Dr Otway's trip to Tasmania

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Otway Creek near Mangana in the Fingal Valley, Tasmania, most likely the creek named "Aqua Callienta" (Sweet Water) by Otway during his time there in 1859.

William Beauclerc Otway set up and operated the first steam-powered quartz-crushing mill in Ballarat at Black Hill.[Notes 1] In 1859 he travelled to Tasmania, to manage the establishment of a gold mine near Fingal for the Southern Tasmanian Quartz Crushing and Mining Company. While in Tasmania, he informally advised the government on gold mining regulation,[1] and gave two public lectures on gold mining, one general[2] and one specifically about the trial quartz mine he was developing at Fingal.[3]

However, despite the common practise at the time of strong journalistic and public support for such new ventures, including Otway's 'sanguine' predictions for the Fingal mine – and mining in general in Tasmania – an extraordinary general meeting of the Southern Tasmanian Quartz Crushing and Mining Company was called in May 1860 "to consider the following resolution:— That this Company be wound up without delay"[4] and Otway returned to Victoria in August.[5]

It also appears to have been common practise whenever such ventures failed to find scapegoats rather than acknowledge that mining was a risky business. Some years later, one commentator accused Otway of being a "mere charlatan". Remarkably, the same article stated that resumption of quartz-crushing operations in the same district using the same machinery would "establish beyond doubt the fact of the existence of paying auriferous quartz in the Fingal district."[6]



As did so many people in the Australian colonies and beyond, the islanders had witnessed the transforming impact of mineral discoveries, initially the prosperity bestowed on struggling South Australia by the copper boom of the 1840s, followed by the spectacular goldrushes in California, and then much closer to home in New South Wales and Victoria in the early 1850s. Thousands of Tasmanians crossed Bass Strait to find their fortune or just to experience the sheer, unprecedented excitement of goldrush Victoria. Some of those returning arrived with stuffed purses but everyone, enriched or not, had colourful stories to tell their friends and relatives who had stayed at home. The same question arose simultaneously in the minds of the sedentary and the itinerant: If such riches could be unearthed in Victoria, why not in Tasmania? That tantalising prospect lured hundreds of men into almost every corner of the island over the next 50 years, remote places that no one had ever visited since the Aborigines were driven from the land. There were enough indications everywhere to maintain the hope of a bonanza. Traces of gold were found all over the island along with encouraging intimations of silver, copper, tin and iron. The newspapers of the 1850s and 1860s were crowded with stories of promising finds until repeated disappointment dulled the appetite for over-optimistic forecasts. The Mercury reported in June 1859: 'That we possess rich and inexhaustible Gold Fields there can be no doubt.' The evidence was 'too reliable and too exciting'. There are many sites of abandoned mining camps, even of semi-permanent villages, all over Tasmania that are reminders of this age of incessant prospecting but there were many other sites now completely forgotten where hopeful miners pitched their tents for a month or two before they moved on to try elsewhere. The surprising thing is not that significant mines were eventually discovered but that it took so long to find them.[7]




July 21 Otway travels to Tasmania from Melbourne on board the Black Swan.[8]

July 23 Otway travels to Tasmania from Melbourne on board the Black Swan.[9]

July 27 DR OTWAY, a gentleman who has visited every known gold field in the world, and who has been officially employed upon some of them, arrived last week from Victoria, and has since paid a visit to Fingal. He is a geologist of very great practical experience, and we have reason to believe that his visit to Tasmania will produce important results, if he will only have the goodness to publish a report of the result of his observations. Dr. Otway does not visit this colony as a gold prospector; payable gold fields (he says) having been already discovered, it only remains for the people to work them. He considers that to develop them properly, the services of about twenty or thirty thousand diggers are requisite and there is no doubt profitable employment on Tasmania's gold fields for more than the latter number. From the inspection of specimens of strata from this island which were submitted to him at Melbourne, he is of opinion that amongst other valuable mineral deposits, Tasmania contains a large quantity of Cinnabar, the ore of Mercury, or in plainer language, perhaps, the basis of quicksilver, a commodity of which, in quartz crushing, or any other mode of collecting small particles of gold, we shall require very large quantities. If Dr. Otway succeeds in discovering a vein of Cinnabar here, he will have conferred one of the greatest public services that ever has been rendered by any man to this colony. We sincerely trust that he may prove successful in this, and from the practical, straightforward manner of the gentleman, his long experience, theoretically and practically as a geologist, we have great faith in him, and believe that he can furnish such information as will lead to the discovery of valuable treasures now hidden from view in the soil of this tight little island. Upon his return from Fingal, Dr. Otway purposes paying a visit to the Rivers South Esk, Meander, &c., to inspect their banks and see what valuables, auriferous or other, they may contain.[10]


August 11 The Gold Fields Regulation Bill is debated in the House of Assembly. Contentious issues include mining on private land and local courts. Mr Allison suggested that the clauses relating to the subject should stand over, as there were gentlemen now in the colony of great experience in such matters, and it would be well to have the benefit of their opinion.[11]

August 13 The Attorney General moves the second reading of the Gold Fields Regulation Bill in the House of Assembly. "Mr. Allison seconded, and said the Government had acted wisely in withdrawing auriferous lands from the operation of the Waste Lands Act (hear, hear). As to the local courts, the hon. member said he learnt from a gentleman of great experience, Dr. Otway, that, in his opinion they had not worked well in Victoria."[1]


Advertisement for Otway's first talk in Hobart.[12]

September 5 On Friday evening Dr. Otway delivered a lecture on Gold at the Mechanics' Institute to an intelligent but not numerous audience; he regretted that his short stay in the colony would render it necessary to compress into one lecture what would require a course to explain satisfactorily, and he would, therefore, glance at the chief points of utility, and render them as practically useful as possible, so that they might have a few truths to bear in remembrance. The existence of Gold, he said, was of great antiquity, and was established by Holy Writ, for there was one river in Eden which passed into a land where Gold was, and "the Gold in that land was good." What, then, is Gold? The question had been asked ages ago, and but one answer remained:—Gold was a primitive metal, and such as it was in the pre-Adamite age, such was it at the present day; it was imperishable, and indestructible. What was it, then? It was the child of electricity, and, with only one exception it was the heaviest metal, that exception was platina; its specific gravity was 19.3, and it recommended itself to man, not only by its intrinsic value, but by its extreme malleability and ductility as demonstrated by its formation into gold-leaf. The lecturer now explained the various transformations to which Gold might be subjected by chemical action, and its application to burnishing purposes by means of zinc and sulphuric acid; he also described the effects of electricity and magnetism upon the precious metal, and came to the question:—in what rocks is gold found in the greatest quantity? It was found in granite, talc, &c, and in almost all the primary geological formations, but the quartz veins appear to constitute its great home. How did it get there? In answer to this question Dr. Otway believed that it was there deposited by electricity in the form of vapour, and disputed the common opinion that it had been subjected to fusion by means of fire, of which, he maintained, there were no decisive proofs. With respect to the position of quartz veins bearing gold they had been generally found to pass from south to north with a bearing towards the east; they had been so found in the Ural Mountains, in South America, in the Alps, in Australia, and they would be now found so in Tasmania. (Cheers.) For why should they suppose that the same fixed laws of nature should be suspended in one country more than another? He had been induced to visit Fingal, for he had heard that it was a gold-field; he had passed through that part of the country, and taken, it is true, but a cursory glance at its aspect and position, and he would tell them one thing, that they had in Tasmania as fine a gold-field as his foot had ever passed over. (Loud cheers.) He told them the truth, for his professional reputation was at stake, but he would tell them, also, that it was for their energies to develop the auriferous riches of their country; they had the Gold in their own hands, and more than this they had one of the finest agricultural countries in the world. (Cheers.) The lecturer proceeded to say that he had examined the quartz reefs at Fingal, and had found the usual indications of the existence of Gold; he had discovered something more, however, for in finely pulverized gneiss or stratified granite he had perceived, by means of the microscope, some very fine laminated Gold, and referred to Mr. Calder for a confirmation of the discovery. Passing on to Falmouth, and over the mountains to the westward, he had discovered coal measures, and the red oxide of mercury near a place called the Bushrangers' Marshes, and still further to the westward again were large quartz veins bearing from south to north; in fact the whole of that district was highly auriferous, and although he was no prophet, nor the son of a prophet, yet he felt confident that the district alluded to would contain a population of 30,000 hard working gold diggers. (Cheers.) The lecturer again adverted to the opinion he entertained of the mode by which Gold was deposited in the quartz by electricity, and believed that it was so deposited either in a state of fluidity or of vapour; in support of this opinion he adduced the action of this remarkable agent on copper mines, and on various metals; there was, he said, no such thing as chance on the earth's wide surface; God had given us certain fixed and immutable laws, and why then should we deny the influence of electricity in the diffusion and deposit of Gold or other metals? He believed that the electro-magnetic current would continue to deposit metallic treasures for ages and ages yet to come by the certain operation of a law which had prevailed from the beginning and will endure to the end. The Doctor by means of a piece of chalk and a board explained by rude but intelligible diagrams the form and position of the quartz reef, and then proceeded to describe the metallurgic processes for the treatment of quartz as adopted in the earliest periods, and as practised in the present day by crushing with stampers. He glanced rapidly at the various machines which had been invented, a description of which has already been published in this journal, and alluded to the different patented modes which had been used to obtain the Gold by fusion and precipitation, all of which, however, were as expensive as to become commercially impracticable; he strongly advocated the use of mercury as an agent, and hoped to see it as extensively used in Tasmania, as it had been in California, Mexico, and Victoria, and other places. The affinity for this metal for gold is so close and remarkable that the smallest lamina is instantly fixed upon and separated, while the expense of the process is not adverse to its adoption. Apologizing again for the unavoidable brevity and imperfection of his lecture, Dr. Otway concluded his interesting address by beseeching his auditors to discard the bad and receive the good, which might hereafter prove useful to them. (Cheers.)[2] An edited version of Otway's lecture appears also in the Launceston Examiner.[13]

The Shareholders of this Company will be glad to learn that the Directors have been indefatigable in their endeavors to bring their arrangements into working order. They have entered into a temporary engagement with Dr. Otway, the Metallurgist, who will at once proceed to Fingal to test the several claims of the Company. For this purpose, Clayton and Shuttleworth's portable testing machine, with a battery of three stampers, will be sent for immediately, and it is expected that the return from the Quartz tested will nearly cover the expense thus incurred. The Directors have also resolved upon offering a reward of one hundred pounds for the discovery of a payable reef within forty miles of Hobart Town. By an advertisement in another column it will be seen that the remaining shares are to be disposed of, the old shareholders being allowed a preference in their distribution. Every possible arrangement has been made to secure the successful operations of the Company, and the Directors are sanguine that their machinery will be procured and vigorously at work before Christmas. We are glad to find that the Directors are thus actively engaged in the important duties delegated to them; and we would strongly advise those who wish to have a finger in the golden pie so soon to be opened in Tasmania to avail themselves of the present opportunity and secure a few shares in this popular Company.[14]

September 13 In an article about the potential for gold mining in Tasmania, the author waxes lyrical: "...now that these fields are an established fact,—a fait accompli,—we may reasonably anticipate a large influx of mining and digging population, even to the extent predicted by Dr. Otway, namely, 'thirty thousand hard-working diggers.'"[15] The upbeat tone of the article matches similar articles regarding start-up gold ventures in Ballarat. Another example follows.

