William Campbell (1)
From Ballarat and District Industrial Heritage Project
- A VERITABLE PIONEER.
- The death of Mr William Campbell in London removes another sturdy pioneer. With him disappears the last remaining member of the first Legislative Council of Victoria.
- William Campbell was born in Argyleshire in 1810 — five years before the battle of Waterloo was fought — and on the 17th of last month had completed his 86th year. Leaving Scotland in 1838, he landed at Sydney. In 1840 Mr Campbell decided to entrust his fortunes to the district of Port Phillip, and took up station property on the Loddon. In the history of the colony Mr Campbell’s name will perhaps be best remembered in connection with tho original discoverer of the Clunes goldfield. He had been struck with the resemblance which the soil around Clunes bore to the descriptions which he had read of the geological formation of the auriferous portion of California; and, when visiting Mr Donald Cameron, the holder of the Clunes Station, in March, 1850, he mentioned his impressions in connection with the matter. An examination of the locality followed, and minute pieces of gold in quartz were discovered. The fact was kept secret under the apprehension that its disclosure would have the effect of ruining the pastoral interest. But in little more than a year afterwards people were being attracted to New Sonth Wales by the discovery of the Bathurst gold fields. To prevent this migration Mr Campbell made public his discovery. The publication took place on the 8th July, 1851, whereupon there was a rush of diggers to Clunes, where they remained until the end of the following month, when the intelligence that richer ground had been struck took them to Buninyong. A select committee of the first Legislative Council appointed to investigate the claims for rewards of Hargreaves and other dis coverers reported that Mr Campbell was without doubt the original discoverer of the Clunes goldfield,” and they recommended that £1000 should be given him. The Legislative Council voted Mr Campbell £476 4s. Of this sum Mr Campbell gave one fourth (£ll9 Is) to C. M’Lennon (Mr Cameron’s ovor seer), who was present at the discovery, and picked up “the first decided specimen.” A like amount he gave to Mr Lewis Grant, who was also present at the discovery. The balance (£233 2s) he distributed among charitable institutions. He took an active part in the movement for the separation of Port Phillip from New South Wales, and on that separation being accomplished he wae elected to represent the Loddon district in the first Legislative Council. During the second session of that body Mr Campbell obtained the appointment of a select committee to enquire into the state of the goldfields. In 1854 he resigned his seat, and proceeded to England, where he published a work on the squatting question. He did not again take part in ths public business of the colony until the close of 1862.
- ↑ Ballarat Star, 26 August 1896.
--Clare K.Gervasoni 21:26, 25 June 2020 (AEST)