KIANDRA

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Index to Squatters and Graziers - Date Surname First Name Station Description Citation Remarks

1843 Hood W H Kiandra William Henry Wright Bathurst and Wellington NRS 906 [X818]; Reel 2748-2749, Page 60 Superintendent: W Atkins.

1844 Howell Kiandra William Henry Wright Bathurst and Wellington NRS 906 [X818]; Reel 2748-2749, Page 65 Superintendent: Mason. - (Ref- http://srwww.records.nsw.gov.au/indexsearch/searchhits_nocopy.aspx?table=Index to Squatters and Graziers&id=70&frm=1&query=Station:kiandra).

NEW GOLD-FIELD.-The following has been proclaimed a new gold- Field:-

County of Selwyn, at New Maragle Creek, a tributary of the Tumut River, fronting it, about 8 miles above the crossing of the Tumbarumba and Kiandra Road. The gold-field on Crown lands within the watershed of the New Marnglo Creek, from its source downwards to its junction with the Tumut River. To be called "The New Maragle Creek Gold-field."

1860 - THE NEW DIGGINGS AT THE SNOWY RIVER. 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 their until the quality ot 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 tho 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 remaning 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 despatched 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. There 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 W B 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. - (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842-1954) Saturday 28 January 1860)

1860 - KIANDRA. 18TH AUGUST. The weather has cleared up, and again settled down to fine sunshiny days with slight rosts at night. The snow is fast disappearing from the flats, and large green patches are become visible on the hill sides. The river, from the melting of the snow, has risen considerably, but not to such a height as to stop all working. The anticipated flood which was to have swept wheels, dams, cradles, and every- thing before it, has proved a myth, and very happily so for our miners. People began to assert, and now with some reason, that we have passed the rubicon of severe weather. I trust that they are correct, and if so, all agree we have been favoured by one of the mildest winters ever known in these Alpine regions.

ESCORT. The Government escort left Sydney on the 13th instant, and arrived here by 11 o'clock to- day, bringing 5000 and upwards of notes and specie for the Oriental Bank. Five days from Sydney when we take into consideration the very bad state of the roads, must be considered very quick work and does great credit to the sergeant in charge. THE MAILS. If we contrast the foregoing with the irregular delivery of the mails we must say that great blame attaches to the contractors. Last Wed- nesday, we only received half of the first mail that left Sydney on Tuesday week, and up to this date we hear nothing of Friday week's letters, so that via Goulburn our last dates from Sydney are only to the 7th August! This tells much in favour of a bi-weekly importance.

MINING. The diggers have worked pretty steadily mail to Kiandra, and we must again urge its vital lately but the resolution come to by the Chief Com- missioner, after getting the opinion of two assessors viz.: to stop all ground sluicing on the Surface Hill, until the sluicers have constructed a large dam, in which to collect the tailings will there is little doubt affect the next escort returns more particularly as many of them threaten to give up their claims in preference to carrying out the pro- posed work. M'Donough's claim has been yielding regularly from six to ten ounces and upwards a-day, and if not flooded out, it will yield, to all appearances, a very large amount of gold.

QUARTZ REEF. One quartz claim has been granted to the party of Germans mentioned in my last, but its extent and richness remains to be proved. <>COPPER. There is no doubt of the existence of copper near here. We have seen several specimens, which are highly impregnated, and bear a large per- centage of the ore. Copper mines, however, will not pay here until the cost of transit comes down to nil. The parties at the Four-mile are doing well, and several very handsome parcels of flat, weighty gold have been brought in this-week. We hear nothing further of the monster nugget. LOB'S HOLE. A good many have lately gone to settle at Lob's Hole; report says the prospects there are turning out very well. At Tantangarra the miners are likewise well satisfied.

