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An account of the impact of gold on Indigenous society

Alfred Joyce (owner of ‘Plaistow’ station) discusses the dramatic transformations brought on by the goldrushes and how they impacted on the local Indigenous population.


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    James, G.F. (ed.), A homestead history being the reminiscences and letters of Alfred Joyce of Plaistow and Norwood, Port Phillip 1843 to 1864, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1969. Details



The blacks did not show any signs of serious dimunition till the breaking out of the diggings, but their demoralisation had been going on all the time previously. Debauchery and drink was doing its work. When bush inns became numerous the blacks congregated around them, and purchased it whenever they could get a coin or two by begging or otherwise. All this was bad enough when the white inhabitants were few and far between, but the outbreak of the diggings, with greater temptations and facilities, swept them off rapidly. Often in passing through the diggings township near us, I have seem them squatting about the streets or near the public houses, when they generally shouted out my name as I passed, as recognising an old acquaintance, followed by the usual appeal to ‘Give it sixpence’ that they might get something to eat, but more likely something to drink. For a few years after this a few of them would occasionally visit the station I was on, but they soon disappeared altogether, and now there are but few on the one or two mission stations, and many of them half-castes.