Adelong history: news reports about developments at Adelong

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Adelong history

The Adelong gold story began in 1852 with the discovery of alluvial gold along  Adelong Creek by a touring party en route to Victoria.

This started a 'rush' with rich alluvial diggings along the creek to Upper Adelong (now Batlow) and downstream to the village of Adelong. Prospectors and miners staked their claims and set up camps along the creek to the Adelong Falls.

The Adelong Goldfield was proclaimed on 15 February 1855, when 2,000 miners were recorded working the area.

In May 1857 William Williams, a significant figure in the history of Adelong and wider district, discovered reef ore. His new find of gold-rich quartz veins attracted a bigger rush of men of many nationalities.

Reef ore demanded heavy ore-crushing machinery, with several large and small mills set up along the creek to crush the hard pyritic ore. The remains of the Reefer, the most efficient ore crushing mill, are impressive today. This mill processed ore from Adelong and the wider district until 1914. Records show that the Reefer Mill sent 5,000 kg of gold to the Sydney Mint, while an estimated total of 25,000 kg was extracted in the Adelong area.

Travelling correspondents wrote many accounts of the diggings for the Sydney newspapers in the 1850s.

These responded to the widespread interest in the community in developments on the goldfields. Today they provide a rich resource.

30 March 1855


The Adelong Creek, is situated within about six miles of Gundagai, at least the lower portion of the creek is that distance from the township, but the upper portion, where the diggers are congregated, is at least distant from the township by 32 miles.

It is a long, but by no means an unpleasant walk, provided you have the good fortune in the course of your trip, to escape an encounter with snakes, which there everywhere abound.

At the opening of the creek, or about six miles from Gundagai, you encounter two publicans, who give you the most glowing accounts of the district into which you are about to enter.

To hear them talk, dilate, enlarge, on the magnificence of the soil, the splendour of the climate, the resplendency of the scenery, you would positively imagine that by some extraordinary touch of fortune you had reached the grand object of your ambition, and were now about to realize all that your highest hopes had prefigured.

Alas, how grievously and how speedily would you be disappointed ! You pass from these Bonifaces, and wend your way up the creek. The sight is imposing, fascinating, in the highest degree ; the face of nature is glorious, magnificent ; she wears a new and elegant appearance; and to the uninitiated, one would suppose that if ever there was an auriferous district, this was one.

You look north and south, right and left, and everywhere you behold men at work - hard at work too - striving with might and main, up to their middle in water, and determined if possible to obtain an independence. It is impossible to look upon these men with calm indifference. You are instinctively compelled to wish them success; the words rise to your lips before you have time to utter them.

When you have done so, you feel somewhat of an innate satisfaction rising to your breast of giving evidence of the pleasure caused within. But, when you enter into conversation with the miners upon these diggings, what do you find ? I must certainly say that their accounts were anything but of an encouraging character.

Most of them were from Sydney, and very intelligent men they were. Their previous occupations in life were dissimilar - some were mechanics and other professions - but there they all lived together in a spirit of the utmost harmony and friendship. I know not that I ever spent a happier two months of my life than at Adelong.

None of the fellows were rich, few of them prosperous, but whatever they were possessed of, be it little or be it much, they showed it with a liberality right worthy of commendation. Saturday nights were always nights of a remarkable nature at these diggings. There was invariably a raffle - sometimes two or three or more raffles - on them.

Horses and mares, guns and revolvers, rings and other descriptions of jewellery, were put up for sale by auction, regardless of risk, and away they went bidding and drinking, until three, four, or five o'clock on the Sunday morning, brought them reeling home to their respective tents. Such was life at the Adelong.

During the week they had worked like horses ; up to their middle in water, bailing, or rather endeavouring to bail it out, in American buckets, and ever and anon encountering a stone the size of which might be estimated at something like a cwt. weight. Oh ! how often have I commiserated the condition to which I have seen these men reduced! - men, too, of excellent education, of refined manners, of most respectable parentage. It is said of Napoleon Bonaparte, that when he surveyed his army - the very flow of France - prior to their embassy to Moscow, he was observed by one of his generals to be in tears.

The general asked him what caused him to weep, to which the Emperor replied, that when he reflected that a century hence every man of the magnificent force he then commanded would be consigned to the tomb, he could not forbear from mourning over the wreck and desolation which was so soon depending. So was it, in some degree, with me, always excepting that I stand at an immeasurable distance behind Napoleon, and that mine was a retrospective, whereas his was a prospective, glance at the fates and fortunes of the men we respectively surveyed.

Methought I saw these throwers of stones and drainers of water in their comfortable habitations at home, surrounded with their loving wives and affectionate children, enjoying all the delights of an English fireside, basking , in the sunshine of domestic bliss, and anticipating with fond delight all the glories which appertain to a life everlasting ; and yet, now, what shall I compare them to ? Slashed with mud, wet to the skin, writhing with cramp, and despicable in appearance, what are they comparable to ? If, indeed, fortune had favoured their efforts, I could have acknowledged something on their behalf, but as it is, knowing from sad experience, as I do, that they have been unfortunate to an extent of which the world is scarcely aware, and that these Adelong diggings have turned out a complete failure, - I lament over their fate and sympathise in their misfortunes. I spoke to many of them. The last I asked upon the subject were a party of three, and their representation was, that they had been working for a week, and had obtained a pennyweight-worth at the time about 3s. 6d ! It was a melancholy fact, pregnant with meaning to the new-comers, and by no means encouraging to the old ones. I left the Adelong, under these circumstances, with a dissatisfied spirit.

Money, I had none. Gold I had not obtained, and credit was out of the question. Sydney seemed the only promising place to which I could direct my footsteps, and thitherward I came. There are kind spirits in Sydney, men of enlarged minds, of benevolent and generous hearts. If I have been unfortunate, as unfortunate I most unquestionably have been, thanks be to God there are still those living who possess the genius of Christianity, who love the brotherhood, and have a special respect unto them who are of the household of faith. R. Sydney, March 22.

