My goodness – what a year this was.
1872 stands as the defining year of the NSW goldfields – the year that cemented their place forever in the annals of the world’s richest gold discoveries and the year that also contained the imminent seeds of demise for the NSW gold mining industry.
The iconic image that captures the mayhem and madness of that 12 months will always be that of the massive specimen of gold and quartz removed from the Beyers and Holtermann claim on Hawkins Hill in late October.
Bernard Holtermann had been the former part owner of the mine prior to it being floated as a public company earlier in the year and he retained a key role in its management. It was however, no more his big rock than any other of the company’s many shareholders. He was just flamboyant enough to claim all the PR rights.
Left:Group of men including B.O. Holtermann to the left of Holtermann Gold Specimen, Hill End, NSW, 1872. Reproduced courtesy National Library of Australia nla.pic-vn4728797