"Notice is hereby given that a site has been fixed upon as a township
at the undermentioned place and that a copy of the approved may be
seen at the Surveyor General's office, Melborune, or at the post office
at Chepstow- vis- LEXTON- at Burn Bank on the main road from
Melbourne and Geelong to the Wimmera.
By His Excellency's Command-
1854- Burn Bank is renamed LEXTON
1855- THE NEW GOLD FIELD AT FIERY CREEK.
Thursday, Oct. l8, 1855.
Fiery Creek! Nothing but Fiery Creek is now the rage. Bendigo, Ballarat, and Forest Creek should now hide their diminished heads if one-fiftieth part of the bewildering rhetoric relative to this place were true. Gold is said to have been excavated in bucket fuls; nuggets are reported to have been
dug up like potatoes ; the old days of glo-rious gold-digging are said to have been thrown into the shade. Fabulous finds, like those of the German myths who were in former days always digging secretly in some back gully and carting their gold in by the ton, were reported; till at length a grand rush, in every sense of the word, took place, the result of which is that Fiery Creek now possesses a population ot some 50,000 souls. Attracted, like the rest, by the glittering prospect, I repaired to the scene of action, but as all journeys are alike in winter weather--as the tales of horses stuck, bullocks bogged, jibbing horses, capsized drays, and vehicles of all kinds are now household
Words amongst all Victorian travellers--I need not recapitulate any particulars of my journey, but will simply say that we had a rather undue share even of these misfortunes. In spite, however, of creeks, bogs, and sidelings, at length we reached Fiery Creek. On approaching the locality of the diggings from the Maryborough side I was much struck with the similarity of the ranges, covered with gigantic ironbark trees and whitened with small quartz, to some of the Bendigo country, the chief difference being that one is of a bolder character than the other. Suddenly turning a point in the road you see the first point of this tremendous rush-tents, tents, nothing but tents as far as the eye can reach ; flags flying in all directions; curs of every kind dashing out at everything and everybody; in fact, I should imagine that all the unregistered had immigrated here beyond the salutary provisions of the Dog Nuisance Act; drays loaded with goods and waggons with Chinamen, all combined, give us a foretaste of the Fiery Creek. On entering the main street you are rather disagreeably surprised to find that it has all been turned up by the diggers, and is quite impassable for any vehicle.
Police protection is an absurdity here. At present there are five policemen, under the command of a sergeant, to look after the lives and property of about ten thousand times as many liege subjects of her Majesty. Crime of all kinds can scarcely be said to be on the increase, as it reigns paramount after dark. A medical friend told me that he had unwillingly overheard the conversation of the occupants of the tent adjoining his, and which was the abode of a superlative set of ruffians; and although he could, of course, not identify any robbery, yet the subject of general conversation was always some villany or other. They were discreet enough, frequently, to couch their expressions in the slang of their craft, and so it was perfectly unintelligible. Still even then he could gather that a robbery had been committed, attended with more or less success.
On Monday last a murder was committed under the following circumstances :--A party of diggers, three in all, had met while great success in their operations, and duly celebrated it by libations to Bacchus, as is too often the case. Returning to their tent, after dark, they stopped at a tent, eaid to be kept by a Vandemonian, and foolishly asked for a light to see their way home with, on which the occupants of the tent rushed out, knocked one of them down, and cleft his skull with an axe, which positively penetrated the brain, after which they kicked him most brutally. In spite of the wound and the kicking his mates got him home, but, after most intense suffering, he died yesterday The sergeant in charge of the police arrested the tent keeper, and he was sent off in the custody of two troopers, either to Burn Bank or Maryborough ; but owing to no coroner being appointed for this district no inquest could be held. Dr. Girdlestone, the coroner for Maryborough, was sent for, but it is doubtlul whether his duties at that place will allow him to attend. Should he not be able to do so the man must be interred without an inquest, and the murderers will so escape justice. There is no warden or official of any kind to decide claims or administer justice, the strong hand dispenses justice itself, and claims are constantly taken possession of by rowdy mobs, yet this has been an established field now, at all events, more than one month, nearer two, in fact.
Fiery Creek is nearly equidistant from Maryborough and Ballaarat, about eight miles south of the Pyrenees, and twelve miles from Lexton, better known as Burn Bank. A coach runs daily from Ballaarat, and is invariably crowded ; and one leaves Mary- borough every alternate day, returning next day.