These newspaper accounts were quick to report in early 1858 the very welcome news that miners were returning to the NSW fields after having flocked to the Victorian diggings for several years prior.

Part of the attraction luring them back was the rich reef mines then being opened up at Adelong.

10 February 1858


The intelligence from the Southern gold-fields generally show a tendency in the digging population to those fertile regions, where nothing is required but numbers.

The reflux of people across the frontier of Victoria will only restore us our own, and bring back the 30,000 missing - unaccounted for in the census.

We have received by last post some very encouraging facts, which we proceed to lay before our readers. They come from an authority entitled to absolute trust. The mining population on the Tumut gold- fields is 816. Of these 500 are actual miners, 35 hold trading licenses, and 68 are engaged in business pursuits. At the newly discovered quartz reefs there are already 333 miners, with their families - altogether 513 souls.

Many who in June last had not as many shillings, have earned over their sustenance from £5 to £1500.

They have raised about two thousand tons of quartz, which, estimated at the low average of six ounces to the ton, is equal to about 48,000. This awaits the erection of quartz crushing apparatus, already in progress. Two engines will soon be set up.

The shafts at this place are sunk from 30 to 100 feet. Since April the Police Escort has conveyed 8645 ozs. of gold on its bi-monthly journeys.

There is a large block of land in the course of the Adelong never yet disturbed, highly auriferous; and the abundance of water will enable the miners to pursue their operations without vexatious delays.

To ascertain the value of quartz now quarried, four hundred-weight was submitted as follows to the small crushing machine now at work, which can only be termed a prospecting one, crushing from three to four tons weekly.

The whole process of crushing, washing, amalgamating, and smelting or sublimating costs £4 per ton to the quartz proprietor. .....

Evidence for this comes first hand from the newspaper reports themselves.

"The news of the value of the Adelong quartz veins has travelled far and wide through the Victorian goldfields, and the consequence has been that large numbers of miners have found their way across the boundary of this and the neighbouring colony, and have spread themselves far and wide over that part of the Tumut district that is known from actual experience to be auriferous."

10 February 1858

THE GOLD-FIELDS. The news received in Sydney during the last month from our Southern gold-fields is of a particularly cheering character, showing, as it does, a steadily increasing progress. As regards the diggings on the Tumut, more particularly those at Adelong, this has been certainly the case.

The news of the value of the quartz veins has travelled far and wide through the Victorian goldfields, and the consequence has been that large numbers of miners have found their way across the boundary of this and the neighbouring colony, and have spread themselves far and wide over that part of tho Tumut district that is known from actual experience to be auriferous.

In this way the gold-fields and quarts veins of that locality are certain to get a fair trial of their value.

So great has the migration been, that the Border Post, a newspaper published at Albury, a town on the boundary of tho two colonies, already begins to see the time when we shall have back from Victoria the fifty thousand souls that her extensive auriferous deposits attracted from our soil.

We are not quite so sanguine as our contemporary, though at the same time we are quite prepared for the advent of a largo population upon these really valuable gold- fields.

A guess at the value of the quartz may be made from the following extract from the Border Post . There are 500 diggers busily at work on the reef, which is about eight miles from tho Tumut.

They have collected 400 tons of quartz for crushing. Some has been already crushed in a very primitive manner, and yielded 30 ounces of gold to the ton.

At this rate, which is considered far below what the average is likely to turn out, and taking the value of gold at £3 15s., the quantity ready for the mill, we have a value in round numbers of £45,000.

But would it last? Many was the budding rush that failed to live up to expectations.

Fast forward several months to the middle of winter and it was apparent that Adelong was indeed a prospect with substance.

In an extensive account of the new operations there, the crucial role of support services in the form of quartz crushing machines that could process the miners' ore stands out as a pivotal factor in the field's development.

6 July 1858


We take the following from the Goulburn Chronicle of Saturday :- The mineral riches of this colony are immense. They await only the hand of enterprise and labour to develop.

... And of the treasures awaiting us in the masses of quartz, hardly yet touched, the Adelong Reef is the most striking example.

But recently opened, and its capabilities hardly yet tested, it has shown to us that a mine of Wealth remains yet unworked.

It already figures handsomely in the escort returns, and the day is not far distant when the Adelong will be regarded as one of the most important gold-fields in New South Wales.

In that remote and hitherto little known region are at this moment the germs of a numerous, wealthy, and powerful community. A few years hence, and we shall see it the centre of a most flourishing population, the home of thousands, and one of the most important seats of industry in the colony.

Miles upon miles of the gold bearing quartz are yet untouched, while around lie immense tracts of the most fertile agricultural land: the district has thus within itself the elements of abiding prosperity and future greatness.

The interest with which intelligence from the Adelong is read, and the daily increasing importance which the district assumes, will be sufficient apology for us in laying the following facts, derived from authentic sources, before our readers. Mining at the Adelong is divided into two branches.

There are the ordinary diggings along the course of the creek, and there are the quartz reefs. The latter branch is by far the most important; and to this we shall in the present instance chiefly confine our attention.

The discovery of the Quartz Reef at Adelong will be fresh in the mind of the reader, as will also the glowing anticipations which were at once formed of its richness. Those anticipations, though not at once realised are in gradual process or fulfilment, and in the end they will be found not to have exceeded the reality.

But the operation of quartz-mining is arduous, and the discovery took time to test. At first the miners were content to wash out the loose earth or “ tailings,� leaving the quartz stored up till opportunities served for crushing it. Labour alone was found insufficient to the task of developing the riches of those mines; she cried for her sister, Capital, for assistance. The cry has been answered, though not vet fully, sufficient, however, has been done to prove how much more may yet be accomplished. The first men of enterprise to respond to the call of the diggers were Messrs. Mandelson, Emanuel, and Co., who, at a great expense, took up from Sydney a large crushing machine, worked by steam power.

