Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/77

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63
A BIRTHPLACE OF FREEDOM.

Such was the hard fate of Dunn and Connor, and the members of their parties. Their immediate followers were raised to rank and opulence by the riches of Ballarat, but they themselves were left in silence and neglect to earn a small and uncertain daily wage. Even in later years when the Victorian Legislature scattered thousands of pounds in rewards for the discovery of particular gold-fields, the undeniable claims of Dunn and Connor were completely overlooked, the prizes to which they were honestly entitled having been showered for the most part on obtrusive applicants, whose assertiveness, pertinacity and political influence constituted their chief claims to recognition. It was owing to the shrewdness of one Irish digger that the underground treasures of Ballarat came to be revealed in all their native richness. Speaking of this important discovery in his "History of Australia," Mr. Sutherland says: "The first comers began to work at a bend in the creek, which they called Golden Point. Here for a time each man could easily earn from twenty to forty pounds a day, and crowds of people hurried to the scene. Every one selected a piece of ground, which he called his claim, and set to work to dig a hole in it, but when the bottom of the sandy layer was reached, and there seemed to be nothing but pipe-clay below, the claim was supposed to be worked out and was straightway abandoned. However, a miner named Cavenagh determined to try an experiment, and having entered one of these deserted claims, he dug through the layer of pipe-clay, when he had the good fortune to come suddenly upon several large deposits of grain gold. He had reached what had been in long-past ages the bed of the creek, where in every little hollow, for century after century, the flowing waters had gently deposited the gold which had been carried