Gold In Mogo And The Araluen

Historical - Alexander Waddell
21) Chinese Joss House

Araluen and Mogo Gold

Diggers returning from Ophir and the Turon informed the Colonial Secretary of their gold finds in Moruya and Mogo in 1851. These areas are considered part of the Araluen Field which roughly extends from Nerrigundah to Majors Creek and across to Nelligen and takes in the wide spread area of Mogo. Alexander Waddell the great-great-grandfather of Georgina Jackson (manager of the Original Gold Rush Colony was the first man to find gold in the Araluen in September 1851.

The Araluen Field proved to be one of the three principal gold producing regions in Australia at the time and 30,000 diggers worked the area. In 1860, the following men held Miner's Rights and were known to have been miners in Mogo: James Anderson, William Biddle, William Bloomfield, James & Thomas Boulton, Joseph Bowler, William Bryant, Henry Cane, Daniel Casey, Thomas Chamberlin Snr and Jnr, Walter Cliffton, John Donavon, Daniel Digurs, Thomas Eames, Thomas Emes, Michael Gleeson, John Graham, James & John Harney, Frederick Horsley, James Kenedy, Timothy Lawlor, Edward Lynch, Michael Martin, James McCawley, James McDermot, John McGrath, Jugh & Michael McMahon, John Mears, Thomas Merriot, George & John Morgan, Malcolm Morrison, Patrick O'Heir, James Ritcher, James Roach, Andrew Stewart, James Tier, John Tripp, Edmond Whitfield, Richard Williams, John Wright, John Robb.

This gold rush was mainly the result of alluvial gold being found in the waterways. It had been washed there millions of years earlier as the result of extraordinary climatic conditions which existed at the time of the ice ages. Some of these old waterways were still easily accessible and some had been deeply buried as the result of subsequent geological events. Therefore, the vast majority of alluvial gold has never been recovered.

Mogo was not an area where nugget gold was found (the largest nugget, it is believed, weighed only 9oz), and most of the gold found was called mustard gold which is quite fine as the name implies.

Approximately 7,000 Chinese worked the area and tended to live in groups, preferring to commute to the diggings. They also worked as teams and were considered to be highly efficient in extracting gold. Many of the Chinese living in the area resided at Chinamans Point, upstream from Batemans Bay on the Clyde river.

Hard rock mining followed the alluvial rush and around the Mogo area most of the gold was found in quartz reefs.
Silver and copper were also found in the district and, at Moruya, one mine was yielding 3.5 oz of gold and 53 oz of silver to the ton. Some of the more complex concentrated ores were sent to England for smelting.

Binbimbie was the last operating mine in the Mogo area and it closed in 1984. So ended an era of reef mining that had lasted over 100 years.

Further Reading