ANOTHER DEATH. Alexander Sharpe, a miner, who had been suffering for some weeks, died on the 17th, and was buried to-day. We have now nearly a death to record daily. MURDEROUS ASSAULT. A carrier, Charles Milson, of Camden, was walking on the evening of the 13th, at New Providence, when he was attacked by two men from behind, who throttled him and threw him down. Whilst attempting to rob him, he cried out, and his mates coming they decamped. Sergeant Scarlett of the detective force was soon on their track, captured the shorter, named John Brown, alias Jack, but the taller, name unknown, presented a pistol at him, and swore he would fire, arid afterwards got away in the scuffle. Sergeant Scarlett brought over John Brown in custody to Kiandra; and on the 17th instant he was examined before J. H. Scott, Esq., J.P., and fully committed to take his trial at the next Cooma Quarter Sessions. 19TH. Weather still very fine. Men pouring in daily by forty and fifty at a time. Goods getting scarce. Pack horses only arriving from Russell's and the Tumut. Oats, 25s. a bushel; flour, 80 to 90 a ton; sheep, 22s. each. - (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)(about) Previous issue Saturday 25 August 1860).

KIANDRA

NSW

formally known as "Gibson's Plains" SNOW - TUMUT, Friday. The Kiandra mailman, who left here on Monday last, returned to-day with the up river and Blowering mail. He reached to within seven miles of Kiandra, when a Wind and snow storm stopped him. The snow wet cloggy, and he could not use snow shoes. It was blowing a gale all the time, and is now very cold and showery. The river remains a banker, and should a sudden thaw occur there will be big floods. - (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)(about) Previous issue Saturday 10 September 1887).

KIANDRA AND KOSCIUSKO BY PLANES

The prospect of a fortnight of cool weather in the uplands of the Monaro district was very pleasing to me as I took my seat in the "smoker" of the Southern mail on the evening of one of Sydney's closest and muggiest days in the middle of January and the very thought of the snow drifts of Mount Kosciusko made one feel cool in anticipation.

The original party of four had from various causes dwindled down to one, myself, so when I arrived in Cooma, about 10 o'olock the next morning, it was as a solitary stranger in a strange land, with somewhat hazy ideas of the methods by which I was to reach the sights of the district.

After a few hours spent in looking round Cooma, which is very prettily situated among the hills, and is divided in two by a rocky knoll rising abruptly in the heart of the town, I set off on my journey in a neat little turnout. The first 15 miles of the road lay through somewhat uninteresting pastoral country, till the half-way house at Rhine Falls was reached. From there the road commenced to ascend and wind round the hills, some pretty glimpses of the plains below being afforded at intervals. At last, late in the evening, the township of Adaminaby rose before me on the slope of a fairly steep hill, the effect of the setting sun, lighting up the tree-clad hills and the houses nestling in their midst, being very fine.

Next morning, in full equipment of knickers and knapsack, I set off on my tramp of 20 miles to Kiandra, and a truly delightful one it proved to be. The day was a perfect one, bright and cool like a day in the early spring, and the cleear mountain air made exercise a pleasure. The road led round and over hill after hill, with an occasional descent, at the bottom of which one usually found a pretty little stream of deliciously clear cool water. At some half dozen miles from the town, the Eucumbene River crosses the way, with its tumbling waters unfortunately discoloured by the mining operations at Kiandra. Further on it is again met with as it crosses a plain about half way to Kiandra, and this time the pedestrian must doff boots and stockings and wade through its stony bed.

A camp for an hour at lunch time gave me renewed vigour for the next 10 miles of road, which led up and ever upward in a steady rise as it wound about the hills, till at last the traveller stood on the Kiandra Hills and caught a glimpse of the township on the opposite slopes. During the whole of the second part of the journey the scenery was very picturesque. At every corner some new combination of woody slopes and pleasant glades, with their clear rippling streams, met the view, while here and there houses, and once a water-mill, with their background of foliage, lent a pleasing variety to the landscape, so that the "kodaker" had to exer- cise self-restraint lest he should use up his plates too early in the journey. The last two miles lay through somewhat desolate country, and the township itself has all the characteristics of a deserted goldfield, heaps of "tailings," broken down houses, and never a tree in the immediate vicinity. Certainly the best time to see Kiandra, judging by phtographs, is in the winter, when the snow has hidden with its glittering mantle all that looks so dreary in the pleasant summer sun. Still, the climate atones for a lot, and what could be more pleasing than a visit to this, the highest township in Australia, where it is considered a hot day if the thermometer records 72. After a pleasant evening and a good night's rest, I set off for the caves. This portion of the journey, how- ever, was not destined to be as pleasant as that of the previous day, for after going a few miles some sharp twinges in my foot reminded me that I had crossed a river barefooted the preceding day.