September 13 OUR GOLD FIELDS. The words we have placed at the head of these remarks have often produced an incredulous smile. Each of our auriferous neighbours, especially that animated nugget Victoria, has indulged in some good humored pleasantry at our expense. We have been told, in a tone of banter, that these were 'large words to come from so weak a stomach'; and many very witty comparisons have been drawn between their tons and our ounces. But we have borne it all. Never for a single instant has our faith been shaken in the existence of considerable quantities of gold in Tasmania. Through good report and through evil report we have unflinchingly maintained that our present unenviable position as one of the Australian Colonies has been entirely owing to a want of energy on our part, a want of energy as incomprehensible as it has been ruinous. We have been laughed at for our confidence and ridiculed for our credulity. Our faith has been attributed to impure motives; our efforts to arouse men from their apathy have been ascribed to personal considerations. Notwithstanding this we have never wavered in our belief nor flagged in our efforts. Our opinions as expressed years ago remain unshaken to this day; and it is some satisfaction to know that now, at the thirteenth hour, all we have predicted is about to be verified. We can talk of "our gold fields" now in a loud voice and without causing a smile or eliciting a sneer. The Government and the Parliament have endorsed all that we have previously asserted. Lands known to be auriferous have been withdrawn from the operation of the 19th Section of the Waste Land Act; regulations have been issued and a Bill passed for the government of 'our gold fields;' a Gold Commissioner has been appointed; a bridge has been ordered to be thrown across the Esk; an office has been opened at Fingal for the registry of claims; Companies have been formed and others are forming; heavy machinery has been ordered for Quartz Crushing purposes and is now arriving in the Colony; scientific and practical men are engaged in selecting reefs; the Midland Company is advertising for one hundred men in addition to those now engaged whilst the weekly returns from the diminutive and imperfect machine, procured merely for the purpose of testing the auriferous character of the quartz, have increased from five and six ounces to eight and nine and twenty ounces a week. The alluvial returns are rapidly augmenting; and the few diggers who for years past have been content with "fossicking" about in the immediate vicinity of their tents, and who have made a very good thing of it too, are now calling in the aid of puddling and other machines, knowing well that the time is close at hand when there will be thousands of earnest practical diggers to share with them that wealth which they have so long and so strangely neglected. Hitherto the gold fields at Fingal have been a standing joke. Now, however, when Companies are investing thousands of pounds in machinery, and engaging the services of first-class men of science as their managers, people speak with respect of the future of Tasmania. The incredulous and unbelieving have become hopeful; the hopeful have become confirmed. All classes are looking forward to the ensuing spring and summer with confidence; and we verily believe, before that summer has passed, that this colony will take her place by the side of her Sisters as an exporter of gold in considerable quantities.
Both on the Southern and Northern side of the Island Companies have been formed with £5 shares so that all may have an opportunity of participating in the benefits arising from the development of this new source of wealth. The Southern Tasmanian Company has four thousand shares, the greater proportion of which has been already taken up. The services of Dr. OTWAY, a gentleman well known for his scientific and practical knowledge of gold finding, and who has acquired that knowledge in California, Victoria, and in other auriferous Colonies, have been engaged by the Company, and he will start immediately for Fingal. In the course of a few months, certainly before Christmas, heavy machinery will be engaged in quartz crushing in Tasmania. A considerable portion of the Midland Company's new machines has already arrived on the northern side of the Island from Sydney, and the remaining portions will be here soon. A powerful steam engine has also arrived for the Launceston Company, the machinery for which is being manufactured in the Colony. We have heard, too, that there are several Quartz Crushing Companies in Melbourne that have machinery ready to ship for this Island so soon as the returns from the machinery now being imported are known to be favorable. Indeed all eyes are turned with deep interest and sanguine expectations towards Fingal. The opinions which have been openly expressed by scientific men who have visited our gold fields have been so flattering that we do not care to give the incredulous an opportunity of sneering at those opinions by repeating them. A few months will verify or disprove their assertions, and we have no desire to prophecy when, in so short a time, the reality will be before us.
It is at all events satisfactory to us to know that our unwearied endeavors to secure the development of our Gold Fields are likely to be crowned with success. We have not labored in vain nor spent our strength for nought. Should our fondest hopes be realized, and there are but very few now who will care to doubt it, this community will, we feel convinced, do us the tardy justice to acknowledge that we have discharged our duty to the Colony under every dis couragement with effect and fidelity. Hitherto we have only had the reward of an approving conscience; hereafter we trust we shall receive the additional reward of seeing our efforts triumphantly successful, in which event we shall be quite content that those efforts shall remain, as hitherto, unappreciated and unacknowledged.[16]

September 20 At a meeting of the Directors of the Southern Tasmanian Quartz Crushing and Mining Company, Mr. Cartright for some time past in the employ of the Gas Company, was appointed Secretary to the Company, and Mr. D'Arcy Haggitt Solicitor. The Company have engaged the services of Dr. Otway, as Metallurgist.[17]

September 22 SOUTHERN TASMANIAN QUARTZ CRUSHING AND MINING COMPANY. THE Directors of the Southern Tasmanian Quartz Crushing and Mining Company met yesterday and allotted additional shares up to the number of three thousand. In accordance with the resolution formerly arrived at the remaining one thousand shares will be thrown open to the public and will no doubt be readily taken up. The shareholders will be glad to learn that the machinery for testing the various reefs will in all probability arrive from Victoria by the next vessel and will be immediately forwarded to Fingal. Dr. OTWAY is still on the Gold Fields examining the reefs and collecting every information upon the subject so that when the machinery arrives there will not be a moment's delay in commencing practical operations. It is satisfactory to know that the Directors are acting with so much energy and promptitude. Before the spring is far advanced there will we feel convinced be considerable competition, and it is wise on their part, therefore, to make their claim, under the direction of Dr. OTWAY, without any delay.[18]

September 22 FINGAL. [From our own Correspondent.] Contrary to their usual practice, the Company did not wash off on Saturday, the result is therefore not known yet. The return from the alluvial diggings is 8 ozs. Dr. Otway has arrived, and immediately proceeds to the Black Boy for the purpose of testing the value of the various reefs there, and for selecting a spot for the S. T. Company upon which to place their machinery. Considerable interest will attach to the doctor's report, and the result will be anxiously looked for by all who are interested in this subject. Several claims on a new reef there were registered at the Commissioner's office yesterday. A party of prospectors are collecting quartz at the Ormley estate, a few miles from Avoca, where, from the appearance of the quartz and the minerals with which it is associated, there is every probability that it will be found to contain gold. I believe the Company do not intend to publish their returns for the future.[19]


October 4 FINGAL. Nook, Wednesday. At the Nook this week rather more than the usual stir has exhibited itself, caused by the arrival of a prospecting party from Hobart Town, sent out by the Southern Tasmanian Quartz Crushing Company under the superintendence of Dr. Otway, and a small company or two of alluvial miners. On Tuesday the Southerners discovered two reefs, in one of which gold was found visible to the naked eye, and which Dr. Otway, who took the bearings of it to-day, pronounced as a continuation of Teesdale's Reef from the Black Boy.[20]

October 12 Fingal —The arrival or Mr. Thomas, the Surveyor, from Fingal, yesterday morning, confirms the statement that Dr. Otway has made a discovery of a valuable quarts reef in the neighbourhood of the Nook. We understand that the reef is ten feet wide at the crown, and that gold is visible to the naked eye in every portion of it. We congratulate the Southern Tasmanian Quartz Company on the discovery thus made, and hope the Directors will lose no time in turning it to a profitable account. We hear that Dr Otway is expected in town in the course of a few days, with specimens, when we shall learn further particulars of the important discovery. — H. T. Advertiser.[21]

October 13 OUR GOLD FIELDS. Although nothing of a startling nature has transpired during the past month to give our gold fields a prominent place amongst local matters we have still every reason to believe that the most sanguine expectations hitherto expressed with regard to them are in a fair way of being realized. The weekly returns reported by alluvial diggers have gradually increased, and the works undertaken by some of them arc fast progressing towards completion. The machinery for the Midland Company is arriving on the ground from New South Wales, and will soon be complete and in, working order. It was discovered that a large amount of gold escaped during the operation, and it was, therefore, considered advisable to abstain from crushing altogether until the new and more powerful machinery was ready. The Southern Tasmanian Company has received its machinery for testing the quartz reefs and will immediately commence operations under the superintendence of Dr. Otway. This gentleman has been for some time engaged at Fingal on behalf' of this Company. It is said that his long, practical experience eminently qualifies him for the duty which he has to perform, and it is satisfactory to know that his confidence in the existence of rich deposits of gold in that locality increases, as his acquaintance with its various auriferous indications extends. Diggers are arriving on the ground and settling themselves down; a township has been laid out by the government; and all are looking forward with considerable interest and confidence to the proceedings of the various companies and parties which have been formed for the purpose of still further developing the wealth of Fingal.
One of the greatest difficulties we have had to contend with has been the disadvantageous comparisons which people are apt to make between the necessarily humble yield of our gold fields and the extraordinarily rich discoveries which have been made in Victoria. Had it not been for those discoveries the results which have been already obtained here would have been quite sufficient to attract thousands to the Colony. During the whole of the last winter there have been but some twenty men, perhaps less, engaged in alluvial digging; and yet these men, notwithstanding the disadvantages of the season, have been far more successful than thousands of those who have been engaged in the same pursuits in Victoria. Up to the present moment no attempt has been made to test the wealth of Fingal by deep sinking, although every practical digger, and every geologist who has visited the diggings, have expressed an opinion that deep sinking would be rewarded by brilliant success. Until this has been accomplished we despair of witnessing the development of our gold fields. One lucky "find" would do more for this Colony than perhaps years of well remunerated labor will be able to accomplish. Men's minds have become so habituated to the contemplation of extraordinarily rich deposits that gold finding with them has long been viewed as a mere gambling speculation. As a means of investing their labor with the certainty of obtaining an adequate reward they have never contemplated this employment. Some of the men now at Fingal have resided there in their tents for several years and pursued their occupation as a pastime rather than as a trade. A few hours work in a day has been ample to furnish them with as much gold as was necessary to meet their expenses and to provide them with such luxuries as they choose to indulge in. And this has been all they have cared to accomplish. Now, however, the case is different. The results obtained by the Midland Company have again directed attention to our Gold Fields. Regulations have been issued by the government and a more systematic mode of proceeding has been the consequence. As to the remunerative nature of Quartz Crushing all doubt has been set at rest; and, as soon as the new and powerful machinery now arriving is at work, we believe the returns will be such as to secure immediate and extensive operations. But it is to the alluvial diggings that we all look with the greatest anxiety. Should the result of the humble efforts now being made prove in any one instance that we have rich deposits it will attract the population which is all that we require for the full development of our mineral wealth. In fact the wealth of our gold fields has never yet been tested. Some live in hope as to their wealth, some in doubt, all in uncertainty. That this question will never be permitted to rest where it is, that it is destined before long to receive a practical solution, we are well persuaded. During the ensuing summer, in all probability, an answer will be returned to the enquiry which has hitherto been made in vain - Have we a payable gold field? That we have a gold field sufficiently remunerative to pay men for their labor has been established by the fact that those are well satisfied to continue their employment who have been engaged in it for several years past. All we want is a digging population, a population composed of men who possess both energy and practical experience. Give us this and we predict that the gold fields of Tasmania will soon earn for themselves a reputation which would render it unnecessary for us to perform the thankless duty of urging the importance of this matter upon the reluctant attention of an incredulous people. Unfortunately men look for that which is the result of labor before they will bestow the labor necessary to produce that result. However, we must only hope on. At any moment the chance stroke of a pick may change the destinies of the Colony.[22]

