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Time, less sudden than the midsummer freshet, but more sweeping, has cleared the ground of almost every vestige of the busy but fragile life of fifteen years ago.But the eternal sense of the Infinite survives "our little lives" and all their fitful pulsations of varying passion.Like the trenches of an old battle-field, these works of the digging armies of the past are now grass-grown and spotted with wild flowers.All around, the open lands of fifteen years ago are turned into streets and fields and gardens.A little way lower down the valley, where the ground has a broad slope up from the left bank of the Leigh to the foot of the ranges, was the Magpie rush of 1855-6.For a mile nearly every inch of frontage was fought for then, and a town of over four thousand inhabitants sprang up.Yonder, where, by the bush track side, the rounding slope swells upon the south, stands a church, sombre, lonely, and silent as the Roman sentinel at Pompeii when all around him had fled or fallen.
On going up the Yarrowee banks northward a space, as one looks up the valley he sees, beyond the city, the bare top, the white artificial chasms and banks and mounds, where Black Hill raised its dark dense head of forest trees before the digger rent the hill in twain, and half disembowelled the swelling headland.
Brough Smyth's "Gold-fields and Mineral Districts of Victoria." To the officers of most of the public institutions referred to he also owes the acknowledgment of much courtesy; and to Mr.
Huyghue, a gentleman still holding office in Ballarat, and who was in the public service here at the time of the Eureka Stockade, thanks are due, both by the publisher and compiler, for notes of that period, and for the extremely interesting illustrations of the Stockade, the Camp, and other spots copied from original drawings.
The reproduced proclamations by the Government, which the reader will find at intervals, as well as many of the original documents, are the fruit of that gentleman's assiduity in collecting materials of interest and pertinence.
It has been necessary to record the fact that the tragic issue of the license agitation was mainly due to the mistakes of the governing authorities, even as the unrighteous rigors of the digger-hunting processes were made more poignant by the haughty indiscretions and brutal excesses of commissioners and troopers.