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Gold Rush Languages

When researching the past you must understand the language from the past and as humans cannot leave things without change the language can be complicated.

ADIT An adit is a more or less horizontal drive (walk-in mine) into a hill that is usually driven for the purpose of intersecting or mining an ore body. An adit may also be driven into a hill to intersect or connect a shaft for the purpose of dewatering. Adits were commonly driven on a slight incline to enable loaded mine trucks to have the advantage of a downhill run out, while the empty (lighter) truck was pushed uphill back into the hill. An adit only becomes a tunnel if it comes out again on the hill somewhere, like a train tunnel.
AIR SHAFT This term is one of the over used ones. There is a lot of effort in digging a mine. You don’t do it if you don’t have to. The air shaft is usually an abandoned shaft which has been intersected during the normal course of following the common denominator (usually a quartz vein) or driven a small distance to or along a vein to a known abandoned or disused shaft. An intersection provides ventilation. Two entrances to the surface provide a natural airflow, hence the term air shaft.
ALLOY Mixture of two or more metals.
ALLUVIAL Earth material moved and washed or transported by water. Alluvial gold (touched by water).
AMALGAM Mixture of gold and mercury.
ANTICLINE The arch of a fold within strata. Bent rock, the curved over hump.
AURIFEROUS Containing gold.
BAD TURN Got sick unexpectedly.
BANJO An alluvial gold washing trough, a shovel, musical instrument, a carrying case for Chinese gold scales.
BILLY A can used to boil water mostly for a cup of tea on a campfire. Also refers to a male goat.
BLUEY A blanket commonly used by traveling diggers in which they rolled up their belongings.
BORING Drilling holes into hard rock.
BULLOCKY Person in charge or driver of bullock team.
BULLOCK Male gender of cattle after castration. Bull becomes a bullock. Usually the larger and older variety preferred for work in fields and haulage. Also called a steer, which refers to any age
BULLWHEEL A belt driven drive wheel, located on the side of a machine such as on a stamper battery.
BUMBLE FOOTED Usually refers to a horse that doesn’t pick its feet up properly when walking and half trips all the time.
CALIFORNIAN HAT Or Windsail. Like a sail this calico or canvas funnel, faced into the wind at the top of a shaft and directed the airflow down the shaft.
CANT HOOK Device used to turn (move) logs and timber poles.
CHINAMANS HORSE Refers to a horse that stops to go to the toilet while you are riding it.
CLEANING UP After the stamper battery has stopped cleaning up refers to getting the gold and or separating the gold and mercury from the copper plates.
COLLAR Entry to a shaft. Usually supported by pig stying timber for 10 or 15 feet to support the upper loose ground
COUNTRY ROCK Normal rock in an area. The rock that surrounds a quartz vein or seam
COUSIN JACK Cornish miners
GULLY RAKER Large rain causing gullies to flow with a lot of movement
CRADLE Alluvial gold washing box with slides and riffles to catch gold
CRIBBING Cribbing time meant playing the card game cribbage, usually in the lunchroom when you should have been working. The lunch box became known as a crib box and lunch was refereed to as having your crib. The term also applied to the close setting of timbers usually in porous ground to stop leaching
CRUCIBLE Used to melt gold
DEEP LEED A run of alluvial gravel’s or a gold bearing alluvial seam that uses underground methods to extract it.
DETONATOR Something that will set off or initiate an explosive
DISHING Gold Panning
DOLLY POT Small hand operated (motor and pestle) rock crusher used to sample for ore and to sample ore for gold. Most were made from mercury bottles
DONKEY A stationary steam engine
DREDGING Using a machine to dig up and sought through alluvial gravel’s in a watercourse
DRIVE An underground excavation within the mine
EXPLOSIVE Any substance that will when detonated violently and quicker than the speed of sound (hence the sonic boom or loud bang) increase in size.
FACE The dead end of any section of an underground working. That’s what you will hit if you walk in without a light
FALL OF EARTH Cave in
FIRING The term fire in the hole denotes a firing in progress. Refers to the setting off of explosives
FLOATER Rocks or ground that appears to be solid that is not attached to the bedrock or country rock.
FOWL AIR A possible problem underground. No taste, smell, colours, unfortunately no OXYGEN! Affected by fowl air underground your heart rate increases, you become short of breath and faint before you expire if you do not beat a hasty retreat
FOSSICKER Alluvial surface gold digger. Hence the term fossicking license
GADD A small rock wedge or chisel also known as a moil
GIN POLE Long portable stick with a pulley on top for use as a crane usually to lift shed poles into position
GOLD A naturally occurring, homogenous, inorganic substance of definite or fairly definite chemical composition with characteristics physical properties, formed by the chain reaction of nuclear reactions involved in a super nova and that specific atomic structure is classified as GOLD. From the Drinkwater Doctrine of metallurgic sciences in geophysics and associated science!