However, on I trudged, and after some time I met with an old inhabitant of the district, who told me that I had about another two miles to go. Rejoiced at this, I indulged in a rest, while I yarned with my informant an old digger who related to me many strange tales of the doings at Kiandra in the days of the big rush of 30 years back. Then I cheerily resumed my way, but, alas for the veracity of mine ancient friend, after three miles more of painful walking I was informed by some passing stockmen that another three miles more lay before me. Still, it had to be done, and at last I reached the end of the well made road which runs round and down the sides of very steep hills, till it terminates in the picturesque hollow in which the cavehouse stands.

The sight was welcome to me; and after a rest, I started for a hurried glimpse at some of the caves. The marvels of nature's handiwork to be seen in these wonderful caverns have often been described before, so I shall content myself with saying that even the little that I was able to see of them well repaid the trouble of the journey.

The situation of the cavehouse is a delightful one, at tha bottom of a cup shaped hollow, with huge masses of limestone rising into tho air on two sides and steep hills on the others. A short thunder storm late in the afternoon had cleared the air, which had become slightly oppressive, and the effect of the declining sun on the dripping trees and rocks was charming. But it was late in the evening that the most delightful picture was presented, when the moon commenced to peep over the cliffs to the right of the verandah on which I took my ease. Gradually the light crept down the rugged pile of rock before me till it reached the trees and scrub at the base, and the whole of the tiny valley was bathed in a silver flood. All was silent, except for the murmur of a little stream that wended its way among the bushes, now glittering in the moonlight, now lost to sight among the shadows.

Having returned to Cooma my next business was to see about the Kosciusko trip, and I found that arranged for me by friends. The next day therefore I was driven out to a station about ten miles on the road, and after a pleasant evening spent there I was taken another ten miles of the journey over fairly level coutry to another station, from which I was to commence the actual mountain trip under the guidance of the owner, who was going to pay a visit of inspection to some mountain property. We set off in the afternoon in a stoutly-built buggy with a pair of strong horses, and almost immediately we began to ascend, at first gently, but after half a dozen miles or so the country got wilder and the hills steeper and more thickly timbered. It was in this half of the day's journey that the value of having a skilful driver and a strong pair of horses was very apparent, especially at the approach to my old acquaintance, the Eucumbene River.

We had just arrived at the top of a hill which led down to the stream when I was somewhat astonished to see my host jump down and chop vigorously at some fairly large saplings on the roadside, and then proceed to fasten them on the back of the buggy as a drag. This precaution I soon found to be necessary as the slope was very steep, and no ordinary brakes could prevent a heavy vehicle from descending in a manner too hurried to be pleasant for the occupants. From the bed of the river the road, now a mere bush truck, led straight up the hills, generally at an angle which severely tested the staying powers of our horses. At last, after some miles of this work, we came once more to rolling country, which I was informed was the Snowy Plain, and our destination for the night. We were now some three thousand feet up in the air, so that the sight of a big fire in the kitchen of the stockmen's house was by no means unwelcome.

The next morning saw us mounted on horseback with our luggage for the next few days strapped in front of us, and consisting mainly of a plentiful supply of rugs and blankets. Our party was reinforced by a friend of my host's who had volunteered to accompany me for the rest of the journey, my host himself not being able to see me right through the trip. We were now really among the mountains, which appeared above, below, and on every side of us, and it was not very long before I made acquaintance with the famous mountain bogs which, I am glad to say,the mountain men assert are becoming smaller each year. However, judging by the number and extent of those I saw, the supply is likely to outlast the next few generations. Those bogs consist of grass covered patches of soft black soil, in which the horses not used to them sink to their knees or even to their shoulders, much to their own terror and to the discomfort of the unwary rider. The horses used to the work, however, are very clever in picking their way through the dangerous parts, and as I had been thoughtfully provided with an " old stager" I came through the ordeal successfully. Naturally our progress was slow, as any pace but a walk was out of the question, and in about three hours we travelled only nine miles, getting gradually higher as we advnceed.

