professional historians australia (south australia)
Home > On this day > March > 19 March 1852 Gold Escort

19 March 1852 Gold Escort

 19 March 1852   Gold Escort

On 19 March 1852 the Commissioner of Police, Alexander Tolmer, and his party of troopers trotted down King William Street to the Treasury Building to deposit the gold, valued at £18,456, they had brought back from the diggers in Victoria.

This was the first of several gold escorts which, under the Bullion Act, helped to restore South Australia's dwindling finances. The idea of providing the escort was Tolmer's, and he suggested to the Lieutenant-Governor that he could find a shorter route to the Victorian fields by taking a direct line to Mount Alexander from Wellington, through what he called the 100 mile scrub, in all a distance of something over 300 miles.

The return trip took 14 days and, apart from a brief encounter with 'half a dozen of the most cut throat looking scoundrels I ever beheld', as he described them, the journey was uneventful. For his enterprise Tolmer was honoured with a public meeting to express the thanks of all South Australians.

The second escort arrived on 4 May with £70,000 worth of gold.

The journey was re-enacted as part of the Bicentenary celebrations in 1988.

Alexander Tolmer, Reminiscences,  Volume II, Sampson Low, London, 1882, pp. 19, 148.

Tags: Gold Escort, Tolmer Alexander