This has now been some time in operation, and was the first means of satisfactorily proving the richness of the reef. There are now two other crushing machines at work, driven by steam power. One of these is the property of a fortunate miner named Williams, and was brought from Sydney ; the other was brought from the Goulburn River, on the Port Phillip side.

The engine by which this machine is driven is said to be of a description very superior to those sent up from Sydney, both as regards economy of fuel and efficiency or working. There is also a small machine, worked by a water-wheel. Two of Berdan's patent, worked by hand power, are also in operation. These are chiefly used for letting specimens.

Besides the machines actually in operation, others are in progress of construction. One is being erected by an ingenious German, after a plan of his own devising. The chief material used is timber; and though many doubt his success, he is himself quite sanguine of being able, with his machine, to crush a ton an hour. His machine is to be driven by water power.

Another crushing machine of 10-horse power is in course of erection by Messrs. S. Emanuel, jun., Doyle, and Moon. This enterprising company are cutting a race several miles in extent, to bring the water to where their machine is erecting, and thus, by the use of water power, dispense with the expensive agency of steam.

They have fourteen men at work on the race, which will probably cost over £200. Another company, Messrs. N. Mandelson, jun., Leman, and Carmichael, are in course of erecting a 16-horse power crushing machine, also to be worked by a water-wheel. This machine will be at work in about a month. A steam crusher of 20-horse power is likewise expected shortly from the Port Phillip side.

Thousands of tons or quartz are already quarried, and lying waiting to be crushed. The present machinery, though -working night and day, is insufficient to meet the requirements of the diggers. When, however, the additional machinery comes into operation, it may be well believed that the escort returns from this gold field will swell to an extent that will fix the attention of the colony. The prospects of quartz mining in this locality are exceedingly good.

The reef has latterly been struck in a new place higher up, where the surface quartz yields from an ounce and a half to two ounces to the ton. This is a good indication of the richness of the underlying mass. Two new reefs have also been opened near Tumut, and they also present similar indications. The population on the reef is now estimated at one thousand, exclusive of several hundreds who are working at the old diggings on the creek.

Additions are constantly making to the population, considerable numbers coming from Victoria. A capital element in the population is formed by the presence of a considerable proportion of Americans, whose energy is proverbial, and who are among the most enterprising miners on the reef. They are sufficiently numerous to get up a grand celebration ball on the anniversary of American Independence, on Monday next, and we are told that they are sufficiently liberal to invite their fellow-residents to their entertainment free of cost.

Some Chinese are on the Reef, and few of them having good claims , but in general the work is too hard to suit their taste. In truth the operation of quartz mining is no child's play. It demands capital, enterprise, and perseverance. The shafts have in many cases to be sunk 20, 30, and 40 feet before bottoming, and this has to be done through hard rock, which has to be removed by blasting.

All day long the booming reports of the blasts strike the ear. The farthest distance yet sunk, we believe, is about 80 feet. In some cases the quartz lies on the surface, but this has to be removed to get at the richer portions.

The surface quartz usually yield about two ounces to the ton ; the mundic or underlying quartz sometimes as high as 10 or even 15 ; the average of the whole may be estimated at 5 or 6.

At present the diggers do not think the surface quartz worth crushing, but by and by it will no doubt be used. Respecting the richness of this quartz field, an American miner of experience asserts his belief that it is superior to any in the sister colony ; for though in Victoria richer spots of quartz are found, yet nowhere is it so uniformly distributed.

In the Adelong Reef, we are assured, there are no “blanks ;� all the claims realise more or less. One or two instances of good fortune have been related to us.

A miner named Brien sold 190 tons quartz and half shares in two claims to a miner named Don for £3,000. The purchaser has crushed 100 tons of quartz, and has realised his outlay, and has 90 tons of quartz and his two half-shares left as profit on the transaction.

The vendor, Brien, we are informed, went to the reef without money, and has left it worth six or seven thousand pounds. Another fortunate miner, named Williams, who some time ago was indebted nearly a thousand pounds, has not only cleared off his debts, but has purchased a crushing machine, which is at work on the reef, and he has 600 tons of quartz remaining, which will realise from six to ten ounces to the ton. From six tons of tailings he turned out 86 ounces.

Not many months ago he offered to sell half his claim for £50. Of course every man who goes to the Adelong gold field expects to realise a fortune, and unless he has some capital, and can join in a company, he must not think of quartz mining on his own account.

An industrious man who is capable of manual labour is sure to obtain employment, and by steadiness and sobriety he may shortly save money ; to become an employer in his turn.

The rate of wages paid to men on hire is from £3 10s. to £4, the latter most frequently. Provisions are plentiful, and by no means extravagantly high.

A gentleman who has recently visited the district describes the country as a 'beautiful country, with a fine climate, plenty of good land, and inexhaustible quartz reefs.' Some time ago we were asked what sized claims were allowed on the Adelong.

We are now enabled to answer the question. Each man is allowed ten feet square. Two working together twenty feet square ; four, forty feet square, and so on. The rate at present charged for crushing by the proprietors of the machines, is £6 10s. per ton.

The value of the gold, from some cause or other, varies in different samples as much as 3s or 4s. an ounce. The cause of this is not clearly made out, but it is probably owing to some foreign substance being less perfectly separated from the gold in some cases than in others.

We have been told that considerable quantities of the gold are melted in crucibles, and sent off to Victoria and sold as Port Phillip gold, thus realizing a higher price.

QUARTZ REEF, Adelong.- A gentleman just arrived in town from this locality informs us that people are fast flocking there from all quarters, and that these diggings are fast going ahead.

A deal more ground than formerly is now being worked Altogether there are about a thousand miners on the field. Another portion of the reef has been discovered, striking out in another quarter, and is turning out well.

There are two steam quartz crushing-machines in full operation, and Mandelson’s is reported to be working admirably.

