George Youngsen

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From Track of the years : the story of St. Arnaud (1955)[1]

George Youngsen was an enterprising American who had come to New Bendigo in the 1855 rush and had soon set up a shanty on the edge of the mallee scrub that lay north of the Inglewood Road. Although not typical of miners as a class, a small sprinkling of adventurers such as George Youngsen were to be found on every goldfield. Born in Tennessee, he had been a private in the United States Infantry and was later a medical orderly in a military hospital. He had shown great aptitude for this work and made good use of his hospital experience on the isolated goldfield. One of his patients was John Reid Rostron and, in gratitude for a cure which Youngsen effected on him, J. R. Rostron in 1859 erected a hotel in St. Arnaud, named it the Tottington Hotel, and installed George Youngsen as the landlord. At first the hotel flourished, but with sudden success, Youngsen began neglecting his business. With a big American hat crushed on one side of his head and driving a buggy with a pair of fast horses, he took to spending his time driving from one district hostelry to another and ordering refreshments for everyone within call. The Tottington Hotel trade collapsed and, in 1863, he left St. Arnaud forever, a swag on his back, and in his pockets a few pounds collected by his friends. As "Doctor Youngsen", alternatively as "Professor Youngsen—the celebrated American metallurgist", he became quite a well-known character on the diggings of Northern Queensland.

Mr. Youngsen's crushing machine was not the first on the field. The first successful crushing machine on the St. Arnaud creek was a Chilian mill erected by William Millett and Thomas Macredie and was known as the Ophir Quartz Crushing Works. In its simplest form, the Chilian mill consisted of two large circular blocks of granite, set on edge and slowly driven over an iron grating through which the pulverised stone was caught.

A sketch of this colourful early character was given in the Mercury, 23 October 1895, by George Buckmaster, formerly of the United States Army and later of St. Arnaud.

The Tottington Hotel was a large wooden building near the corner of Napier and Wills Streets. It contained fourteen bedrooms besides parlours, dining room, billiard room, etc. Its name was later changed to The Farmers' Arms and in 1900 it was rebuilt into the present brick building.


See also

William Beauclerc Otway

Dr Otway's time at St Arnaud



  1. Palmer, Yvonne S (1980). Track of the years : the story of St. Arnaud (3rd ed). St. Arnaud Mercury Print, St. Arnaud, Vic

Further Reading

External links

--Neil Huybregts 14:47, 19 August 2015 (AEST)

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