The country now began to change, as instead of the thick gum trees of the lower slopes the hills now met with were seemingly capable of producing nothing but a plentiful crop of granite boulders, interspersed with low tough scrub. However I was informed that those same hills contained splendid fattening country, and indeed the condition of the sheep and cattle met with everywhere proved the truth of the assertion.

After crossing a pretty little plain we arrived at a cattle camp, and I had an opportunity of seeing how the mountain men live. And, first of all, I should explain that the country just here is of a very different character from that of the Blue Mountains or the Livorpool ranges. No beetling cliffs here or impassable gorges, but instead patches of rolling country, well-grassed and interspersed with streams with hills of no great height dotted over it. On this are depastured large flocks and herds which have been brought up from the plains for the summer months, and as there are no fences a large number of men are needed to shepherd the stock. Consequently at intervals one comes across camps, in each of which about half a dozen men live for the five months during which the mountains are accessible. These camps generally consist of two or three good tents surrounded by a palisade of bushes. Add to these a roughly built fireplace with a few round ovens as its accessories and the camp is complete. In good weather the life of these mountain stockmen is an ideal one, their work consisting of a couple of rides during the day along well-defined "beats" to see that none of their stock have shifted. In the middle of the day there is nothing to do as the stock do not move much, so at every camp one generally finds some stray visitors who drop in casually, and set to work on the ever ready and, in this appetite-producing air, ever-welcome, mutton and damper, with the accompanying billy of tea, which, with true bush hospitality are produced, without question, as soon as the horseman alights.

In wet weather, however, the work is hard, as the stock move about constantly, and the task of heading-off the stragglers on some of the rocky and boggy hills is no light one even for those magnificent riders. At our cattle camp we enjoyed an hour's spell; and, after saying goodbye to my host, we set off again up the hills under the guidance of one of the stockmen. The track now led over the worst bit of country I met with on the journey. For miles there was scarcely a sound piece of ground underfoot, and on all sides bleak hills, with their usual covering of granite boulders. One particular mile of the track merits a special description, and in case anyone wishes to construct a similar pathway I append a few simple directions. Take a mountain, fairly steep, covered with chunks of granite, and between them strew bogs for the footway, then plant the whole with 'snow gums" - that is, stunted gumtrees with their branches all twisted by the weight of the winter snow thickly enough to jar the rider's knees and strike his head as he passes through, and after scattering a few steep gullies here and there on the mountain slope, drive some cattle on ahead to mark out the track, and the road is complete. By various acrobatic feats we safely accomplished this portion of the journey , and then had some eight miles of climbing over the ordinary boulders and struggling through occasional soft patches on the hill sides. I should mention here that it was only the fact of our having to call at the cattle camp that necessitated our traveling the path described above, the ordinary route missing it altogether.

Late in the evening, after seven hours in the saddle for a 19-mile journey, we arrived at our halting-place - a camp of "sheep men," pitched in a pretty wooded gully, at the base of a peak called Dickey Cooper's Bogong. Here we were made welcome, and a tent with a comfortable bunk was set apart for the use of the two travellers. The evening air was keen, so we enjoyed lying about a roaring fire while we smoked and yarned with the half-dozen occupants of the camp, not on the ordinary topics of the day - we were too far out of the world for that - but about the ever-present sheep and cattle, and all that appertains thereto; and many were the interesting incidents we heard of - adventures in the course of a long life spent with stock in the various colonies - as related by the "boss" that night.

