In the summer of 18S9, ]ames leaves his sweetheart, Sally, to seek adventure as a stockman in the Snowy Mountains high country. Before the summer is over, the Kiandra gold rush has broken and his life has taken a direction he could never have foreseen. The Snowy River Diggings at Kiandra saw one of the shortest but most turbulent rushes in Australia's gold rush history. In April 1860, at the height of the rush, ten thousand men and women were scouring the district in search of gold. Within less than two years, the township that sprang up amongst the slush and snow had faded to a half-empty shanty town. For a brief period, Kiandra became the haunt of some of Australia's most notorious bushrangers, including Frankie Gardiner, and was so renowned for lawlessness and robberies that it was dubbed Mount Rascal. Disputes amongst the miners were rife. River men were pitched against ground sluicers and a mob of ruffians known as The Boys intimidated anyone who stood in their way. Complaints about Gold Commissioner Cooper's biased decisions and drunken antics eventually led to a Parliamentary Inquiry in 1862. James falls in with a young radical, Davy Hughes, who provokes the ire of The Boys and Commissioner Cooper by challenging their authority and championing against injustice. The arrival of Kitty McCrae changes Davy's and ]ames's lives forever. Sally joins the three of them briefly for summer, before the events of the following spring bring tragedy.
'A very accurate and well researched history of Kiandra in the 1860/61 gold rush, interwoven with believable ﬁctional characters.' -- Paddy Kerrigan, Kiandra historian
'Kiandra Gold is well named: it glitters like the mineral that lies at the heart of the story. And what a story: murder, love, mystery, the tough leathery life of the diggings in the high country, sublime scenery, and a gritty realisation of a world we have lost. Any historian would be proud to claim the research. I couldn't put it down.' -- Professor Iain McCalman, historian and author