Two machines, to be worked by water power, are about to be put up. Of these, Carmichael and Lemon’s will probably be at work in about six week, part of the machine being up already. There was a rush last week to Reedy Flat.

The gold found there is round, like shot. Parties are doing well. On the whole, though business among the storekeepers is reported to be dull, these digging are progressing with great rapidity, and in a very satisfactory manner.-Goulburn Herald.

"New reefs, or rather new spurs of the old one, are being tried with success, and on the whole this locality is pronounced the finest auriferous country yet discovered. In short time we shall have eight gold-crushing machines at work; we have four already, one a double one. And, of course, the usual number of public-houses are creeping in.

"I think our Adelong is hurting the Tumut, for if you enter that township you discover it to be remarkably dull, and most of the proprietors of stores absent from their places of business."

5 July 1858

Quartz Reef, Adelong.

Never did diggings of an early unpromising nature realize the ardent wishes of the many and the prognostics of a few in a greater degree than do our own Adelong.

It is but a year or two back that a few parties made their “pile” on the creek, and then abandoned it as “worked out� and the very small number who were left to toil, scarcely made bread and cheese upon the banks of as rapid a stream as may be found in the colony.

Little more than a twelvemonth has shown a fact well known to the scientific — viz., all gold is derived from quartz, and where before mother earth seemed to have yielded her last tribute, matrix quartz has supplied her place.

A new township is in course of being laid out on the banks of the creek, but pending that a township of considerable importance is forming on the course of the reef itself; and no one who had some few months ago crossed the wild cattle track on the Tumut side of the Adelong would recognise the locality, now so thickly studded with slab and bark huts, canvas flies, &c., &c.

The news of the value of the quartz veins has travelled far and wide through the Victorian goldfields, and the consequence has been that large numbers of miners have found their way across the boundary of this and the neighbouring colony, and have spread themselves far and wide over that part of the Tumut district that is known from actual experience to be auriferous. Population increases, and I think your friends the Chinamen, of whom you speak, have gone further up the creek, as I meet them occasionally wending that way.

There is a great talk about establishing a local Court among the diggers, but nothing has hitherto been decided upon. Now reefs, or rather new spurs of the old one, are being tried with success, and on the whole this locality is pronounced the finest auriferous country yet discovered. In short time we shall have eight gold-crushing machines at work ; we have four already, one a double one. And, of course, the usual number of public-houses are creeping in.

I think our Adelong is hurting the Tumut, for if you enter that township you discover it to be remarkably dull, and most of the proprietors of stores absent from their places of business. The weather is delightful, and if the mundic burners would desist from impregnating the air with noxious gases, we should be in perfect health. A little timely rain, with which we have been visited, bids fair to augment our next seasonal grass crop. Correspondent of Goulburn Herald.

Quartz Specimens.- Messrs. S. Emanuel and Sons received in charge this week, for transmission to Sydney, some nine or ten specimens of quartz (weighing altogether about half a hundred weight) from the Adelong Quartz reef.

The gold is diffused more or less throughout the masses, and in many places is seen beautifully disposed in groups of small glittering points, forming a fine contrast with the white of the quartz. These specimens are calculated to give a marked Impression of the richness of the reef from which they mere obtained.-Goulburn Chronicle.

Important from the Adelong.- Discovery of New Reefs. - We received by last night's mail, information from a gentleman at Adelong that two new quartz reefs have been discovered, about six miles from Tumut. A party of men picked up three or four tons of the quartz off the surface, with the moss growing on it. The gold could be seen in the quartz, and on being crushed it turned out three and four ounces to the ton - a very good yield for surface quartz.

A great many claims have already been taken out on the new reefs. Another crushing machine, we learn, has got to work ; and the escort is soon expected to reach two thousand ounces.-Goulburn Chronicle.

21 June 1858

MONDAY, JUNE 21, 1858. The change that is coming over the style of gold digging in Victoria is introducing a new era in the pursuit.

The random method of hunting for and washing alluvial drifts is being gradually abandoned as uncertain and unsatisfactory, and an increasing number of those who have made up their minds to a life on the gold-fields, and who have a little capital to start with, prefer to betake themselves to systematic quartz-crushing.

That there is still much gold left among the ordinary workings, there can be no doubt, and the occasional discovery of such monster nuggets as that which was recently turned up will always keep some miners sinking and burrowing for them.

But these great prizes are few, while the blanks drawn in the lottery are many. The steady and certain profits of continued attention to quartz-crushing has attractions for those who prefer a safe calculation to a risk, while the pursuit is not altogether destitute of the excitement of great and sudden gains.

There have been some yields from quartz quite as surprising and as satisfactory as the discovery of many of the exhibition nuggets. Starting from small beginnings, often a failure at first from the expensiveness and inefficiency of the machinery employed, quartz-crushing is assuming daily greater dimensions in Victoria, and promises completely to eclipse in its results the achievements of former years and of common digging.

It will add to the stability of the colony and confirm its reputation for wealth ; for, as the quantity of auriferous quartz is practically inexhaustible, not only will the annual yield be increased, but it will be assured and made reliable.

Great fluctuations in the amount of gold produced will probably be avoided, and the value of the yearly export will be sufficiently determined to be relied upon by commercial men with tolerable certainty. The Legislature has recognised the change in the methods of working the gold-fields that is taking place, and laws have been passed to regulate mining partnerships, as well as to grant leases of sufficient areas of auriferous land to justify the importation and erection of adequate machinery.

In California, quartz-crushing has for some time past been steadily on the increase, and perhaps to this cause it is to be attributed, that with a smaller population than Victoria it yet keeps pace with it in the production of gold. The Anglo-Californian companies were all failures, and their promoters lost all that they ventured. None of them, we believe, continue their operations at the present time. They began too soon, before the true conditions of success were understood. But the miners on the spot, by local companies, have gradually restored the credit of quartz-crushing, and proved its profitableness, and at the present time it is said that no method of disposing of surplus profits is more general among the miners, or found more profitable than an investment in quartz mills on promising claims, or in the construction of aqueducts necessary to feed the scattered machines with water. For some reason or other New South Wales is behindhand in this department of industry.