At 7 o'clock in the morning we were again in the saddle, under the leadership of one of the crack riders of the mountains, who know every yard of the country. A few miles of stiff climbing brought us to the end of the scrub, and we were informed that we should not meet with another vestige of a tree for the rest of the day. On we rode, round hills and over well-grassed flats, higher and ever higher, while beneath us lay the innumerable hills through which we had passed during the last two days' journeying. The sky had been dull and threatening when we started, and the air was cold enough to make our fingers numb, and our guide feared that our view would be obstructed by the mist on the top. As time went on, howevor, intermittent gleams of sunshine gave promise of brighter weather, which later on was to be realised.

At last we reached a point from which we could get a comprehensive view of the whole of Kosciusko, with its group of peaks, standing high above the surrounding hills, its jagged outline and steep sides showing out clearly against the brightening sky. A little further on, after a tough climb in the teeth of a furious icy wind which swopt up the gullies, we dismounted on the lee side of Mount Twynam in order to revel in what was, to one of us at least, a novelty, viz , snow, which we here met with for the first time in the journey. My expectations, formed beforehand, of wading through drifts, and doing daring deeds in the way of sliding down frozen steeps, were not destined to be realised for the simple reason that there was not sufficient snow for the performance, an early summer following on a mild winter having cleared it all away with the exception of a few patches here and there. Still, there was snow, which we saw and tasted, and that, too in the middle of summer in Australia - a sufficiently novel experience, surely, for anyone. Here, too, we gazed on the first of the mountain lakes, a sheet of clear water of a mile in circumference, lying at the base of the hill on which we sat.

Once more in our saddles, and we had a pleasing variety in the shape of a canter along a grassy ridge, which brought us directly opposite the object of our desires. Dismounting, we led our horses down a very steep slope to the margin of a little lake of water, so clear that it seemed as if one might wade through places more than 20ft deep. Skirting this, we scrambled on foot up a rough and slippery ascent, and found ourselves on a plateau a couple of miles long, which with its ring of peaks forms the "roof" of Australia. An easy walk up a grassy slope, and a scramble over the huge mound of boulders that forms the crest of the mountain, and at midday we stood on the highest point in the continent.

Was it worth the trouble? Most decidedly it was. Turn whichever way we would, before us lay a never-ending vista of hills. To the westward as far as the eye could see the Murray wound its way through mountains covered with almost impenetrable forests, and over broad plains when it reached the lower levels - a silver streak showing clearly against the sombre hue of the wooded slopes; while on the opposite side we caught a glimpse of the first begmnings of the Snowy, traversing the base of the rugged hills on its way to the Southern Ocean. Far away to the east, when the eye had traversed the intervening stretch of peaks, could be seen the Monaro Plains with a faint glimpse of the Coast Range in the dim distance. The gods were indeed kind to us, for as we gazed on the glorious panorama that lay beneath us the sun shone out, and for an hour more we sat gazing on the wondrous view, or more prosaically taking it by means of a "kodak."

But time was pressing, so we descended to the plateau, and after hunting for some scraps of brushwood wherewith to boil our billy, we partook of our midday meal, and soon afterwards mounted for the downward journey, not omitting, however, to collect and press a haudful of the beautiful mountain snowdrops, and to bedeck ourselves with the "everlasting flower" that grows in profusion on the very summit.

The twenty miles of our return journey to the camp proved even more enjoyable than the ascent in the morning, for now we had the genial warmth of the sun to cheer us, and in the more widely extended view as we faced downwards, the contrast of the granite-crowned summits glittering in the sunlight with the gloomy gorges and the lengthening shadows cast by the high peaks we had just left, made a picture that one was loth to leave. But we had to push on if we wished to avoid a ride in the dark, and evening was just drawing in when we came to our resting-place, welcome indeed after the long day of just twelve hours, eight of which we had spent in the saddle, though in reality one feels almost incapable of fatigue in the gloriously fresh mountain air.

To reach the Snowy Plains again the next day we took an easier track, avoiding the boggy path described above. Again the day was simply perfect, and we loafed along in the most casual fashion, stopping for a yarn and a "dish of tay" at least half a dozen times , in fact whenever a stockman's camp or a digger's hut presented itself. "Merry" indeed we found it "To blow the cool tobacco cloud, and watch the white wreaths pass,

"Sitting loosely in our saddles all the while," as we rode along in the glorious sunshine on our way back to civilisation, breathing the pure mountain air that seems to give a fresh lease of life to the weary dweller in cities.- (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)(about) Previous issue Saturday 27 March 1897).

