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A report from Geelong

The Geelong Advertiser criticised the government for imposing fees on diggers.

4 November 1851
Published Source
Australian National Dictionary Centre, The Gold Rushes and Australian English: a resource for researchers, teachers and students, Australian National University, 2005, http://www.anu.edu.au/andc/res/aus_words/gold/index.php. Details
This material is provided by the Australian National Dictionary Centre, a joint project of the Australian National University and Oxford University Press Australia.


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GEELONG MEMS. —Prospecting is supposed by many to be a pleasant walk in company with a Tin Dish, Colander, and Trowel. Gold is supposed to be found by sticking the trowel into a mound of earth, and transferring a portion thereof to the tin dish, in which it is kneaded like dough for a damper, stirred until it becomes mud, then swilled, and strained until it becomes silt, which is poked about and peered into, circled and shaken, and then shot into creek, or water hole. Then tin dish, colander and trowel again, until the knees ache from stooping, and the small of the back is pained from being bent, the neck cricked, and a determination of the blood to the head is followed by an inclination to pitch forward. Prospecting in kid gloves, dress coats, patent leather boots, and strapped trowsers, is generally unsuccessful—from some unexplained causes, even though it be attended with science; whilst in the other hand, blue shirts, moleskins, pick, spade, and hard labour, generally obtain a favourable result. ANTS have turned gold diggers, one of them was caught in the felonious act of carrying away a small nugget. The ant was probably taking it to its uncle. The chamois leathern bags, about the size of a watch pocket, which the government vends at Ballarat at one shilling each, are not the pockets in which the gold is originally found, but where it is put afterwards. Neither are the "shammy" fobs, government securities. The fob shilling may be considered as a premium charged on those who invest in the one per cent, irresponsible funds. Lord Eldon, who was a very close fisted lachrymose old gentleman, was called Old Bags—not because he sat upon the wool sack, but because he was prone to fill his bags, not in the vulgar acceptation of that term as connected with gluttony, but from his desire to bag the precious metal on every occasion which presented itself. From the same propensity, and practice of our government, it is suggested to raise His Excellency to the same rank—by the same title of Old Bags. A gold digger makes a very impertinent query—he wishes to be informed whether we have a work by the celebrated novelist James, entitled the "Commissioner;" or, "De Lunatico Inquirendo?" In case of action, and the escort being defeated, the plaintiffs would have to pay damages. Geelong Advertiser, 4 November 1851