of Barberton, it is a community which lives, moves, and has its being in gold, but like all good things it palls on the appetite, surfeits and wearies – toujours perdrix with a vengeance – at least to those who, are not in the ” swim;” and yet it is impossible to escape – it is unhealthy mentally and the wonder to the visitor is, that men who have done well, do not hasten to escape from it. It is not so, however, each wants the proverbial “little more,” and so it goes on; and the end who can say?.
The humble donkey is in great demand here; he may be seen at most of the store doors. His packsaddle piled with pick and shovel, fuze and dynamite, meal and flour, and the ot4er few modest necessaries needed by the miner or prospector in his distant camp. Neddy is indeed the miner’s friend, and much appreciated by him.
Prospecting and mining are fast settling down into systematic work, and are no longer conducted hazardous as at first.
The old prospectors are quite au fait at their duties; they understand the geology of the country, and the conditions under which gold should be found, the lie of the reefs, and as one of them styled it, “the habits of the critter,” and so save time and money. Cornish and Italian miners, too, are being largely employed when available.
Gold seeking is conducted thus: -The prospectors, generally in couples, leave town with a Neddy or two laden with a tiny tent 2.nd rough outfit. Climbing the mountains, they pitch their tent on a spot with some indications of reef, and from this prospect in a wide radius tramping wearily from early morn to dewy evening up hill and down dale, with hammer am haversack, “fossicking” as they go, and returning at night to crush their quartz and pan it off.
The work is resumed day after day, the tent being removed from time to time until either success crowns their labours, or weary and disgusted with disappointment they give it up. We hear all about the splendid finds; little about the disappointments; although now that the auriferous deposits have been tracked down to a clearly defined district, the work of the prospector is much lightened and his chance of success proportionately increased.
|Ye merchantmen of Durban|
|Who sit with folded hands,|
|How little can ye realise|
|The toils of savage lands.|
|How little can ye realise|
|The cloudless, burning skies,|
|The toil-worn searcher'” labours|
|As with weary, aching eyes|
|He scans the rugged mountain slopes|
|With weary, tottering pace,|
|With “Hope,” an angel in his breast,|
|And courage in his face.|
|Or when the wintry blasts are out.|
|And the bright wind’s piercing breath,|
|Upbears on its vile vampire wings|
|A painful, lingering death.|
|Then, then, it is ye merchantmen,|