The story of all mining on Manaro pales into insignificance in the light of the romance that surrounds Kiandra, in places rich beyond imagination. It would seem as though nature had chosen there a few square miles on the highest point and in the most severe climate in New South Wales as a golden storehouse.

Kiandra, fifty-two miles to the S.W. of Cooma, twenty-two miles beyond Adaminaby, had been known to the early settlers as Gibson's Plains, by reason of having been occupied by a Dr. Gibson. "The Sydney Morning Herald," of 25th February, 1860, states that "In the year 1839 Dr. Gibson visited the country (that is now Kiandra), and being struck with the beauty of the plain and the extent of pasture, sent men up to erect a stock yard, taking with them a quantity of cattle. By the time they had finished the stockyard the winter had set in and the cattle perished."

It is stated that the native name of Kiandra, the name by which it was known to the aboriginals -was Giandarra, and if the initial letter of that name were pronounced hard, the result would almost be Kiandra as it is to-day sounded.

Kiandra was in its earlier history used as a summer grazing ground. Two brothers, James and David Pollock, who annually brought sheep from the Murray, spent their spare time in prospecting. About June, 1859, it would appear that they discovered gold at Bullock Head Creek. They reported their discovery at Tumbarumba on their way home to the Murray. Through all the Colonies word sped of the golden wonders of Kiandra. Thither from all parts men sped, lured by the magic of the yellow metal. Some came from Victoria, across the Mountains, and through Tumut, others hastened from widely different parts of New South Wales, and passed through Cooma, Coolringdon, Cootralantra, Middlingbank, Buckinderra and Adaminaby. Many landed at Twofold Bay and came thence up the Big Jack Mountain, through Cathcart, or Bibbenluke, making for Dukes Springs Hotel.

As the track became more frequented hotels were speedily opened. At Dukes Springs, Horatio Rowley opened a hotel in a building now occupied by Mr. W. J. Thompson, as Avon Lake Station. Charles Wright, then owner of Bobundarah, built at that place an hotel known as "The Woolpack," his tenant and licensee being one John Smith. This building was pulled down by the Messrs. Sellar, when they acquired Bobundarah. The track was known as the old Diggers' Track, and at Bobundarah in addition to the Hotel, there was a store and a blacksmith's shop. The store was originally kept by one Caldwell.

In November of the same year a party from Adaminaby, Gilon (who was in charge of Rock Forest for Mr. Peter Curtis, and who had come to Manaro with Messrs. Cosgrove and York), Grice and Hayes discovered satisfactory gold in Pollock's Gully, and in December, 1859, and January, 1860, the great rush set in.

Towards the end of January, 1860, the Four Mile and Nine Mile Rushes took place, and about 1000 men were engaged in prospecting at each place. From February, 1860, the "Sydney Morning Herald" got regular reports from the field, and that journal and some old papers in the possession of the Mines Department are the authocity for much of the information that follows:

In the very start of the rush one party of four men got 120 ozs. in a week, another of three were getting 20 oz. daily. Still a third got 1 lb. weight of gold per day, and nuggets of from 6 lbs., 12lbs. and 14 lbs. were being unearthed.

On 28th February, Smith and mate had washed 394 oz. inside seven weeks. Everywhere the ground was touched it yielded gold, and on 2nd March 1860, it was said 500 ozs. were being obtained daily. A Commissioner was, of course, on the field, and he had by that time taken with him to Sydney a nugget weighing 26 oz., besides a large quantity of coarse gold. Some claims were even turning out 100 oz. per day, and nuggets of from 20 to 30 oz. were being frequently picked up within a few inches of the surface. T. W. Moon, of Adelong, is reported on 10th March as having found two nuggets of 9 and 43 ozs., and another man lodged a 14 lb. and 7 lb. nugget at the Police Camp.

