Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/109

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95
A GOLDEN CITY.

observing eye is at first liable to be offended by the repulsive heaps of upturned earth that lie ruthlessly scattered in all directions—perpetual reminders of the early days when the gold was readily found near the surface, and diggers acquired enormous fortunes without much bodily labour or risk of life. But this is a prevailing characteristic of nearly all gold-fields, though Sandhurst, by reason of its low, flat situation, suffers in appearance more severely from this cause than its sister cities. But when the visitor leaves the outskirts of Sandhurst behind him and enters the city itself, the disagreeable impression produced by the sight of dreary wastes of torn and disembowelled earth will speedily be dissipated. For he will be ushered into a bustling and animated scene; he will see himself in the centre of a well-planned and well-appointed town; a long succession of handsome shops will spread out before his gaze, and all around he will discern indubitable evidences of material prosperity and intellectual life in a host of fine public buildings, imposing banks, numerous churches, and a variety of literary and educational institutions. That once popular Hibernian governor of New South Wales, Sir Hercules Robinson, was perfectly right when he declared that "Sandhurst surpassed all other districts in the marvellous wealth of its mineral resources." It has been of recent years the richest and most productive of Victorian gold-fields, and the auriferous quartz continues to be found so abundantly at enormous depths as to lead to the widespread belief that Sandhurst is in reality a series of goldfields, one underneath the other.

One of the great institutions of Sandhurst is the "Shamrock," a capacious and comfortable hostelry that, notwithstanding its aggressively Hibernian title, has been the