The Waranga Rebellion and Rushworth’s Gutsy Gold Commissioner

By Mike Wellington

No account of Rushworth’s long history of producing some of the purest alluvial gold in the world would be complete without mention of one of the town’s most influential characters – gold commissioner, Richard Henry Horne.

Never an impressive man in appearance and more an intellectual than a man of action, Richard Horne was born into a military family in Edmonton, England, where his father served as a senior supply and logistics officer. His father’s army influence was sufficient to have his son admitted in 1819 at the age of 17, to the prestigious Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.Unfortunately, young Horne possessed a rebellious streak that would doubtless have displeased his authoritarian father. This dislike of authority coupled with a number of disruptive incidents at Sandhurst, resulted in Horne being ousted from the academy after only one year.

He was unable to settle to any steady job and, incredibly for a man unhappy with military discipline, Horne signed on as a midshipman in the Mexican Navy. It’s unlikely Horne faced much danger through shot and shell as a Mexican naval officer as the period of hostilities between America and Mexico occurred mainly between 1844 and 1849, some 15 years after Horne had returned to England. However, his subsequent travels through America and Canada doubtless provided him with valuable life experience.

The full article can be found in the August 2011 issue of Gold Gem and Treasure. Subscribe now.

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