October 24 FINGAL. MEETING AT THE DIGGING. [From our own Correspondent.] A meeting of gold diggers was held yesterday, at Dr. Ottway's camp, near the Aqua Calianta reef of the S. T. Company, for the purpose of considering the present position of the alluvial diggings, and for devising some plan for their more perfect development. The meeting was well attended, nearly all the alluvial diggers, is well as the men employed by the Company, being present. At the request of the meeting, Mr. Jennings presided. The Chairman, after a few explanatory observations, called upon Dr. Ottway, who addressed the meeting at some length, referring to the fact that at the present time diggers possessed' no legal title whatever to the ground they were working, and were liable to have their claims "jumped" at any time, by any party powerful enough to do so. To meet this difficulty, the doctor urged the necessity for united action on the part of the diggers, and the formation of a local court for the adjustment of miners' rights, similar to those in operation upon the Victoria gold fields. A resolution in favor of this idea was sub mitted to the meeting and unanimously carried, and a committee formed to carry it into effect. For developing the gold field, the doctor was in favor of inviting external aid, in the shape of cash, tools, and rations. The diggings are visited every week by numbers of men wholly unprovided with these necessaries, and not being able to remain more than few days invariably leave the diggings as unsuccessful diggers, and by their unfavourable re port deter others from coming who would give them a fair trial. Should a fund similar to that suggested be provided, these men could be set to work, and thus open up the field. Several diggers addressed the meeting in favor of the motion, and Mr. Fietcher, an experienced digger on the Fingal field, moved a resolution to the effect that a committee he appointed to receive contributions for the purpose of keeping a prospecting party at work, which was seconded and carried. At the termination of the meeting, Dr. Ottway addressed a few practical observations to the diggers, advising them to lead sober and orderly lives, in preference to the drunken and dissolute habits too prevalent on gold fields, and offered the diggers generally advice and medicines gratis, and reiterated the observation he had previously made that he believed the Fingal diggings would ultimately prove as rich as any discovered on the other side. A day having been appointed for the committees to meet, three cheers were given for Dr. Ottway, and the meeting, which had been a very orderly and well-arranged one, broke up.[23]


November 1 Dr. Otway in Tasmania.—The following is from the Hobart Town Advertiser of the 1st inst. :—"Dr. Otway has arrived in town, from the scene of the Southern Company's operations at Fingal, and we are happy to say continues to speak in the most sanguine terms of the richness of the district, and the prospects ol the miners who will thoroughly test it. Dr. Otway states that there is every indication of a gold-field as rich as Ballarat—but one like Ballarat to be developed only by deep sinking. Hitherto we have confined our operations almost to the surface, and have succeeded in finding the shotty gold near the top, that found at a much greater depth at Ballarat stimulates the miner to work his way down in search of the riper treasure of which it is regarded as the sure token. We trust it will be the mission of the Southern Company, by the use of adequate means, to set the example of deep working, and so prove truly the pioneer company of the colony."[24]

November 1 FINGAL GOLD FIELDS. DR. OTWAY who is now on a visit to Hobart Town from the Fingal Diggings intends to deliver a lecture at the Theatre Royal on Wednesday (to-morrow) evening on a subject which ought to possess a deep interest for the whole community. He himself designates his address "Diggers' Chat about the Fingal Gold Fields; and the mode, means, and material required to fully develop them." We hope there will be a large attendance. The lecturer is in a position to speak from experience having been for some time past engaged at Fingal on behalf of the Southern Tasmanian Quartz Crushing and Mining Company, under the auspices of the Directors of which Company this lecture will be given. To those who really take an interest in the well being of the Colony this lecture will possess sufficient attractions to induce them to attend. The admission will be gratis, although it will be necessary for parties desirous of listening to Dr. Otway's opinions concerning the present and future of Fingal to obtain tickets either from the Directors of the Company or at the offices of the Advertiser or Mercury. A collection will be made at the close of the lecture to defray the expenses of lighting the Theatre on the occasion, the use of the Theatre having been generously given for the purpose free of charge.[25]

November 3 THE FINGAL GOLD FIELDS. - There were no less than 137 persons employed on these Gold Fields during the past week of whom 39 were in the service of the Quartz Crushing Company, and there were also seven in Dr. Otway's party. A party of 51 were at the alluvial diggings and thirty-seven at the Black Boy Reefs. The men engaged at the alluvial diggings obtained 19 ounces ia the week, and the men at Black Boy are engaged opening a new reef.[26]

November 3 FINGAL GOLD FIELDS. A Lecture on the Fingal Gold Fields and the mode, means, and material required fully to develope them, was delivered at the Theatre Royal last night by Dr. Otway. His Worship the Mayor presided. The Platform, Boxes, and Pit of the Theatre were filled with an assembly of our most influential citizens and tradesmen, and the lecture was also attended by a large number of ladies.
The Lecturer expressed his satisfaction at seeing so numerous an assemblage, and that it seemed that the sine qua non for this Colony was, Gold, Gold, Gold; and having referred to his visits to various parts of the world, said he had formed a conclusion that the parallels between which gold was ever found passed through this Colony. (Cheers.) He came here as a stranger, but received so kindly a welcome, and had experienced such generous treatment as would bind him to them for the course of his life. (Cheers.) He was but a simple digger, but was afraid he must call them 'a lazy set with regard to the Gold Fields. (Cheers.) He was satisfied that the auriferous district of this Colony was not confined to Fingal, and that there were here Gold Fields as rich as in California or Victoria, or as any other Gold Fields in the world, but they must excuse him if he told them some home truths to arouse them from their sloth. Dr. Otway here drew a rough sketch of the Esk and its tributaries, pointing out the different reefs on the N.W. portion of the Island, and said the whole of that district was auriferous, and that from the Bay of Fires to Ben Lomond, and he had travelled through the whole of the eastern district, was with little exception also highly auriferous. He then mentioned the names of various parties on the diggings, mentioning that Jenning's party was getting from l½ to 2 ozs. per week, but he said before they came upon the heavy deposits they must get down to the de composed granite, and to do this they must demand the countenance of every man in Tasmania. Talk of want of employment, there were many who went about pretending to look for employment, praying at the same time that they might not find it. (Laughter.) The district to the southward of Teasdale's Claim was highly auriferous, and he was sure there was sufficient gold in the bed of the Esk to pay for its diversion. Near Mr. Sutherland's was a most available field, but it required the strong arm and men, who, like him, did not believe in "I can't." There were many on the Gold Fields quite destitute and without tools, and a meeting had been called at the Nook, at which one gentleman promised a ton of flour, another three tons of potatoes, and so on for rations, so that he would be enabled to give any of them good rations who would come up. (Loud cheers.) Those who came, if they worked would get good wages, but if they did not, he should soon start them, but good wages could be got, for the Gold Fields of Fingal were unequalled in richness. They had a capital of wealth but they wanted a capital of thews and sinews. Dr. Otway next explained that by puddling or sluicing great results could be obtained, in the localities he pointed out, and said the land between the Esk and the Tyne, was also auriferous, and so also were the reefs to the great bend, and he knew that these reefs must pass within 20 miles and to the eastward of this place, The Gold was found always between the great meridianal bands running from North to South. He invited all who felt inclined to come up to his camp at the Nook, and if he could not give them money he would find them work, and give them a piece of damper as big as a coach wheel. (Laughter.) He next referred to the Malahide Estate, and the land to the westward of Killumoon Bridge, and said that he not only found gold but other minerals also, particularly in the Saint Patrick Ranges, but they were too lethargic to develope their auriferous wealth. He next proceeded to show by diagrams the position and working of the claims of the Southern Tasmanian Company, and the situation of an auriferous valley 800 yards in length, and 500 in breadth, descending to the south. He did not look upon the Southern Tasmanian Company, as the Company of a day, but he looked upon it as the lever to move the whole Island to prosperity. (Loud cheers.) He did not wish for a richer vein than the one he had struck. (Cheers.) He had the pleasure to announce that he had been honored with a commission to find a harbor on the northeast coast, for the commerce of Hobart Town, (cheers), and he would find one if he did not become a ghost. In a short time he would send down his report to that great moral engine the press, and he hoped they would not let the excitement die away and fail. He was not a prophet, nor was he the son of a prophet, but he could prophecy that, if they encouraged literature, art and science, if they encouraged morality and virtue, and the establishment of schools, the noble country which God had given them, Tasmania, would become to the Southern Hemisphere what England was to the world. (Loud cheers.) Let them do this, and expunging their motto of "Advance Australia!" take up the motto "Excelsior!" and be the first, and not the last in the great race between the Colonies in the Southern Hemisphere. They had wealth, they had energy, they bad enterprise, but their energy and enterprise were asleep, still he trusted that this would not long continue, and that they would all unite and put shoulder to shoulder when he had the pleasure, which he hoped to have shortly, of sending down to the Southern Company the first nugget of Gold from their diggings. (Loud cheers.)
The Lecturer concluded his lecture amidst much cheering. The Mayor, Chairman of the Company, moved a vote of thanks to Dr. Otway, which was carried by acclamation. Mr. Lewis then acquainted the Shareholders that the machinery lately imported for the Company would be in full operation at Clarke & Davidson's yards on Saturday, previous to its removal to Fingal, for the inspection of members of the Company, and that tickets of admission would be obtained at the offices of the Committee. (Cheers.) Dr. Otway briefly returned thanks and the meeting separated.[3]

