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The Turon Goldfields (1938)

Come all you young Australians
I will tell you all I know
Of the good old Turon gold fields
In the days of long ago,
When Sofala was the richest spot
This writer ever knew,
When gold was first discovered there
In the year of fifty-two.
Some dlggers came from Ophir
And Hargraves and Meroo
To the first rush on the Turon
In the year of fifty-two.

The camps sprang up like mushrooms
Over hills and over dales,
And the Turon was the richest field
Ever found in New South Wales.
The river it was pegged for miles.
Both up and down the stream,
Although the flats and points were good,
The bed claims held the cream.
And men were making fortunes there,
Without the slightest doubt,
You could sea the gold lying thick and bright
When you bailed the water out.

And every creek for miles around
That towards the Turon flowed
Was drained and boxed and made to yield
Its shining wealth of gold.
There were some more rich than others,
But the worst of them was fair;
At that time round Sofala
You could find gold anywhere.
And along the road to Bathurst,
Not far from Wattle Flat,
There was gold found on the surface
And very rich at that.

The gold was on the surface,
Amongst the grass and sticks,
And the depth of surface on the hill
Was fully two feet six.
This find was most convenient, too,
In sight of the main road.
And this patch of surface yielded
Two ounces to the load.
There were lots of rich alluvial find,
Along the Turon fields.
And it seemed to me amazing
How some of them did yield.

Like all other worked-out gold fields,
The Turon fields are done:
The diggers and the fossickers
And all the rest have gone.
The dredges, too, have done their share
In scraping out the pot
From Palmer's Oakey to Wallaby Rocks
They've dredged the blooming lot.
And yet, I know there's gold there still--
I'm certain sure of that--
There are rich brown stuff, veins, on Nuggaty Hill.
Also at wattle Flat.

Those brown stuff veins were very rich
(You may take my word for that)
They were richer far than any claim
Ever found at Wattle Flat.
Three brothers from Victoria--
Munksman was their name
It was they who first had found the gold
And held the richest claim.
It was just good luck, and nothing else,
How they found that rich gold vein,
The gold was glittering in the ruts
Washed down there by the rain.

So they only had to peg their claim
And hide their gold away,
And it soon accumulated
Getting better day by day.
In about three months the claim was done
Or very nearly so.
So the brothers they packed up their traps
And decided home to go.
They never told what gold they got
While they were over here,
And never even shouted
Their mates a keg of beer.

But, after they were home a while
They wrote a letter back
To a miner friend on Nuggety
Who had bought their wooden shack.
At the ending of the letter
(Which was only brief). It ran
"We arrived all right, and safe and sound,
With twelve thousand pounds a man."
The Chinamen were there in hordes,
Some twenty thousand strong,
And tons of gold were sent away
From Sofala to Hong Kong.

And this went on for years and years.
The Chinks grew rich and fat;
They were working every creek around
From Hill End to Sandy Flat.
And also on the Pyramul,
Long Crook and the Meroo--
The Chinamen were there in force,
The white men, very few.
There was good gold on Crudine Creek
That the Chinkies didn't get,
Some coarse, some fine, some nuggets, too,
And there's whips of gold there yet.

It was in O'Brien's paddock
Where the biggest lump was found,
A twenty-eight ounce nugget
Twenty-five feet underground.
But the claims were very patchy there--
At least, so I've been told--
A man might work a week or more
Without getting any gold.
And than, perhaps, he'd strike it rich
And he'd graft like billy oh,
You could hear the windlass whizzing
And the cry "Look out, below."

Composed by Martin Farrell, for my cousin, John Joyce, Mudgee.


From the New South Wales Newspaper the Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative 10 Oct 1938 p. 8.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory