Bullfinch is located about 35km north west of Southern Cross.
The town lies in what is at best, marginal agricultural land and is best known for gold mining. The town has survived due to the combination
of these industries but there are few people living there today. (Note: the population figure given indicates the area not just the townsite.)
In 1888 Colreavy found gold 8 miles west of Bullfinch at Golden Valley. Later Greaves and Payne were out hunting kangaroo when they also found gold on George Lukin's property.
A number of other gold strikes were made in the area but Bullfinch remained undiscovered until 1909. (One source states that Greaves found gold in 1887 at a place that was originally
called 'Cordelia' after his daughter but was then gazetted as Knutsford and reverted back to Golden Valley again after the area was abandoned when the gold ran out.)
Charles Edwin Jones found gold in the area in 1909 and a mine was quickly established. His find lay near the track from Southern Cross to Golden Valley
and many miners had passed close by not knowing of the riches just below their feet. In the first six months of operation over 11,000 ouces of gold was processed.
The name Bullfinch was chosen due to the number of these birds in the vicinity and a townsite
was gazetted the same year. D. L. Doolette and V. Shallcross took up the first mining lease and they supplied the name for the mine.
A post office was established in 1910 and the following year the railway connected the town to Southern Cross. The first school was held at the newly constructed Methodist Hall
but this was not a suitable building and a school was built in 1911.
A strike over miner's wages in 1910 lasted 6 weeks.
In 1913 there was a gold robbery and 3000 pounds worth of gold was taken. A 500 pound reward for information failed to convince anyone to come forward.
In 1915 a 3 bed hospital replaced the fly proof tents that had served this purpose up until that time.
A name change was proposed (Dooena) in honour of L. Doolette but the proposal was rejected.
The dry climate, wooden buildings and kerosene lamps were not a good combination. Building fires were frequent and when the local hotel burned down, a new one was quickly constructed.
Soon after the new hotel opened for business, there was a 'beer strike' by the thirsty miners who demanded - not lower prices - but bigger glasses. Apparently they got what they wanted.
World War 1 brought a slow down in mining activity and after the war things never quite got back to normal. The Bullfinch Mine closed in 1921 and the same year the
police station closed down. A year later the hospital also closed.
Luckily for the town, as mining petered out farming moved in to the district and brought a temporary resurgence. When the farms began to fail and were abandoned mining once again started
up and this cycle was to continue on and off for many years.
In 1952 Western Mining took over the Copperhead Mine which operated until 1963. The mine reopened under new ownership in 1987 and higher gold prices kept it going for another 15 years.
The town has now returned to a sleepy half-existence.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
Dr. Edwards was involved in a court case over shares in a Marie's Find mine. The doctor lost the case and when his former business partner fell ill, the doctor
refused to attend. The result was the death of his former business partner and a lot of very unhappy prospective patients.
Marry me! Or Else!
An English immigrant was working as a farm hand for a local farmer and eventually asked the farmer for permission to marry his daughter. The proposal was rejected
and the farm hand then menaced the farmer's daughter with a gun. She managed to talk him out of doing anything silly but he returned later with a stolen rifle and
began firing into the farm house. The farmer's daughter returned fire while the farmer went to Southern Cross for help.
Eventually the farm hand gave up and stole a car at gunpoint. On his way back from Southern Cross with a 'posse' the farmer spotted the farm hand driving the stolen
vehicle and opened fire killing him instantly.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
State : Eyre
Federal : O'Connor
Postcode : 6484
Local Government : Shire of Yilgarn
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