November 8 DR. OTWAY'S LECTURE ON THE GOLDFIELDS. Last evening a large assemblage of citizens listened to a lecture by Dr. Otway, the field manager of the Southern Tasmanian Quartz Crushing and Mining Company. The directors of the company were present, and occupied a portion of the stage. The Right Worshipful the Mayor presided, and introduced Dr Otway. The doctor at once commenced his lecture, or what he called "Digger's Chat." He spoke of his experience in South America, California, and elsewhere: took an opportunity of acknowledging the kindness he had received in this country, which had so bound him to their interests that he would never rest until he had seen the auriferous resources of this colony developed, (Cheers.) He said he was confident that we had got reefs here equally auriferous to any in Victoria or California. (Cheers.) It wanted the energy of the lazy people of the colony to develop the riches of the land. He spoke of the Fingal district, and gave diagrams of the different reefs, including the Black Boy, the Southern Company's reefs; and showing that there was not one portion of the country he had travelled over there that was not highly auriferous. He referred to the energy and enterprise wanted to develop the harbor on the Eastern Coast, which would open the whole of the commerce to Hobart Town, in connection with tbe splendid deposits of bituminous coal in the Falmouth district. He referred to the different parties at work, and said that at a greater depth in the decomposed granite they would find as large nuggets as at Victoria. Among the digger-truths he stated that he had met in Hobart Town many seeking employment who were actually praying that they might not find it—(a laugh)— so inconsistent were the lazy people of this place. The words "I can't" he did not believe in; they wanted strong powerful persons —those whom circumstances would not daunt, and having courage to bear hardships and even hunger. In reference to the persons who go to the diggings, many were poor, and extraneous help was necessary; they had had promises of flour, sugar, potatoes, etc., and such help as would enable him to give a fortnight's rations to as many men as would go there. (Cheers.) The fact was, however, he wanted diggers, not those who asked for work and prayed that they might not find it. (A laugh.) A Man in the Gallery : We want men of capital—give them the pick and shovel. Dr Otway : The capital we want is the capital of thews and sinews. (Cheers). He then adverted to the Malahide estate on both sides of the Esk, which was highly auriferous. There was not a single place where there were not auriferous indications. But he proposed to let them know what he had been doing himself. (Hear, hear.) He showed them a section of the Southern Tasmanian's works, situated in a most picturesque valley, well watered, called after the place in South America where he first worked, namely, Agua Caliente. There they found a dyke of quartz from the face of which they had washed gold, and he trusted the Southern Tasmanian Company would never have occasion to seek for another reef. (Cheers.) The company were going to explore the northeast coast to open up the commerce to Hobart Town, and he (Dr Otway) was honored with the commission to do it. (Cheers.) After some further remarks as to the auriferous resources of Tasmania, and the quartz veins running north and south, extending to within twenty miles of Hobart Town, he gave a general invitation to diggers, telling them his whereabouts, and if they came to his tent, although he might not be able to assist them with cash, they might share his means, and have a piece off a damper as large as a small coach wheel, and find a place where they could work. He was certain this was as fine a mineral country as there was on the earth's surface; and although he did not profess to be a prophet, a vision had come upon him; and he was as sure as that they had met there, and possessed immortal souls, that within the next half century Tasmania would be to Australia what England was to the continent of Europe (loud and long continued cheering). Let them give to their youth a good education, teach them morality, establish schools, inculcate the worship of that God, who had given them such a glorious country; strive to develop the mineral resources of the country; and the vision he had had would become true. They had not chosen a motto yet: he had seen something at the head of one of the papers, what was it? One of the Audience—'Advance Tasmania.' Dr Otway: Oh, that's antiquated, let your motto be " Excelcior. (Cheers) Do not be last in the scale of colonies; but be foremost if you can. (Cheers.) I trust when I come again I shall find you more energetic than you are at present. I met with a man at Fingal, who asked me for work. I offered him work on certain terms, but the gentleman refused, with indignation. When I came to town, the same man came into the office, and asked the directors to engage him to go up to Fingal—(a laugh)—but we don't want that sort of people there. I believe the chairman has something to say to you to-night. I should like to see that we go on with the blessing of the people of Hobart Town: that you wish us Godspeed, and bye-and-bye you will welcome us back, or rather welcome the first nugget from the Fingal goldfields, (Prolonged cheering, when the doctor resumed his seat.) The Mayor proposed a vote of thanks to Dr Otway, which was responded to with much enthusiasm. The Doctor acknowledged the vote, and said had he wealth it should all be thrown into the scale; but that he had not, and he pledged his word and honor that he would do every thing in his power to succeed in their enterprise, for failure was a word he did not believe in; he could not do it. (Cheers.), His Worship announced that the machinery would be ready for inspection at Clark's, New Wharf, on Saturday, and shareholders could obtain tickets for seeing the same in operation, by applying to the secretary, at the company's offices in Elizabeth street. The proceedings, which went off with wonderful eclat, terminated at 8 o'clock.[27]

November 5 ...on Wednesday evening Dr. Otway gave a lecture on the Fingal gold field, and the mode, means, and material a required to develop it. He gave it as his opinion that it would prove as rich as many others if it were worked with sufficient energy.[28]

November 7 THE SOUTHERN TASMANIAN QUARTZ CRUSHING AND MINING COMPANY. THE CRUSHING MACHINE. The Crushing Machine and Steam Engine imported for this Company were set up in the workshop of Messrs. Clarke and Company Engineers, New Wharf, on Saturday, for the inspection of shareholders and others interested in the progress of the Company, whilst in full operation. Amongst the large number present were the Right Worshipful the Mayor, David Lewis, Esq , Chairman of the Company; the Hon. W. Nairn, M.L.C., Hon. J. M. Wilson, M.L.C., T. D. Chapman, Esq, M. H. A., Maxwell Miller, Esq., M.H.A., Aldermen Barrett, Rheuben, Murdoch, and Stewart, and Messrs C. Degraves Maning, J. Davies, N. Lewis. Makelg, T. Brown, Dr. Butler, Dr. Doughty, Dr. Agnew, D'Arcy Haggitt, Salier, Rolwegan, J. Hall, Captain M'Arthur, Buckland, West cott, C. W. Hall, Captain Fisher, &c., &c.
The engine is a portable engine of six horse power, manufactured by Clayton mid Shuttle- worth, Lincoln, weighing 55 cwt., and is fitted with a link motion, allowing the engine to be reversed at pleasure. The battery is composed of three stampers, fitted in a strong wooden frame. Each shaft shod with a cast iron stamp head, 7 inches in diameter, and 16 inches in length, of 2 cwt. each, secured to the stamp shafts by malleable iron pintles. By means of three cams keyed in a shaft driven by a rigger, or drum wheel, 5 ft. 6 in. in diameter, connected with the engine by a 6 inch belt, running on a pulley of 20 inch diameter attached to the engine shaft, the stampers are each alternately raised twice at each revolution of the cam shaft, delivering 120 blows per minute, the weight of percussion of each stamper being estimated at 400 lbs. The quartz for crushing is first broken into pieces somewhat larger than an egg, which are fed into a cast iron box, supplied with water, of oblong shape, 2½ in, by 14, and 6 inches thick, the bottom of the box resting on solid sleepers. In the first box is a port, l8 in. by 8, and into this is fastened a grating of wire cloth, consisting of three plies of wire. Through this grating the quartz, when reduced to a very finne powder, is washed down a gutter into the amalgamator, in the shape of a circular iron box or dish, two feet in diameter. In the amalgamator is a funnel shaped dish, and below the bottom of the funnel is a bed of quicksilver. On this bed the pulverised quartz falls and the quicksilver having united with the Gold the waste quartz is washed over a lip in the side of the amalgamator, and the bed is as occasion may require placed in a retort for the purpose of separating the quicksilver on the amalgam from the Gold.
The bountiful precision and ease with which the quartz was rapidly pulverised by this powerful battery gave the greatest satisfaction to the very numerous spectators, and the successful working of the battery was a matter of much congratulation to those more immediately interested in the rapid development of the rich gold reefs with which it is incontestably shown the colony abounds. After the engine had been at work some time three hearty cheers were given for His Worship the Mayor, Chairman of the Company, three for Dr. Otway, and three for Messrs. Clarke & Company, including the Messrs. Clarke junior who have been principally engaged in erecting the engine and battery for its maiden trial. We noticed also, at the entrance end of Messrs. Clarke & Company's workshops vertical drilling machine by Nasmyth & Co. Patrick croft, and a larger one by the eminent J. Whit worth of Manchester, driven by a small four horse horizontal self-acting engine by Smith, Deacock & Tannett of Leads, well deserving the attention of visitors.[29]

November 11 OUR MINERALS. FINGAL. As summer approaches the question concerning which so much has been said is once more trembling upon every tongue. Hopes and fears are again reviving. Year after year rolls on finding us in the spring elated and leaving us in the autumn desponding. Still that question - Have we a payable gold field? remains unanswered. Shall we have to make the same enquiry next year? We doubt it. Almost imperceptibly, gradual has been the development of the mineral wealth at Fingal, have our minds become reconciled to the belief that energy and perseverance are all that we require to enable us to take our stand side by side with our auriferous neighbors. Those who have hitherto successfully withstood the seductive evidence which has been offered to them of the steadily increasing yield of our gold fields are beginning to waver in their incredulity. Men have absolutely doubted their own senses knowing how apt we are to be deceived on a matter on which our feelings are strongly excited. That which we desire we are too ready to believe; and it is, therefore, considered one of the surest proofs of worldly wisdom to doubt the accuracy of any revelation which would confer upon us advantages we had never dreamed of possessing. Because, on this subject, we are anxious overmuch we are also unbelieving overmuch. And this has been our bane. Had the question been of some less exciting and less beneficial character we should have brought our enquiries long before now to a practical issue. In after years the people of this colony will look back with amazement ??? the apparent, for it is only apparent, indifference and supineness of the present generation, and marvel, as well they may, at the extraordinary infatuation and immoveable incredulity we are now displaying. The time, however, we verily believe, has now arrived when a different line of conduct will be adopted. The returns which the diggers are now obtaining are sufficiently attractive to command attention, and they are sufficiently well authenticated to disarm unbelief. At the end of six weeks' work two men had obtained an amount of gold in the most primitive mode of seeking it which gave to each man a sum of no less than eight pounds per week for his labor; and, although this was an exceptional case, there can be no doubt, from the returns forwarded to the government, that all the diggers are doing exceedingly well. Their numbers are fast increasing, and their faith in the splendid destiny of Fingal becomes more firmly rooted every day. They have held meetings amongst them- selves and appointed some of their own men to prospect the country between Fingal and the River Tyne. Holes are being sunk in many places previously untried but the result is as yet unknown; and every disposition is now being manifested to give to these gold fields a thorough examination.
Quartz Crushing operations have been at a stand still, it having been determined, as we stated in our last Summary, to suspend crushing until the new and more powerful machinery for the Midland Company has been erected. This machinery is fast arriving in the colony from Sydney at which place it has been manufactured. All the necessary buildings are being erected; and it is expected that this Company will resume its crushing operations in the course of a month or two. The result obtained by the Company, even with the imperfect machinery hitherto at its disposal, was quite sufficient to establish the payable character of Quartz Crushing in Tasmania.
The whole colony is looking with anxiety for the recommencement of operations, as, should the returns be such as we have every right to expect they will be, it will I give an impetus to this enterprise which will go far to lift Tasmania from her present unenviable commercial position. Nor has the Southern Tasmanian Quartz Crushing and Mining Company been idle. On Tuesday last this Company's beautiful little testing machine was removed from the works of its manufacturers en route to Fingal. Hundreds of our citizens were present to witness its removal and as it passed along the principal thoroughfares, surmounted with the Company's banner and drawn by five horses, all felt that in this and similar machinery much of the future of this beautiful colony depends. The object of this machine is, as its name implies, to test the various reefs before erecting more powerful machinery, so that the latter may not be placed at too great a distance from the reef on which the Company may finally determine to commence operations. It is estimated that the yield of this small machine will be ample to cover the expenses of the Company until the new machinery can be erected.
Dr. OTWAY, under whose charge the works at Fingal have been placed, has received instructions from the Company to explore the country between Fingal, the River Tyne, and George's Bay, in every part of which gold in small quantities has been found. Nor will his explorations be confined exclusively to the discovery of gold. Other minerals are known to exist throughout the whole of this portion of the Island, and it is not unlikely, therefore, that this service may prove beneficial to the colony in more ways than one.
It must not be supposed, however, that the Companies we have mentioned are the only companies which have been formed. In Launceston, the capital of the north, a people's company is in existence; and, both there and in the Southern Capital, the nucleus of other Companies exists, the proprietors of which last are only waiting the completion of the Midland Company's Machinery in order to commence vigorous operations. Nor must it be supposed either that there is any doubt as to the success of this enterprise; no one disbelieves in the existence here of numberless reefs of auriferous quartz. But it is found to be difficult, after so many disappointments, to satisfy the mind even by evidence the most conclusive. We are, as we said just now, cautious over much. This feeling of distrust and suspicion, however, is fast giving way; and we are not without hope that, in the course of a month or two, the mineral wealth which we confidently believe we possess will vindicate every syllable we have written in order to arouse the in- habitants of this colony from their extraordinary and unconquerable unbelief.[30]

November 11 On the 2nd instant, Dr. Otway delivered at the Theatre Royal a lecture on the Fingal Gold Fields, and the mode, means, and material required fully to develope them. His Worship the Mayor presided, and platform, boxes, and pit were filled with an assembly of our most influential citizens and trades men, and many ladies.[31]

