WILLIAM GAY 1812-1889

Manuscript Extracts provided by:
Gay Bell, Torquay, Vic
Lorraine Moorcroft, Werrington, NSW
Obituary provided by Pauline Long

William Gay was born in Bratton, Devonshire on 25 Feb 1812. In 1834 he joined the crew of as a carpenter and worked his way to Hobart where he arrived 21 July 1835. For the next eighteen months he stayed with the ship as it plied between Sydney and Hobart, eventually leaving the ship in Hobart on 26 January 1836. He had tried to convince his girlfriend in England to come to Australia and marry him but her father would not allow it. So William settled for a local girl and on 1 May 1838 he married Mary Ann Elizabeth Mansfield at St John's Newtown, Tasmania.

Mary Ann Elizabeth Mansfield was a daughter of William Mansfield, a convict who came out on the convict ship Calcutta which provided the settlers and convicts to establish the settlement at Sorrento, Victoria in 1803 and then Hobart in 1804. He was married to Maria, daughter of Elizabeth Cole, a First Fleeter, and James Tucker, a Second Fleeter, and hangman on Norfolk Island.

Mary gave birth to 5 sons, the last one being stillborn. Eleven months after the last birth, on 13 August 1848, Mary died having never really recovered from the birth.

William left Hobart early in 1851, taking with him his three oldest boys and leaving the youngest, Silas, with his late wife's parents in Hobart. For five months he scrounged work in Melbourne and then set sail for Portland in Red Rover. He worked there for another five months during which time he took part in a spirited political debate in the Portland Guardian. Most of the debate took was conducted in the form of poetry.

By the end of 1851 William was lured by the stories of the Gold Rush and on 2 December 1851 he set off in the company of his boys and three other men he set off for Ballarat where they arrived nine days later. They worked claims at Golden Point and other fields for some years and were present at the meeting at Bakery Hill when the diggers burnt their licenses in defiance of the authorities, an act which preceded the Eureka Rebellion. During this time William made a trip back to Hobart to collect Silas.

It would appear that the family stayed around the Ballarat area for some years. There is evidence to suggest that William spent some time in Gippsland, perhaps as a contractor for the railways. His last few years were spent in the Armidale area of NSW where he still indulged in some prospecting and plenty of political comment. His eldest son, John Wesley, appears to have settled there.

William wrote many poems during his time in the Colonies. He had opinions on politicians, the Irish, deserted wives, the clergy, education, child rearing and many other subjects. His sympathies lay with the workers and he had little time for the 'Establishment'. He never remarried and was proud of his achievement in rearing four sons single handedly.

Verse by William Gay - Relating life from 1831 - 1851

And, now, a vacancy occurs,
For very nearly sixteen years,
In which I'd not the least desire,
To strike the harp or tune the lyre.
But having left the good old "Medway:
I tried on shore to make some headway.
I first a situation got,
And not amiss I found my lot:-
My wages good, my work was various;
My living far above precarious.
I then began to look around,
And thought ere long to settle down:
And then a letter I wrote home,
And ask'd my love if she would come;
Offering at once to pay her passage:-
And in due time received this message:-
"I'll wait till many years are past,
If you'll say you'll come home at last;-
But can't consent to such removal,
Without my fathers full approval:
Which I'm afraid he'll never give;
But come home dear, we'll happy live."
And, then I thought if home I went,
I could not feel the same content,
As if I'd never come away,
But work'd for half a crown a day:-
While here, I thought I'd every chance
My future prospects to advance.
And after some more serious thought:
Another letter home I wrote;-
Which now I cannot give verbatim,
Though it contain'd my ultimatium.
From her engagement I relieved her,
And I've no doubt it sorely grieved her:-
Then, married in due time I got:-
Though not my first love, still my lot.
We had our sorrows and our joys,
And in due time we had four boys;
But on the day our fifth was born,
My heart was with sad anguish torn:-
A fearful illness seiz'd my wife,
Which nearly drain'd away her life:
It was so sudden and severe;
It fill'd me with a dreadful fear.
We lost the babe; and my poor wife
Show'd very little sign of life,
For thirteen hours; then, I went near her;
And what I could, I did to cheer her:-
And in due time again she rallied:
But oh! she look'd so deathly pallid.
Her illness shook her system so;
I felt my heart o'erwhelm'd with woe.
With tender unremitting care,
Good nourishment and change of air;
Health seem'd regain'd in eleven months:-
She then relaps'd, and sunk at once.
I, and my boys were now alone:-
My wife, their mother dead and gone:-
I felt bereft of my best friend,
And almost wish'd my life would end.
But having made to God my prayer
My all committed to his care;
I begg'd He would my mind direct,
My boys to support and protect.
My God afforded me relief,
And caus'd me to assuage my grief;
And thus he gently clear'd my way;
And gave me strength to suit each day,
but as I'd other ills sustain'd;
I thought if longer I remain'd;
They might increase and break me down,
And all my future prospects drown,
For I'd borne wrongs of every quality,
Many from sanctified rascality.
So I, within a little while,
Resolv'd to quit Tasmania's Isle
And in due time I made a start,
With Drew, "Old Hoppy" and spring-cart.
Melbourne I reach'd on that day week,
And stroll'd about some work to seek:
Though very much a job I needed;
'Twas full twelve days ere I succeeded.
Work then in Melbourne was precarious;
The jobs I got were short and various:
So when five months had just roll'd over:
Portland I reach'd in the "Red Rover"
So here I made a five months jump
And from old deck planks made a pump.
Thus near five years of sorrow past;
I and my boys were snug at last:-
I in the shop 'mong wheels and carts;
At school and home they did their parts.
Now all this while by some mischance,
My muse on me ne'er cast a glance:
But in nine months at the election
She took me under her protection.
I really felt like one inspired.
Could spin off verse when I desired;
Which made some cynics on me frown;
And then for fun I wrote them down.
Now I've gone over sixteen years
Through joys and sorrows, smiles and tears
And as I end this tale at last,
You'll guess the future by the past.

