On this day ………… 12th February 1851

Gold was first officially discovered in Australia on 12 February 1851, not far from Bathurst, New South Wales. Edward Hammond Hargraves had carefully studied the geology of the area and, convinced that it was similar to that of the California goldfields, from where he had just returned, went prospecting. He enlisted the assistance of John Lister, a man who had already found gold in the region. Of particular note was the use of the cradle, or rocker, a technology which Hargraves had brought back from California. This device allowed prospectors to search a greater volume of soil at any given time. Lister, accompanied by William Tom and his brother James, found four ounces of gold using the cradle. They led Hargraves to the location at Summerhill Creek, at a site which Hargraves named “Ophir” after the Biblical city of gold. After reporting his discovery, he was appointed a ‘Commissioner of Land’, receiving a reward of £10,000 plus a life pension. The New South Wales government made the official announcement of the discovery of gold in May 1851. Lister and the Tom brothers, however, were not given any credit or reward for their part in the discovery.



On this day …….. 30th of January 1854

On this day in 1854, Cobb & Co’s horse drawn coaches made their first run, departing Melbourne for the Forest Creek diggings (now Castlemaine) and Bendigo. The network of routes was quickly expanded to deal with increased demand in the growing colony of Victoria. Initially a passenger service, Cobb & Co’s reputation for speed and reliable service soon saw it being used for mail delivery and gold escort as well. Headquarters were moved from Victoria to Bathurst in 1862. Workshops were built at Hay and Bourke in New South Wales and Castlemaine in Victoria, and the service was expanded to include Queensland. Horses were replaced at changing stations 25 to 40 kilometres apart, meaning that fresher horses improved travelling time. Today Cobb and co still run a net work of buses across Australia.



A Christmas Day Accident – 1911

Willie Hall, aged 4 years and 9 months, son of Mr. Walter Hall, of Hill End, met with a serious accident at his parents’ residence on Christmas Day. He dropped a bottle of lemonade which he was carrying, with the result that the bottle burst, and a piece of glass flew up and penetrated his right eye. The little boy was brought to Bathurst, where it was found that the eye was so injured that it had to be removed.