The Legend of Billy Blue and the "Lost Gold Reef"

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Post  jfk on Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:36 am

Hi All.

I am curious if any of you have any information about the Legend of Billy Blue and his "Lost Gold Reef".

I have been researching this old tale and would welcome any information you may have.

I'm also happy to share with you what I have managed to find on this subject if you are interested.

Regards

JFK

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Post  nuggetninja69 on Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:09 am

It's an interesting legend. I read that he would go and hack huge peices of gold off with an axe whenever he needed some money. People also said he would come back from the bush dripping wet, leeding some to belive it was an under water reef. Any more info you can share would be great.
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Post  Guest on Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:03 pm

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Post  Guest on Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:19 pm

I had done a little research on this as it came up a few times when i was researching Yalwal mines. I had this bookmarked and will see if i can find any more, but you may have read it allready.

Taken from http://strlhistorymatters.blogspot.com/2010/01/legend-of-billy-blue.html


Tuesday, 5 January 2010
The Legend of Billy Blue

There are today perhaps very few who will recall the legend of Billy Blue. Billy Blue was a part aboriginal who with his gin lived “somewhere in the Shoalhaven Gorges”. Others persist he lived in a particular cave which for at least two generations has never been found and with increasing years its location is becoming even more remote.

Come what may, there is ample evidence that Billy Blue knew where there was a substantial amount of gold to be found. Billy was a quiet sort of chap who kept very much to himself. Periodically he would come into Marulan with small quantities of gold which he would exchange for such commodities as he required and silently and almost invisibly return to his hideout. Experts of the day were satisfied that it was not alluvial wash golf but had been hacked out of a reef.

Bill was a constant visitor to Marulan for a number of years and never seemed to be at a loss for the precious metal. Many indeed, we are told, who tried to track Billy to its source but without success. So expert was Billy’s bushcraft he was soon lost to any followers. Seeing he was so well watched he conceived a round about course arriving in Marulan by one route and returning by another. The old hands used to speak of two well known tracks known as McCallum’s and Bradley’s Tracks. It is quite apparent Billy had quite a number of routes through the scrub known only to himself.

His gin would wait for his return and should she espie any intruders she would signal him and Billy would take the que and quickly take another trail through the bush.

As age progressed Billy got very sick and he had to be given medical aid. He was hospitalised and gradually sank lower and lower. As he was about to die the story goes, he was asked to reveal the location of his gold. He firmly refused but said if they got his brother he would tell him. At this period there was a considerable aboriginal camp reserve near Yass Town known as ‘Hollywood’. By the time they were able to get his brother to his bedside Billy had passed on. It is more than possible Billy’s widow never knew its exact location for his death brought an end to any more gold. So the secret of Billy Blue’s gold passed to his grave with him.

Prospectors and geologists have repeatedly tried to find its source without success. However gold there was and the older prospectors and locals still aver the gold is still there “somewhere down in the Shoalhaven gorges”.

Source: “The Legend of Billy Blue” by SJ Tazewell (1981), in Goulburn & District Historical Society Bulletin No.157.


There was also a book that was available online at http://www.ozhistorymine.com/html/billy_blue_.html
But i was never able to read it or get any response from the admin of the site either.


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Post  Guest on Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:40 pm

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Post  Guest on Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:35 pm

What i found interesting in the above post was the mention of Marulan where he used to take/spend his gold, like i said my first referance to "Billy Blue" was in researching Yalwal and it was Nowra he used to come into to get supplies.

From Yalwal gold
by David Glasson

"Billy Blue was his name"
"There was a tribe of aboriginals up here in the early days" says Rex pointing along the ridges that ran behind his house. "they used to sharpen their spears on the rocks just up there. One of the men, 'Billy Blue' was his name, used to know where a rich patch of gold was. Whenever he needed money for something, he would go dig some of it up to cash in. No one ever found out where he had it, but many tried to follow him to his location".

Tale from Rex Fletcher

I woner how many other goldfields had their "Billy Blue" or if it was the same man scratch but a good tale nether the less.

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Post  Guest on Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:59 pm

If I recall right you will find the information in a book called.

