Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/94

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six years since the starting of the company," remarks Mr. George Sutherland in one of his graphic descriptive sketches of the Victorian gold-fields. "Fortunes had been spent upon it; many shareholders had dropped out. But still the faithful few persevered under every disadvantage, determined to deserve their first adopted name of 'Band of Hope.' The miners retreated higher up the shaft, and opened up a new drive at a point beyond the level of the water. Profiting by their former experience, they carried their drive in the proper direction this time; and thus they arrived once more at the gold-drift. Again the water and sand poured in, and there was no chance of proceeding with the work until these enemies were subdued. Thick walls of clay were constructed, backed by immense barriers of beams and logs. And still the water burst through these obstacles and swept them away. So much sand and water had obtained access to the shaft, that it took two years' labour to clear it out again. It was now the middle of 1866, or over eight years from the date of the commencement; the sinking of the shaft had cost £30,000, and still the company was in a 'progressive' state—that is to say, the shareholders were continually putting money into it, instead of receiving any profit from it." Two years more of rebuff and disaster had to be experienced before this brave body of men secured the just reward of their persevering toil. As if to recompense them for their indefatigable industry in conquering obstacles that; would have overwhelmed any less determined band, the treasures for which they had been so long in search exceeded their most sanguine anticipations. "The amount of gold," says Mr. Sutherland, "collected in this famous mine astonished the world. In one day over £6,000 worth was obtained, and for a long time the weekly reckoning of the