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Title: Mining the Rocky River: Some Aspects of On-going Research on 19th Century Mining Hydrology and the Chinese Presence on the Rocky River Goldfield
Contributor(s): O'Donohue, Peter  (author)
Publication Date: 2010
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Abstract: Nearly thirty years ago I was living on a rural property to the north west of Armidale and studying some archaeology subjects as part of my undergraduate degree. The owner of the property knew of my course of study and suggested I might be interested in taking a look at what he described as "a Chinese aqueduct built to take water to the Rocky River goldfield". That visit to the site of a water race remained in my memory and ultimately resulted in the writing of a Master's thesis in archaeology that required me to explore the role of Chinese miners on the Rocky River goldfield. The general background to the history and geology of the field is covered elsewhere in this volume; this article will fill in some of the detail of the Chinese contribution to the working of the field between 1856 and the early 1900s based largely on contemporary newspaper reports from the 'Armidale Express' which began publication in 1856, the same year that Chinese began arriving on the goldfield in significant numbers that made them stand out as a separate ethnic contingent distinguished from the largely European mining community by their language, dress, habits, food, appearance and work practises. Rocky River was from 1852 until 1856 an alluvial field of only limited productivity and the Rocky River had been worked for some fifteen miles of its length from above the junction with the Kentucky Creek down to its junction with the Bundarra River. During these years the population and fortunes of the Rocky River fluctuated as the miners moved up and down the watercourse working the riverbed, water-holes and banks for the recent (in geological terms) alluvials using picks, shovels, barrows, carts, dishes and cradles. The field, after four years, still possessed many of the attributes or a 'poor man's digging's' and had been receiving adequate water during much of that time. The discovery of gold at Mount Jones in 1856, however, substantially altered the nature of the field and it underwent a rapid but short-lived growth in both productivity and population.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Golden Words and A Golden Landscape, p. 139-147
Publisher: Arts New England, University of New England
Place of Publication: Armidale, Australia
ISBN: 9781921597206
Field of Research (FOR): 200211 Postcolonial Studies
209999 Language, Communication and Culture not elsewhere classified
210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO): 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture
970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
950503 Understanding Australias Past
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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