Lyn Edwards – or Gwendolynne Edwards, to use her full name – was the most successful of the solitary female gold miners. She fought in the Eureka Stockade rebellion alongside Peter Lalor and the others, but escaped charges when captured (due to the sexism of the magistrate, who believed her to be nothing more than a pawn of some man). Edwards relocated to the Castlemaine gold fields, and continued prospecting. In 1856, her perseverance paid off, when she found one of the largest nuggets ever discovered.
Not that she made this fact public – it was only years later when her journals were turned over to the State Library that the find was properly recorded. Instead, Edwards melted the nugget down into smaller pieces, which she then broke down even further to create gold dust. For the rest of her life, she would dip into this supply as needed, trading a small quantity for enough money to go on.
In 1861, she bought a pub located betwixt Dandenong and Cranbourne, not far from the rail line. Here, she served booze, pimped girls and ran games of chance, carefully paying off the local constables to stay open. In the end, it was the games of chance that did for her. She made a mistake more characteristic of drug dealers than casino operators: she became addicted to her own supply. As her personal fortune diminished, she had to sell off shares in the pub, until finally there was nothing left of that, either. But Lyn kept right on playing two-up, right up until there was no money at all left.
Her body was found the next morning, washed up on a bend of the brook an apparent suicide.
Suburbs near Lynbrook: