Alexandra Times at KellyGang 7/6/1872
(By our Special Reporter)
This once thriving township resembles Goldsminth's Deserted Village. Two thirds of the buildings are empty, and nearly all the remainder will shortly be also tenantless. Micawber-like, a few of the inhabitants are waiting for something to turn up, but their ideas are rather hazy as to how or when the hoped for change is to come about. In the mean time there is absolutely nothing visible doing in the way of getting gold. The Working Miners, which has gone through so many changes and been a rich mine for lawyers, is again in trouble. The tributer, who, by the way, were getting out rich washdirt, thinking they could get on better without paying the tribute, as the person from whom they had taken the tribute, Mr William Downing, had, in their opinion, no title, refused to pay the tribute, which had amounted to £50.
In consequence they were sued, and a verdict for the amount obtained against them, and their right, title, and interest sold on Saturday last. The tributers managed to remove all their tools, and the shaft was watched by armed men for two nights, as there was a rumour; afloat that an attempt would be made to cut the ropes and otherwise injure the mine. We do not pretend to give an opinion as to whether Mr Downing has a proper title to the ground or not, but nothing can justify the course adopted by the men. They had entered into an agreement to pay tribute. If they could not afford to pay so much – 17 1/2 per cent, they should have endeavoured to compromise the matter; but the fact that 30 oz of gold were obtained the same week that the refusal to pay was made, shows that dishonesty was the principle by which they were actuated. They must by this time have found the truth of a the old saying, "Honesty is the best policy," for they are now by their own act driven from a claim in which they could have made more than double wages for several months to come. If Mr Downing had no title, a simple course was to jump the ground; but there was no getting out of the tribute due. If tributers were allowed to pocket the tribute without some immediate retribution there would soon be an end to all letting of claims on tribute, and a system which has lately been found to work well would be suddenly knocked on the head.
In making these few remarks about the tributers in the Working Miners, it is only fair to say that some of them did not act on the take all principle, and that some of them paid the storekeeper who had supplied them with rations when they could not get these necessaries at any other store. Men who will not it pay tribute for which they have contracted, are just the sort of individuals who will also take rations and avoid paying for them if they can.
To return to Gobur and its future prospects. Notwithstanding the present dull-as. ditch-water appearance of the place, nothing it can be more certain or conclusively proved as than the fact that there is a rich deep lead of gold along the course of Godfrey's Creek. The Golden Gate, Never Can Tell, and several other claims, now nearly worked out, have given very satisfactory yields. The it Golden Gate was sold for £7000. This, with working expenses, was all got our. of to the claim, and a considerable balance. This th claim and the Never Can Tell yielded over £40,000 worth of gold. The Working Miners was a good claim, but the gold was stolen out of it, to what extent no one knows. Thousands of pounds were wasted in law. Sold and resold, legally and illegally, robbed and plundered in every shape and form. Had the claim only remained in the hands of the original shareholders, of they would have made at least £15000 out of it. They sold, and were swindled.
The Ballarat Star and Sons of Freedom gave good yields, but from mismanagement and accident, by losing their main shafts, &c., they collapsed. From Gobur to the Goulburn, about ten miles, the ground was ye all applied for under mining leases, and no doubt much capital would have been brought r into the field to develop the load; but the working men rose up against these leases, and they were all either refused or abandoned.
The miners had no capital, and their individual efforts to work the ground were fruitless, although some of them even managed to bottom on payable gold, they were driven off by pressure of water, and the ground was ultimately abandoned, as they could not afford to purchase machinery to work the claims to advantage. It will be seen from these statements that there is a proved lead of gold along Godfrey's Creek, which only waits the time when powerful machinery and well-managed companies are brought to bear upon it, and bring the precious metal to the surface. Then, and not till then, will Gobur smile again with that gladness which prosperity alone can produce.
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