To the Goldfields!

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Sixty thousand people were shouting and singing and laughing and arguing all at once. There were men digging, sluicing and cradling; men panning and puddling in the creek; and men deep down mine shafts. People from all the countries of the world had come to this one place, to look for gold.

I was nine when my family and I set off for the goldfields. Life was completely different there. We lived in a tent, slept on mattresses stuffed with leaves and sometimes ate parrots that Father had shot.

Bert Murrell and I played quoits and marbles, fished for yabbies and made kites. We saw miners hiding from the troopers and heard their drunken arguments at night. I think we saw just about everything that went on at Forest Creek.

To the Goldfields! vividly recreates the details of daily life at the diggings, from family doings to sly grog shops, water shortages and political protests. It is a remarkable evocation of a crucial and colourful period in Australia’s history.

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