Verse by William Gay - Relating life from Portland in 1851

Portland September 1851

The following production was suggested to me by the circumstance that a few days after the election (between Mr. Moore of Melbourne and Mr Wilkinson of the Guardian), a certain lady, considering herself as belonging to the colonial aristocracy, (she being the underwriter's wife) wrote some doggrel lines, in which she gave a most sweeping denounciation of every person connected with the return of the Liberal Member, Mr. Thomas Wilkinson - stigmatising them as the "lower orders", "common herd of ragamuffins" etc. scarcely one removed from the brute creation. I felt like one inspired, and wrote the following, the first of my poetic effusions ever printed, in which I fairly astonished myself, and all my acquaintances, as well as our opponents, who were heard to declare at an assembly some days afterwards - that they had no idea that the operative classes possessed so much talent - thinking them do doubt mere brutes in human form. I, being at the time a journeyman wheelwright, working every day to support myself and motherless family of little boys. All the words in this production such as Mr. N.T. *, Byass +, Gallie, His Reverence Sandy $, have their proper meaning and can be understood in a double sense. * Henry, + Doctor Byass, Mr Gallie (Mr Henty's brother-in-law), Mr Alexander Laurie, formerly minister of the Scotch Church, but was expelled for drunkeness and adultery, but for the sake of his wife and family his friends bought him the requisite press and type and set him up as Editor of the Portland Herald consequently he was their tool, and had to be obedient to them whatever his own private opinion might have been. W.G.


    Hail foes to oppression, and lovers of freedom!
    Your day has arrived, and your power you know:-
    This host of timeservers, I'm sure we don't need them,
    And we'll never support them! O! no, my friends, no!
    Their dodges and shuffles, their threats and persuasions,
    Their schemes and devices so petty and low,
    Has made us determine on all such occasions,
    That we'll never support them; O! no, my friends, no!
    The victory they've lost, after all their endeavours,
    To prop up their system, though now 'tis laid low:-
    We were not to be Gallied, young Portland for ever!
    We would not surrender! O! no, my friends, no!
    They may try all they can with their creatures and flunkeys:-
    We'll shout in derision at them as we go:-
    We care not for N.T. * nor his poor abject monkeys;
    And will not support them; O! no, my friends, no!
    Success to our Guardian, our rights he's protected;
    While his ex Reverence Sandy $ has never done so;
    Being the tool of his Party, our claims he's rejected;
    And shall we support him? O! no, my friends, no!
    "Tag rag and bobtail" as the "Herald" may term us;
    It's place among journals has always been low:-
    Poor driveling rag, let it never concern us;
    Neither let us be Byass'd +. O! no, ny friends, no!
    Poor plate licking dog, let him follow his master,
    With fawning and wagging his tail to and fro;
    Through his growl or his bark we but go ahead faster;
    Then let us not blame him; O! no, my friends, no!
    O, let's not forget this tenth day of September;
    When they thought to o'erawe us, but it was "no go";
    We stood firm to our colors and secured our own Member;
    And shall we repent it? O! no, my friends, no!
    Send the news far and wide by every conveyance;
    Let them know right and left that we've struck the death blow,
    To the clique who kept all real good in abeyance;
    But no Moore shall oppress us, O! no, my friends, no!
    Praise Him by whom Princes and Kings hold their stations;
    Who as Judge of the earth does exalt and bring low:
    Who is ruler supreme over people and nations;
    May we never forsake Him, O! no, my friends, no!
    Long life to our Member! May blessings surround him,
    In every direction, where e'er he may go,
    And those of his foes who would wish to confound him;
    May they never be able; O! no, my friends, no!

