Gold mining in South Australia, part 2.
With interest in mining once more revived at Sliding Rock, the small number of people still living there turned out in force to attend a public meeting held at the Rock Hotel. They had come to hear an interesting lecture given by an experienced practical gentleman, H. Mitchell, on the geological formation of the Sliding Rock mine, and surrounding districts, including Ediacara and several other Northern properties. N. Rogers presided over a good number of attentive and intelligent listeners. Mr Glenie, Mr Horsefall and Mr Doig asked several questions which were all answered and clearly explained by Mr Mitchell.
All this was very interesting, appropriate and timely but Sliding Rock's anticipated Gold Rush did not eventuate. The reason for it is clearly explained by M.C. Donegan on 24 September 1892 when he again reported to his superior in Port Augusta. Sir, Re: Alleged discovery of gold at Sliding Rock, and Mr Davies' letter of 16th attached. I have the honour to state that on receipt of the letter, I proceeded to the Rock in company with Mr Corbould, Manager of the Ediacara mine and an assayer by profession. Mr Corbould examined the quartz picked up by young Davies, which showed gold freely and concluded that it was similar to the quartz on the surface at the Rock. He then panned off in my presence three dishes of dirt and got good rough gold out of 2 of them. Seeing the gold panned off and in the quartz I concluded it was genuine and reported accordingly and so did Mr Corbould, who took out Miners rights and pegged out for his friends. About 40 men rushed to the field and worked for a few days but could not even get the colour of gold, except when young Davies, son of T.R. Davies, aged 15, was on the round. I have conclusive evidence that young Davies salted the claims, whether he is the tool of his father or a loafing prospector named Rogers, who is prospecting about the Rock I cannot say. I always considered Mr Davies an honourable man and I am inclined to believe that he has been deceived by his son and this worthless fellar W. Rogers.
Barely four days later Donegan had enough evidence to continue his report to Inspector Besley as follows; Sir, Re: Alleged gold discovery at Sliding Rock and Mr Davies' letter of the 26th (attached) stating that his son Walter had confessed to salting the claims. I have the honour to report that I am making every effort to get at the bottom of this disgraceful act and on yesterday young Davies confessed to me that he salted the claim or dirt and further wished me to understand that there is no one connected with the affair but himself and that he picked the gold out of the quartz. All this I cannot believe and from information and reflection I have come to the conclusion that Mr T.R. Davies, licensee of the Sliding Rock Hotel is a party to the salting though I have no direct proof of the fact. On the 22nd when at the Rock I asked Mr Davies to show me the quartz and also the alluvial gold. He unlocked his box and showed them to me, I noticed some of the gold missing from the quartz and also some of the alluvial gold from the bottle and asked Mr Davies what became of it. He said he could not say, but that it was possible for his son to take it. Davies seems kinder to his son since this affair than ever I have known him to be and he still keeps this loafing fellar Rogers about.
So much for the Gold Rushes at Sliding Rock. Once again hopes had been cruelly smashed. It had happened so often, first with the copper, which resulted in a seven year battle to overcome the problems and set-backs. Then it was silver and now gold. With a total gold production during 1892 in South Australia of $270,000 nothing had come from Sliding Rock. However forty-five kilometres away, at Angepena, gold had been traced "in two parallel gullies for a distance of from ten to fifteen chains." This field was worked for many years.
Much later a new and even bigger (naturally!) discovery was made at Worturpa. This area had been known to contain gold as long ago as 1864, when Captain Samuel Terrell, who was then in charge of the Yudanamutana mine had found alluvial gold. As he had about a hundred men working at the Yudanamutana, he had no desire whatsoever to talk about it. His men would not have stayed a minute longer had they known that gold was obtainable from the surface without the need for digging. Twenty years later three Aboriginal men, Tom Coffin, Claypan George and Benny Boy, worked the alluvial deposit for quite some time and with success. In March 1899 a good lode which was discovered by Ben and Harry Stubbs, averaged as much as twenty-seven ounces of gold per ton, according to the School of Mines in Adelaide. The deposit was in the Illiawortina Pound, about three kilometres south of Worturpa Spring (Aboriginal for shady water).
Considerable excitement was created when the Stubbs' brothers worked their claim with the help of some Aborigines. Ben and Harry Stubbs, two elderly men, originally from Macclesfield, had previously been working on Mount Lyndhurst station. When they reported their discovery at Mount Lyndhurst on 1 June nothing happened at all. Nobody took any notice. This however changed dramatically when Mr Goyder, the government assayer, published his results in the Adelaide Advertiser on 29 June. This time the rush was on, and within the shortest possible time hundreds of men were panning, digging or prospecting.
On 6 July 1899 the Worturpa district was officially declared a goldfield. T.S. Backhouse was the first Adelaide investor to arrive on the field coming from Copley where he owned and worked an eighty acre lease adjoining the Mountain of Light. Soon he was followed by many other hopeful diggers, businessmen and investors. Many companies took up claims and leases and the Stubbs brothers sold their claim to the Worturpa Reward Syndicate. On 28 July Goldfield Warden L.C.E. Gee arrived on the field to select a site for a town. Miner's rights for the goldfield were issued at Copley by old Sliding Rock identity Mr J.W. Duck. Prospects looked so inviting that Mr Napier of Farina and Dobson and Reed from Hawker were putting up their stores. There was often more money to be made from supplying the diggers than being a digger! Even Mr Downs had loaded his hotel on wagons and hoped to have it on the road, which was already littered with numerous broken down vehicles, and have it erected at Worturpa in the shortest possible time.
More than a hundred years have passed since this rush and Australians are still looking for this treasure, not just in South Australia or Australia but many have established gold mines in other countries. One of these is the
Kingsgate Consolidated Gold Mining Company
Kingsgate Consolidated Limited is an Australian gold mining and exploration company operating a modern gold mine and developing mineral resources in Thailand. Kingsgate Consolidated Limited (Kingsgate) is a highly successful gold mining and exploration company, traded on the Australian Stock Exchange (KCN: ASX). The company owns and operates the low cost Chatree gold mine in central Thailand through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Akara mining limited, using world's best practice for safe, environmental and socially responsible operations.