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Ellen (Mrs Charles) CLACY

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"A lady's visit to the gold diggings of Australia in 1852-53"

In the introductory paragraph of this book, Ellen Clacy outlined the task she had set herself.

"It may be deemed presumptuous that one of my age and sex should venture to give to the public an account of personal adventures in a land which has so often been descanted upon by other and abler pens; but when I reflect on the many mothers, wives and sisters in England, whose hearts are ever longing for information respecting the dangers and privations to which their relatives at the antipodes are exposed, I cannot but hope that the presumption of my undertaking may be pardoned in consideration of the pleasure which an accurate description of some of the Australian Gold Fields may perhaps afford to many..."

This book received enthusiastic reviews when first published in 1853 and soon went into a second edition. It not only outlined conditions on the goldfields themselves but described the difficulties faced by those who arrived in Melbourne from England--unobtainable accommodation, high cost of living and the impossibility of finding tradespeople.

A contemporary review described the book as "the most pithy and entertaining of all the books that have been written on the gold diggings."