The following also refers to the Portland Election.

A few nights after the election some boys, having never seen an election before went round the town electioneering for amusement, but the defeated 'Influentials' being exasperated at what they termed the presumption of the tag-rag and bob-tail i.e. the working classes wrote a sort of satire in their clique's paper the Portland Herald then edited by Alexander Laurie who had been expelled from the Scotch Church pulpit for drunkenness and adultery. I, not knowing that anyone else would answer it, took the liberty to write the following to the Guardian as an introduction to another letter and song I composed for the occasion and which must have nearly described their feelings at that time; the song also being true to the letter.

To the Editor of the Portland Guardian,

As the Herald, (being deeply read in ornithology) has kindly classed us among the jack-daws, magpies, laughing jackasses etc., I beg leave to inform him through your valuable paper that we heartily respond to the epithet bestowed on us; for as the said genus of birds are more or less celebrated for their courage and sagacity in destroying reptiles; so we, I hope, will in due time be placed at the head of the list, for the surprising number of reptiles lately destroyed by us; namely Toadies, scorpions, Bloodsuckers, Croakers, and even the Chameleon, which assumes any color according to circumstances. But we find on examination, that we are not without Larks, Nightingales and others celebrated for their vocal powers, but we utterly desclaim any relation with Vultures, Cormorants etc. thinking it safe to shun their company on account of their thirst for blood, and their propensity for preying on lambs and other defenceless. In fact, we keep no company with any of the crooked bill or crooked claw tribes, such as Lawries and other members of that class. They having a habit of taking a few incoherent words occasionally without knowing right from wrong, but just as they are taught to say.

I have therefore taken the liberty to present the larks etc. with a song to indulge in, called the "Portland Election", in which all the others can join in the chorus, and as I have no gaudy train attached to my tail, being but a bird of ordinary pretentions.

I therefore subscribe myself,
Yours most respectfully,


This song is a literal description of proceedings as they occured during the election.

THE PORTLAND ELECTION Air/"The Parson and sucking pig"

1. 'Twas in the year of fifty one; the tenth day of September;
The Electors came all in a band, to vote for their first member.
Two candidates were fixed upon, a little while before,
Our worthy Guardian Wilkinson, and Melbourne, Mr Moore.

Now Portlanders a warning take, and mark what now I say.
If you should choose a Melbourne man, you'll ever rue the day.

2. An influential gentleman, and two or three of note,
Went round to several householders, to induce them all to vote.
Some said they would, but some would not, which grieved them very sore,
To think that any had the pluck , to object to Mr Moore.

Chorus - Now Portlanders etc.

3. But by the fierceness of their looks, the timid folks were gally'd,
And those whose names were in their books, around their standard rallied.
So home they went, and went to bed, and soon began to snore,
Ane one cried out while fast asleep, "I'm sure of Mr Moore".

Chorus - Now Portlanders etc.

4. "I don't know who" he * said at last, "has got my logs of cedar". (* Donahue)
This riddle will explain itself, my kind and gentle reader,
A lot of iron-bark there is within a certain store.
We'll palm it on a simpleton, he'll vote for Mr Moore.

Chorus - Now Portlanders etc.

5. Then up he got at early dawn, as fast as he could hasten.
First to his Scotch apostate friend, and then unto the Parson.
"I've not a doubt, the day is ours, the people are but poor",
Me, I am sure they'll not offend. They'll vote for Mr Moore.

Chorus - Now portlanders etc.