November 17 FINGAL. The following official communication from Mr. Tully the Commissioner of the gold fields has been politely handed to us for publication.
Commissioner's Office.
Fingal Nov. 14 1859.
SIR,—I have the honor to forward for your information the accompanying returns of the amount of gold obtained during the week ending the 12th instant, and also beg to draw your attention to the number of alluvial miners who are now working in the vicinity of the Nook. On the last occasion when I alluded to the matter there were only 45 men engaged, but at present there are 68 who are totally dependent on their own individual exertions, and I have every reason to expect that this class of diggers will be considerably increased as the season advances. The 22 ounces which the diggers acknowledged to have obtained during the last seven days, and which I believe to be less than their actual gains, at the market price of gold gives 25s. per man, which is not far short of the rate of labourers wages in the same locality. This progression is most satisfactory and has induced me to obtain every information respecting the position of the several parties, so that, as the ground is now surveyed, I shall be in a position in the course of a few days to furnish your office with the number of men working on both public and private lands, as well as those occupying the same for residence or business purposes.
The machinery belonging to the Southern Tasmanian Quartz Crushing Company passed through this place to-day on its way to the Nook and will at once be erected at the reef recently prospected by Dr. Otway's party. From the fact of the mill and engine being portable much benefit to the district may be anticipated as the promoters of the scheme will be in a position to examine a number of reefs, which might under other circum- stances remain untried and neglected.
The bridge lately removed by Mr. Clark in consequence of the residents failing to subscribe the amount which he incurred in erecting it was replaced on the 12th inst., and the inhabitants have expressed on several occasions the satisfaction which they felt at the promptness of the Executive in attending to their wants as exemplified in their course of action on the withdrawal of the only means of communication between Fingal and Mangana.
I regret that I have nothing to report respecting the quartz claims already allowed. The men are still employed in sinking shafts and examining the course and extent of the veins. It is much to be deplored that something more energetic is not done, as every one is looking forward to the commencement of operations which will determine their auriferous value. I fear that the true secret of the delay lies in the fact that each party is waiting for the other to begin, and hope thereby to obtain that knowledge and experience of their claims which will be established by the practical working of the first who enter into the speculation.
Mr. J. A. Thompson has visited this neighbourhood with the intention of erecting in connection with a Company a gold washing machine of the most approved description; and as I have heard that there are other associations about to be established in Hobart Town for the same purpose, it may be expected that these gold fields shall at last assume an importance which has hitherto been denied them.
I have the honor to be
Your obdt. servant,

November 26 EXPLORATION. An exploring expedition, headed by Captain Gourlay of the Culloden steamer, started from Lightwood Bottom in the direction of the River Picton, on Tuesday morning last. The object of this party is not so much the discovery of mineral wealth as that of ascertaining the natural resources of the district in which Captain Gourlay has a considerable stake. That gentleman's idea is with, respect to the gold that it may be found in the neighbor hood of the Picton Ranges, this locality being within the latitude, referred to by the Rev. Mr. Clarke of geological renown. It is somewhat singular that a person found gold in quartz near the Picton many years ago; and it is said that Dr. Otway tested it and spoke extremely favorable of the result. The party now employed in the search intend to cut a road as they advance, and proceed in a direct route for 10 or 20 miles. Should their report give encouragement, other explorers will then have the advantage of their experience and be enabled to extend the boundary of observation into what is now an unknown region.[33]


December 20 We also paid a visit to the Agua Caliente Mines belonging to the Southern Tasmanian Quartz Crushing Company and inspected the works under the superintendence of the Company's Metallurgist - Dr. OTWAY. The face of the reef into which a drive of five fathoms has been put was opened whilst we were there, and gives indications of a highly auriferous character. The drive is six feet four inches wide and ten feet in height. It is shielded with massive timbers and entirely roofed in so as to give every security to the men engaged in working it. The reef is about four feet four inches in depth. A substantial tramway of one hundred feet long has also been laid down. The testing machine which has been substantially fixed at a distance of about sixty yards from the banks of the creek, has been dammed, and a sluice, with small flood gates ingeniously contrived by which a never failing supply of water is secured to the machine. A temporary covering has been thrown over the latter and at the back of it a self-acting hopper, another ingenious contrivance of Dr. OTWAY'S, keeps it constantly supplied with quartz. A drain has also been constructed by which the whole of the refuse water is discharged into the creek below the dam. Dr. OTWAY is now engaged in crushing about ten tons of quartz from the crown of the reef the result of which he intends to forward to the Board of Directors of the Southern Tasmanian Company. He will then immediately commence vigorous operations upon the promising reef which he has just opened. This reef is not only of enormous proportions, but it is declared by good and competent judges from the indications it gives of the presence of gold to be highly auriferous. Should this prediction, when tested by the machine, prove true, the Company, we presume, will not lose one moment in obtaining similar machinery to that of the Midland Company in order to develop and realize its wealth.[34]

Offices of the Southern Tasmanian Quartz Crushing and Mining Company (limited). Elizabeth-street, 22nd Dec, 1859.
DEAR SIR, - I have the pleasure to forward you the report of a special Com- mission from the Board of Directors of the Company despatched last week to report on the progress of the Compnny's works at Fingal and to respectfully re- quest, as it is of sufficient public interest, you will accord it a place in your widely circulated journal. I also forward you an extract of a letter received from Dr. Otway the Company's manager at the mine to be treated in a similar manner.
I Remain, Dear Sir,
Your obedient servant,
The Editor of the Hobart Town Mercury.

To THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE SOUTHERN TASMANIAN QUARTZ CRUSH ING AND MINING COMPANY. Hobart Town, 19th Dec., 1859. GENTLEMEN, - Having returned from Fingal we now beg to lay before you a brief report of our proceedings.
Report of Messrs John Davies and R. T. Edwards, Directors of the Southern Tasmanian Quartz Crushing and Mining Company, specially sent by the Board of Directors to enquire into and investigate certain rumors relative to proceedings said to bo taking place at the Quartz Mines of the Company at Fingal.
1. Your Commissioners arrived at Fingal on Friday morning last and proceeded direct to the Aquacalcienta [sp?] Mines now being opened by Dr. Otway the Metallurgist of the Company.
2. On arriving at the Mines your Commissioners found the testing machine in full operation and the whole of the employees of the Company employed in various ways, some in cutting wood for the engine, some attending to the steam engine &c. &c. Watson, your Commissioners met going into Fingal for the purpose of procuring blasting powder, which article is in immediate request in order to continue the operations qf the Company.
3. Your Commissioners then proceeded to examine the nature of the works as well as the lower level of the reef which they ascertained by measurement to be a drive of five fathoms from the centre of the reef - the face of which had been that day opened and which, your Commissioners are happy to say, gives a highly auriferous and most satisfactory character to the whole reef. The drive is six feet four inches wide and ten feet in height. There had also been a cutting made of twenty-three feet to the end of the ridge and eleven feet six inches wide before the quarrying was commenced. The level in the drive is shielded with massive timbers and entirely roofed in to give security to the men employed in working it. The reef as it at present shows itself is about four feet four inches in width and about six feet in depth, and is easily distinguishable by the usual characteristics of the "walls" on either side. A substantial tramway of one hundred feet long has been laid down from this point and terminates at the back of the blacksmith's shop - a temporary building having been erected for that purpose.
4. Your Commissioners closely and cautiously examined the whole of the Company's works. The testing machine has been substantially fixed at about sixty yards from the banks of the creek, the creek having been capitally dammed and a sluice with small flood gates ingeniously contrived with the bark of the Eucalyptus which gives a never failing supply of water to the machine. To raise the water Dr. Otway has constructed a wooden pump which has been so connected with the machinery as to pump the water into the machine and keep it constantly supplied. Over the machine a temporary covering has been thrown, and at the back there is a self-acting hopper which, by another ingenious contrivance, keeps the machinery constantly supplied with quartz-thus saving the expense of one hand as feeder. A drain twelve inches wide and twenty deep carries off the whole of the refuse water and discharges it into the creek below the dam.
5. Dr. Otway is now engaged in crushing about ten tons of quartz taken from the crown of the reef, the result of which he purposes forwarding to the Board by the next mail. He will then proceed to test the reef now being opened.
6. Your Commissioners, after the most minute and cautious examination of these works, have come to fie deliberate conclusion that the whole of the rumors with regard to Dr. Otway's incapacity and neglect tire entirely without foundation; on the contrary they are clearly of opinion that Dr. Otway has exhibited a large amount of zeal and talent in carrying out the works entrusted to his care and that his conduct throughout has been characterised by a desire to advance the interests of the Company which is highly commendable.
7. Your Commissioners, however, are of opinion that there is not a sufficient number oí hands at present engaged and they recommend that an experienced captain of miners should be appointed with four or five good workmen to be placed under Dr. Otway in order to enable him to extend his operations. At the same time your Commissioners suggest that these appointments should not be made until after the Christmas holidays.
Aquacalcienta Reef,
Dec. 19th, 1859.

GENTLEMEN, - I have the honor to inform you that I have crushed one ton of Quartz from the upper level or cap of this reef, (being the second test); the gold obtained I enclose. Although the quantity is small, the result is sufficiently satisfactory to convince me as to the quality of the material at a lower level, therefore I shall not crush any more until I get at least 5 tons lo commence upon, (from the drive), less than which I do not consider a sufficient test.
I have the honor to be,
Your obedient servant
W. B. OTWAY.[35]



January 30 IMPORTANT FROM FINGAL. DR. OTWAY writes in a very sanguine strain of the Aqua Callcienta Reef. He says in a letter dated on the 23rd:—I have tested portions from the vein every three feet since the Visiting Directors were here, and, although I have not at any time tested more than 4lbs. weight, yet I have three or four pennyweights of gold which I will send down with my report on Saturday. This may apppear at first sight to be unimportant, but it is not so. Dr. OTWAY has driven in about thirty feet which would make the quantity of quartz tested about 40lbs weight altogether. Now this, even supposing that only three pennyweights had been obtained, would give a yield of seven ounces to the ton. We can scarcely hope that the reef will yield this all through. Two ounces to the ton would give a splendid return to the shareholders. We hope the Midland Company's Reef will turn out equally as well.[36]

SIR,—In reference to your remarks on the Aqua Callicienta Reef, now in course of working by Dr. Otway for the Southern Company, should it turn out agreeably to your anticipations, I beg to inform you that the Yankee Company at Clunes, which yields two ounces to the ton of quartz, has netted £60 per week to each Shareholder; this return will be found in the Melbourne Herald of the 19th inst., let us indulge the hope that such a splendid return to the Shareholders will be realized, for the entire Colony will be benefitted.
Yours obediently, Z.
30th January, 1860.[37]


February 2 Otway is present at the opening of the Fingal Quartz Crushing Company (also referred to as the Midland Quartz Mining Company), responding to the toast to the Southern Tasmanian Mining Company (also referred to as the Hobart Town Company). [38][39][40] "The Chairman proposed success to the Hobart Town Company, and Dr Otway returned thanks, observing that they should be able to benefit by the experience of those who had begun first."[39]

