained could be made known to the authorities. This was an instance of the most refined barbarity, cruelty, and daring. Other deeds of violence were constantly reported of the dissolute from the Ovens. The Californians are not the most lawless at the diggings, as has been presupposed.
For safety the well disposed camp together, for the “ pointers” go in
gangs bodies. This practice, and keeping in-doors
A SUCCESSFUL PRACTITIONER.
after sun-down, are the best security that can be adopted.
These are not the only dangers the miner has to encounter, and against which he must be prepared to contend. Dysentery has been very prevalent at the mines, arising from bad water and exposure to wet; in many cases at the different gold fields, the digger has to work up to his waist in water. The same sickness is also produced by the excessive heat. As there are all professions at the diggings, there is no lack of medical advice ; and some surgeons have found the practice of their calling as profitable, and more so, than delving for gold. Mr. G., rather an aged man, came up to the mines, very poor, in fact, penniless. He borrowed from a friend of the writer's a pan, to wash the earth from his claim on his first arrival. Having been a practitioner in the West Indies, he had had considerable experience in the disease of dysentery; gradually, his fame spread, and in a few months having abandoned digging, he realised, by medical practice, and the sale of paper, pens, wafers, and cooling effervescent
draughts, a handsome fortune. A miner went to one practitioner and offered a pound to have a tooth extracted. This son of Æsculapius told him the price was two pounds, and as he would not pay it, he had to endure the pain. A sort of ophthalmia is very prevalent, arising from the refraction of light, the great heat, and that peculiar local nuisance of Australia, clouds of sand and dust, which are neither more nor less than sand storms; to protect themselves from which many wear veils, similar to those you may see used by gentlemen of the turf when going to the Derby on a dusty day. Ophthalmia may also be produced by the irritation caused by minute insects. But the chief tormentors in the hot weather are the flies and the mosquitoes; any one who could find a specific against these, may reckon upon being, in a very
short time, a Rothschild or Overstone. From the great salubrity of the climate of Australia, and the absence as yet of any local disease, the general health at the mines has been remarkably good, and the mortality comparatively small. The reverse is the case
at California ; there the places of burial
; present the appearance which might be expected in a long populated country; there, fever and ague are doing their full work on poor humanity. Perhaps neuralgia and rheumatism are the only endemics in the southern hemisphere; otherwise, it is a most delightful and healthy country; you may sleep out in the open air at night with impunity, and, notwithstanding the great and rapid alternations of temperature, the climate is invigorating and salubrious.
Influenza carried off great numbers both in Sydney and also at the diggings, attacking fatally the aged, the delicate, and the young during the close of last year.
The intending immigrant who purposes visiting Australia with the view of trying his luck at the mines, will be curious to know how he had best equip himself, to succeed in his design. If he has been accustomed to labour, he has one most essential property of probable success. He had better choose some companions like himself, say three or four, and then look out for a ship