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Early accounts of the Maryborough Diggings

Posted 06/05/2021 in Gold



First known as "Simson's Diggings", Maryborough's gold rush began in the winter of 1854. The area quickly gained its reputation as a rich and profitable field, with reports of magnificent gold nuggets being discovered in abundance! Thousands of people soon flocked to Maryborough to try their luck, however they were faced with a great challenge - water was extremely scarce, and had to be carted 4 miles to the diggings (at a price, of course). 

"From Maryborough the reports are favourable, the country opening out in all directions, and the gold being of a very large description" - 5th August 1854
 
The following accounts were published in newspapers during the first few months of the rush to Maryborough, and give us an interesting insight into the early development of the Maryborough Diggings. 



June 1854
"A report of some new diggings, near Simson's Station, has reached us here, but I have not obtained sufficient information to make you a report..." - Mount Alexander Mail, 10th June 1854

July 1854
"The diggings in the vicinity of Simson's station, known once as the Four-mile Creek, are now marked in the auriferous chart as the Maryborough diggings. They have been recently so christened by the officer in charge, Mr. Assistant Commissioner Daly." - Mount Alexander Mail, 22nd July 1854.

August 1854
"We have heard most favourable reports from various quarters, respecting this newly-opened locality. Numbers are now flocking to it, and many of the Avoca 'rushers' have left there to try their luck." - The Argus, 3rd August 1854.

August 1854
"The new diggings on Simson's Run - For the past few weeks occasional rumors have reached the Bendigo of heavy finds on these newly opened diggings, but we could never ascertain their truth. This week, however, we learn from Mr. Thatcher (who has some very pretty specimens of gold, brought from there), that the diggers generally are sanguine as to the prospects of that locality as a permanent, profitable field." - The Banner, 4th August 1854

August 1854
"...the last reports from the Maryborough diggings are of a very encouraging nature. Several nuggets have been found weighing 4 and 5 lbs. weight." - Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer, 5th August 1854

August 1854
"From Maryborough the reports are favourable, the country opening out in all directions, and the gold being of a very large description." - Mount Alexander Mail, 5th August 1854

August 1854
"...Maryborough (Simson's Station), to which hundreds are daily removing, reports being circulated that a new vein has been struck a short distance from where the diggings first opened. I have seen, a few days since, a splendid nugget of pure gold, without a particle of quartz in it, from this place, and weighing 57 ozs. 10 dwts., which tells favourably for them." - The Argus, 10th August 1854

August 1854
"...the most experienced persons I could meet expressed a firm belief that a very rich and extensive gold-field had been discovered in promise to none yet opened in Victoria. The want of water, however, (which had to be brought four miles, and which was retailed at a shilling a bucket), must prove a terrible disadvantage, as practical diggers will not require to be told. This much, however, is quite certain, that the rush to the Maryborough diggings has been almost unprecedented in extent, and that a great deal of gold has been got there." - Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer, 18th August 1854



August 1854
"With this state of facts it is no wonder that so many are leaving this place, when the reports that reach us from Maryborough are so astounding - that the gold found there is of such a character as to require no washing, I believe that many have been fortunate enough to find it in that state, but I fear that the majority of those who have gone upon those expectations will be sadly disappointed. Many I hear are returning from whence they came ; at the same time there can be no doubt that there has been some very large gold found in the district, but whether it will become a place for permanent diggings remains to be proved." - Mount Alexander Mail, 19th August 1854

August 1854
"The most important and obvious objection to the Maryborough diggings that I heard discussed related, of course, to the want of water. It has already been stated that this necessary had to be brought a distance of between three and four miles, and cost on the diggings a shilling a bucket." - Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer, 23rd August 1854

August 1854
"From Maryborough (Simson's Diggings) the accounts received are conflicting - each person, as he happens to be fortunate or otherwise, giving his opinion accordingly; but the general impression seems to be, unless they turn out more extensive than at present, they will be very soon worked out, in consequence of the large number of persons mining there on a very limited extent of country." - The Argus, 30th August 1854

September 1854
"The diggings are rapidly extending; holes are now sunk towards McCallum's Creek, a distance of five miles, and the road to Carisbrook is lined with diggers, who find the 'stuff' sufficiently rich to pay them well, even, although having to cart it a distance of four miles ... The population now here is estimated at 22,000, and the majority of diggers appear to be satisfied with their prospects, notwithstanding that they are still denied the blessings of water, but very little rain having fallen." - Mount Alexander Mail, 2nd September 1854

September 1854
"A nugget of pure gold has been found at the Maryborough diggings weighing upwards of 480 ounces, and the reports of the general average returns from these diggings mark a new era of revival and fresh riches in the mines of Victoria. These new diggings are on the run of Mr. H.N. Simson, lying between Tarrengower and the Avoca, and already they have attracted an immense population." - The Argus, 5th September 1854

September 1854
"On the following morning they walked a quarter of a mile, to the police station on Deep Creek, in the direction of Charlotte Plains. There a most interesting sight presented itself to His Excellency and Lady, worthy of the palmy days of gold diggings of the old times of Forest Creek and Bendigo. There were nearly two hundred cradle closely placed, and in full work, yielding to the exertion of three hundred diggers, who, in their many-colored garments, were objects of the greatest interest to the Governor and his Lady. On the plain contiguous were fifty carts and horses bringing down the washing stuff from the Maryborough diggings to the creek." - Tour of Sir Charles and Lady Hotham on the Gold Fields - Mount Alexander Mail, 9th September 1854

September 1854
"The accounts from the Maryborough diggings are still very good; but to send a detailed account of the various finds to Castlemaine would be like sending coals to Newcastle." - Mount Alexander Mail, 22nd September 1854

September 1854
"But it is said that if there as an abundant supply of water, the whole of the flats could be more or less profitably worked, and many smaller rich leads would be found. If this is the case, then these diggings must become one of the most important gold fields of the colony; but it will not be before heavy rains fall and fill up the holes, or a cheap supply of water is obtained somehow." - The Argus, 25th September 1854

September 1854
"We have now several places of amusement open on these diggings; besides numerous American bowling saloons, we have two theatres - one in connection with the Diggers' Arms Hotel, under the management of Mr. Woolridge from Bendigo, and one in connection with the Pick and Shovel Inn, under the direction of Mr. Thatcher, the well-known diggers' poet. The Melodeon, the concert room in connection with the Royal Hotel, alluded to in our report last week, has also been opened. The room is very handsomely decorated, and a good company is engaged, whose singing is certainly superior in style to that usually heard on the diggings." - Mount Alexander Mail, 29th September 1854

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