The man from the Misty Mountains

By: Sturgiss james Henry

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Post  jfk on Thu Oct 27, 2011 10:29 pm

Hi. Thanks for the feedback to date.

Consensus suggests "Billy Blue's" lost Reef is somewhere in or around the Shoalhaven Gorges.

The "Tomahawk" or "hacking" reference is based on the fact that the gold he brought to town was "rough" and "not worn" suggesting it had been hacked from a reef. I don't have any reference to anyone seeing him with the "Tomahawk". It is suggested he never visited the same town twice in a row but rotated between towns. He was fond of the rum that he traded his gold for, but I have also read that selling rum to the aborigines was "not encouraged" at the time.

There is conflicting evidence about whether he brought the gold to town in a "Billy Can " or a glass jar ?

I have read about the "dripping wet" reference but don't place undue emphasis on it. If the "dripping wet" was significant then you would question him carrying the gold in an open Billy Can through water at the risk of losing it. More likely he crossed a river (see my comment about tribes re this).

I was fascinated that several attempts were made to contact Billy from the afterlife via seances and that 2 subsequent expeditions were mounted based on the revelations from these events. These were conducted by highly reputable folk of the time.

There is some suggestion by "Berry's" book that the reef was found in the 1890's but I have checked his references to the Annual Reports of the Mines Department and I don't see how his references about same support this - so I don't think it was found.

I have read that "Billy" was from a tribe on the Marulan side of the Shoalhaven but this seems to conflict with evidence that "Billy" was sighted around and in fact was well known in the Yanwal area. I might be wrong but isn't this on the other side of the River ? Perhaps the Reef was not "on his turf" so to speak but on another tribes ?

I will check out "The Man from the Misty Mountains" so thanks for that tip and would appreciate any further info. Also happy to provide further of what I know if anyone is interested.

Cheers






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Post  Guest on Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:35 pm

{I have read about the "dripping wet" reference} Yep it is said he would swim across the Shoalhaven river. He did this to throw people who tried to track him to the source of his gold. There are some good yarns in that book. In the book it even states where he is buried. cheers

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Post  Guest on Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:53 am

Interesting. I enjoy story's like this. but never heard of this fella. Will look up more on him. Mebe he found lassiters reef?
Cheers travelergold

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Post  Guest on Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:38 am

travelergold wrote:Interesting. Mebe he found lassiters reef?
Cheers travelergold

lol! lol! ya never know hey lol! lol!

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Post  Hoffs Gold on Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:40 pm

This is the reason I got in to prospecting I love the historical side of things, I shell look more in to this 'Billy Blue"
Cheers Hoff
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Post  piston broke on Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:23 pm

Thanks for the story boys.I think the best part of the tale is that he took his secret to his grave with him. No friggin exploitation by others. cheers Pete.
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Post  goldslugger on Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:53 pm

piston broke wrote:Thanks for the story boys.I think the best part of the tale is that he took his secret to his grave with him. No friggin exploitation by others. cheers Pete.
Very Happy well Said PB.another pearler from JAMES. i find it interesting that BILLY BLUE seemed to now the grief,misery and even death that gold and the lust for it would some-times bring. he appeared to use/spend it only as he needed it. it should have been a lesson for others, tho i spose that would be retro-spective. Neutral always enjoyable to read. thanx,and cheers Cool
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Post  Guest on Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:20 pm

Had a look on google earth and its only about 57 km's from Marulan to Nowra by the crow...

If you have ever been in the Morton National Park, you might realise you would have to live there like an aboriginal to ever stand a chance of finding the "lost reef" if it exists.

Would like to have a read of John Berrys book but the password doesnt work?!

JFK would love to here more on this as the area is just a stones throw away for me. Cool

cheers FF.

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Post  Guest on Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:25 pm

James 101 wrote:If I recall right you will find the information in a book called.

The man from the Misty Mountains

By: Sturgiss james Henry

I hope your right with that info there James as i have found a used copy of the book online and have ordered it! Wink

Cheers FF.

