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The Campbell Gold Mine: A Herons Creek Tale

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15-01-2014

Thanks to Bill & Betty Boyd for this story. Please click read more. Stock photo.

 

THE CAMPBELL GOLD MINE

 In 1959, I, Bill Boyd, went with the family to have a look at the David Campbell mine, so marked on all Forestry Topographical maps of Bago State Forest till 1960. The people who came along were Archie Campbell, Mervyn and Grace Boyd, Agnes and Burt Smith, David Smith and Joan Mitchell, later to be my first wife.

 We turned off the Oxley Highway left into Hansford’s Road. Our first stop was the two gate posts still standing where Edward Beauchamp got out and opened the gate. Our next stop was about 300 metres on the right on a slight turn in the road where the mine is about 50 metres off the road. We then went on to where the house was on the end of Hansford’s Road, only a couple of sheets of tin left and a couple of fruit trees.

 We had lunch here and Archie related the story about the mine and what happened to his Grandfather Edward Beauchamp. Bearing in mind Archie was 9 years and 7 months then, now 61 years old and had a very good memory,

 When Edward was killed it would have been a very big event in his life and he gave a very clear picture of what happened I later went to Cascade, out of Dorrigo, and camped with Archie cutting sleepers for a couple of years and he often repeated the same story he told that Christmas in 1959

 On our way home from the homestead we called at the Crossroads Cemetery on Rosewood Road and he showed us where they buried Edward outside the Cemetery fence on the Catholic section eastern end. There was no evidence of a grave as it had never had a headstone and the cemetery at that stage was quite unkempt.

 Although nearly 50 years have passed I can clearly remember what was said and it is a fair bit different than what has been written by Carl Beauchamp in his record of this event.

 Firstly, the gold mine was always registered in David Campbell’s name and he was also bank rolling it. At the time the government was paying ten thousand pounds, ($20,000) as a reward for finding payable gold. Edward Beauchamp told Grandfather that he had seen what happened when gold was discovered in Bathurst and he didn’t want his family exposed to the rough element that would arrive if the mine was declared payable gold Edward’s son, John , ‘Jack’, worked with his father in the mine and the shaft was timbered for some of the way down. The shaft was over 15 metres deep land they were experiencing foul air. Edward started digging along a vein and found more gold and decided to get a mine inspector to come and have a look at what he found.

 Archie said the assayer came from Sydney by boat. I don’t know where Carl said he came from. This is Archie’s version. The assayer said “Mr Beauchamp, the gold is here, over there, but not where you are now digging.” Then Edward took him back to town, Wauchope, and then got drunk as he was now resigned to the fact that Grandfather would tell the State Government to receive his ten thousand pounds.

 Great Granny Beauchamp and her two daughters Emma and Kate, walked home about 4 miles, because they said Edward was too drunk to ride home in the buggy with. Edward came home in the dark and stopped at the gate and closed it. I suppose he also got rid of some of the beer he’d been drinking.

 Now, anyone who knows anything about horses would know that the horses would be very anxious to be getting close to home and as Edward put his weight on the step the horses would be away. His foot apparently slipped off and his heavy trousers caught on the step dragging him for about 300 metres till the turn where the mine was where he fell off.

 The horses now galloped home, breaking the rails into the house paddock. The two girls, Emma and Kate, rushed back down the road and found their father still alive but he died soon after they arrived. His head was badly damaged, either by being dragged along the road or hitting the wheel.

 My Grandfather said in his booming Scots voice, “The bloody mine is jinxed!” and closed it down. The mine was never worked again. Many years later Fred and Jesse Grosse went out and slushed the mullock head that Edward had dug out of the mine but did not find any workable gold. Jesse was Kate’s daughter. This is a true story only handed down twice.

 

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