The legend of Lady Deborah
Late last century, an English lord became penniless when his roguish elder brother gambled away the family fortune and estates, and then took to the high seas as a pirate.
With nothing more than his title, the lord migrated to Australia to try and strike it rich on the goldfields, so that he might return to England and reclaim his family estates.
The lord arrived at the Sandhurst (Bendigo) goldfields, set up camp and immediately began his search for the elusive material. As time went by and the lord made several quite possible strikes, he began to suspect that a rich reef of gold ran under the township. Although other miners scoffed at his suspicions, claiming that all the reefs in the area had been discovered, the lord became obsessed with finding the reef.
The only person who believed the lord was a young dancer with Lola Montez’ chorus line. Deborah was strikingly beautiful, possessed of a sparkling smile, laughing eyes and a charm which entranced all who met her. It was love at first sight for the lord when he saw her at a Lola Montez show. He courted her and won her heart.
The lord’s burning desire to find the reef of gold was the only thing that exceeded his passion for Deborah. He refused to marry her until he could keep her in the manner he would wish. He wanted to reclaim his title and make her his Lady Deborah. Hence, he referred to the elusive reef as Deborah’s reef.
Working feverishly night and day the lord became very ill. He drove himself onward, consumed by his burning ambition to find the reef. Deborah begged him to cease his quest and save his health but he continued. Deborah has taken to keeping a vigil at the top of the mine shaft while the lord worked below.
One bleak day, the lord failed to return to the surface, and an extremely worried Deborah persuaded some miners to descend the mine and search for him. They found the lord dead with a large gold nugget in his hand. In the wall of the tunnel where he had begun digging they could see clearly a gold reef.
Deborah was overcome with grief and refused to leave the site of the mine. For two days she huddled piteously by the mine shaft. Sometime during the second night she vanished. Police and miners searched the mine and surrounding area but to no avail.
Legend has it that Deborah disappeared into the mine and to this day has protected the mine and all those who enter it.
Over the years miners often reported sighting a mysterious woman just before they made a rich strike. The mine closed in 1954, but recent sightings of a ghostly golden figure in the Bendigo area has been reported.