6. I've had them all at my command, and still they own my sway,
"I've only to hold up my hand" this gent was heard to say.
"This dashing gallant gentleman, whose person I adore
He will be ours, I need not fear. I'm sure of Mr Moore.

Chorus - Now Portlanders etc.

7. An influential batch of clothes was sent to get a washing.
But in the end, it proved a dose. The woman got a thrashing.
Her husband got into a scot, and black'd her eye full sore,
Because that she had bias'd him to vote for Mr Moore.

Chorus - Now Portlanders etc.

8. Then to the poll both parties went, to tender in their votes.
Some clerks and gents were position'd there to take the people's notes.
The Guardian had the upper hand, and when the clock struck four,
Six votes were short, they lost the day, and lost their Mr Moore.

Chorus - Now Portlanders etc.

9. The gent was in a dreadful fix, and almost tore his hair.
While the Guardian's side gave three loud cheers enough to rend the air
And on their shoulders they did mount, and aloft the palm they bore
Crying "now we've gain'd the victory, farewell to Mr Moore.

Chorus - Now Portlanders etc.

10. The Gent went to the baker's shop, as sullen as a dog.
And just inside the door there stood a humble pedagogue.
The poor old man he did so bounce, some said he curs'd and swore,
Because his work had been in vain - he'd lost his Mr Moore.

Chorus - Now Portlanders etc.

11. "I'll starve you all" he said at last, and stamp'd and shook his head.
"I'll stop your flour, and so cut off your whole supply of bread.
And when your children cry for bread your fate you will deplore",
Saying "O that I could vote again, I'd vote for Mr Moore.

Chorus - Now Portlanders etc.

12. "That independant butcher, too, who fill'd my heart with grief.
I'll stop his gallop very soon, I will not buy his beef,
I will not patronize him, now, but keep him from my door.
His jolly face I'll think upon, whene'er I think on Moore .

Chorus - Now Portlanders etc.

13. Now Portlanders, you're in a fix, but this think you can do.
Stick fast together hand and heart, and none can injure you.
Buy land, and raise your own supplies, and so lay up in store.
Then laugh when you think on the day you would not vote for Moore.

Chorus - Now Portlanders etc.

14. So now I end my simple tale concerning this election.
No thinking man to my advice will raise the least objection.
And when you reap the abundant crops you'll find it no eyesore.
And then you'll keep in mind the day you wouldn't vote for Moore.

Chorus - Now Portlanders etc.


Ballarat Recollections 1851 - 1854

An account by William Gay (1841-1926), son of the original William, with an account of their arrival at Ballarat in 1851 and up to the Eureka rebellion. Also included is William's obituary of 1926.

Ballarat 1851 - 1854

The following was written by William Gay who died 10th July 1926 in Ballarat (son of William Gay above).

I arrived in Ballarat on the 13th Dec. 1851 with my father, two brothers, and two other men. The road we came along was where Skipton Street now is, then down the hill, where Grant Street is now, on the West side of the Gaol hill. We stopped about half down and started to build a Bush hut, to sleep in the first night, but before we had done much to it, a man by the name Nott, that ad a store, just above where we camped, came to us, and told my father to come and stay in the store with him, till we could get a place to live in, as he was alone, and would be glad of our company, so we were very glad to accept this offer, as the next day he got the Blight, so bad, that his eyes were completely closed, or as we called it Bunged up, and could not attend to his business, for two or three weeks, so we had to attend to it for him, that was the only store on the West side of the Creek, the frame of the store consisted of sapplings, and was covered with hessing. There were two others stores on the Golden Point Hill, one was known as Adams' store and the other as Akhursts store. These two stores had weather board sides and ends, and was covered with canvas, and the Police camp was on the top of Golden Point hill in that block, now enclosed by Young St on the east, Peak St on the North, and Grant on the West & South, the first Cemetery that I can remember was where the Eastern Bowling Green is now and where Peak St crossed the North side of the Bowling Green. When we arrived on Ballarat, there were only 50 or 60 diggers on it, as it was thought that Golden Point was worked out, and the first rush was over. My father went into an abandoned clame and made about an oz a day 1 = £ 2.17.0 but soon after our arrival a party of diggers sunk a shaft in the flat, about 150 yards above where Grant Street Bridge is now. I seen the first tub they got off the bottom, & washed off. And the yield from that tub was 36 oz of nice rough gold, that started a rush again, and in about three weeks there were about 500 diggers on the field, the sinking avraged from 6ft to 15 ft and some of the clames were very rich, Dr Young had a clame, just about where the South West Corner of Grant St Bridge is now, it was about 15 ft deep and they recconed the bottom of the shaft gave a pound weight of gold to the square foot, I think Young St was named after Dr. Young. He lived on that corner east of Young St & North of Barkley St opsite where the first gold was found.