That the colony possesses great resources in gold, there can be no doubt, and even at the present time the escort returns alone show an annual production of more than two hundred thousand ounces. No such rich alluvial deposits as have made Victoria famous, and determined the rush of population thither, have been as yet discovered on this side of the border.

Perhaps there are none such, though it is impossible at present to tell. But there is no reason to believe that for the extraction of gold from quartz this colony offers fewer inducements than other gold countries. Tho quartz veins abound in every direction, and if they were worked to anything like the same vigour that is bestowed an similar spots elsewhere, they would yield a corresponding result.

No doubt, nearly all of the capitalist companies that were formed in the early days of the gold mania were failures in this colony, just as they were in Victoria and California, and on this account enterprise in this particular direction has been damped.

But there is no valid reason why here also, as well as there, ultimate success should not follow early failure. The field is a wide one, and in the present dull state of trade invites enterprise. A few weeks ago there appeared in the Ballaarat Star a detailed account of the Port J Phillip Company’s quartz works at Clunes - an establishment the largest of its kind in Australia, and which, though absorbing a considerable amount of capital, is worked to a profit, and offers a model worthy of imitation.

Tho works have cost from fourteen to fifteen thousand pounds, and are still being extended. There is a Chilian mill capable of crushing five tons of quartz per day, and driven by a steam engine of fourteen horse-power.

The engine is also employed to pump the water required to work the mill, the total quantity of which used for all purposes in the establishment is said to be two hundred and fifty gallons per minute. But the Chilian mill, though once a favourite apparatus, is found to be inferior to the stamping machines.

It collects the gold somewhat more completely, but it is more tedious and costly in operation. There are three stamping machines erected, and a fourth is to be constructed.

Two of those machines contain twelve stamp-heads, and the other contains eight. The three are driven by two engines, one of ten-horse power, and the other of twenty-horse power.

There are also kilns for calcining the quartz, and a retort for separating the quicksilver from the gold. A workshop for the construction and repair of the machinery is attached to the premises. The first and smallest battery in this mill was set to work in May, 1857. In the following June the second was erected, and in October the third was completed.

Up to the 27th of March, 1858, the Company had crushed 7,615 tons of quartz, the average yield of which has been from 1 oz. 8 dwts. to 1 oz. 12 dwts. per ton. The machinery, we believe, is the property of an English company - one that after the exercise of much patience has the prospect at last of reaping an ample reward. The reef is worked by a local company of miners, who have made an agreement for the extraction of tho gold.

The original contract price for crushing and cleansing was three pounds per ton, but the improvements that have been made in the mill has allowed of a reduction in tho price to fifty shillings for calcined quartz, and forty-five shillings for quartz of a certain fineness.

The success of this mill has lately attracted in Victoria the attention that it deserves, and before long it will probably have several rivals. Were similar facilities afforded for crushing the quartz in places in this colony where it has been proved to be rich, the escorts would soon begin to tell a different tale. The article above referred to will be found in this day’s Herald.

10 July 1858


It is very common for our English readers to imagine that we are almost entirely dependent upon Great Britain for that machinery to which we must look ultimately for the full development of our gold-fields, and the augmentation of our natural force ; but it is a mistaken idea.

Enterprise in this colony is not confined to the bridging over of bays or the construction of railways and telegraphs.

Our foundries and our workshops are able to produce to perfection those multipliers of power which, according to Emerson, have added 250-fold to the force of the British workmen.

Messrs. P. N. Russell and Co. have been for years manufacturing quartz-crushing machines in considerable numbers. They have made many for our Victorian neighbours, and, possessing, as these machines do, all those improvements in detail which experience has suggested, without departing from the old principle of rollers and stampers, they have obtained a name which, is exceedingly creditable, and must be very gratifying to the gentlemen connected with the firm.

A plentiful supply of fuel, its superior quality and its comparative cheapness, is no doubt greatly in favour of the successful manufacture of machinery in this colony, but the immense cost of getting it to our diggings, in consequence of hard roads, is at present a serious drawback.

But now that the importance of facile communication is brought most forcibly under the notice of the public, we may hope that this obstacle will not be allowed much longer to stop in any great degree the progress, among other things, of machinery.

It is machinery that has fully developed the gold-fields of California as machinery is developing the rich mines of Victoria ; and it is now universally acknowledged that New South Wales only requires the application of well directed force to prove that her auriferous fields will yet supply wealth sufficient to enrich a nation ; and in that force, no doubt, machinery will be the most powerful auxiliary.

As yet the gold-fields of this colony have been almost untried, but the steady increase in quantity of the precious metal, which has lately come down from the various diggings, is a proof that they are beginning to be better appreciated, and before long it is to be hoped that we shall have brought to bear on them vigorously that sturdy power and mechanical force which they require in order to their full development.

There can be no difficulty about the machinery, for we have the enterprise and the raw material in the colony. Our attention has been particularly directed to several machines which are now being made for the gold-fields of New South Wales, by Messrs. P. N. Russell and Co, where quartz-crushing is at last becoming popular.

These machines are expected to pound from ten to twelve tons per day; and, in case of emergency, there is provision made for an additional pan and rollers, by means of which they would probably be able to pulverise half as much again.

The engines are on the horizontal principle, and advantage has been taken of all those late improvements which have brought machinery to such a state of perfection as we now find it.

Each machine consists of an engine (mostly 10-horse) and boiler, two batteries of stampers, and a pair of rollers. The shafting is of turned iron, and driven from the engine by spur gear, and the framing is of hardwood. There are eight stampers - four working in each mortar, and they are lifted by iron cranes.

