No. 47
30th July 1864
Impressed with the singular ignorance of the resources of the interior of this Island, which prevailed on my assuming Office, I felt the great necessity of some organized system of exploration.
In the then existing temper of the Legislative Assembly, and their opinion recorded in ResolutionstransmittedManuscript image transmitted by my Predecessor that the Crown Lands were "valueless," I was unwilling to apply to the Legislature for funds to carry out my views.
In this juncture I found some public spirited Gentlemen connected with the trade and commerce of the Colony willing to aid me in this matter on my undertaking to contribute two dollars from Crown Revenue, for every one which was raised by public subscription.
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A Committee was formed, subscriptions raised, and a party organized and despatched on the 8th June last.
It is not my intention in this hastily written Despatch to go into details. I may, however, state generally that although a portion only of the south Eastern part of the Island has been examined, the results have been very satisfactory, and a considerable quantity of good agricultural land discoveredaboundingManuscript image abounding with game and many fur-bearing animals. I will at a later period furnish you with a detailed account of the proceedings of the exploring party.
My object in at present addressing you is to give the earliest information of alleged gold discoveries in the Sooke River District about 20 miles to the Westward of Victoria, and with this view I enclose a copy of the Report of the leader of the exploring party, Mr RobertBrownManuscript image Brown, a gentleman in whose intelligence and veracity I have every reliance.
A considerable number of people have already left Victoria for the Sooke District. I have sent an Acting Gold Commissioner, and issued such Rules and Regulations as are necessary for the present to insure order and protect the public interests.
The District where these alleged discoveries have been made is unsurveyed and unoccupied,andManuscript image and I have therefore marked it on the Maps, and notified it as a Crown Reserve to be dealt with as may be hereafter found expedient.
I may observe that a yield of one quarter of that obtained at Cariboo would be more profitable to the miners at Sooke, owing to its proximity to this City, the cheapness of provisions as compared with the prices at other diggings and the easy access by land and by water.
I will keep you informedofManuscript image of any further discoveries which may be made.
I have the honor to be,
Your very obedient Servant
A.E. Kennedy
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
This is great news from VanC. Island. If the discovery proves valuable, the Colony and the Crown Revenue will largely benefit. Further reports will be sent by the Governor. In the mean time send a copy of this desph to Land Board for infn. See 8759 (since brought to me).
ABd 19 Sep
Yes. Vide 8759.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Newspaper clipping, "The Sooke Diggings. Rich Discoveries! Extensive Gold Fields. Letter from Dr. Brown," The British Colonist, 29 and 30 July 1864.
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Clipping from unnamed newspaper, no date, containing government proclamations respecting the gold district at Sooke, acquisition of licenses, extent of claims, and appointment of Richard Golledge as Gold Commissioner.
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Kennedy, No. 64, 1 December 1864.