February 6 On Saturday I proceeded to the scene of Dr. Otway's operations on behalf of the Hobart Town company. In a direct line the place is about a mile south or south-west of Mangana, and proceeding from Fingal you turn off at the Midland Company's works and pass along the southern slope of Specimen Hill. The ground as you proceed is strewn with fragments of slate or clay slate, and quartz. Dr. Otway's works are situated on the bank of a creek running through a retired and picturesque valley. The creek has been named "Aqua Callienta" (Sweet Water). The place looks like a small village. I found eight men, some of them with their families, at the place, in comfortable tents or huts. Dr. Otway was detained at Fingal on business, but he furnished me with a note to his deputy, Mr. Fulton, a very intelligent, practical man, who gave me a good deal of information. Dr. Otway discovered quartz containing gold on the slope of a hill which bounds the valley, and he is now making a "drive" with the expectation of hitting a valuable and extensive reef. He has already penetrated to stuff which yields gold; and if it should turn out that he is on the true reef it will probably equal that of the Midland Company. The stone is being tested every three feet as the "drive" advances, and each trial shows gold. These trials, indeed, I am assured by Dr. Otway, show a larger yield than Vallentine's Reef. Besides the test obtained by reducing a small quantity of the stone in a mortar, the company has one of Shuttleworth's 7-horse power portable engines and a battery of three stampers, with an amalgamator. Gold has been obtained at each washing. The engine was not going on Saturday, owing to the scarcity of water in the creek. The present operations are merely by way of prospecting, and they appear to be conducted on good principles. Dr. Otway has examined a large extent of country in the neighbourhood, and has a high opinion of its auriferous wealth. Some persons think him too sanguine and enthusiastic, and I am afraid he has somewhat impaired his usefulness by the warm tone in which he speaks of our prospects, - a line of conduct not calculated to assure the sceptics. His manners are frank and gentlemanly, and he seems to be a first-rate prospector for gold; indeed, quite up to that sort of thing. He has apparently an extensive acquaintance with the gold regions of the world, and with the appliances for developing their resources; indeed, he says he has seen all the known gold-fields from the Ural to Cape Horn. I cannot help thinking him just the sort of person we want here to prospect our gold-field; and as the doctor is now seriously at work on behalf of the Southern Company, he has no doubt discovered that however rich the locality on which he is engaged may be, it can only be turned to account by persevering exertion; and that work must give place to words. From the indications obtained by Dr. Otway, and the style in which he is proceeding, I hope that in a very short time the southern company will be in a position to imitate or surpass the example of the Midlanders.[41][42]

February 9 I hear that it is probable something will be done to develop the coal at Mount Nicholas, where it stands out boldly on the face of the hill like a wall. Dr. Otway says it is as good as the coal of New South Wales.[43]

February 18 An article published in the Australian and New Zealand Gazette in London, England, refers to Otway when discussing the loss of mercury in the amalgamation process.[44]

February 18 Yesterday Dr. Otway forwarded to the Directors of the Quartz Company a small button of gold, the result of the experiments to determine the auriferous nature of the quartz. We are glad to hear that Dr. Otway is sanguine of the reef paying well when operations are commenced.—Advertiser.[44]

February 18 DR. OTWAY'S PROSPECTING PARTY.— The following letter has been received by the Chairman of the Southern Tasmanian Company, from their manager, Dr. Otway: —"Agua Calienta reef, 14th February, 1860. My Dear Sir,—Enclosed is a small quantity of gold from the banks of the Ben Lomond Rivulet. It is a small prospect from a few buckets of surface stuff, and indicates richer deposits at a greater depth. The machine still stands idle for want of water. The water in the creek is scarcely fit for drinking, except in one or two holes. I sincerely hope Heaven will soon send a supply. The Midland Company washed off on Saturday, and the result was not more than two or three ounces. This was altogether owing to the amalgamators not being fit, as well as a too great flood of water. One thing I am certain of—the gold is there, and only proper knowledge is required to make it a paying concern. I am, &c., W. B. OTWAY."[45]

February 21 FINGAL. [From our own Correspondent.] February 21, 1860. I have no doubt you will be expecting something grand from here this week, and I am sorry I must again disappoint you, but the truth is that at the washing off yesterday, very little (comparatively) gold was got. The answer to my enquiries was that "the yield was satisfactory, and as much as was expected;" but I had been previously told by one of the company that it was under five ounces. Another of the company told me that it was 300 per cent. over last week, which was 2 ozs. You will be able to calculate it. Mr. Manduit, the manager, has left, and Mr. Vallentine is acting, pro. tem., assisted by Dr. Otway, who, I believe, will ultimately take the helm. The Sluicing Company is broken up, owing to the exorbitant amount required by the Midland Company (£3 per week) for the use of their waste water. There are very few diggers left, and everything is relapsing to the state the diggings were in two years ago.[46]

February 23 SOUTHERN TASMANIAN QUARTZ CRUSHING AND MINING COMPANY. An ordinary general meeting of members was held at Basstian's hotel, Argyle-street, yesterday afternoon, under the 19th clause of the articles of Association of the company. Among the members present were Mr. Alderman Lewis, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Messrs. J. M. Wilson, Dr. Doughty, Haggitt, Davies, Sly, R. T. Edwards, C. O. Atkins, Smith, Wimbush, R. Worley, W. G. Beaumont, Morgan, Hebblewhite, G. Morgan.J. Hall, Walker, R. L. Hood, J. C. Hall, C. W. Hall, Cox, Middleton, Andrews, Petterd, Risby, Westcott, C. Basstian, Belbin, Wise, &c. On the motion of Mr Davies Mr. Lewis was appointed Chairman of the meeting. The Chairman drew attention to the section of their rules under which the meeting was held, and remarked that as the Secretary had received no notice of motion for this meeting, required by the 26th and 27th rules of the Company, the only business they could consider was the Report of the Directors, which he hoped would, under all circumstances, be considered satisfactory. The Secretary read the following Report—
The Directors of the S.T.Q.C.M.C. have called you together this day in accordance with the 19th Rule in the articles of Association of the above Co., and have deemed it advisable to lay before you for your satisfaction the following statement setting forth their proceedings since you elected them as Directors of the Company at the last general meeting.
They have had 46 meetings and the average attendance has been 12 Directors at each meeting.
In accordance with the recommendation of the Shareholders expressed at the general meeting your Directors lost no time in making a temporary engagement with Dr. Otway who forthwith proceeded to the Fingal District to commence the necessary prospecting arrangements, with a view to determining the spot which would be most suitable for future operations. He opened several supposed reefs and at length fixed upon one which he named the "Agua Caliente" reef, which by a report under date October 2nd, 1859, he stated was most favorable for the erection of any machinery that might be selected for the purpose of testing the auriferous character of the Quartz in this Colony.
Your Directors wishing to proceed with the utmost caution and economy in a matter involving the dearest interests of the Colony decided upon erecting testing Machinery only, until the favorable nature of the quartz to be operated upon should be ascertained with certainty, and accordingly procured a 7 Horse Shuttle- worth's Portable Engine from Melbourne, and a battery of Stamps from Clark & Clark, and after several unforeseen delays, the Plant was by a letter from Dr. Otway, received late in the year 1859, reported to be in working order at the scene of the Company's operations. Shortly after Dr. Otway writes, "I have crushed one ton of Quartz from the upper level or Cap of the Reef the Gold obtained I enclose; although the quantity is small the result is suffici- ent to convince me as to the quality of the material at a lower level, therefore I shall not crush any more until I get at least 5 tons to commence upon from the drive, less than which I do not consider a sufficient test."
This raised the expectations of your Directors, but when at a later date the Doctor wrote that the vein still kept improving, that he had tested the quartz at every 3 feet, and although only a few pounds had been used in each experiment sufficient gold had been obtained to test its auriferous character they hoped to have been able to give some decisive opinion to you this day as to the probability of the success of the Company at its first experiment.
But owing to an unusually dry season, just at the time we were entertaining these expectations, we hear from the Doctor that he had 30 or 40 tons of quartz ready burnt for crushing, but has no water to do so although he has sunk many holes to obtain it but in vain. In a later communication he says, "Some heavy rain on Saturday and Sunday, but not sufficient to commence crushing operations;" and by a communication received this day he says, "No rain yet which is much to be regretted as we are getting sufficient quartz to keep her working day and night." Your Directors have therefore only to lay before you the above statement and to quote from the weekly returns that the state of the Company's works is as follows.

A tunnel 61 feet long has been driven into the side of the hill and timbered throughout, from which has been taken about 40 tons of quartz, now ready for crushing. A tram-way has been laid down about 156 feet in length, connecting the reef with machinery. A bridge, 40 feet long and 10 feet wide, has also been built across the creek, connecting us with the Southern reef, or for use in pulling up large machinery. A dam has been built across the creek, and sufficient timbers have been cut to extend the tunnel another 60 feet. Opened another reef about 80 yards to the eastward of present workings, equally as bold and large as the one we are now at work on. The Company's claim has been duly registered. Water is now only wanted to commence operations.
Owing to the distance of the works from Hobart Town your Directors have thought it best for the interests of the shareholders to send one of their body at monthly intervals to check the reports received from time to time, and a special commission of two directors was sent for the purpose of combatting accusations that had been made, and their report proving the falsehood of such accusations was, for your information, published in the Hobart newspapers when received.
Under all the circumstances above detailed, and believing the delays enumerated to be unavoidable in the establishment of so novel an enterprize as Quartz Crushing in Tas- mania, your Directors have only in conclusion to draw your attention to the accompanying Financial Statement, and to state in reference thereto, that they have carefully watched over the expenditure of the funds, as men would naturally do who have so large a stake in the proprietary as they have themselves.
2897 shares have been taken by 398 shareholders.
132 shareholders have signed the memo- randum and articles of association, representing—
£2580 17s. 6d. has been received on ac- count of these shares, leaving a balance of £316 2s. 6d. due on the same.
The total amount of cash received to the 1st February is £2604 0s. 6d.
The expenditure as follows:—
£ s. d.
Machinery. 535 18 10 Mining expenses, tools, material, cartage, &c. 150 1 9
Wages 229 2 3
Management expenses including manager's salary, office furniture, stationery, office expenses, &c. 410 5 4
£1325 8 2
Leaving a balance of cash on hand, on 1st Feb., of £1278 12 4 Mr. Hood moved and Mr. Middleton seconded that the report be received and adopted and printed for distribution amongst the shareholders.
Mr. Andrews remarked that the amount expended was not so large as he expected, but the amount paid up was not so large either as he thought it would have been, and noticing the number of parties who had failed to sign the Articles of Association, expressed a hope that the advantages and responsibilities consequent on signing of the deed should be fairly made known.
The Chairman explained that no party was either responsible or could receive any benefit from the Company until he signed the articles and was not in fact a shareholder or member of the Company.
Mr. Wilson believed that those who had not signed would be only bound by the prospectus and could be sued by the Company for their share of the expenses. The Report he was glad to see so far well received as it contained only matters of fact, and showed that the greatest economy in the expenditure had been exercised. The Directors had gone only to a limited extent, and scrutineers, &c, had been appointed, so that not one sixpence had been spent not actually demanded. Their operations had now been retarded by the want of water, but he hoped the director- ship would shortly be in a position to meet the members again before the next general meeting. The Directors had used their best endeavors to promote the interests of the shareholders, had exercised the strictest economy in their expenditure and he hoped had done so to the satisfaction of the Company.
Mr. Davies was glad Mr. Andrews had raised the question as to the neglect of persons to sign the articles, and wished it to go forth that under certain circum- stances those who had not signed the articles rendered themselves liable to have the shares they had taken and the amount they had paid in forfeited at a special meeting to be convened for that purpose; and he only hoped that this might actuate as a fillip to those who had not signed the articles immediately to come forward and do so, and he hoped the members present would, therefore, use their influence individually with the parties referred to, and induce them to come forward as they had undertaken to do. For himself he was most sanguine from personal observation and experience of the result, and had the greatest hope that the Directors would shortly have the pleasure of laying a much more satisfactory report than this before the Members. The Directors had met great difficulties in consequence of the distance of the works, the difficulty of communication, &c, and the absence of personal inspection and verbal direction, but had exerted themselves to the utmost, and he hoped the report now presented would be passed without a dissentient voice. He had no doubt that the reef of this Com- pany would be equally rich with that of the Midland Company and that their operations would shortly be more successful.
Mr. Smith hoped when this report went abroad those who had not yet signed the articles would come forward and do so, but thought as large a number had signed as could have been expected when it was considered that a large number of shares had been allotted to women and children.
Mr Davies was aware that a large number of women and children had signed by their representatives.
The motion for adoption, &c, of the Report was then put and unanimously passed and the meeting separated.[47] An extract from the report was also reported in the Launceston Examiner[48] and a brief summary provided in The Hobart Town Daily Mercury.[49]


March 6 Otway is referred to several times in a letter to the Launceston Examiner critical of the hype – and public expenditure – surrounding the search for payable gold in Tasmania.

