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AUSTRALIAN LETTER FROM MR. LEWIS, LATE OF NEWPORT. "Dalton's Flat, Ballarat Diggings, November 19th, 1853. My dear Parents,—' Hope, long deferred, maketh the heart grow sick.' This adage I can most truly subscribe to, having waited so long and so anxiously for letters from you. The last I received, was in answer to mine from the Cape of Good Hope nearly three weeks elapsed be- tween the arrival of the Overland mail (from here April 5th), which arrived in England about June 18th, and the departure of the next, July 8th, by which I fully ex- pected to receive an answer to my letter, but was disap- pointed; and although several later mails have been re- ceived in the colony, yet I get no letter from you. I am fully aware that the post-office regulation^ jo **us colony are very defective, cqgl Itjkrgc numbers of lexers tfciver reach their owners, and I fear that I am to be one of the victims of the inefficiency of the post-office department: perhaps I shall receive half-a-dozen letters at one time. You will have perceived, from my former letters,* (if you have re- ceived them), that I am at these diggings since July 20th, but have only cleared my expenses, although we have worked hard all the time we have been here; but if we succeed in getting a claim through which the lode of gold runs, it will amply repay us for all the time we have hitherto lost, and we are determined to stick to it until we succeed; we stand the same chance as other men, and scarcely a week passes without our hearing of some one or other of our acquaintance at the diggings, leaving, to re- turn to England—being satisfied with the quantity of gold he has obtained, (perhaps, only out of one or two claims) but let no one suppose this to be easily got; the present diggings on Ballarat are the deepest in the colony, and consequently more difficult. I will give you a. description of one of the Ballarat holes :—A depth of from 100 to 145 feet—eight men in a party: the holes making a deal of water (salt), they require to be timbered or slabbed all the way down; consequently, the first operation is to proceed to the bush, select some good, straight-grained trees (which requires experience), fell, and split them into slabs, about four feet long, and haif-an-inch thick; then to adze them smooth and straight, fit them so that each four shall be of the same width, and bore holes in them with an augur, for pegs to be driven in to secure the slabs in their places. Having about 800 of these ready, then commence J sinking for some time, two by day and two by night—the other four being employed in preparing the slabs. When at the depth of about 60 feet, we strike a soft sand or drift, through which the water runs, as through a sieve. After this, it will require two men at the windlass, and one in the hole, which makes three for each watch and, remem- ber, the one who gets into the hole to sink, is wet through in about ten minutes after he goes down he works down for six hours, changes his clothes, and takes a hand at the windlass, in the place of one of the others, who goes down in his stead, until the other watch relieves them; so that the hole is always being worked, except at midnight and mid-day, for the respective watches to take their dinner or supper; and, perhaps, after sinking to the depth of 110 feet, and driving some 10 or 12 feet, you can get nothing that will pay for washing; while, perhaps, the next hole to yours will yield £ 1000 to each man, and, in many in- stances, during the past winter, more than that. Some of the holes have yielded from 800 lbs. to 1000 lbs. weight of go!d; and it is generally thought that this summer will open up ground far richer than anything ever yet known. I heartily hope that I shall be able to tell you this by word of mouth before this time twelvemonth; trust me, it will not be for want of trying, and that very hard. About five weeks ago, we all four worked 48 hours, with- out rest, to secure a piece of ground, and by thus working, we obtained about £45 per man, which is nearly all we have got since we have been here. My three mates" were fellow-passengers in the Clara Symes, and you will, perhaps, remember something of them when I say they belonged to berth No. 9. I have not received any letter from Alfred since I left town, although I have written to him three times—but the inland postage, especially, is very irregular, and it is not at all improbable that he has never received any of them; but I have heard of him seve- ral times, by fellow-passengers, who have seen him at Williamstown, and about a fortnight ago, two of my mates were in town, and saw Mr. David Morris, lithogra- pher, formerly of Newport, who told them that Alfred was quite well, and still with the builder; indeed, I am very thankful to Mr. Morris for the care he has taken with him, (although I would rather he was up here,) and put him in a way of earning good wages. It is not by any means a desirable place for one of his age." No such letters have been received. It is evident from from this remark, that letters and newspapers forwarded to him, as well as his letter home, are detained.