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New Zealand Gully

New Zealand Gully, behind Rockhampton was one of Queensland's richest alluvial gold fields.


From the Garibaldi diggings, near Cawarral, miners gradually worked their way straight for Rockhampton, prospecting among the ranges. A place called Moonlight Terrace appears to have been the first spot where payable gold was got, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Mount Chalmers. In July, 1870, Frank Quinn obtained gold in Quinn's Gully, one of the branches of Stony Creek. He applied for a prospecting area which brought about a rush, and then Michael Duffy and party going further up the creek, found gold in another watercourse, which was named New Zealand Gully by Duffy, who came from that colony. A big rush set in from Rockhampton and the surrounding diggings, and a lot of men obtained payable claims. The sinking in New Zealand Gully was from mere scratching to about 12 ft. Most of the claims on the line bottomed on gold, from a few grains to a pennyweight to the dish. A good many other gullies and ravines in the neighbourhood were found to contain gold, and caused little rushes. There was plenty of water in New Zealand Gully at the time, and the only complaint appeared to be that the claims were too small. The place speedily assumed considerable proportions. Inside a month a thousand people were there, and in addition to hotels and stores, a theatre was erected. The gold obtained was mostly of a coarse character, the biggest slug reported for a long time being a piece weighing 5 oz. The best of the claims enabled men to earn from (8 to (12 per week each, but of course there were a good many claims in which the diggers did not make wages.

A number of quartz veins were opened, and a lot of gold got from the casing and loose rubble. Johnson and party were particularly fortunate in this kind of mining, as in one day they obtained between four and five pannikins of gold. Indeed, several claims won a lot of gold this way. Among the first reefs laid off were the Exhibition, Last Chance, Honest Bob, Fielder's Victoria, and Keppel Bay  View. The opinion was soon formed that rich reefs permeated the hills and would be of lasting benefit to Rockhampton. That opinion persists to the present day. It is worthy of remark that after thirty two years of fossicking, New Zealand Gully and the surrounding gullies still continue to yield small patches of gold to the steady fossicker. There were various rushes about Stony Creek, including one to near Balnagowan; in fact, a little gold seemed to be found all over that portion of the district. 


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