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The Dictionary of Australasian Biography/Bland, Rivett Henry

< The Dictionary of Australasian Biography

Bland, Rivett Henry, is the son of Dr. Thomas Bland, and was born at Newark, Nottinghamshire, on Feb. 2nd, 1811. He was educated at the Grammar School, Newark, and studied for the medical profession at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, London. Leaving England in May 1829, for Western Australia, he arrived in August, and after a short interval was appointed by the then Governor (Sir James Stirling) to settle the York </noinclude>district, about seventy miles distant from Perth. In this locality he remained for a number of years as resident magistrate, his principal duty being to protect the settlers from the blacks, with whose language and customs he obtained an intimate acquaintance. Towards the end of 1848 he accompanied Captain Charles Fitzgerald, who had in the meantime become Governor of Western Australia, in the capacity of private secretary, on an expedition to Champion Bay, for the purpose of examining a lode of galena, discovered on the Murchison River by Mr. Augustus C. Gregory. The party consisted of the Governor, Mr. Bland, Mr. Gregory, three soldiers, and a servant. The discovery was verified, but on the return journey the Governor was speared in the leg by the blacks, and Mr. Bland had a narrow escape. Returning to England after a visit to the eastern colonies, he was in 1852 appointed resident Director of the Port Phillip and Colonial Gold Mining Company, and arrived in Melbourne towards the end of that year. In 1856 he arranged with the proprietors of some land at Clunes to commence mining operations on some quartz lodes, and erected an extensive plant of machinery in conjunction with a party of miners, afterwards called the Clunes Quartz Mining Company. This mine has continued to be worked to the present time with varying results. The total gold, raised from 1857 to 1884 was 506,220 ounces, of the value of £2,029,078 13s. 7d., giving a profit of nearly half a million from an outlay under £20,000.