Land, Labour, and Gold
In 1852 William Howitt (1792–1879) set sail for Australia with two of his sons in order to try his luck in the goldfields of Victoria. By then he was already a prolifically published author of both prose and verse. He was only moderately successful as a gold-digger, but his account of life in the new colony, published in 1855 after his return to England, provides an extraordinary snapshot of the rapid early growth of Melbourne. Volume 1 covers Howitt's first impressions of Australia, his experiences on the journey to the diggings at Bendigo, the throngs of prospectors, the exorbitant prices charged by profiteering merchants, and the miners' protest over high government licence fees. He describes the hard life endured by the diggers and warns against women coming to the colony.
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