Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Looking for gold: Henry Ashmore in New Zealand

Born in Dover, Kent, my ancestor, Henry Ashmore, emigrated to Australia shortly before the gold rush. He was living in Geelong, but when gold was first discovered near Ballarat in 1851 he headed for the diggings. He settled in Creswick, but the lure of gold again attracted him when it was discovered in Otago, New Zealand. He travelled there in 1861, but was not impressed by what he saw.

Soon after arriving in Dunedin, New Zealand, Henry wrote to his brother, William, saying:

'Dear brother, I am compelled to go up to the diggings for I have not the means of returning. I may as well suffer there as to remain in the town. Meat, in the town, is one shilling per pound. I have seen numbers eat meat here which in Victoria would be given to dogs. Hundreds of people are continually returning from the diggings. It is to be hoped that the Victorian Government will immediately take steps to relieve the people, most of whom would gladly return if they could do so, and I could safely say no rush out of Victoria would take them away again. I am very glad to think George did not leave Geelong for this cursed place. I hope to God this will deter people from coming. With sincere regards for all friends.

I remain your affectionate brother,
Henry Ashmore.

P.S. I hope you will be enabled to make this out. I write this in my tent on the back of a dish.'

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