The Golden West

Extract from the book “The Golden West and How It Was Discovered” by Mr Dick Greaves.

Summarised by Ron (Huey) Adams.
Acknowledgement to Ms Chris Haynes (Northam WA) for kindly typing these extracts up for submission to the adamswa website.

In the late 1880’s gold was discovered in Western Australia around the locality of Bullfinch (The Golden Valley).

A gold rush started to these fields immediately and Mangowine was extended to include an Inn that catered for the passing miners.

The following is an extract from a book written by one of the original discoverers a Mr Dick Greaves. The book is titled “The Golden West and How It Was Discovered”. Written some 16 years after, (1903), the first prospecting party journeyed out into the Eastern wilderness of Western Australia. (p 16.)

The Government of the day financed the syndicate after a nugget of gold was dug up by Mr Charles Glass while digging a well. The party set out from Newcastle (now Toodyay) in July 1887.

We take up the tale as the expedition is travelling down the slopes of Mt Grey (Flint Hill) and arriving at Mangowine.

We travelled on, and when we arrived at Adams’ they evidently expected us, as Mr and Mrs Adams and the children came out to meet us, and when we reached the house, we found eleven blacks, mostly naked, lined up, looking very surprised, no doubt wondering what kind of show this was coming towards them.

After attending to the horses, in which the children seemed delighted to assist, chattering all the time, and though I stopped and listened, I could hardly understand a word they said; in fact, I thought they were talking the native language, so strange did it sound. Arriving at the house, I felt curious to know what the children said, so I asked Mrs Adams whether it was the native language. She laughingly said, “oh no; it is a language of their own, part black and part white.” Most black, I thought. The Adams, like all the rest, showed us every kindness, doing everything they could think of to make us at home.

In the evening Colreavy and his mates, Hugh Frazer and the two others of his party joined us. Alec Glass, Mrs Adams’ brother, also came in. Mr Adams, his wife and children, and our three selves making the largest party of whites ever gathered together there, including a young lady whose name, I think, is Miss Spencer, who had arrived a few days previously, under an engagement to teach the young Adams. This young lady was also one of Colreavy’s mates, were good musicians, and an accordion was hunted up that had not been used for some time, but had been carefully preserved. Dancing, singing, etc., was kept up with spirit, and the “wee sma’ hours” were on us before we were aware of it, so thoroughly were we enjoying ourselves.

When the party broke up we were all tired, and slept soundly till late in the morning. After breakfasting we decided, on persuasion, to have a holiday, and the party being further augmented by the arrival of Bob Rolls and his jovial wife, we indulged in all sorts of games, then had dinner, after which it was decided to have a game of cricket, in which the women took part, as did also the blacks. The afternoon was hot, and poor Mrs Rolls made top score not out, and was fairly fatigued with running so much. When we gave up the game and sought shelter under the trees, whilst the blacks had a game amongst themselves. When they were tired of it they showed us how to throw the spears and boomerang. This filled up the time till tea was announced, and the evening was spent somewhat similar to the previous one, but we were all pretty well tired out. We broke up earlier (5:30) in the morning. We were soon ready for a start, this time accompanied by a native guide kindly provided by Mr Adams; he called himself Barney. All the party bade us good-bye and good luck, and off we started, Barney taking us by a short cut through the bush to get on to another track leading to Mr Lukins.

Note1 : They went on to discover the Yilgarn Goldields and set off a gold rush that basically resulted in other fields being discovered (Kalgoorlie) and the opening up of Western Australia in general to other pursuits such as agriculture farming etc.

Note2 : The Mr And Mrs Adams are my Great Grandfather and GrandMother, Jane Swain and Charles Adams.

Note 3 : My Father ( Eddy Adams) related to me how his Grandmother had (mentioned in the extract as Mrs Adams) been astounded one day to see a stream of men, horses, camels and various vehicles pouring past Mangowine and when asked what was going on, one of the men yelled “Colreavy’s found gold!!, Colreavy’s found gold!!). None of them even paused to talk, they just yelled as they hurried past.

Note 4 : Colreavy is the person officially credited with discovering the gold.