The maximum population of the field was 15,000, this number of men being estimated to be, engaged in prospecting during the months of February and March, 1860.

Whilst particulars of these finds were being received and the public mind excited at the thoughts of an Eldorado where gold could be had for carting away, a caution was given warning men against going to a region like Kiandra, where it was stated one could see skeletons of bullocks hanging 20 feet high in the trees, up sides of high hills. The depth of snow, it was pointed - out, must be fearful when it was thus plainly shown that the cattle were feeding on the top branches of trees. By reason of the severity of the winter of 1860, many men postponed their journey over the Mountains till the cold weather - had passed.

Mr. Commissioner Cloete by the end of March mentioned nuggets, some weighing 93 oz., 23 oz., 160 OZ., 62 OZ., and six small ones weighing 180 oz. During Mr. Cloete's absence he reported to the Secretary for Lands that he had left Mr. Lockhart and Mr. Clarke in charge.

On 2nd April, 1860, gold belonging to the Bank of New South Wales, and won at Kiandra, was, exhibited at the shop of Messrs. Brush & McDonnell, in George Street, Sydney. The gold dust weighed 1172 oz., several large nuggets weighing 166 oz. One nugget from the Snowy River weighed 128 oz. and 350 pounds was refused for it. The diggers who owned this also brought with them 1000 pounds worth of gold.

Naturally with all this wealth about, thieves were not scarce at Kiandra, but those who were caught were punished by having their heads close shaved.

Early in April the escort, with eleven mounted troopers, left Kiandra with 7409 oz. of gold, whilst it was believed that independent of that another 5000 oz. were in the hands of the miners.

Although gold was plentiful and more of it was said to have been sent to Victoria than to Sydney, provisions, if not actually scarce, were high in price, and in May, 1860, flour is reported as being I/- per lb. and 100 pounds per ton, but in December the prices quoted were Flour 6d. per lb., 45 to 50 pounds per ton; oats 18/- per bushel; maize 20/- per bushel of 60 lbs.; beans 12/- per bushel of 20 lbs. At the end of that month the total yield of gold from all sources was estimated at 30,000 oz. In March, the Bank of New South Wales opened a branch on the field, and in July it was followed by the now defunct Oriental Bank. The optimism existent with regard to the field is evidenced by the "Herald's" leading article of June 28th, 1860, wherein it is said: "We hear the goldfields at Kiandra will be visited in the ensuing Summer by at least 50,000 men. Suppose we should see at the Alpine Regions at one time 36,000 men. Of these more than 24,000 will be actually employed in mining, the rest will be required to supply their wants. The value of the gold they will raise at 6 pounds per head per week will reach 144,000 pounds, and reckoning 30 working weeks, will be 14,320,000 pounds." In August, 1860, the population of Kiandra was 4,000. 200 diggers were at the Four Mile and 400 at the Nine Mile. The Kiandra Quartz Reef was discovered two miles North of Kiandra, and Reefs were also located at the head of the Tumut River and Lobbs Hole.

By September 1860, the value of the house property at Kiandra approximated 140,000 pounds. A quartz specimen worth 1000 pounds was picked up, and at the new rush at New Chum Hill a 57 oz. nugget, nearly all pure gold, was obtained. More definite mining, instead of casual work, appears now to have started, shafts had been put down, tunnels up to 300 feet had been driven, puddling machines were in full operation, and many races had been brought down from the hills. At the Nine Mile a Lock-up and Guard Room had been finished, and on 5th October, 1860, the Police were to be sent out there. On 11 th October, 1860, a great sensation was caused by the discovery of a nugget of nearly pure gold, weighing nearly 400 oz. by the butcher's steelyards.

About this time the population of Kiandra commenced to diminish, but New Chum Hill and Surface Hill were being vigorously worked, the former proving one of the richest spots on Kiandra, though the Commissioner was kept busy adjusting disputes concerning claims.

On 16th October, 1860, telegraphic communication was opened with Sydney.

