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HISTORY OF THE POSEIDON GOLD RUSH
Extract From Newspaper at Time (Wednesday, 9th Januaary, 1907)
Poseidon is near Tarnagulla, about 27 miles from Bendigo, Victoria.
Illustrations in the newspaper, at the time, gave an excellent idea of the respective sizes of the golden prizes that have been won from mother earth at the newly opened diggings, to which has been given the name "Poseidon."
The miners all the world over are inclined to favour horse racing perhaps because his calling is, like that of horse racing, fraught with the element of uncertainty and luck; and in view of the notable performances of the horse at the time of the discovery of gold on this field, the idea of naming the belt of auriferous country after the celebrated quadruped suggested itself to the mind of the prospector John Porter.
Porter is a solid stump of a man, sturdy and strong and determined. His faith in the existence of gold In the ground where it has been found has been deep-rooted, and his energy in searching for it indomitable. Porter had worked for years with his pick and shovel and dish all around Tarnagulla, a country town not 30 miles from Golden Bendigo. He experienced all the hardship's and straits of the man who searches for the elusive metal for a living. He existed on scanty fare, but still drove his pick; sure in the belief that he would eventually '"strike it rich," until at length he came upon gold.
A day after the Melbourne Cup race was won by Poseidon, Porter got his reward, and the news travelling rapidly a rush set in.
He won payable gold, but it was not his discovery that has drawn attention to the field. The lucky drive of the pick by Samuel Woodall, one of a party of four himself, John Condron, George Brook's, and Fred Eva-has drawn the eyes of diggers to the place. It was Woodall who found the biggest nugget since 1865. On December 18 he drew the mass of gold from its resting place. The weight of the lump (which the diggers, without the slightest intention to be humorous, in so speaking of lt, term a "speck") was 960oz. Its length was 16in. There was a proportion of rich brown quartz mixed with the precious metal.
Woodall, when asked to describe how and where he found the gold, pointed to a small excavation In black, "puggy" ground, about a foot from the surface, and Indicated the spot upon which the nugget had been laying on a sandstone "bump". All practical and experienced diggers expressed astonishment at the existence of gold In such a shallow place, especially as there was but a faint Indication of the gutter.
They comforted themselves with the quotation of an old Cornish prospector, who said, "Where it is, there lt ls," and by saying that, notwithstanding the science of geology and all tho learnings of man tho pick proves everything in mining.
Six days previously Stephenson and Smith found a large nugget, named in honour of the day of discovery.
It then being the Commonwealth polling day, they named it the Federal. Then, on the same day as that on which the big haul of the "Poseidon", was Woodall's prize has been christened, Stephenson and Williams unearthed a lump of gold. This has been named the "Christmas Box."
The precious nest eggs were found In comparatively close proximity. In fact, the Christmas Box was taken out of the claim adjoining that being worked by Woodall’s party.
I heard them shouting over at Stephenson's about the 'speck' they had found. My mate, Condron ran over with the rest to have a look at it. I just noticed two or three inches or gold under my pick," says Woodall, and feeling a bit curious, too, at Stephenson's luck, I decided to go across and see his gold. So I scraped a bit of dirt over the piece IO had seen, and left the claim. Having seen theirs, I told Condron that I had something to show him I told him to keep quiet, and then I set to work and pulled the speck out. I brushed it and said, 'Now you can call out, I saw it, you may take my word for lt." A few days before this find two of the party sold a sixth share for £5 to a man who, after working two days, disposed of his interest for £2 10s. At present the shareholders are Woodall, one-third; Condron and Brooks, one-quarter each; and Eva, one-sixth.
Up to the present, in addition to those already referred to, the following nuggets have been found: Wragg Brothers, 88oz; Jackson and Hughes, 152oz; Cummins and Son, 30oz; Nicholls and party, 21oz; Michael Brothers, 25oz. The field is easily roached from Maryborough, Castlemaine, Bendigo or Inglewood. At present there are about 700 or 800 men at work. Provisions are cheap, but water is scarce. There is not much convenience for puddling, and for that reason there is a large quantity of wash awaiting treatment.
As to the field Itself, there is what diggers call a very nicely made small hill, from which the lead makes in a westerly direction.
The shallow ground is on Crown lands, and the lead makes into the private property of Mr. Weymes, a landholder, where the sinking is good and easy. £2 ls charged each party for breaking the surface of the ground, and it may be stated that so readily was this price agreed to that all the ground in the paddock has been pegged out.
The lead takes a northern trend, and it is expected to "come round" again to the original course in a distance of a few hundred yards. So far the depth to which the claims have been sunk is about 5ft. and very encouraging prospects have been found in the wash dirt. The existence of the field depends upon the proving out of these deeper areas, but the prospector expresses the opinion that there is a life of two or three years before it now. The lead appears to be making towards wet country, and should water prove heavy in the un-prospected areas it is expected that only big capital will be able to cope with it. An unfortunate development occurred in connection with the prospector's claim.
On December 28 last the warden decided that a bionic of 60 square feet, part of the prospector’s claims, was invalidly taken up, being within a quarter of a mlle of existing alluvial workings, and he granted an Injunction to prevent Porter working the claim.
Notice of appeal was given, and the warden was asked to state a case, to be heard before the Supreme Court. A similar case, Alexander Lawson against Porter, was adjourned until after the appeal case ls decided. The case John and Stanley Jarry against Porter has been amicably settled. The Court sat till a late hour, and the decision was not given till nearly midnight. Great interest was taken in the proceedings, and the court was packed with minerB, whose sympathy was with the prospector who has opened such a splendid field.