Before the rush in the Flat started, a party of diggers was leaving, and my father bought their Bark Hut, that was situated a little north of the NW corner of Grant St Bridge, on a bit of a rise, and the first flood in 52, covered all the flat, from whrere the Gas works are, to the foot of Golden Point, it washed most of the heaps of dirt into the holes, so that the diggers could not tell their own claims from other peoples. The water also surrounded our hut, there was a deprission in the ground between our hut and the gaol hill, the hut being on a slight rise. My father woke us boys up about 2 oclock in the morning and we had to wade through 3 ft of running water, to reach a store at the foot of goal hill. Where we stayed the remainder of the night. The next morning the water receded enough for us to get back to the hut, and as the water got lower to where the heaps of dirt were washed away we could see little patches of gold in the small crevices in the surface, where it has been washed clean. My brothers and I got pannicans & spoons, and gathered up what we could see. I don't remember how much we got, but I think it must have been 2 or 3 ozs. After it was proved that gold could be got in the flats and gullys. The digger prospected all the low lying ground both north south east & west, so that Black hill flat, and several gullys south of Golden Point was discovered, some of them being very rich. Some time after the flood in 52, we shifted our camp to the Northern slope of Penny Weight hill, which, in fact, is two hills, with a shallow gully between them, (which can be seen yet) the western hill, had been prospected on the west side, but only on the surface, this was not very rich, hence the name Pennyweight. We worked on this for a while, but did not get much gold, one day, I took a walk on the eastern hill, and among the trees and scrub, I came across a large quartz bolder, that being considered a good indication of gold, my brother and I went the next day, and got the bolder out, (which was about 200 cwt). We looked in the hole it came out of, and seen several rough spects of gold. The bed rock (or Pipeclay) was just under the surface at that point, but deepened to the north, to 10 & 15 ft and proved to be very rich. The hill has all been sluced off to the bed rock, most of which was done by Mr. Kirk, after he erected Kirks dam, and brought the water in by an open race, shortly after the rush was over at Pennyweight Hill. We shifted our camp further south on the flat, at the south end of Westly Hill, this flat was afterwards named Gays Gully. My father and us boys being the prospectors of that also, that was about the middle of 54. It was shortly after that, the Eureka Stockade fight occured. On the day of the last public meeting before the stockade fight, my father took some gold to the police camp, it being the practice then to deposit gold at the camp, for safety my father carried the gold and I carried a double barrel gun fully loaded, after we had left the gold at the camp, we went to the meeting, it was held on Bakery Hill. There was a platform erected, and several of the leading men spoke from it, including Peter Lalor,. There was a large crowd there, also a lot of mounted troopers arround the mob. We being in about the middle of the mob, after some wild spouting had been going on for some time, some one from the platform called for all diggers to burn their Licences, in a couple of minutes the licences were held above the heads of the Crowd, and set fire to, making a little flame all over the crowd, then there was cheering, and guns & pistols fired all round and in the crowd. I thought the riot had started, we got out of the crowd as quickly as we could, not knowing whether it was Troopers firing, or the diggers firing to show what they meant after that the press gangs came round, prissing those able to fight, to go to the stockade, and taking all firearms from those unable to fight. They took weapons enough from our hut, to fire over twenty shots, some of them being paper box revolvers, (that is revolvers with all the barrels rivolve, and all the same length) it would take a good shot to hit a haystack with them at 20 yards. It was not long after that, that the soldiers came, and the riot was fought. I think most people now know the result.

