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Safe arrival of Mr Tolmer's first gold escort
Title : Safe arrival of Mr Tolmer's first gold escort Safe arrival of Mr Tolmer's first gold escort
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Source : Adelaide Observer newspaper, 20 March 1852, p. 2.
Date of creation : 1852
Additional Creator : Dunn, E.C., artist (image - The Illustrated London News, 22 May 1852, page 401)
Format : Newspaper
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
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Description :

A long report describing the arrival of Tolmer and the gold escort at Wellington from the Victorian diggings on the 11 March 1852, and in Adelaide on 19 March 1852. The article includes a list of the names of 314 South Australian prospectors, together with the amount of gold each had sent back, and in many cases includes the name of a wife or other person to whom the gold was directed.

The title from the newspaper article read: 'Glorious news: arrival of Mr Tolmer at Wellington with upwards of a quarter of a ton of gold from Mount Alexander. Details of the report included the list of gold finders, along with how much gold they found in pounds (lbs.) plus the following;

In fulfilment of the prophecy which we ventured to utter in our issue of the 11th ultimo, we have this morning the high gratification of announcing the safe arrival of Mr. Commissioner Tolmer at Wellington with the first Overland Escort, bringing upwards of a quarter of a ton of gold. The journey was accomplished in eleven days, the party having started from Mount Alexander on the 5th instant, and reached Wellington on Tuesday the 16th... The cheering prospects which are thus unfolded to the Colony will be acknowledged, we doubt not, on all hands, with emotions of profound gratitude, after the intense anxieties of the last three months.

A further detailed description of the event followed,

Many an anxious eye was yesterday averted from the noontide meal towards the point at which the Great Eastern Road issues from the picturesque Mount Lofty Ranges, and many a palpitating heart was gladdened, when the sight of an approaching cavalcade gave assurance that the gallant Captain Tolmer had not only accomplished, but even anticipated the time of his promised event.

Born in England in 1815 of French refugee parents, Tolmer's early childhood was spent in France. His mother died and his father later remarried c.1823 joining his new wife, a language teacher. Tolmer was influenced to train in languages but ended up joining the military, seeing much action and rising through the ranks.

After failing to win a vacant adjutancy position in which he was acting, Tolmer decided to migrate to South Australia in 1840 aboard the Brancken Moor (ship) and became a police inspector. His duties involved extensive time in the bush pursuing cattle thieves, murderers, smugglers and looking for illicit alcohol stills. From 1849 -50 he was acting police commissioner, becoming commissioner in 1852.  The bullion act of 1852 prompted Tolmer to suggest an overland gold escort service from Victoria to South Australia. It was designed to reverse the drain of currency from the colony during the gold rush. He accompanied the first escort on 10 February. The service continued through to December 1853.

Tolmer's temperament and leadership style led to a series of conflicts and he faced a board of enquiry in November 1853. This resulted in his demotion, although he remained in the police force as inspector and superintendant until 1856, when his position was abolished. He briefly returned to policing for nine months in 1859.  He remained in government service and in 1862 was appointed crown lands ranger, then in 1863 inspecting ranger. In 1877 he  became sub-inspector of credit lands at a salary of 330 pounds. His two volume book, Reminiscences of an Adventurous and Chequered Career at Home and at the Antipodes, was published in London in 1882. He retired in 1885.

Tolmer's first wife had died in 1867, leaving him with three children. He married Jane Douglas on 14 October 1869 at Mount Schank Station near Mount Gambier. They had four daughters and two sons. Tolmer died of uraemia at Mitcham on 7 March 1890.

Related names :

Tolmer, Alexander, 1815-1890

Brancken Moor (ship)

Coverage year : 1852
Period : 1852-1883
Place : Adelaide
Region : Adelaide city
Further reading :

Adelaide Observer, 20 March 1852, pp. 2-3

Robyn Annear, Nothing but Gold Melbourne : Text Publishing, 1999

Blake, L. J. Gold Escort Melbourne : Hawthorn Press, 1971

Gold escort re-enactment Adelaide : S.A. Police, Commonwealth Bank, 1986

Hocking, G Gold: a pictorial history of the Australian gold rush, Rowville, Vic: Five Mile Press, 2006, c2000

Mayo, J. ' Tolmer, Alexander (1815 - 1890)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, Melbourne University Press, 1976, pp 282-283.

Stone, D. I. Life on the Australian goldfields Carlton, Vic. ; [Sydney] : Methuen of Australia, [1976]

Tolmer, Alexander Reminiscences of an Adventurous and Chequered Career at Home and at the Antipodes Adelaide, [S. Aust.] : Libraries Board of South Australia, 1972

Internet links :

The Australian gold rush : stories from Australia's culture and recreation portal

National Library of Australia. Pictures catalogue

SA Memory, A rich tapestry : South Australian communities Effect of Victorian gold rush on South Australia

Sovereign Hill Ballarat Australia



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