GOLD DISCOVERIES


WESTERN AUSTRALIA

 

Gold Discoveries W.A.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From reading the historical literature it seems clear that the existence of gold in the state was known well before any of the official discoveries were announced. The information seems to have been deliberately suppressed by the government due to fears that people would abandon their usual employment and the state would be left without a labour force at a time when the continued survival of the colony was precarious in any case.

 

Robert Austin reported auriferous country in the 1850s but his reports were buried by the government. It was to be 40 years before his opinion was vindicated.

 

Our original information was that the first find of any gold reported in W.A. was near York in 1853 but we have since found that gold was sent to Adelaide for assessment from deposits of lead and copper from the Murchison area in 1848. Neither of these finds was of a commercial quantity.

 

The population of Western Australia was increased substantially due to these discoveries and from 1890 to 1900 it leapt from 48,000 to 180,000.

 

Huge amounts of gold were being found and early finds were of surface gold just sitting on the surface waiting to be picked up. The following figures indicate just one months production: Coolgardie 3760 oz, Halls Creek 115 oz, Pilbara 2654 oz, Dundas 54 oz, Murchison 8195 oz, Yilgarn 1517 oz, NE Coolgardie 128 oz, E Coolgardie 10795 oz, N Coolgardie 42 oz. A total of over 22,000 oz that would be worth over $11,000,000.00 US in today's figures.

 

It should be remembered that any official figures are only part of the story. Government duties meant that a lot of gold was smuggled out of the state and sold overseas or interstate to avoid paying the tax.

 

Early payable gold discoveries.

 

Halls Creek 1885
Yilgarn 1887
Pilbarra Creek 1888
Geraldton (Nannine) 1890
Coolgardie 1892

 

The men who found the gold.

Place

Discoverer

Lake Annean

Arthur Bayley

Coolgardie

Arthur Bayley and William Ford

Woolgar

Brown

Burbanks

Burbank

Golden Valley

Colreavy and Higgins

Cue

Tom Cue

Wealth of Nations

Dunn brothers

Feysville

Fey

Siberia

Frost

Yilgarn

Glass, Payne, Colreavy

45 Mile

Grant and See

Kimberley (Halls Creek)

Hall and Slattery

Hannans (Kalgoorlie)

Paddy Hannan, Shea and Flannagan 

Hampton Plains

Hansen and Ireland

Mulgarrie

Hayes brothers

Vosperton

Hayes brothers

Higginsville

Higgins

Mulwarrie

Higgins

Mt. Monger

Huffer and Geissney

Ive's Find

Ive

Norseman

Laurie & George Sinclair & Jack Alsopp

Lawlers

Lawler

Lake Way

Leonard brothers

Mt. Morgans

Lily

Dundas

Mawson

90 Mile

McAuliffe

White Feather

McAuliffe

Yerilla

McAuliffe and McGregor

Bardoc

McDonald

Hawk's Nest

McKenzie and Ross

McMasters

McMasters

Murchison

McPherson and Peterkin

Menzies

Menzies

Mertonville

Merton

Black Flag

Micklejohn

Londonderry

Mills, Gardner, Carter, Dawson, Elliot and Huxley

Mt. Burgess

Page

New England

Page

Edjudina

Peat

Kurnalpi

Reidy

Broad Arrow

Reison

Southern Cross

Riseley, Toomey, Frazer and Crossland

Lake Darlot

Rogers and Parkes

Bulong

Smith and Mohr 

Carbine

Smith, Thompson and Gaffney

Leonora

Sullivan

Erilston

Tom Bates 

Bonnievale

Vance and Bonny

Westonia

Weston and Bodycoat

 

Statewide gold yield.

Year

Ounces

1890

86,664

1895

879,748

1900

6,007,616

1911

5,823,075

1915

5,140,228

1920

2,624,426

1924

2,060,297

 

Rewards paid by the Government for gold discoveries..

Year

Person

Pounds sterling

1888

Widow of E.T. Hardman

500

1889

Hall and Slattery

500

1891

H. Wells

500

1891

N. Cooke

250

1892

H. Anstey

500

1892

B. Colreavy and H. Higgins

250 each

1893

J. Connelly

500

1893

W. Dagles

100

1893

M.J. Burke

150

1895

D. Glass

100

1899

T. Cue

100

1899

P. Lawler

100

1908

J. Dunn

200

1908

T. Shennel

100

Annuities

1906

P. Saunders

75

1908

P. Hannan

100

1908

D OShea

100

 

Staking a claim.

 

The procedure for staking a mining claim has changed little from the early days.

 

First any prospective miner had to obtain a Miner's Right and then (the hard part) find a bit of land that had not already been pegged and erect four posts (one at each corner of the claim).

 

The posts were to be no less than 3 feet tall and 4 inches in width. One of the posts had to have a plaque attached quoting the miners name, their Miner's Right number and the date of the claim. (This was called the datum post.) The miner, or a companion, then had to travel to the nearest Mining Warden to have the claim officially recognised.

 

Tall tales & true: Golden road!

 

Some years ago (quite a few in fact) road works were being conducted in Guildford after the railway line had been constructed and quartz was being used as the road base.

 

After some heavy rain the lumps of quartz started to come through the road surface and one day when a cart wheel struck and dislodged a piece of quartz, a sharp eyed youngster spotted the glint of gold.

 

He decided to try and find the origin of the quartz and after an extensive search discovered that it was supposed to have come from a quarry near Greenmount.

 

Even after careful examination over the years, no seam of gold has ever been found at the quarry and the origin of the gold laden quartz remains a mystery.

 

Convict Gold

 

C.C. Hunt was responsible for opening up a track to what would become the goldfields and he had with him a party of convicts who were used as labourers for sinking wells.

 

The story is told that the convicts found some gold and hid it with a view to escaping and returning later to pick up their find.

 

From what we have read to date it appears as though there was an escape attempt but the convicts were re-captured and nothing more was heard about the gold. The government at the time was not at all keen on any gold discoveries as this would have led to people abandoning their work in settled areas and there was a shortage of labour as it was.

 

Is there buried, somewhere along Hunt's Track, a stash of convict gold? I suppose we will never know.

 

Declared Gold Fields.

 

Ashburton, Coolgardie, Dundas, East Murchison, Gascoyne, Kimberley, Mount Magnet, Murchison, Peak Hill, Phillips River, Pilbara, Yalgoo, Yilgarn.

 

Gold production in modern times.

 

32,000 kgs annually Over 2.5 million kgs have been produced since gold was first discovered.

 

 

 

 

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