The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893), Saturday 3 November 1855, p3
Dr. Herman Bruhn, the well-known prospector, found gold in the area (Amherst) in 1851, but the first real discovery took place in about May 1852, when a party of Germans, going overland from Adelaide to Bendigo, got gold near the later site of Amherst Cemetery, close to Daisy Hill, where Chapman got his gold in 1848. [Flett, 1979, p254]
The first important rush to Daisy Hill started, following the discovery of gold in Blacksmith’s Gully in December 1852. The locality was a bout a mile east of the later town, and was known as Cowley’s Rush. [Flett, 1979, p254]
Gold was going discovered in March 1853 at Kangaroo Gully and Grecian Gully was opened in May. There was about 1000 diggers on the field [Flett, 1979, p254].
The first discovery of gold at Talbot, about three miles south-east of Daisy Hill, and then known as Back Creek, took place at Kangaroo Flat, on the Back Creek and about two miles south-west of Talbot, early in 1854. The workings there, until August, were confined to a small lead on the flat, but towards the end of 1854 gold was discovered at Ballarat Hill, and amidst considerable activity, built up to a ‘Goodwoman’s Rush’ in March 1855 [Flett, 1979, p254-255].
Gold discovered at Opossum Gully, Amherst, in October 1854; a large rush in January 1855 and the Adelaide Lead was opened. Flett, 1979, p254-255]
There were about 10,000 diggers at Back Creek and Daisy Hill when the famous riots started at the bottom of Adelaide Lead in June 1855. Other discoveries in the area during 1855 were Mt. Greenock, east of Talbot; the White Hills; Cockatoo; and Daisy Flat at Amherst. Towns were surveyed at Back Creek and Amherst, but the general exodus to Fiery Creek in September 1855 led to the cancellation of Back Creek town survey [Flett, 1979, p254-255].
The next important gold discovery was on a series of hills ranged along the south side of the Craigie-Amherst road. The discoveries caused what was known as the notorious Emu Rush, so called from the Emu Inn that was on the cross-roads just below the first workings. [Flett, 1979, p255-256]
Diggings at Back Creek and Amherst had nearly junction on Daisy Hill Flat, near Mia Mia, and in 1857 the Mysterious Lead, an intricate, winding, deep gutter, was discovered on the flat below the present cemetery [Flett, 1979, p.256].
McCallum's Creek - This goldfield, about five miles down McCallum's Creek from Mt Greenock, was opened in January 1855, at Garden Flat [Flett, 1979, p.256].
Rocky Flat Lead - Giving employment to 300 men. Believed by many to be a continuation of the Scandinavian Lead. 10hp engine erected on the east end of the lead and two others in the course of erection. Scandinavian Lead has attracted such a large population 18 months ago, responsible for founding present township of Back Creek. Being traced in a northerly direction, at least 1300 miners actively engaged. Rocky Flat Lead, next in importance to Scandinavian, is giving employment to over 300 miners.
Scandinavian Lead - The last and richest gold discovery was the Scandinavian Lead, which was opened in early 1859 on the site of Talbot, and around which the town grow. For those comparatively late days of gold digging the rush was an enormous one. The lead, near the present Talbot railway station, was discovered by diggers Adolph, Carl Olsen, Carl W. Hallem and Joseph Bell ... Other discoveries were made during the Scandinavian Rush in 1859. Rocky Flat, east of the main lead was discovered separately, and the Union Lead, north of Talbot was opened by a party of Welshmen. Joseph Barnes and party opened Long Gully, Talbot, in May 1859, and Mt. Glasgow diggings were started in June 1859 by a party consisting of Rolstone, Wilson, McLoughlin and Wood [Flett, 1979, p.256].
Rocky Flat Lead - Giving employment to 300 men. Believed by many to be a continuation of the Scandinavian Lead. 10hp engine erected on the east end of the lead and two others in the course of erection. Scandinavian Lead has attracted such a large population 18 months ago, responsible for founding present township of Back Creek. Being traced in a northerly direction, at least 1300 miners actively engaged.
Engine shaft on Rocky Flat Lead struck payable gold at a depth of 90 feet. Scandinavian Lead: richness of lead - West of England claim, 210 oz. from 43 loads (principally cement); United Miners, 373 loads yielded 656-1/2ozs. Rocky Point - Sinking from 85 to 90 feet through 60 to 70 feet of basaltic rock.
Mt Greenock - At the base of the hill, on the north side, there are about 100 miners busily employed mining in a paddock, the property of Mr. Ambrose ... Outside the paddock is a surveyed road, under which the gutter has been traced from the inside ... At a considerable elevation above the fence and road, with basaltic rock cropping out over the surface. There has been several prospecting holes being worked, and the prospectors entertain high hopes of the results of their labour.
Kangaroo Flat, Amherst- Rush to head of this flat has subsided - population estimated at 400.