The Worthing copper mine

The Worthing Mine.


The Worthing mine was discovered in 1847 on the Worthing farm belonging to John Hallett. Hallett, born in 1804, came to South Australia with his wife and three children, including his one year old son Henry, on the Africaine, of which he was a part-owner, on 6 November 1836. Some of the copper ore was assayed in England leading to the formation of a London mining association made up of ten members, each promising to invest $2,000 for further prospecting on the property. His younger brother, Alfred, arrived in 1838 as agent for the Worthing Copper Mining Company.

The association hired Cornish Captain John Phillips and five miners, one of which was Zacharias Carthew from Redruth. Both Phillips and Carthew and his family travelled on the Rajah which arrived at Port Adelaide in September 1847. They had soon established a large and well defined lode. This in turn resulted in the formation in England of the Worthing Mining Company, in 1849, with a capital of $200,000. This amount was to be raised from the issue of 10,000 shares of $20 each, with a deposit of $4 per share. A sum of $8,000 was used to pay John and Hallett for that part of their land on which the deposit was found. Alfred Hallett was also appointed manager.

More miners were hired during 1849, including Captain John Richards, previously from the Princes Royal mine, and work started with the sinking of three widely spaced shafts, the building of six miner's cottages, an adit, a whim and an engine and waterwheel ordered from Cornwall. During the next year additional cottages were added together with offices, stores, powder magazine and a house for the captain.

By the end of 1851 the shafts and adit were completed and timbered to a depth of seventy metres. An engine house and twenty metre high chimney were also completed. Finally an engine and Cornish boiler were installed and pumping had started to keep down the water in the shafts. All was in readiness to start the mining of the copper lode.

Unfortunately the miners, including Zacharias Carthew and his sons, had left for the gold fields of Victoria and those still around were planning to leave. Even though many returned after only a few months and most after a year or so, no work was carried out at the Worthing mine until 1856. Alfred Hallett managed the Preamimma mine, near Callington, during this time.

Even then the company realised that it had over extended its resources and that there was no copper to pay for all the buildings and equipment. It really had a state of the art show at grass (above ground), but after ten years of investing and building it had still not produced any copper. By the end of 1856 all work and efforts at the Worthing mine were stopped and transferred to the recently purchased Bremer mine near Callington. Hallett left for the Flinders Ranges and became part owner of the Mount Rose mine, but returned later to manage the Bremer mine.

During 1859 the engine at the Worthing mine was removed and installed at the Bremer mine but the waterwheel was never installed anywhere and remained on site until the 1870s.


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