Last week a lecture was delivered in London by Mr. MOSSMAN, for
several years a resident in Australia, on the subject of Australia and its gold
mines. Mr. MOSSMAN said that, knowing from experience how important it is to get
correct information, he came forward on the present occasion, not to give
advice as to occupations which ought to be followed in the colony, but as to the
kind of men who were best adapted for a new country.
Australia was an island about as large as Europe, and was divided
politically into three colonies of, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
It was nearly the antipodes of England, and at the moment when he was
addressing them in a hot night in July, the colonists were rising from their beds or
seated before their logs fires at breakfast discussing perhaps why people were
not coming from the mother country to help them. But, though it was now
winter in Australia, the thermometer never fell below 45 degrees, and they had
there no fall of the leaf.
Many persons supposed that gold was to be easily had in Australia, but
he must tell them they would have to work hard for it, they must rise early
and go to bed late, after being in wet and bespattered with mud all the day.
Even when they might still be disappointed; and not earning as much as they
could at ordinary occupations, it would not be surprising if many desired to
return back. Wool and tallow formed the two great staples of the colony. Their
flocks and herds gave them food and clothing, and enabled them to import a large
quantity of manufactured goods from this country, but these sources of
employment, in which large capital was invested, were deserted for the more enticing
search after gold. The price of wool and good tallow was therefore rising in
this country. This was the crisis of the old colonists, and he trusted that
England would help them to meet it.
There was ample room for those who wished to follow these occupations,
in which they would be adequately renumerated, whilst they would be
surrounded with social comforts, which was not the case with the gold diggers. They
did not want the idle, the dissipated or the scapegrace. If a person wished to
emigrate for the purpose of digging for gold, handling the pickaxe, and rocking
the cradle, he would not say nay; only they must possess the habits and
energy and constitutuion required for such labour. They would not find persons
ready to fold their shirt fronts in minute plaits, or to cook their dinners into
the most enticing dishes. Ther had better therefore, before going out to the
gold regions, take a few lessons in washing and cooking.
There are about 100,000 gold diggers, by the latest accounts, in
Victoria, and they could more easily imagine than he could describe the exciting
scenes which must take place when they ceased from their work in the evening.
The most boisterous pic-nic at home bore but a faint resemblance to the constant
excitement amongst the gold-diggers. He would recommend married and single,
the brother and sister, who could do nothing here, to turn their thoughts to
Australia, but let them not do so if they were not full of cheerfulness, of
hope, of energy, and of confidence. If they entertained any doubt as to the
prudence of the step, let that doubt incline rather in favour of remaining in the
old country than proceeding to the new colony.
The passage to Australia lasted for about 100 to 110 days in a good
vessel. The most dangerous part of the voyage was in clearing the Channel and
rounding the Cape. The intending emigrant should look well to the vessel in
which he went out. He should take with him as little luggage as possible, and
convert all property into gold and silver. With regard to out-fit, it must, of
course , be regulated according to a man's means. For those who could afford it,
a three years supply would not be too much.
There was now a rush towards Australia from all quarters of the world.
Men, however different in race and various in language , were as one in the
desire to possess gold. So large an influx of foreign elements might disturb
the social and political relations and attachments of the old colonists, and
this was a contingency against which the provident British statesmen ought to
guard by promoting the emigration of the surplus labouring population of this