  • To help on the delusion Dr. Otway works his portable machine and delivers his prophecies. The Hobartonians seem determined to gulp his "Yankee-doodleisms."
  • Fifteen hundred pounds for a bridge at Fingal! It will not be completed in time for the last disheartened digger who shall bear his kit and his crushed hopes from Mangana to some more paying and profitable employment, nor for Dr Otway to return his portable engine to his dispirited supporters to be sold to the highest bidder to meet the balance due for prospecting at the Black Boy, &c.[50]

March 13 GOLD FIELDS AND FINDINGS. EDITOR OF THE LAUNCESTON EXAMINER, SIR,—I was surprised to read in the Examiner of the 6th instant a letter signed "Ben Nevis." The author is evidently biased by a strong personal animus, and on that ground as well as from his manifest want of candor and intelligence must be regarded by all who are well informed respecting the history of our gold field just as unworthy of credit regarding the status in quo as he is of the probable status in futuro. How Dr. Otway should have incurred the scurrilous vituperations of "Ben Nevis" is quite incomprehensible, for his career here has been characterised by zealous and skilful industry, by endeavors not only to promote the interests of his own company but the success also of those who have been in any way engaged in developing the indigenous wealth of this region. Are those who attempt to revive the languid state of our commercial and agricultural prospects to be thus rewarded? Has "Ben Nevis" been so far super-sublimated as to enable him to permeate the molecular structure of the reefs and again to concrete himself into substantial existence in order to declare that the yet maiden silica was impregnated with gold? As I trust, Mr. Editor, that you will kindly undertake to be the medium of communication have the goodness to convey to "Ben Nevis" the compliments of his cousin, BEN LOMOND.[51]

March 13 GOLD FIELDS AND FINDINGS. EDITOR OF THE LAUNCESTON EXAMINER. SIR,—Your issue of the 6th contains a stricture on the gold fields of this island, also a most uncalled for attack on myself. It is a well-known fact that a man who shields him- self under a nom du plume when facts are required is either hypocrite, coward, liar, or fool. His assertions are calculated to do injury to this island were it not known that every assertion of his is a lie. Let him give his name to the public if he is honest (?) Does he for a moment think his whelpish name will weigh against a Clark, a Ward, a Strzelecki or others? Let him do justice to those he gets his living from; let him join in a prospecting tour, and if he has truth in his composition (?) which I doubt, he will throw aside falsehood, prejudice, and ignorance, all belonging to him, and recant his assertions. I assert, he is false to his friends; his falsehood is such he dare not sign his name as I do mine. Yours truly, W. B. OTWAY.[52]

March 17 GOLD BOUGHT TOO DEAR. EDITOR OF THE LAUNCESTON EXAMINER. SIR,—In the letter of Dr. Otway in reply to mine of the 6th instant, he applies to himself what I intended only for his gold visions. I never said or insinuated anything against the doctor himself, further than what directly identifies him with the damaging excitement which is now passing over this island. The gold inquiry is a sufficiently public movement, and the doctor as mixed up with it, a sufficiently public man to be the subjects of criticism. And, as I have a few more things to say respecting the gold hunt that is now going on, I send this hasty note to advertise the doctor that I am influenced by no ill feelings to him. As a companion, a traveller, a citizen, a geologist, I hold the doctor in esteem. And all the flattering titles, alias flattening, which the doctor has gathered round me, such as liar, coward, fool, hypocrite, will not affect my opinion of him. He seeks to bury me and my article under a perfect avalanche of wrathful indignation. But all this only serves to show more clearly the rottenness in the state of Denmark. Without doubt the excitement after gold has checked the financial and commercial prosperity of the colony. The proprietor has re- fused to sell his estate, or has demanded a preposterous price for it; he could not tell that it did not contain a California. The capitalist has refused to invest; he holds his cash—he may become the owner of a corner allotment in Elizabeth-street, Mangana, where a fine hotel would become to him the philosopher's stone. The trader has demanded higher prices. The servant has stood out for higher wages and a shorter term of engagement. The parings of economy, instead of going to the banks, or to the treasury for a hearth and a homestead, have found their way into a common fund for the purchase of machinery. The Ministry have voted away public money under a motion that a few returns of the gold escorts from the Nook would vindicate the wisdom of their con- duct before the bar of public opinion. The gold cry has acted like a drag upon the wheels of our industrial vehicle. These things are patent to all men, and invest the existing feeling with sufficient importance to draw around it the attention of serious men. And, besides all this, there is a great gulf fixed between us and a profitable gold field; at least from all that is known at present, this is the case. These are the views I hold and shall express on the above subject. I hope Dr. Otway will pardon anything that appeared to him offensive in my first letter, as it was not so meant. As to the mild effusion from "Ben Lomond," [I] can only say it contains so many ugly outlandish words that I hardly understand its meaning; it must have been written in fun, or, perhaps, placed under the doctor's vengeance as a lightning conductor, to tame and temper the bolt and hold me harmless to the stake. I conclude pro tem. BEN NEVIS March.[53]

March 24 BEN NEVIS IN THE CLOUDS. EDITOR OF THE LAUNCESTON EXAMINER. SIR,—Having seen a copy of your paper (here Victoria) of the 6th, in which appears a letter signed "Ben Nevis," I felt perfectly at a loss to comprehend the writer's motive in writing it, unless it be that he is one of those bilious individuals that society more or less everywhere is troubled with. I will not interfere with his remarks on Dr. Otway, "the father of quartz crushing here"; they are unwarrantable, and of so personal a character that one would only conclude that the object of the letter was to bring him into contempt. But to the gist of the letter, assuming that all "Ben Nevis" says were true, and that in trying to obtain an ounce of gold you expend the value of two, his letter is not warranted in its attempt to damnify the desire of testing effectually whether a gold field is to be found in Tas- mania or not. The Rev. W. B. Clarke, the most truthful of geologists in the southern world, has given you the result of certain observations from indications manifested in your colony, which led him to believe satisfactory results would follow a judicious and effective search; nor, Sir, as wise men, could you do otherwise than—try. I heartily hope you will succeed. Such efforts are praiseworthy, and merit success —if they be found successful you all reap a benefit; if not, you have only done that which as enlightened men, aye and Christians too, you ought to have done. Well, "Ben Nevis"—try to do something to aid the attempt. There will redound no disgrace in failure, but it will set for a time the question at rest as to the fact whether payable auriferous deposits exist in your colony. I had shown me recently a sample of gold sluiced from the ground near Fingal; and I believe that if sluicing with that prospect was extensively persevered in, a very rich return must follow; but bear in mind this sluicing is the most economical method of extracting gold, the cost being but little, and involving but a small out- lay. I think, Sir, that "Ben Nevis" will admit I reply to his letter with all candour, without satire or using any thing other than such words as may allure him to join in the pursuit of that object, which, whether successful or not, is well worthy of imitation. PROGRESS. Melbourne, Victoria, March 20th, 1860.[54]


