Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/92

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of Ballarat, that has developed from the thousands of diggers' tents that occupied its site in 1854. Nowhere could be found a more hospitable and patriotic people, a more enlightened community, a more intelligent body of electors. The Irishmen of Ballarat have not only been foremost in building up the Golden City and gathering its auriferous treasures, but they have always been found in the van of liberal progress and useful legislation. Their respected leader, Daniel Brophy, a sterling Celt from Castlecomer, Kilkenny, has been several times mayor of the city, and was for years one of their representatives in the Legislative Assembly.

In the early years of Ballarat, the operations of the diggers were confined to the surface workings, or the sinking of shallow shafts into the rich alluvial. Fabulous wealth was thus raised by thousands of men in a comparatively easy manner. Scientific mining for gold was not attempted at this early stage, the men merely digging and delving into the golden soil to the depth of a hundred or one hundred and fifty feet, when they were stopped by a huge layer of solid rock. Beneath this they did not attempt to penetrate, though their shrewd observation convinced them that if they could only succeed in piercing that rocky barrier, they would strike still richer leads of gold in the underground river-beds. Still, so long as the gold was to be procured within easy reach of the surface, there was no inducement to expend a large amount of capital and labour in the risky experiment of cutting several hundred feet through the underlying rock in the hope of striking another payable gold-field. It was only when the surface workings gave unmistakable signs of exhaustion, that the sanguine and speculative spirits of Ballarat turned their attention to the