The four stampers which first descend upon the quartz are made of ironbark (timber), with cast-iron shoes, each weighing one hundred weight. The mortars (in which the stampers work) are also cast-iron. They are fed from behind by means of a sloping channel, and the opening in front is covered by a sieve for the pounded quartz to pass through.

When the roughly crushed rock falls through the sieve, it is received by a shaft which passes it into a pan, where it is pulverised - the gold mixed with the mercury, and the inferior substances washed away. This pan is about six feet in diameter, and has a large sheet of iron all round it to prevent the splashing.

The rollers are so constructed as to catch the waste oil which would otherwise interfere with the amalgamation ; they are quite plain, and the arms on which they revolve are secured by joints to a cast-iron centre, and, last of all, there is a retort for separating the quicksilver from the gold. As a whole, these machines are beautiful in construction, and that they perform their work well, there can be no doubt, from the numerous orders which have been received. The manufacture of these machines forms only a small part of the business carried on in the establishment to which we have alluded, and the requirements they fulfil, both in reference to public and private works, are alike evidence of the wonderful progress of New South Wales.

Come the start of 1872, and news arrived of major investments from the Adelong Gold Mining Company who brought in a magnificent new 12 head stamper from Britain.

Six of the stampers were to be allocated to processing the company's gold, while the other six would be open to process ore for other mines in the local area.

22 October 1872

There has always been an impression among experienced miners acquainted with Adelong that Gibraltar Hill has never been fairly and fully tried, and we believe that the above area will prove a richly remunerative gold mine.

As respects the Adelong Gold Mining Company at Stony Creek, we may report that great portion of the crushing machinery has arrived. This battery was made in England, and is a beautiful piece of mechanism.

It has twelve stampers, and six of these will, we understand, be available for the use of the mining public, the remainder being kept for the company's service.

The reef at Stony Creek is a large one, some people say 12 feet wide and at its lowest yield has been 5 dwts, the highest being l8 dwts. It seems tolerably certain this last company will pay well, and the miners at Campbell's Meadow and the Wheel of Fortune reefs will also be enabled to crush stone at their battery. We expect to be able to report favourably of the South Gundagai reefs in future issues.

But of all the valuable reports to come out of the Adelong fields, there's none to rival the extensive account prepared by the NSW Inspector of Mines for the 1876 Mines Department Annual Report. Truly a gold mine of detail and of especial interest for the way it details the operations of the quartz crushing equipment.



I have the honor to inform you that I have inspected several of the principal quartz mines at Adelong. The whole of the Adelong Gold Field comprises a succession of hills and mountain ranges, tht’r(‘ bf’il’g very little level country throughout the district; the hills are of granite formation, the reefs 01’ WillS IlUmer(iUS antI rich, and their eourf’e generally north and south with few exceptions.

The reefs or veins are found in channels varying from 2 to 10 feet in “’i(lth, with walls of granite formation,

The veins or crushing stuff in the~e ChUllllcls vary from 6 inches to several feet, awl consist of quartz largd.t” impregnated with pyrites, and encased in 11 mixture of black slate and quartz; the quartz is often crushed separately, and called first the slate mixture, second -class crushing lOt ufl’.

... The Adelong Gold Mining Company, now united under the same proprietary and management. as Prowse and Woodward's and called the Adelong United Gold Mining Company, owns a 10-acre lease; greatest depth about. ·1,80 feet. There is a winding engine of about 12-horse power ill connection with this mine j the only winding engine at present at work on the Adelong Gold Field.

Although this mine and the Prowse and Woodward's are held by a few gentlemen in Sydney they fully intend to prospect and develop these mines. The mine is under able management, and there is every probability that the owners will be rewarded for their pluck and perseverance.

These are all the mines at present at work on the line of the Old Reef; there are however some leases north and south of this line lying idle, the proprietors acting the dog in the manger: they will neither work nor yet give up possession of their lease, a system I am sorry to say adopted throughout our gold fields, which injurious to the bona fide miner, a fraud on the revenue of the country, and detrimental to the true interest: and advancement of our gold fields. .A. strong remedy should he adopted and the labour conditions strictly enforced.

Middle Reef:

This reef lays between and runs parallel to the Victoria and the Old Reef. ..\.8 m’l(~h as .:t ozs. per ton has been crushed near the surface, hut the mine now lies idle; the deepest shaft. is about 200 feet. The Victoria Reef underlays to the east, the Old Reef to the west, and the Middle Reef slightly underlay to the west, but is almost perpendicular, aIHl as thl’ grl’atC’st dishmcl’ from the Victoria to the Old Reef i~ only ~oo yards, there is a probability that tlH’se tlll’l’e l’t’efs will join at a great depth, and so form olle aud the main reef of this district. About. 1 mile north ~f the Vietorin. Hill there are several linC’s of reef;:;. The Caledonian, North Caledonian, Nortlt and South Curragong, Eureka, Victoria Extended, and Donkey lIill. Most of these mines arc now prospecting, but I am glad to state that the Victoria Extended has lately come upon quartz at the depth of about 180 feet. from t Iw surface, w’hieh would rt’alizl’ about 3 oz”. per tOil.

About -~ mile east of the Victoria Hill is the Camp Reef, greatest depth 180 feet, now idle, although crushings of 3 OZS. pCI’ ton hl1>’e been taken out of it. 0 There are also. the Gap Reefs about 1 mile south by east from the Victoria Hill j great(‘st dl’pth 150 feet. Very littl(‘ work has been done on tlw5c reef.’! for the last fifteen years, although Boyd UIlL! party IUU} ot1lp1’” crushed as high as 4 oz~. pCI’ t.on for severa.l crushings_

Some of t.he Adelollg rc,;idl’nts h!1V(‘ l’nclo~t’d these rt’(‘[~ b.v fences, which should not be allowed, because although t.he ground is not pu1’chas(‘d, t.ile fem·ing in of 1 he same Vlill prevent many miners from testing the reefs, especially as there is always It great trouble 11lId “xpen~e to the miner if he wishes to enter for the purpose of prospecting these so-clllled improved l1urife”()Il:’ iunds. In the alluvial there are also some mines worthy of notice such as Shepard’” Sluicing Mine�� ut. Shepal’ll’;;town, about 2 miles from Adelong. but so far I have had no time to visit t.he same I cannot give any authentic information; I will, however, do so at the first opportunity.