An extraordinary general meeting of the Shareholders of this Company was held yesterday afternoon at the Bird-in-Hand, Argyle street, to consider the following resolution:— That this Company be wound up without delay.
There was a large attendance of Shareholders, and Mr. D. Lewis took the chair. The Chairman briefly explained the object of the meeting, but invited any Shareholder to offer suggestions to continue the Company; he then called upon the Secretary to read the Report of the Directors.
The Report having been read, Mr. W. C. D. Smith moved that the meeting be adjourned for a week, and that the Report which had been read, with all correspondence and minutes of the Directors be in the meantime laid on the table of the office for the inspection of the Shareholders. In moving the resolution he did not suppose that any opposition would be offered.
Mr. Davies.—I shall oppose one part of it.
Mr. Smith was not surprised at that, as that gentleman had told him he should oppose the motion, (Hear, hear, from Mr. Davies.) He proposed it, however, but not without fear and trembling. They had been told that a gentleman had gone up to Fingal, and they had been told what he saw, but they had not been told all that he did; that was not embodied in the Report. That gentleman had declared that Mr. Fulton was not competent to manage the Company's works, and yet he had told Mr. Fulton to go on with them; that did not say much for the gentleman's competency.
Mr. Davies was here speaking to a Director near him, when Mr. Smith said: I say it's true. Mr. Davies explained that he was merely asking a brother Director whether a certain circumstance was true.
Mr. Smith continued and was proceeding to comment upon the conduct of Dr. Otway, when Mr. Pettard referred to the Report, and to some remarks made by Mr. Smith. Mr. Smith begged pardon, he was speaking on a matter not embodied in the Report; they might misunderstand him; but that was not his fault. He maintained that there were matters which ought to have been in the Report, and he maintained also, that they ought to adjourn in order that the shareholders should inspect the correspondence. He believed that there were some letters which would prove a disgrace to any man, and when he, Mr. Smith, applied for a copy of them, oh no, he was refused. He contended that the meeting ought to be adjourned in order that the Shareholders should know what had been done, and how it had been done, (Ironical cheers from Mr. Davies) and if it had not been done properly, to get those who would do justice to their interests. They had a right to obtain all information from the directors, and if they respected themselves they would not oppose a full exposition of their proceedings, Mr. Smith moved his resolution, and after a pause Mr. Hall, sen., seconded. Mr. Pettard here suggested that if the meeting were adjourned it should be held at 7 o'clock in the evening as more convenient to many who could not leave their business at an earlier hour.
Mr. Davies moved the adoption of the Report as an amendment to the original motion, and was proceeding to address the meeting when Mr. Smith rose to order; he said the course was irregular as a motion for adjournment ought to be put at once. (Laughter and cries of "Chair.) The Chairman said the motion for adjournment must be put without debate. Mr. Morgan observed that the motion was not for adjournment only; it comprised other matters. Mr. Davies was just coming to that; had the motion been merely for adjournment he should have offered no objection, but there was a motion for the production of certain documents, which made it an open question, and which he intended to oppose.
A Shareholder—Make the motion for adjournment first.
Mr. Davies had no objection to that.
Some interruption here took place, and the Chair was appealed to. Mr. Smith said it would be no use to adjourn if the Shareholders could not examine the correspondence and minutes. Mr. Hebblewhite could see no objection to the production of the books and papers, for he felt quite convinced that there was not a single document to be ashamed of. Mr. Middleton thought there might be something wrong, and that the Shareholders had a right to the fullest information; he thought there was something wrong because a party had been refused to see some letters.
Mr. Davies rose to order; an accusation had been made by the last speaker based on a refusal to exhibit some letters. It would be much better if gentlemen instead of braying would talk of matters they could understand. He ought to have known that by the rules of the Company no letters were to be submitted indiscriminately to the inspection of the Shareholders.
Mr. Pettard hoped the meeting would go on quietly, and deprecated the use of the term "braying" as applied by one gentleman to another (derisive cheers, and oh! oh!); the Shareholders were not to insult the Directors, nor the Directors the Shareholders.
The Chairman now put the motion, which was met by cries of "divide."
Mr. Andrews hoped that a motion of this kind would not be passed without discussion; it would not be right to the Shareholders to pass it in such a manner. Cries of "chair," "order," and uproar. The Chairman again put the motion; he observed that a mere motion for adjournment could be passed without discussion, but this motion contained a qualification. Mr. J. M. Wilson thought the motion was of an open nature, and that the latter part called for discussion.
Mr. Andrews was very sorry to find that their dreams of gold had vanished, and with respect to the management he was prepared to say that there was either a great amount of stupidity or ignorance on the part of the employees of the Company (hear), and to call for a dissolution without enquiry would be unjust to the Shareholders. Money had been expended, and nothing had been done to show that Fingal was a gold country, and if a dissolution took place without a knowledge of what had been done, he repeated it would be unjust. He had paid £5, which he could ill afford, but he would expend it most willingly if he knew that the work had been well done; they were told that the very prosperity of the colony depended upon it, and he, therefore, hoped there would be honesty enough, sincerity enough, and straightforwardness enough, to allow the shareholders to examine the documents, for they were as well able to judge of them as the Directors. Would they allow this? It was not that he suspected the Directors, but he wished to remove all cause of suspicion (Cheers).
Mr. Davies said, that when the question of producing the papers was first mooted, the speaker who introduced the subject failed to convince him of the necessity of such a course, but the last speaker had sufficient common sense to convince him that it was necessary. He, for one, and he believed some others of the Directors, felt assured that there was not an entry made by them in the minutes, or one referring to them, which would not be found perfectly satisfactory, and he freely invited the most jealous scrutiny, being well satisfied of the result. The fact was that the Directors had been over-zealous, and their zeal had blinded their judgment; they thought that Fingal would prove a panacea for all their ills, but unfortunately it had turned out a lamentable failure. He knew this from other sources, and had proof that men with honest talent, and not cupidity had failed in ensuring success; he need only refer to the Midland Company as a proof of lamentable failure, involving some in actual ruin, this was so true that he defied any one to contradict it, for the exertions of this Company had signally failed. Now the reef of this Company was within a mile of their land, and he, Mr Davies, when he first visited Fingal had no doubt of the assimilation of the two reefs, the indications being precisely similar in each. He had no doubt that gentleman (Mr. Smith) in the excess of his wisdom—Loud cries of "chair," "order." Mr. Davies explained, and apologised for allowing himself to be ruffled, and diverted from the right course. It was almost unnecessary to illustrate the capabilities of Fingal, but murder would sometimes come out, and a little had escaped the gentleman near him; "Oh!" said he, "if the Directors can't do the work, let us get those that can, let the present Directors resign." But he, Mr Davies, thought that the Shareholders would hesitate before they trusted their pounds or even their shillings to men who could not conduct their own business, or pay their own way.
Mr. Andrews rose to order; Mr. Davies was travelling out of the course of debate. Mr Davies—It seemed that these observations were out of the legitimate course of debate, and he would therefore confine himself more strictly within its proper limits. He maintained that there was not a paper connected with the Company that would not beat the most rigid examination, while the minutes contained every item necessary for the information of the shareholders. The Directors had a larger stake than the general Shareholders, and had not used any portion of the funds but for the most legitimate purpose. Allusion had been made to the expenditure made by him on his visit to Fingal; he could only say that he was allowed £8 and his accounts would show that he expended £12, although he was as economical as possible. (Cries of "chair," "adjourn," "come to the point.") He intended to have entered at great length into the affairs of the Company in order to remove any erroneous opinions that might exist in the minds of the Shareholders, but he should for the present abandon his intention.
Mr. Middleton explained that he intended to say that an inspection of the correspondence would remove any suspicion, and Mr. W. C. D. Smith having addressed a few words in reply, the motion for adjournment was put from the Chair, and carried. A vote of thanks was given to the Chairman, and the meeting dispersed.[4]


August 24 Otway arrives at Hobson's Bay on the Victory, having sailed from Circular Head, Tasmania, on August 21.[5]


November 9 A letter from Robert T. Edwards states (among other things): "The country [around Fingal] is the most promising in appearance I have ever seen, and with regard to our Quartz reefs, from a reef not 60 yards from the reef worked by Dr. Otway, I have seen 10 to 12 dwts. to the ton with abundance of wood and water. Would Victoria believe it? No! They don't let such sources of wealth lie idle there. The Gold found at Fingal is coarse and nuggetty. I have seen much gold there larger than horse beans, and in no part of the colony have I seen so great a resemblance to Victoria diggings as there, it seems to me a very paradise."[55]

December 19 THE GOLD-FIELDS OF TASMANIA. PUBLIC MEETING. A meeting of persons interested in the question of obtaining payable gold-fields in Tasmania, was held in the Temperance Hall on Tuesday evening, for the purpose of communicating information and making arrangements for testing some promising localities. The hall was crowded. C. J. Irvine, Esq. was voted to the chair, and on the platform, on either side of him, were Messrs. F. L. Stieglitz, Rowland Davies, Wm. Williams, Joseph Cohen, Lewis Cohen, William Tyson, senior, W. J. Norwood, John Gatenby, and R . T. Edwards...
Mr. Wm. Tyson had much pleasure in moving the first resolution—"That from the result of diggings in different localities and from information received, it is highly probable that an extensive and paying gold-field exists in this colony; and that this meeting impressed with the importance of making such a discovery in the present depressed state of the country, resolves to adopt the use of efficient means to test thoroughly our auriferous resources" (cheers). He could only say that he moved this resolution with all his heart.... He visited the Black Boy Reef and certainly did not see much encouragement; he then went to Dr. Otway's locality and there saw but little inducement; but when he came to the township of Mangana and Sailors' Gully he at once saw that gold could be obtained in paying quantities.[56]


October 3 It is true there are men of sound discretion and large experience amongst ourselves, who have still unshaken faith in the auriferous resources of Fingal. As the summer weather becomes settled, the number of diggers on that ground will increase, and our banks and merchants will again begin to receive their remittances of gold. A strong impression prevails too, that the quartz at Fingal has never yet been adequately tested. Until the fatal mistake committed by the Midland Company in the erection of machinery which, notwithstanding its costliness, was of a character that had been condemned on all the gold fields of New South Wales and Victoria, the quartz was found to yield a fair return of gold by the use of comparatively rude and simple apparatus. The fatal mistake of the Midland Company was followed by the mismanagement of the affairs of the Southern Tasmanian Association—owing chiefly to the unfortunate engagement of Dr. OTWAY, a mere charlatan, who has just got into the same disrepute in connection with the new silver mines of Moruya that he fell into here. It will be seen from a telegraphic despatch we published yesterday, that quartz crushing operations are about to be resumed under the superintendence of Mr. NEVINS, with the old machinery. And hopes are not unreasonably entertained, that these resumed operations will establish beyond doubt the fact of the existence of paying auriferous quartz in the Fingal district.[57]

October 27 FINGAL. [From our own Correspondent.] Fingal, Oct. 27, 1862. I have been absent some time, but now have the pleasure to communicate the latest news of the gold-fields. The information I now give you is strictly true, and may be confidently relied upon. Nevins supported Mr. F. A. Downing of Hobart Town has put the small machine (formerly used by Dr. Otway,) to work, and are crushing quartz from 'Mo's Reef.' The utmost the machine can crush is from 6 to 8 tons per week, and the week ending 19th instant, (the first week), produced 2½ oz. 6 dwts., and last week 3½ ozs. This you will perceive will pay — only four men being employed.[58]

October 30 GOLD AT FINGAL. Reports are again afloat respecting gold at Fingal. It is said that Mr. Nevins, assisted by F. A. Downing, Esq,, of Hobart Town, has discovered an auriferous reef on some land belonging to that gentleman, and with the imperfect machine formerly used by Dr. Otway has succeeded in extracting nearly 3 ounces of gold in one week. A gentleman who passed through Fingal on Tuesday states that the intelligence was not then known on that township, though this does not necessarily prove it to be untrue. Should it turn out to be correct, with the best appliances the yield may be estimated at half an ounce to the ton, which under proper management would prove highly remunerative. It is to our quartz reefs we must look if Tasmania is to be a gold-producing country.[59]

December 20 Nothing very positive is known as to the actual success of the great crushing operations now being prosecuted at Fingal. The parties under whose auspices this renewed experiment is being conducted, are desirous of ascertaining the average returns for a period of some three months or so, that the data obtained may be reliable as a guide to future operations. They are unwilling that the exact yield of gold should be stated - not, we believe, that they are dissatisfied with the result so far as it has gone, but that they believe the varying returns from week to week must fail to constitute anything like a safe guide. If some of the statements published on this subject represent a higher average yield than has yet been obtained, it is certain on the other hand that a great deal of misconception has been allowed to prevail, as to the scale on which the enterprise has been conducted, and the kind of machinery that has been in use. We find that we have ourselves unwittingly contributed to the propagation of error on this subject. In common with many others we had supposed that it was the old machinery of the Midland Company that was being used. The facts however are these:—that an arrangement was made with the owner of some land through which what is known as SEDDON'S reef runs, to work this reef: and for this purpose the use was obtained of the portable engine brought up and used at Mangana by Dr. OTWAY. To this stampers were applied and a very ingenious mode of amalgamation adopted, but still on the smallest possible scale—as may be supposed from the fact that the engine is only 4 or 6 horse-power, such as is employed for working threshing machines. With this very simple contrivance a correspondent—on the accuracy and moderation of whose statements we can place implicit reliance—assures us that speaking within the mark, seven dwts. to the ton have been averaged.[60]


March 20 In an opinion piece about the prospects of finding and extracting payable gold in Tasmania, there is a reference to a "mere pretentious charlatan" which is likely to be Otway. The piece focuses on then-current efforts at Fingal which appear to indicate the reefs there may be payable at low levels of return.[61]

April 8 Charles Nevin, who states he is currently conducting experimental crushing at Fingal using the crusher that Otway had been using in 1860, clarifies and corrects several matters of fact in the March 20 opinion piece, and states that he believes the gold at Fingal could be payable at a rate of 4 dwt to the ton.[62]


April 15 QUARTZ CRUSHING AT FINGAL.-Alderman Risby, who has just returned from Fingal, reports that he has opened a quartz reef, immediately adjoining the last reef opened by Dr. Otway, which promises the most important results.[63]


September 24 Some singular fatality seems to hang over our efforts to develop Tasmania as a gold country. The first Quartz Crushing Company formed was entirely ruined, and eventually wound up from the mismanagement of the whole concern by Dr Otway.[64]


March 13 ...our having been misled by a Dr. Otway, a Hargreaves, or a ----- ought not to make us the less sanguine of success, when the gold is almost staring us in the face.[65]

See also

William Beauclerc Otway

Dr Otway's journey across the Rocky Mountains


  1. Several authors credit Otway with more than this. See, for example, Cooper, B. 'Black Hill - the White Cliffs of Ballarat', Ballarat Historian, v4 n7 (1990)[1] or Guide to Ballarat, F.W. Niven & Co, Ballarat, 1890, p.49


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Further reading

External links

--Neil Huybregts 08:21, 12 March 2015 (AEDT)

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