Monday, 4 April 2016

ABC Wednesday, M for Miner

With thanks to Denise Nesbitt, who created ABC, and thanks to Roger. For more interesting ABC posts click on the logo in the sidebar. This week we are looking for words beginning with   M.


Off to seek his fortune

  Seeing this statue I became curious about this piece of history of Queensland, called the Gold Rush.


Gold Rush

In 1872, William Hann discovered gold in the Palmer River, southwest of Cooktown. His findings were reported to James Venture Mulligan who led an expedition to the Palmer River in 1873. Mulligan's expedition found quantities of alluvial gold and thus began the gold rush that was to bring prospectors to the Endeavour River from all over the world.

The Queensland government responded quickly to Mulligan's reports, and soon a party was dispatched to advise whether the Endeavour River would be a suitable site for a port. Shortly after, a new township was established at the site of the present town, on the southern bank of the river and 

Cooktown Post Office opened on 1 January 1874.[11]

The Palmer goldfields and its centre, Maytown, were growing quickly. The recorded output of gold from 1873 to 1890 was over half a million ounces (more than 15,500 kg). Cooktown was the port through which this gold was exported and supplies for the goldfields brought in. Word of the gold quickly spread, and Cooktown was soon thriving, as prospectors arrived from around the world.

Population estimates vary widely, but there were probably around 7,000 people in the area and about 4,000 permanent residents in the town by 1880. At that time, Cooktown boasted a large number of hotels and guest houses. There were 47 licensed pubs within the town boundaries in 1874 although this number had dropped to 27 by the beginning of 1880. There were also a number of illegal grog shops and several brothels. There were bakeries, a brewery and a soft drinks factory, dressmakers and milliners, a brickworks, a cabinetmaker, and two newspapers.

The port of Cooktown served the nearby goldfields and, during the goldrush of the 1870s, a Chinese community many thousands strong grew up in the goldfields and in the town itself. The Chinese played an important role in the early days of Cooktown. They came originally as prospectors, but many established market gardens, supplying the town and the goldfields with fruit, vegetables and rice, while others opened shops.

However, largely through cultural misunderstandings, conflict broke out between the Aboriginal people and the new settlers, and the diggers. The Cooktown Herald, 8 December 1875, reported: "The natives wholly ignorant of the terrible firepower of fire-arms, and confiding in their numbers, showed a ferocity and daring wholly unexpected and unsurpassed. Grasping the very muzzles of the rifles they attempted to wrest them from the hands of the whites, standing to be shot down, rather than yield an inch...." It was an unequal struggle. Whole tribes were wiped out as European settlement spread over Cape York Peninsula.


Anonymous said...

How fascinating!

Kay said...

Oh my gosh! That's so sad for the aboriginal people. I guess it's similar to what happened to the native Americans in the US.

Roger Owen Green said...

grog and brothels. very descriptive!


Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Gol drushes have caused problems in many places I think! Very interesting ... and it is important to remember the sad parts of our history too.

Trubes said...

Hard times but then there were a lot of very poor people around
so I can understand the urge to rush to the lucrative river to
make a fortune in gold.
Where there's money brings along many other problems including,
alcoholism, gambling, wenching and so on!
A most interesting post Wil, thank you for imparting your wealth
of knowledge with us, I always look forward to reading your blogs.

Best wishes,
ABCW team.

Rajesh said...

Really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

photowannabe said...

Money, greed and seems there have been problems since the beginning of time.
It is such a shame that whole cultures were wiped out because of the clashes between Peoples.
Great and interesting post Wil.

Melody Steenkamp said...

Money makes the world go round.... zingt men in een liedje..... ik vind het een afschuwelijk goedje... heb er zeker niet te veel van, weet hoe we rond moeten komen en daar zijn we gelukkig heel tevreden mee.... dat hebberige van sommige mensen die nooit genoeg schijnen te kunnen hebben en over lijken gaan.... brrrrrr daar krijg ik de rillingen van .

Fijne week Wil, pas op jezelf.

Norma Ruttan said...

My grandfather was a miner, but not of gold but coal. Greed can lead to some awful consequences.

Photo Cache said...

That statue is awesome.


Anonymous said...

Interesting history and nice choice for the letter M!

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

That is a fascinating story. Thanks for sharing and Happy ABC Wednesday!

Indrani said...

So much of interesting history. Great pic too.
Happy ABCW!

Leslie: said...

We have lots of stories of gold miners here in British Columbia in the mid-1800s. In fact students in elementary school study them! Those in Australia must have had just as hard a time as those here what with the types of weather they had to deal with.

abcw team

Anonymous said...

Interesting story :)
Beautiful picture too
have a nice day

Murthy K v v s said...

Interesting Gold history..!

Ann said...

Many a western town here in the U.S. was built to take "care"of the gold miners.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

There was gold rush in New Zealand too. Many Chinese came.