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Post  Guest on Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:39 pm

I am. You use to be able to get it from here as well.
Available from The Secretary, Budawang Committee, 40 Alexandria Avenue, Eastwood, N.S.W. 2122.

link
http://www.budawang.com/budawangbooks.php
cheers


Last edited by James 101 on Sat Nov 26, 2011 6:55 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add link)

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Post  Guest on Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:18 pm

So in the book, "The Man from the Misty Mountain" it says a German prospector found the lost reef. They were sure it was the reef as it had hack marks as if from a hatchet or axe and they considered that a white man would have worked it to death and left nothing there.

There goes my excuse to go feral and live in the bush for years!!
Bit of a relief really Laughing

Cheers FF.

PS: If anyone could "lend" me there copy of John Berrys book i would appreciate it. I downloaded the pdf and got the password to open it but it doesnt work.... Neutral

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Post  jfk on Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:26 pm

Berry's book refers to a series of articles printed in the Shoalhaven News in 1939 written by "A. Dare".

In one of these articles the writer recalls meeting an aboriginal man named Calligan who said Billy's reef was supposed to be in a gully where shallow water ran over a slate bottom. On asking him how he thought it possible that Billy Blue found it first, Calligan said that Billy was very fond of honey, he thought that perhaps having had a feed or gorge of honey, he had gone to get a drink and stumbled on it by accident.

I stumbled across the following poem which supports this story;

BEES

From the hollow trees in their native home
them old fellers cut the honeycomb.
On honey and little white grubs they fed,
’cause them young bees was blackfellers’ bread.
That’s why they was so mighty and strong
In their native home in Currarong.
An’ them old fellers’drink was honey-bul:
Honey and water, a coolamon full.
Naked through the bush they went,
an’ never knew what sickness meant.
Them native bees could do you no harm,
they’d crawl all over your honey-smeared arm.
But them Eyetalian bees, they’d bung
Your eyes right up. When we was young
We used to rob their honey trees.
Savage! They’d fetch your blood. Them bees
Would zoom and zing and chase a feller
From Bombaderry to Bodalla.
Well, old Uncle Ninah, old Billy Bulloo,
Old Jacky Mumbulla, King Merriman too,
Them old fierce fellers, they’re all gone now.
An’ the wild honey’s still in the gumtree bough.

Roland Robinson (related by Percy Mumbilla)
From An Australian Heritage of Verse; Jim Haynes; ABC Books; Sydney; 2001



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Post  jfk on Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:18 pm

ferrousfinder wrote: There goes my excuse to go feral and live in the bush for years!!

Maybe not ! The following tale was told to a writer and collector of narratives, Roland Robinson, by Percy Mumbulla from Wallaga Lake in the 1950s and is produced in full below.

Old Billy Bulloo was a clever old man.
He had three wives.
He’d never go out fishin’ on a calm day.
But if the sea was rough – mountains
high – he’d jump in his canoe
an’ get his fish by spearin’ em.
A mullet, he never travels in the calm.
He waits for the wind to blow a gale.
Soon as ever he feels that wind on him –
cold –he jumps out of the water.
He’s feeling for that westerly wind.
When that wind blows you see the water
black with leapin’ mullet, thousands
an’ thousands of leaping mullet:
that’s when old Billy Bulloo used to get his fish
Old Billy Bulloo found the gold
on the Shoalhaven. He’d go to the publican in Nowra an’ trade his gold
For tucker or a bottle of rum.
Lots of white men tried to foller him up.
But when he got to the bush he’d lose ‘em.
The last of my people he told
Was my old granny.
While she was in her health and’ strength,
She wanted to take us out an’ show us
Where it was. But you know
What young fellers is – they’re here
Today an’ gone tomorrer

Roland Robinson
The Nearest the White Man Gets
Hale & Ironmonger 1989

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Post  philip.j.thompson on Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:22 pm

Old thread but if its YAWAL offlimits. pirat

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Post  getascripter on Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:30 pm

It's a darned good yarn, Philip!! And one that might be worth following up ... especially now we all have Google Earth, the internet, and all of the whizz-bangs of today's prospector's arsenal Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

One might imagine that the old fella probably wouldn't be walking with a lump of the yellow for too many miles ... so triangulating all of his known haunts etc might, at the very least, suggest a 'reasonable' area to consider as 'a possibility' affraid
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