I hear Mr. Sheppard employs at least seventy men about his mine. Annexed will be found statistics extending as far back as 1859, clearly showing the great amount of geld taken out of the Adelong :Mines from the surface down to about 200 feet. ‘rhe claims in 1859 were very small, but they are now converted into leases of large dinwllsiol1s. The Adelong Reefs although very rich were almost deserted for several years, and considered worked out. by the miners of that daJ. There were also some writers predicting and setting forth theories through the principal journals of this Colony that the Adelong Reefs, being embedded in a granite country, would not prove payable at a greater depth than 200 feet below the surface. However, this theory predominated only for a time, and practice has proved that these reefs are now payable over 800 feet, with a prospect of an almost unlimited depth.

Taking a common sense or practical view of the history of this gold field, one feels astonished that such wealth should lay within our reach, while men clamour for work or capital lays dormant awaiting good investment. This argument might be met by saying there arc now companies on Adelong 110t pJl.ying, and therefore my opinion cannot be correct, to which I can only give the following answer :-A810ng as companies will persist in the suicidal practice of starting the working of a mine with a nominal instead of actual capital, as long as they persist in declaring dividends without leaving any capital in hand for times of need, so long will there be almost & certainty of failure.

When a mine is paying, sinking and cross-cutting should be forced ahead, but instead of which the bunch, run, or patch of gold is generally worked out, dividends declared, and no capital left to meet the expenses of future development, such as sinking, &c., &c., &c.; consequently as soon !\8 the gold-producing powers of a mine diminish, development is stopped, or, perhaps, a call of one shilling per script made, after which the mine is often condemned as worthless, no matter how shallow or undeveloped it may be; and last but not least this SY8tem discourages the mining manager, and gives him no justice, and affords him no opportunity of bringing his ability and practical knowledge to bear on the development of the ‘mine under his charge. There is one feature in the .

Adelong Reef which deserves special notice, that is, that the fissure, cleavage, .or channel runs regularly with well defined walls to whatever depth they have as yet been sunk, whether they contain payable veins or not; and thi8 is one reason amongst many others why I firmly believe the Adelong Reefs will prove payable at a very great if not an unlimited depth.

Adelong has at present two crushing machines of fifteen stampers each, worked by water power. One belong:< t{) the ‘Williams Gold ~fining Company, the other to ~f(,5srs. Wilson and Ritchie (Wilson and Co.) ; both machines haTe improvements for gold-saving purposes, but that of “Wibon and Co. is certainly one of the best if not the very best. on the gold fields of New South Wales. The returns of gold received at the ).fint by escort for the year 1876 places A.dclong with its small popUlation third on the list, as thc following will :how :- oza. £ s. d. Hill Encl.................. 17,299’03 ........ .. value 68,042 17 0 Parkes, .. ‘ ............... :. 17,34,2’98 ...... ,., ........ , “ 66,120 2 3 Adelong .................. 16,432’54 ................. . “ 62,580 11 9 Gulgong .................. 16,236’78 ................. . “ 62,985 3 6 In conc!llsion I beg to state that the A.delong Gold Fidd deserves bettcr attention by bona fide capit.alists. W’ith l’upitu,} judiciously invested and prospecting carried on in a systematic manner Adelong would take the first mnk amongst the gold fields of New South Wales.

No doubt money has been squandered here during the mining mania; nevertheless, it cannot be said that these gold mines are worked out or even developed, but a time will assuredly come when the Adelong Mines will pour out their wealth and cause a ~tion in the public mind in favour of gold mining. My practical experience of gold n1llung during twenty-two years on the principal gold fields of the Australian Colonies lin,s led me to form these opinions, and I haTe no ot-her object. in “iew in writing this report thun to place our gold mines on a sound and legitimate footing, to provide an antidote for the after effects of’the lat.e injurious milling mania, not to induce the capitalists to waste their money, but simply to place before them the intrinsic value of such mines as are worthy their attention.

A~ the following informativn, gathered by me, might be of public interest, I upprud it to LQ.y report on t.h(‘ Adelong Illinr~. Tht’ q unrtz on th(‘ Adelong Gold-field is IlO strongly impregnated with pyrites nud mUlldic that edraordillury skill awl earl’ i~ required to tri’llt this mundic stolle_ Yt’a~ ngo a Commission of scientific grlltlcllll’11 visitl’cl AclPlong for the purpo!’c of making inquiries a~ to the IH’~t. nH’UIIS to bc adopte(l to not only ~l’parate and save the gold from the lllulldic but also to pre.ent the grmt lo:!,; of (I\li(‘k~ilH’r thL’n takillg placL’, the illllHl’clinh’ rllUiW of sUe’h loss being the large per cent age of sulphur ulllllllllllcIie in the quartz j hut vrry little was done in this maUl’r. ~o that maehinr ownrrs were left to their own l’l’:”ollr(‘(‘S; th!’,\” t1l(‘rd’0l’p tril’tl all sorts of (‘xpl’rillll’llts and han’ gratlllally imprm’ed’ir I1lllchint’ry so us to minpt thelll to the peeuliar naturl’ of the Adelong quartz.

