Frank the Poet at Tambaroora

Tambaroora street sign Hill End (photo Mark Gregory Feb 2011)
The Sydney Morning Herald 8 September 1853

TAMBAROORA has suffered severely from the rush to Burrandong, and is by no means the place it once was; but a return tide has set in without, however, benefitting to any material extent the old digging grounds. Many of the return parties have commenced operations upon the Pyramul, where there is a vast extent of untried country, over which, upon the various points, upwards of a hundred diggers are scattered. Amongst these are Bush and Newman's party, formerly of Dirt Hole Creek, where they netted 70 and 30 ozs. of gold a short time ago, in two consecutive weeks, and a party of Germans, who have commenced sluicing with very fair success, the former being supplied with 300 yards of hose for the purpose. A local celebrity, who answers to the cognomen of Frank the poet, has added his physical and poetical strength to the former, where his bones and sinews are likely to be of more service than his brains.


MacNamara's presence as a gold miner in Tambaroora in 1853 is corroborated by evidence given to the the Coroner's inquest into his death in Mudgee in 1861:

Robert WELSH having been sworn, said that the deceased had resided with him on the Pipe Clay Creek diggings. ... Had known him for eight years. He had a complaint which caused him to spit blood. He earned a great deal of money, and spent it very freely; had known him to obtain "hundreds a week" at Tambaroora.

Now a ghost town, Tambaroora was once a thriving gold rush settlement. The Hill End-Tambaroora Gold Field was one of the richest gold mining areas in New South Wales, and the first reef mining area in Australia. Gold was discovered in 1851, but the ‘boom’ years were 1871-74, during which the population reached 8,000. The total production of gold from the district was over 50 tonnes; including the famous Beyers and Holtermann nugget (286 kg), the largest single piece of reef gold ever discovered.