Full Record

The Yilgarn Goldfiled : the warden's report. Leases and revenue. Mining. Machinery. Water. The Kauffman borer. Accidents. Population. Health. Conclusion.
Record no:
11 December 1889
Report from Mr. J. M. Finnerty
Kept:Press clippings book 1, p. 14


The Colonial Secretary has received the following report from Mr J. M. Finnerty, Warden of the Yilgarn Goldfield:- Warden's Office, Yilgarn Goldfield, December 1, 1889.

SIR: I have the honour to forward, for the information of his Excellency the Governor, report on this goldfield.


To the present 71 leases, amounting to 684 acres, have been applied for, and two claims and eighteen protection areas are registered and occupied.

Since 1st January last nineteen business licences and 394 mines rights have been issued.

The amount of money revenue for this year (January 1 2 December 1) forwarded to the Hon. the commissioner of Crown Lands, amounted to £1,700 13 s.  6d.  In addition to this amount, fees in connection with this goldfield were received at it has Crown Lands Office, Perth.


Alluvial: a few patches of alluvial gold have been found and worked.  At Southern Cross, within 300 yards from the township, about 250 ounces of gold have been obtained during the past two months.  This ground is still being worked and continues to yield gold.  The gold is, for the most part, nuggety, several pieces weighing upwards of an ounce.  Probably there are many patches of this description scattered about the field, but on account of scarcity of water and horse feed, prospecting either for alluvial or reef, will during a short period of the wet season.

Reefs: Until recently the persons employed as managers were, with a few exceptions, inferior man, with but little ability, and no idea of their duties and responsibilities.  Moneys trusted to them for expenditure on their respective mines, were thrown away without result.  Many employed by
these managers, not being supervised, became idle and useless, and although receiving large wages, simply loafed through the day.  Under these circumstances rapid development could not be expected.  Fortunately some managers of experience and ability have now been obtained, and on the mines where these managers have been placed the reefs are now being energetically opened up.

It cannot be expected that all the reefs taken up will turn out payable, but, from present appearances, I consider that more than the general average on goldfields will hear prove payable.


To stamp batteries have been erected, on the Central, and one on Fraser's gold mining leases. Crushing has been started at both.  Fraser's machinery has been working satisfactorily and continuously.  The Central machinery, from want of water and other causes, has worked very

Both these leases should give a good average, per ton, of gold and yield a considerable weight of gold before the end of this month.

Several loads of crushing machinery have arrived for Hope's Hill, Uphill's, and Exchange Companies, and preparations have been commenced for erection.


During the last six months a party of men, under the direction of Mr Raeside, has constantly worked at the formation of tanks.  Six miles north from Parker's Range the tank has been increased from 50,000 to 200,000 gallons capacity.  Lake Cotton tank, two miles from Southern Cross, has been enlarged, but the water there conserved is only fit for stock.

Coorkardine tank has been increased in capacity from 35,000 to 75,000 gallons.  At Tamarin Rocks, on the road from seventeen mile tank To Parker's Range, small tanks for the use of teams and teamsters have been made, capable of holding about 30,000 gallons.  At Golden Valley the supply of water is, for the present, sufficient.  At Southern Cross and Parker's Range an expenditure of at least £3,000 is imperative to make the supply equal to the demand.


The Kauffman borer is slowly progressing.  A depth of 52 ft, very hard slate was struck, and has continued to the present depth-170 ft.

In spite of hard work and long hours, the sinking four feet cannot be averaged each day.


Only one accident was reported during the year in connection with mining. This accident was caused by the explosion of dynamite.  Fortunately the accident was not serious.  I am surprised that accidents of explosives have not been much more numerous, from the careless manner in which explosives are stored and handled, and from the want of experience in the users.

When visiting some of the mines I have seen dynamite about the floors of drives and tunnels, left in a most careless manner.  Regulations as to the storage and issues by managers of explosives are required.


Lately the population of this field amounted to about 250 persons.  This number is now considerably reduced.  Upon a report reaching here that there was a probability that the labour clauses would be suspended for six months, many of the select working miners immediately quitted.  Other man, whose families reside in the towns have also left in order that they may
enjoy Christmas with their families.


The health of inhabitants of this field has been good.  Several accidents, however, show the desirability that a doctor should reside here.


In conclusion I beg to state that from the surface show and appearances, as far as shafts have been sunk, there is every hope that this goldfield will be extensive and valuable.  The scarcity of fresh water will be the most difficult obstacle to overcome.

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