If thl’!”e machines saw the gold in thr Adelong District tht,.” lllll~t, b!’ of the sallll’ or (“-I’ll greater yallw ill ~ul’h clistriet:; u~ Grenfell, Hill End, Parkes, &c., &e., l~W., wht’re t\Wl’t’ arc hnrdly any pyrites in quartz as compared with this di”,trict. Williams G. ~I. C. maehim’ is in conueetion with the ‘Villiu,ms Gold Mining Company (limit(‘d) and i:l IInder t hl’ ablt’ managelllent of Mr. Harford. The machincry i”, workt’d by wat!’rpow!’r, and is equal to fifty horsepower; there art’ three batteries. two of ~ix ,.:tumpers, and olle of four !”tlllllp(‘r;1; cuch box is 5 feet long and ha:l futll’ tt’mpornry lin!’rs or iron platt’s insi~ for thl’ do ubI!’ purpose of saying tht’ boxt’~ from weur and retaining t he amalgam ill tlw DOx!’s; the lillers Ilrc tak(‘n out evpry t illle a (~rushing is fini”,hed; the tables are 10 fcet long. 4 fect wi’ll’. and have a fall of I! inch pl’r foot; there are copper platt’s on’r the whole length of the tables; at tht’ end of tlws(‘ nre thr(‘!’ ripple,; eontnining about 200 Ib~. of quil’ksilwr; from these ripple~ th(‘ tailings pass on-r coppl’r pl.\tes int,o two Chilian mill”,; the wlwds of t hes!’ lIlilL~ nrl~ 5 ft’et. 8 inches in diameter, 9 inches wide, 2 fl’t,t 9 iI,I’IIt’s apllrt from raeh other und weigh about 25 cwt. each; the tailings after leaying the Chilian mills pas~ over tIlt, blanketing tables, of which there are tllrl’p, 12 by 3 fert each. ‘fho bhmketings are saved and put t.lmmgh th~ grinding procl’~s in two of Dl’nny’s pulH’ri~l’J’S, which cli!”(‘hurge out,iue instel~d of inside, as is gt’uprally the ease. :VII’. Harford re’comm!’ndtl Denny’s pu\wri”prs as a powerful gold-8aving machine, and I might h(‘rl~ mention thllt It sepurate waterwheel dri”es t.he Denny’~.

Crushing for the public i~ done by the hour instead of by t.he t.on-Sd. per hour for (‘:tel! stump, or lOs. &1. per hour for the whole ma.chinery. Tht’ parties crushing pay for all IOS5 of quicksilver, and have the opt,ion of crttshing with screen (gratingll) Hl5 or 169 holes per square inch. Wilson & Co.’s machine, :Messrs. \Vi);;on & Ritchir, proprietors: Thi~ machine is on the self-fecding principle and is worked by watt’r-pllwt’r equal to thirty-the horse-power nominal, but can be worked up to fiftyThe machine is beautifully arrangecl to work with ease all”the different gold-saving apparatus; the main iron shaft. COI1lIl’ctt’ll with tl1’ waterwlll’el is 60 feet in length; by this ~haft the batterit’s, Chilian mills, bcrdans and buddle arc worked; each call he disconnected wht’n required without the least interfer.’nce in the working of the otht’r~. The machine’ has three batteries of five stampers each, and each !”t,amp weighs 7 cwt.; length of boxes, 5 feet 4 incht’s ; inside each box there arc four temporary liners or iron plates for the double purpose of saTing the boxes from wearing too fu~t, and for forming recesses or catches t.o retain the amalgam in the boxes; these iron platt’8 arc taken out every time a crushing is finished; length of table 10 feet, width 4 feet, faUlt inch per fooL

There arc fOllr separate copper plates Oll these tables, the first 4 by 3 feet, the others 4 by 1 foot; at the end of these tables there arc three ripples containing about 200 lbs. of quicksilvcr; depth of ripples 9 inches, 8 inehes, and 7 inches respectively; after the tailings lean these ripples th.’yagain pass over copper plates into the Chilian mills, of which thcr.’ arc three-one to each battery; the wheels arc 5 feet in diameter, 1 foot wide, weigh 30 cwt. ellch, and are 2 feet. 9 inches apart from each other, giving a grinding surface of 400 feet per minute; from the Chili an mills the tailings pass to three blanketing tables; length of table, 13 feet by 3 feet each; the blanketing table~, Chilian mills, &c., &c., &c., are disconnected from each other so a~ to enable three pnrti!’R to crush at the one t.illl!,; from the blanketing tables the tailings pass through concentrating shoots, where the heaviest material is gathered, brought back, and regrinded with the blanketings in the improved berdans. 1.’lw8e lwrdsns, of which there are two, have a stationery chaindrag of Ii foot grinding surface.

After the blanketings and tailings pass through the whole process of grinding they run into one of Munday’s patent puddles, 24 feet in diameter, with eight arms, eight feeder>:, and twenty-four stampers, and work eight revolutions per minute; the light tailings are now allowed to pas~ into the creek while the pyrites or mundic saved in this buddle is from 2 to 3 per cent., and by assays made in Sydney contain from 9 to 14 ozs. gold per ton. Messrs. Wilson & Ritchie are now erecting a reverberatory furnace for the treatment of pyrites and mundic.

The furnace will be on the principle of that on the New North Clunes Co.’s Mine in Victoria. The crushing for the public is done at per hour instead of per ton. The machine owner, as at Williams’ G. M. Co.’s machiine, breaks the quartz at the mill to the proper size for crushing; the cost per hour for fifteen stamp~, three Chilian mill!”, two berdans and buddIe, i~ lOs. 6d. The parties crushing have the option of using the following screens or grating: 195 or 169 holes per square inch. The following statistics will show tht’ amount of amalgam or gold saved after th(‘ quartz has been crushed through grating~ 195 holes per square inch. and therefore the public will be able to judge whether it. is well to have appliances to treat the tailings after they leave tht tahles, or to be satisfied with the amalgamating barrel, which is very often the only apparatus by which blanketings arc treated at the quartz-crushing machinC’s on different goldfields of this COIOIlV. These amalgamating ba.rrels have no grinding power; they can therefore only gather free gold, and become a farce or deceit. as fu~’ as the treatment of blanketings and the extracting of gold therefrom is concerned.