Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/195

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172
LIFE OF BUCKLEY.

New South Wales for the same period. The export of produce, for 1850, amounted in value to £1,022,064, against £737,067 for the previous year.

The extraordinary discoveries of gold made about the middle of May last to the westward of Bathurst, are still the absorbing subject of public attention. The comparative abundance of the metal is now undoubtedly ascertained, as far as regards the present scene of operation. The actual extent of so lucrative a field is still to be explored; but it appears to be probable that it extends into Victoria in the direction of Gipps' Land to the East, and the Pyrenees to the West. The precious metal has also been recently found, or at least confidently asserted to exist, in other parts of Victoria.

Much inconvenience must for a time result from this discovery. Many branches of business must be affected, many labourers will leave and are leaving their hired service. The wages of those who remain must rise considerably, and many contracts must be unexpectedly disarranged from these altered relations. Provisions, beer, spirits, and other articles, have taken a sudden and considerable rise.

On the other hand this extraordinary discovery will attract towards Australia the attention of the world. An immense tide of emigration may be expected to roll towards her shores, and a few years may now accomplish what even her sanguine colonists had removed to the distance of an age or a century.

The operations at the Australian "Diggins" appear as yet to have been conducted without that confusion or lawless violence, which has too frequently characterised similar scenes in California. It is fortunate in this respect that the discovery has taken place in the midst of a society already formed, and a well-established government.

Victoria Benevolent Asylum.—At a meeting of Committee held at Melbourne, on the 13th June instant, it appeared that the edifice of the Asylum was now complete. The total cost had been £3,272 19s. 6d. Some exterior additions were recommended, which would add between one or two hundred pounds to this amount.