Obituary - William Gay, 13 July 1926

The death occurred on the 10th inst. Of a noted old identity, Mr William Gay of 58 Geelong Road at the advanced age of 85 years. Mr. Gay was born in Tasmania in 1841 and at an early age he was brought over with the family to Portland, arriving shortly after the Henty family settled there. On the discovery of gold at Ballarat the family joined in the rush here, and arrived here in (unreadable) and he was resided here practically ever since then. Mr. Gay had a vivid recollection of the Eureka Riot and other historical events. He was mining manager of the Victoria United, South Star, Dalzell-cum-Prince Regent, Dry Diggings and the famous Egerton Mine at Egerton and was connected with many other mines in the district. He retained all his faculties until the end and his great delight was to speak at of the earlier days of Ballarat. He was the oldest member of the Excelsior G.U.O.O.F. Lodge having been a member for 39 (?) years. He leaves a widow and a large family of children. The funeral took place on Monday as the New Cemetery and was largely attended. Two beautiful wreaths were placed on the coffin. The Coffin Bearers were his six sons, Jack, Walter, Albert, Leonard, Arthur and Hector. Mr & Mrs Robert McHutchison (brother & sister-in-law) were among the relatives present and who included a large number of grand and great grandchildren. The Reverend S A Greenham officiated at the house and the funeral arrangements were in the hands of Hugh Dyson (?) & Sons of Ballarat and Egerton.

The Ex Official's Lament

William Gay writes on the death of James Scobie, the burning of Bentley's Hotel and the demise of Police Magistrate, John d'Ewes

This next is my first on Ballarat, and is an introduction to the 'Ex Officials Lament', Dr Dewes PM, who was suspended for his complicity in the affair of the death of James Scobie. He in his capacity of coroner having held the inquest privately, refused to let the truth be told; and then used his influence to get a congratulatory address published in the Ballarat Times, signed by the principal storekeepers etc. exonerating "Mr. Bentley from any blame in connexion with the death of the unfortunate James Scobie" and then vainly thought he had set it at rest. But, shortly afterwards, a public meeting was held on the spot, at which thousands attended, when resolutions were passed condemning the proceeding, and, also to petition the Government to offer a reward sufficient to induce any one who could give sufficient evidence to convict the murderer.

The meeting had scarcely concluded and the people began to disperse, when the whole strength of government and police arrived, thinking, no doubt to intimidate the diggers; who immediately closed round them, and the Hotel; which I think intimidated them; for they instantly sent for the military (for they had soldiers there). That was the signal! Bentley slipt out at the back door took horse and rode to the camp for protection, but too late; the infuriated diggers, determining that men should not be made away with like dogs, at once set fire to the place before the authorities and burnt it to the ground; after having first removed the property of a few respectable people clear into a safe place, to prevent its destruction. They also burnt out an auctioneer at the same time, named Maurice Linquist, who was in league with horse thieves; selling stolen horses and keeping no accounts of them. When all these things became known at head quarters Mr Dewes was turn'd out of office; then I wrote the following:

P.S. About that time a league was formed to secure our legal and constitutional rights.


Alas alas! my power is gone;
I thought 'twould last for ever;
But now 'tis over, I must own,
They've done it very clever.
I could have feather'd well my nest,
If I had been permitted;
To that intent I did my best,
To have my friend acquitted.
"Congratulatory address"
I also did procure him.
Among my influential class
And thought this must secure him.
In fact, I left no means untried,
To smother up the matter,
And on my influence relied,
To stop the diggers' chatter.
But rumours soon got spread about,
Of this our camp proceeding;
And very soon we all found out,
That discontent was breeding.
At last, the diggers on the place,
Determined to assemble:-
Which, when I saw I must confess;
I inwardly did tremble.
And yet to awe the vulgar crowd,
I got the troopers round me;
When groans and hisses long and loud,
Completely did confound me.
My brethren then with all their might,
Endeavoured to allay them:-
When lo! it rose to such a height;
No speech of ours could stay them.
I, always thought the common herd
Should render blind submission:-
Should ne'er have once presumed or dared
To question our decision.
But, now they talk about their "rights",
As much as their superiors:-
Though "Gentlemen" I'm certain quite,
All view them as inferiors.
Could we but get them down once more,
We'd hold them in such fetters,
As would restrain them evermore,
From meddling with their betters.
But, now, alas! I see no way,
To gratify my wishes:-
With all our schemes we've lost the day,
For getting loaves and fishes.
Intelligence is gaining ground,
We can hold out no longer:-
Where'er I cast my eyes around,
The "league" is getting stronger.
Left to our fate, we can but grieve,
To see their ranks increasing:
Oh! could we have have a short reprieve,
The diggers to be fleecing.

