Interesting reading, and led me to http://trove.nla.gov.au/, which I've not seen before. A trove indeed!
I live not too far from the old gold and antimony mines at Hillgrove / Metz in northern New South Wales. Australia's a relatively young country and much of the early exploring was done to open the country up for agricultural use, and to find gold. Here's a link to a post in my photoblog that illustrates the country that the old-time miners had to work in. The photoblog post itself references articles in my local history (via old newspaper articles) blog which were written in 1891 by somebody who appears to have been a mining inspector (or some-such related occupation).
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