A Lady’s Visit to the Gold Diggings of Australia in 1852-53 is an engaging and fascinating book, and was a best-seller in its day. Ellen Clacy was only 21 when she and her brother travelled from England to the goldfields of Victoria, to seek their fortunes – and this is the story of their travels, complete with tales of being lost in the bush, the rescue of an orphan girl, an encounter with bushrangers, and of course, the discover of GOLD!
Whether or not Ellen actually experienced all these events herself, it’s a fabulous picture of Melbourne and the goldfields at this time. Alas, though it’s now in the public domain, it’s written in language that makes it inaccessible to even an advanced English language learner, so an adaptation seemed to be the answer.
Here’s the original introduction:
It was in the beginning of April, 185-, that the excitement occasioned by the published accounts of the Victoria “Diggings,” induced my brother to fling aside his Homer and Euclid for the various “Guides” printed for the benefit of the intending gold-seeker, or to ponder over the shipping columns of the daily papers. The love of adventure must be contagious, for three weeks after (so rapid were our preparations) found myself accompanying him to those auriferous regions. The following pages will give an accurate detail of my adventures there–in a lack of the marvellous will consist their principal faults but not even to please would I venture to turn uninteresting truth into agreeable fiction. Of the few statistics which occur, I may safely say, as of the more personal portions, that they are strictly true.
Here’s the Easy Read version:
GOLD! At the start of April 1852, the news from the Victorian gold ‘Diggings’ made my brother stop reading his Latin and Greek books and turn to the shipping information in the newspaper. Three weeks later I joined him in a journey to Australia. This is the story of my adventures there…