Gay's Prospecting Party Report, 1860


The following report of Gay's party, which has been prospecting under the Government regulations the country between Warrenheip and Buninyong, has been forwarded to us for publication. It will be seen that an aggregate depth of 393 feet in various shafts has been sunk by the party, and gold got in two instances, but not in paying quantities. Operations are still going on:-

Dividing Range,
Between Warrenheip and Buninyong,
10th October, 1860.

To the Hon. the Chairman of the Prospecting Board, Melbourne.

Sir-- I do myself the honor of submitting for your information my report for the month of September. On the 4th we came on the ground: from that time to the 10th we put our tents up, got our provisions under cover, got our tools in efficient order, and took a general view of the locality, in order to choose the most favourable places to commence operations. In order that the Board and the public may the better know the scene of our operations, I may here state this dividing range first appears prominent rather south-east of the Brown Hill diggings. and bears near south towards Buninyong mount, being for the most part capped with quartz--some places in large irregular blocks, some in large and small gravel, and others in large round smooth boulders, or imbedded in decomposed slate, trap rock, &c., interspersed here and there with metamorphic rock, the whole having the appearance of having at some remote period been subjected to an extreme heat.

There are numerous gullies intersecting this great range at nearly right angles, and running off for miles to the east and west, three of which open out into wide flats, with that peculiar iron-like gravel and basaltic rock protruding here and there through the surface that so unmistakably argues the existence of what is generally termed 'rock leads'.

I first divided our party into two's, in order to try four different places at once, and if one pair came to water or any other natural difficulty, to place as many at their disposal as might be required to overcome it. Since the 10th ultimo to 10th instant we have sunk, within the compass of three miles, in various gullies and hills, 29 shafts and holes, varying in depth from 2 to 45 feet and measuring in the aggregate 393 feet, through every variety of strata, from the soft sandy clay to the ? hard rock, and all these varieties distinguish the most prolific portions of older gold fields, and in only two instances have we obtained the 'color' but not payable; and yet the appearance of this part of the country.--that is, the surface indications--look as favourable to the eye of any experienced miner as our pile-producing spots in the most palmy days of gold digging.

We have two or three places to try yet, which will occupy us till the middle of next week, when, if we discover nothing, we intend to remove further to the south east, where, if we make a discovery of any importance, I shall send you immediate information.

I have the honor to be, sir,
With all due respect,
Wm Gay, Leader.

Obituaries for the sons of William Gay

John Wesley Gay
"Mr John Wesley Gay of Oban, Who died recently, was a native of Tasmania and was born in 1839. He came to NSW in 1862 and resided at Puddledock and Oban districts up to the time of his death. He was held in high respect by a large circle of friends and much sympathy has been expressed for Mrs Gay in her sorrowful bereavement. The remains were laid to rest at Puddledock beside those of his father who predeceased him a great number of years ago."

John Wesley Gay died 11 Feb 1913. He married a widow Maria Rebekah Jones in 1868/69 and did not have any children.

James Gay
"The funeral of the late Mr James Gay, of Mount Clear, mine manager, took place yesterday, and was very largely attended. A large number of the members of the Mining Managers' Association and the G.U.O.O.F. Lodge were present. The remains were interred in the New Cemetery. The pall bearers were: Messrs D Dalzell, J Sharpe, J Trethowan, J Hamer, T Clarke, J Black, T Robinson, J Sawyer and J Ritchie. The coffin bearers were: Messrs J Hull, T Aley, J Dickson and A Campbell. The services at the house and grave were conducted by J West Law. Messrs Jordan and Tippett were the undertakers."

James Gay died 23 March 1899. He married Jane Elizabeth Thompson in 1868.

Silas Gay
"The remains of the late Mr Silas Gay. of Mount Pleasant, who was accidently killed at the Red, White and Blue Mine, at Blackwood, on Thursday last, were interred in the New Cemetery yesterday afternoon. The funeral, which was very lengthy, was headed by a number of the members of the A.M.A. and G.U.O.O.F. Lodge. The Revs S T Withington, W Burridge and Mr J West Law officiated at the house and grave, and Mr K Morfew read the lodge service. The following gentlemen acted as pall-bearers: Messrs I Pearce, J S Trethowan, J Harvey, J Sharp, D Dalzell, Jas Pearce, J Kirby and O Williams; and the coffin bearers were: Messrs O Williams, W Peters, A Ritchie and N Sweet. Messrs Jordan and Tippett carried out the funeral arrangements."

Silas Gay died 16 Dec 1898. He married Mary Elizabeth Ford in 1869.

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