In November 1860, 19 specimens weighing in the gross 75 oz. 4 dwt. were forwarded to Sydney and Flavelle & Roberts estimated them to contain 25 per cent of their weight in gold, equal to 500 oz. to the ton.

In November, 1860, the principal claims being worked were Surface Hill, New Chum Hill, Township Hill, the Nine Mile, Jackass Flat, Whipstick Flat and Rocky Plain. The miners were Faulkner and party, Gallagher and party, Riley and Co., Williams and party, Flanagan and party.

At Rocky Plain, southeast from Kiandra, there were stores, public houses, and tents, and though by December 1860, goods and provisions could be obtained at something approximating Sydney prices, the population was rapidly dwindling. Interest was to some extent revived by Eaton and party's discovery at Whipstick, of a nugget worth from 700 pounds to 800 pounds though the opinion was definitely growing that Kiandra had failed to realise the brilliant hopes that were formed concerning it. From time to time rich finds were made, but with the beginning of the winter in March, 1861, a great exodus started, and it was reported that there were not more than 250 diggers left on the field. Lambing Flat had been discovered, and most of the miners had hurried there.

In August, 1861, the "Herald" reports that everybody at Four Mile was completely snowed in, and that no idea could be formed, except by experience, of the horrors of the place. The winter was described as being a terrible one, resulting in great privations. Many severe accidents were reported.

Throughout its later history continuous squabbling between the Commissioners and the miners resulted detrimentally to the interests of the field.

On 29th August, 1863, the "Sydney Mail," referring to heavy snowfalls at Kiandra, says:- "The population is gradually getting smaller, and it is doubtful whether this once-attractive spot will ever witness a revival of the olden days, It is lamentable to observe such large and expensive buildings as are to be found in the township not only tenantless, but rapidly falling into decay."

In October, 1864, as the result of a petition for a second Magistrate, the appointment of Mr. J. Lette, for many years afterwards an identity of Western Manaro, was gazetted as second Magistrate.

The gold escort was not established for several months after the commencement of operations on the field, and it is believed that most of the gold won was taken away during the first few weeks following the discovery, and thus no reliable record of the amount won can be arrived at. The Rev. W. B. Clarke, M.A., in his "Southern Gold Fields," states "that from January 1st, 1860, to June, 1860, 42,000 ozs. of gold were despatched by escort, and that one nugget was found weighing 27lb.

During the first year of its discovery, and in 1860, the escort returns from Kiandra were 67,687 oz., valued at 13 14s. 7d. per oz. In 1861 it declined to 16,565 oz., valued at 3 pounds 15s 4d per oz ., and in 1862 to 7,385 OZ., valued at 3 pounds 1 5s. per oz. In 1863 and 1864, the yields were 6780 and 6866 oz. respectively, and the qauntity sent by escort rapidly declined till in 1872 it was only 648 oz. It seems quite clear, however, that the official escort returns are very considerably below the quantity of gold won, which to the end of 1872 amounted to 124,529 oz., of an average value of 3 pounds 15s 2d per oz., representing values to the extent of 468,021 pounds 9s. 10d. Private buyers, remittances direct to Sydney and to Victoria, and quantities carried away by prospectors, and largely by Chinese, would very greatly add to these figures.

Transcribed by Pattrick Mould in 2003, from the book "Back to Cooma' Celebrations" page 53-56 --- (Ref- http://www.monaropioneers.com/kiandra/history.htm).

1934 - KIANDRA TRAGEDY. GOULBURN, Wednesday. - Constable Bodel, of the Goulburn plain clothes Police, has joined Detective-sergeant Allmond, to assist in inquiries at Tumut regarding the death of Mrs Roberts, who received a bullet wound in the stomach at Kiandra, and was taken by sledge and lorry to Tumut Hospital, where she died. - (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954)(about) Previous issue Thursday 23 August 1934).

THE NEW DIGGINGS AT THE SNOWY RIVER. 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 their until the quality ot 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 tho 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 remaning 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 despatched 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. There 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 W B 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. - (Ref- The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842-1954) Saturday 28 January 1860)

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