Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton) 6th Aug 1953http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57264004
I wish that my backyard was as profitable as that of Mr Butterick’s of Wedderburn.
I am not surprised that he started digging holes in his backyard. He did have seven daughters after all. Maybe he didn’t have a shed. He also must have had very discreet neighbours if nobody else knew what he was doing for 18 months. I think that if I started mining in our garden someone would notice.
Poor guy didn’t get too long to enjoy the fruits of his labours though, dying only two years after the discovery.
Very convenient, having the gold right on your doorstep. People travelled from all around the world to share in Australia’s gold rush. He didn’t even have to leave home.
- The Argus. Thursday 6th Sep 1900
My apologies for the blurriness of this article but I just had to put it in. It reads;
A GELIGNITE EXPLOSION.
The great amount of risk with which the handling of gelignite is attended was illus- trated here yesterday, when a miner named M. O’Meara had a very narrow escape. A charge, of gelignite had not exploded satis- factorily, and O’Meara put a plug, which he intended using in the next charge, in the sun to soften. After leaving it there for half an hour he picked it up, but by some mischance let it fall from his hand on to a stone. The gelignite exploded, scattering stones and gravel in all directions. O’Meara was much cut about the face and arm with flying stones, and rendered almost deaf and blind for the time. The force of the explosion was so great that O’Meara was thrown several feet away, and the shirt sleeve torn from his arm.
I don’t know too much about explosives, just to be VERY careful with them, so I am not sure how dropping gelignite managed to detonate it. I do know however, that if I had a stick of gelignite I would be far more careful than to leave it in the sun for half an hour and then drop it on a rock.
I think that once O’Meara regained his sight and hearing, his flying-gravel rash healed and he bought a new shirt, he probably learned to be a bit more careful with explosives too.
I was thrilled whan I found this article because my Great Great Grandfather’s name was Morgan O’Mara (or O’Meara depending on who wrote the document). He was a miner and a farmer and lived in the Bulumwaal area at that time.
There is a chance that this blown up O’Meara and the O’Mara I wrote about in the post on the 17th of March are the same person. That O’Mara found diamonds when he was looking for gold. If these O’Meara O’Mara’s are the same person he definitely has luck on his side (still haven’t won Tatts, clearly he used it all up before I was even thought of…. 😉 )
This article shows how lucky the kids a few posts ago were. They were playing with far more than one stick of gelignite and I think that careful was probably the last thing they were being.
When I was looking for more washing copper disasters I found this article. It doesn’t involve an innocent washer woman being set alight or unattended children falling into boiling water. This is a cautionary tale on what not to do with a giant chunk of gold and quartz. The Holterman nugget was found in 1872 and weighed 286kg. It was 1.5m long and contained 57kg of gold. Originally worth £12000, this boiling devalued it by £500.
I was wondering how that much gold managed to not break the bottom out of the copper when it managed to collapse the floor of a hansom cab on the trip to the mint. His copper must have been a stronger version than mine! Having seen photos of this famous nugget I am not sure it would even fit into a copper.
- The Sydney Morning Herald Sat 15th July 1933.
We spent the Easter weekend up in the bush at Ararat with the fossickers hoping to strike it rich and, as usual, failed miserably. On our return home I was looking for more sea monster articles to post and in my searches found some articles about a beast that is only a slightly less elusive. The fabled monster nugget.
The nugget in the above article weighed just over 463oz. That is over 13 kilos of gold. Gold is currently worth somewhere around $1400 Australian an ounce. My calculator tells me that if we had found that nugget over Easter we would be $648,200 better off. Imagine how many chocolate eggs we could have bought with that!
In 1898, as best as I can ascertain, gold was £3 to £4 per ounce. That 463oz nugget could have been worth as little as £1389 at the time.
In a town in Eastern Victoria called Wy Yung in 1899 a man was prospecting for gold. His name was O’Mara and he was a farmer. It is also possible that he was my Great Great Grandfather.
That Friday he found something even more unexpected than gold. He found diamonds. This is a copy of the article published in the Hobart Mercury.
Even though Victoria was the place of a huge goldrush beginning in the mid 1800’s is not really known as a place where diamonds just lie about waiting to be found.
Of course, these diamonds weren’t just stumbled over, O’Mara had dug a hole 12ft deep though so I think that he was pretty keen on finding something.
Although his profession was listed as farmer, I wonder how much farming was going on with holes of that size being dug?
I have found other articles about O’Mara’s in this area and I think that he might have been more of a miner than a farmer. Either that or he had a very understanding and capable wife!
I love the variety of news that was shared in one article in the papers back then.
The poor farmer from Hopkins Point, gored by a boar at the show and not expected to live, the unidentified skeleton found at Korumburra and the rocks donated for exhibition by Captain Jolly.
You never know what you are going to read next. 😀