Diary of Sarah Davenport

Primary sources written by women from the goldfields are few and far between. Diaries such as this provide a valuable insight into a word we rarely see.


Sarah Davenport, diary. 1841-1846


Accession number: MS 10541


From the State Library of Victoria's Manuscript Collection.


See the catalogue record for this item




... could be no ill will they was old friends and they [would] meet again but they was too fond of thair drink

we was four days traviling to Mount alaxander at nights when we camped one of us had to watch the horse all night for thair was plenty of hors stealing as some of the partis that got drunk and neglected to take that precaution found to thair los we arrived safe on Novembe 5 we looked for a quiet place to camp and put up our tents and got ready to dig for goold the next day they soon began to get goold for it was plentiful my husband and sons got a pach and was making about one ounce a day the 3 men was making two

we had not been thair maney days when me and another wife whent a looking round the hills we had each a knife and a tin plate to get goold in if we shold find anny I picked up a bit and shewed it to her she [took it] out of my hand [and dropped it] i was not [able to find it] for the grass was both thick and high but i soon picked up a peice about a quarter of an ounce my yongest son came for the dinner and said they wold make two ounces or more 'tell father i will make three' for we had found a patch of surface we got a tub and pick and spade and washed one tub full we caried down tothe creek to wash in a buket and washed it and finished in a tin dish [the] first tubful yealded about a 3 ounces the next 4 we was in high glee when both her husbands party and my husband and sons came and to work they went and so we had to give in but we had made 7 ounces it was fryday'

on the sunday it was very wet raining heavy but some neither minded the day nor the rain for goold was on the surface..."

Transcription from:


No place for a nervous lady by Lucy Frost. McPhee Gribble/Penguin Books 1985.

Women on the goldfields