GOOLEY. OR GOOK A rock
GRADE The quantity of minerals present in an ore, e.g. 100 ozs to the ton is high-grade ore
GRASS CUTTER Someone who drives well over on the edge of a dirt road
GRASS HOPPER A Kangaroo
GRAIN A weight reference to gold
JACK 1.  A male donkey.
2.  A lifting device, e.g. Wallaby Jack used to change wheels on
Bullock wagons or lift mine trucks back onto lines after derailment.
3.  A shortened version of the name John.
4.  A common name for any male person who you did not really know.
Today people use the expression “man”.
5.  A prefix to suggest something about that person as follows
JACK THE JOURNEY MAN Any traveler
JACK OF ALL TRADES A person who is familiar with the trades of many different jobs
JOHNNY A Chinese person on the goldfields
JOURNEY MAN A Blacksmith who has completed his trade and is traveling to work for master blacksmiths in order to gain experience
HAMMER AND TAP The process of drilling holes in hard rock by manually hitting and turning (rotating) a drill steel.
LAGGING Secondary timber placed behind main timber in a shaft, drive, tunnel or adit to support loose rock
MAN KILLER A hand held tool like an axe or pick that is really too big for the job.
MINER On the goldfields a miner looked for reef gold
MULLOCK Waste rock thrown outside a shaft or other underground working around the entrance forming a heap. Mullock heap.
NUGGET Larger than normal piece of alluvial gold. A small pieces a colour, then a speck then a Nugget. The first gold commissioner on the Ophir Goldfield, R.J. Hardy observed a nugget was half an ounce or more and held special attraction to fossickers.
ORE A rock that holds a metal you want. If quartz has gold in it then that quartz is classed as ore.
PANNING The first Australian gold pans were frying pans with the handles removed. Therefore the frying pan was no good for frying but good for gold so it became gold panning with a gold pan.
POMMY A New Chum to the Colony.  New chums especially from England unaccustomed to the Australian climate would get sunburn especially on the facial checks. Until they tanned and acclimatized they were named after the colour of the fruit pomegranate, which is red.
POVERTY POT Small container into which you placed the results of each dish until the end of the day, when you washed up.
PUDDLE Soaking alluvial wash to make it easier to recover the gold. Gold panning was sometimes referred to as puddling a dish. A puddling machine that was whim operated used a horse to walk around a circular trough to rake over water soaked paydirt.
QUARTZ Olivine rich. Olivine is the most common mineral on earth. Silica based it is an igneous rock that transported impurities towards the surface of the earth.. Weighs 165 lbs. per cubic foot.
RED COATS Police in 1800s named after the British red uniform.
REEF AND REEF GOLD The reef is the seam of rock the gold comes from and reef gold depicts it as being located or recovered from the reef.
RETORT Used to separate or vaporize off mercury from gold.
ROUND A pattern of drill holes bored for a firing.
RUSH Refers to uncontrolled movement of animals, in America it’s called a stampede. Most commonly used to describe spooked cattle, however for a period in time applied to the movement of gold diggers towards goldfields.
SHAFT A vertical or semi vertical excavation into the earth. Underlay shaft is on an angle.
SHANKSES PONY An imaginary horse to go from one place to another. You really are walking, you haven’t got a horse
SINKING The process of downward excavation
SLUICE A long inclined (one in twelve drop) trough through which water flows with gravel and dirt. If all works well gold is trapped by obstructions called riffles.
SPECIMEN Larger than normal piece of reef gold
SPIDER. MINERS Fashioned piece of metal used to hold a candle underground. Usually with a hook and point
STICK MAN A pensioner. Not in the work force, unable to work.
TAILINGS The already treated gold bearing material. E.g. tailings dam or heap.
TAILING The art of holding onto a horses tail while the horse walks uphill and tows you along behind.
TAMPING Or stemming. The act of packing a substance in behind an explosive to make it air tight and therefore work more efficiently
TIP SPIDER (bitten by) rocks falling out of mine truck or bucket. Been bitten by a tip spider if you get you finger caught between rocks.
WASHING UP Recovering the gold at the end of the day from an alluvial gold machine.
WHINZE A shaft within an underground working.
WHITE KANGAROO A roadside guide post
WHIP SHY Doesn’t like loud noise like the crack of a stock whip