One particular line in this article published by the Mount Alexander Mail in 1861 caught my eye today. It said that someone called Peter Peterson had put a claim in for a Government reward for finding gold at “Emerald Diggings and 10 miles from Emerald”. This was rather unexpected as most of the stories about the early mining discoveries in the area refer to a “Jack Emerald” who was supposedly murdered after discovering gold – or perhaps emeralds – in the area in the late 1850s.
REWARDS FOR NEW GOLDFIELDS. — Appended to Mr Pyke’s report of the proceedings of the prospecting Board, is the following list of goldfields alleged to have been discovered, and claims for rewards, &c., as officially reported to the Government during the past year, giving the date of discovery, the name of the discoverer, and the locality of each goldfield:- September 13, John Tunnell and party, between La Trobe River and Mount Baw Baw; September 19, S. B. Morrison, Corner Inlet; September 22, Patrick O’Hannigan Upper Yarra; October 3, S. Shepherd, Wombat Creek; October 10, Peter Peterson, Emerald Diggings and 10 miles from Emerald; Oct. 29, James Mason and others, near Bennanah Flat; November 5, E. W. Gladman, Good Hope Creek, &c., refers to letters dated November, 1859, and January, 1860. The following note is added to the list: — “Since the date of the above report, James Keene and party have applied for a reward for the discovery of the Wahgunyah Goldfield, in a letter dated November 26; and Michael Cassidy has announced the discovery of a payable goldfield on the Coliban, in a letter dated November 24. From the reports of M’Crea and others, it appears that several spots have been opened which yield wages equal to about 12s. per diem per man. These prospectors have not yet made a claim for rewards, but some of them have applied for extended claims. The same remark applies to the discoverers of the Londonderry Goldfield.”