CQ Family History Association Inc.

Ridgelands

It was early in 1867 when JTS Bird (author of the Early History of Rockhampton) and Arthur Hoskings discovered gold at the junction of granite and slate country some 25km west, north west of Rockhampton on the road to Morinish. It was called Ridgelands because of its numerous flats, spurs and ridges. This was only around one month after gold had been discovered at Morinish.

There was gold fever in the air and soon after word had reached Morinish, there was an exodus from this area to the new field and soon there were 500 men on the field. As usual, the field soon attracted the attention of enterprising business men who set up hotels and stores. Unfortunately for Bird and Hosking, the Gold Commissioner of the time did not allow their claim even though they had pegged the claim. He gave the claim to a man called Kirker because "he had discovered a lot of gold". (Havelland DW pp170). They did receive the Qld Government reward for the discovery of gold. Although they fulfilled all the conditions required, they only received £250 instead of £500 promised.

The alluvial gold was only 1.2metres deep and was easy to obtain. Kerr (1982:9) mentions that "one man found the ground so good that he had no time to waste with tailings. Instead his wife employed an aboriginal woman. She obtained a quarter oz of gold in one day in return for rations".

A problem for most of these early gold fields was finding a battery to crush the gold. It was not until April 1868 that Ridgelands got its own machine after the Valentine Quartz Crushing company was registered in Rockhampton. Shareholders in this company were local people such as Henry Beed, tobacconist, Edward Forster and John Porter, dealers in skins and hides, as well as sharebrokers Hodgkinson and Meagher and the storekeeper, Thomas Page. Very soon there were too many batteries on the fields to serve reefs on the fields which had not been proved. This may have been because Ridgelands had a splendid supply of water unlike the nearby Morinish fields and some of the gold from Morinish was taken to Ridgelands to be crushed. Many of the investors in these batteries lost their money.

It is not known how long Ridgelands remained a viable source of gold for the miners. Many of the miners continued their quest for this elusive metal and some remained in this area mining for gold at New Zealand Gully. After World War 1, Ridgelands became an area for soldier settlement but the blocks were too small to be viable. Today Ridgelands is a quiet rural area close to Rockhampton with some hobby farms

 

CQ Family History Records show that the following people lived in the Ridgelands area around this early period.

Julius Nethroff Avendorph

Walter & Jane Bardon

Elizabeth Birtwell

William Brewitt

James Burns

Michael & Mary Casey

Daniel & Mary Ann Clark

Edward Fines

Henry Fox

Thomas & Ellen Grant

James Hall

William H & Mary Hogan

Joseph & Ann Hooper

Arthur W & Margaret O'Connor

Thomas Page

John & Ann Savage
 

William & Agnes Scholefield

John & Ellen Sommon

Henry & Mary Strow

James Winter

Samuel & Mary Crook

Harry Stein

Duncan McDonald

John Hamilton

Hon J M Macrossan

Mr Kirker

Arthur Hosking

J T S Bird

Mr Johnston

Mr Howard Smith

Mr Hayles

Mr Quinn

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