One hundred years ago – 20 June, 1914


Shire-wide news extracts from the Moruya Examiner of this time in 1914, provided by the Moruya & District Historical Society:

CAUTION. – Miss S. Boot complains to us of people damaging, by climbing her rabbit-proof fence at Yaragee, and intends prosecuting in future such offenders without any further warning, …which is not idle threat. Farmers who have been put to the trouble and expense of erecting a barrier have had quite enough to contend with without this sort of thing. Other farmers who have netted are subjected to similar treatment, but as soon as some of the guilty parties have to face the “music” no doubt it will have a beneficial result. 20/6/1914

NERRIGUNDAH (From a Correspondent). – It is now about 54 years since the first gold was discovered in the valley of the Gulph Creek, Nerrigundah…, and since that time it is estimated that nearly 40 tons of gold have been taken from the field.

Nerrigundah in the gold rush days
Nerrigundah in the gold rush days


Shortly after the discovery a rush set in, and soon a couple of thousand diggers were at work seeking the precious metal. The gold was of the best quality, being worth about four guineas an ounce, and found in shallow ground and some on the surface. The largest nugget I have heard of being found on the field was unearthed on “Surface Hill.” It weighed about 20 lbs and was a solid smooth block of somewhat the shape of a bootmaker’s last. This was found in a claim that had been held by Mr. Morrison, who in later years was a well-known clergyman in this district, but it is said he never got a share of the gold.

For a number of years a large population was supported by alluvial digging, and it was not until about the year 1872 that reefs were much sought after. About that time Neil Bailey and Alex Miles opened a reef in “Graveyard Creek” and a battery put through, but these claims were afterwards abandoned and the battery sold to Withers and Wood who removed it to Wagonga, where it was turned into a sawmill. Just about the same time the Bumbo reefs were opened by Coman and party and some very rich stone was taken out of this property. With much difficulty a battery was taken in through the mountains, but after working for some time the claim was given up. Other reefs were worked on different parts of the field to a depth of 50 or 60 feet and left at that, and it was generally thought that the Nerrigundah reefs would cut out at that depth.

A long-abandoned tramline at Coman's Mine, Nerrigundah
A long-abandoned track


A few years after this another reefing boom set in and several more reefs opened up with better results. Mr. James Pollock then put a battery on North’s Creek, and crushed for the public many good crushings from these reefs, the best being the “Eureka,” “Golden Gate,” and “Crams,” some crushing as high as 10ozs per ton…

The battery at Coman's Mine today
The battery at Coman’s Mine today

The “Ocean View” was found about this time and a battery put on it and worked for three or four years under the management of Mr. Elisha Capes. During this boom “Mount Coman” was opened and a 25-head battery erected with miles of tram line laid down, but not much work was done on the reef which did not turn out to expectations, but still on the same leases today there are two reefs of large size. The last crushing from one yielded about an ounce and a half, but the nearest battery is about twelve miles distant and the cost of carting and crushing swallows up what ought to be the miners’ profits…20/6/1914

It would have been a difficult feat to get the heavy machinery needed for the mines into the rugged terrain around Nerrigundah
It would have been a difficult feat to get the heavy machinery needed for the mines into the rugged terrain around Nerrigundah
Czar Nicholas 2 of Russia

LATEST CABLE NEWS. – London, Thursday. While the Czar and family were travelling in Russia the pilot train sent ahead of the Royal train was exploded by a bomb. The engines and carriages were derailed and several persons injured. 20/6/1914

Sixteen 100 years ago booklets containing articles for the years 1899 to 1913 are available ($5 ea) from the society’s rooms. Copies of local newspapers from the 1860s to date can be viewed at the society’s Family History Research Centre (Ph 4474 3224) situated at the rear of the Pioneer Museum in Campbell St. Moruya (

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