The New Diggings at The Snowy River
The Sydney Morning Herald
28 January 1860
The Goulburn Chronicle of Wednesday says:
The discovery of gold lately made at Gibson's Plain, near the source of the Snowy River, is beginning to attract considerable attention and from intelligence that has reached us from various sources, we are inclined to believe that in this instance a really payable gold field has been struck.
At the same time we should be the last to advise persons from a distance to repair thither until the quality of the field be placed beyond doubt.
There are plenty of persons within easy distance to give the place a fair trial.
Towards the close of last week, according to a letter received yesterday, there were already about 700 persons on the spot and numbers were hastening from various points in the surrounding districts.
The character of the new discovery cannot therefore long remain doubtful, and in the meantime those farther removed from the scene of operations would do well to await the result.
We are informed that Gibson's Plain, the locality of the new field, extends for about fourteen miles and is not far from the source of the Snowy River.
It is about sixty miles from Cooma, and about fifty miles from Tumut but the route from Tumut is impracticable for drays. Gibson's Plain can be reached from Queanbeyan by a bridle road in fifty-five miles, but the Murrumbidgee has to be crossed twice. The best route is by way of Cooma.
The new goldfield, we are informed, can be approached by drays only within twelve miles; the remaining distance goods have to be conveyed by pack horses but probably a route may, he opened for drays.
A number of drays laden with tools and supplies have already started from Cooma and Queanbeyan, one storekeeper in the latter place having dispatched no less than twelve.
The price of flour at the diggings at the last accounts was £60 a ton, and it had advanced in Cooma from £30 to £40.
They were asking in Queanbeyan on Saturday twelve shillings a bushel for wheat. T
here is little fear, however, but that there will soon be abundance of supplies on the diggings.
There are already three slaughter-houses erected. One important fact in connexion with the new gold-field is, that in ordinary seasons it is expected it will only be workable from November to May, say seven mouths in the year; the remaining five months the place is covered with snow to a depth variously stated at from four or five to twenty feet.
It is supposed to be an extension of the line of gold-fields comprising the Buckland, the Ovens, Tumberumba, and Adelong, and forms a portion of that tract of country on the Australian Alps which was pronounced to be auriferous by the Rev WB Clarke, the geologist.
The test of a gold-field, however, in the eyes of the public, will of course be the amount of gold produced; and until some considerable quantity finds its way to the Mint, the reputation of Gibson's Plain as a payable gold-field will not rest on a solid foundation.
We may state that Mr Maurice Harnett, who resides near Cooma, passed through Goulburn on Saturday last, with sixteen ounces of gold from the new field, which is intended for assay at the Mint.
The gold is nuggetty , bright and clean. We hear that the first party at work on the field have obtained four lbs weight, and that two men, one of whom is named Russell, obtained in part of two days no less than four ounces.
The sinking at present is from three to six feet; the diggers at the last accounts were sluicing in the river and tributary creeks, and no shafts had yet been sunk.
We understand that an official report from the nearest magistrate, Mr. W Graham, went down on Saturday night with a view to the proclamation of the new gold-field, which will no doubt take place at once.
Since writing the above we have seen a letter received in Goulburn from Tumut, under date 22nd instant.
The writer says that the diggers are leaving Adelong Reef in hundreds for the new gold-field at Gibson's Plain.
Even the Port Curtis rush did not make such a stir.
The new diggings, he says may be reached on horseback from Tumut in about fifty miles, and many are going that way, but drays cannot take that route as they, cannot cross the Talbingo hill.
Drays are going by way of Tumberumba and Meragle, though the distance by that route is about 120 miles.
Some Adelong people have visited the new field, and returned, reporting it is very good.