Full Record

Fraser's G.M. Company Mr. John Calvert's Expedition to Western Australia The Ashburton Gold Discovery The Central Crushing
Record no:
16 June 1890
Kept:Press clippings book 1, p. 30

The following report, under date June 3rd, has been received by the
directors of the above Company from Mr W. Oates, the mining manager.  

"I took over the charge of your mine, from the late manager, on Saturday

last, but you will observe, from the pay sheet appended, I have employed
three or four men during the last three weeks; this I thought necessary to
facilitate the work of getting the battery ready for a successful start.
The engine and the Tangye pump have been thoroughly over-hauled by the
engineer lately employed at Fraser's South.  The boiler men, who arrived
here on Friday, commencing work on Saturday, have taken out the damaged
plates in boiler, and will replace them with new; this work with a few
other alterations, they inform me, will take a fortnight to complete.  I
have had the amalgamating and blanket tables re-arranged and shall paddock
the tailings by gravitation, allowing the water to run back to the well
pump.  This method will save the great expense of removing the tailings
from the pits, as has been done previously.  I intend making use of one of
the pits, before mentioned, for submerging the pipes in the water, to
produce a perfect condensation of steam from the engine.  I am also having
a small dam (before partly constructed) prepared to receive all the water
drawn out of both Fraser's and the South shafts, and have laid down the
two-inch pipes (lately arrived on the mine) to convey it direct to the
battery boxes; this will relieve the Tangye pump of considerable work, and
I hope thus to obtain a sufficient supply for crushing.  There has been
previously on the south shaft a horsewhip (single).  I intend converting
this into a double one, and shall use the steel wire rope (lately sent)
for this purpose; this will enable us to raise double the quantity of
water at the same cost as formerly.  Later on I have a plan of cheaply
fixing a self-emptying arrangement for the water buckets, which will save
10s. per day in a brace man.  I have also to report about 25,000 gallons
of water in the large dam.  There are indications of more rain.  I have
made the necessary arrangements and drains to receive water from a much
larger area of country than formerly; this is very important.  I spent
most of yesterday inspecting the underground workings in Fraser's shaft,
and will submit my plans of future working in due time for your approval.
The tram line from Fraser's shaft to battery being uncomplete, and I shall
be glad, when the necessary rails are sent on, to finish this work.  I
hope, gentlemen, supported by you, to be enabled to bring to a successful
issue the operations, which I will do my best to attain.


The name of Mr John Calvert, the reported discoverer of a treasure valued
at many million pounds, and lying in this colony, having been prominently
brought before the notice of Western Australia, a few particulars
concerning this gentleman, who appears to the well known in mining circles
at home, will, perhaps, be read with interest.  He is recognised as one of
the oldest practical miners and geological experts still in harness.  He
is a Cornishman by birth, and has passed his 78th year.  As an engineer,
inventor, chemist, prospector and traveller, he has, we are told, proved
himself a man of many parts and ceaseless activity, and is regarded as an
authority on those subjects, mainly connected with mining and metallurgy,
which have been his life-study.

The story of his life reads almost like a romance.  We find him, at the
age of four years, clearly listening to the stories of naval life which
his father, an officer in the Royal Navy, poured into his ears.  While
still a mere lad, he adds to his ordinary studies, the study of minerals,
and acquired some skills and knowledge as a mineralogist that at the age
of seventeen he was invited by Henry Henland, a well-known mineralogist,
to accompany him in numerous mining tours through Europe.  He collected
specimens, wrote an account of his observations, and during one of the
tours perfected his manganese process for the extraction of gold from its
ores.  Later on, he invented several scientific instruments, undertook
deep researches into abstruse scientific subjects, embodying his
observations in a work called “The Solvent of Matter and Motion.”  He also
published papers on “Water and Chemical Action,” “the Origin of the
Earth's Own Heat,” and “Heat, the Index of Work Done.”

These pursuits did not, however, interfere with his profession.  He
prospected for gold in various parts of North and South Wales, with
success, and in 1834 visited the silver country of Peru, where he became
engaged in mining.  While there engaged, he commenced his chlorination and
bromine methods of treatment, and used them with single success.  Two
years later he returned to England, and published his work, “The Universal
Distribution of Gold.”  Then he visited Australia and New Zealand, and we
find him discovering gold in one place, tin in another, copper somewhere
else, and also diamonds.  Next he started on a scientific expedition with
his yacht, the Scout, thoroughly fitted up for its purpose.  He cruised
round part of the case of Tasmania in search of gold-bearing strata, but
likely looking localities were found difficult of access.  Some remarkably
fine specimens of gold, alternating with layers of oligist iron were,
however, found, some of which gave, he says, as much as one-third of gold
to the accompanying weight of iron.

He next visited, in his vessel, one of reports of this colony, whence, we
are told "he made inland excursions, in the course of which he discovered
the crater of an extinct volcano containing diamonds.  In another, he
happened to come upon the richest outcrop of gold-bearing quartz he ever
met with, its constitution being, he says, one-half gold and one-half
quartz, snugly encompassed within a few yards.  Owing to the distance of
its location from the moorings of the Scout, he was only able to take a
small quantity away, not daring to divulge its remarkable value to his
crew, but with the full intention of revisiting the spot better equipped
for loading the bulk of the ore."

Mr Calvert then went to New Guinea, the Indian Archipelago, and thence to
the islands of the Pacific.  In 1849, he returned to England, and lectured
on the Genesis of gold, and interested himself in various colonizing
movements.  He then returned to New South Wales, and amassed as much as a
ton of pure gold which he sold in England for £96,000.  This was in 1853.
By this time he had attained to such a position in his profession that his
advice on mining and geological matters was greatly sought.  He opened his
"extensive museum of mineral specimens, precious stones, scientific
instruments, ancient MSS., and curios, to the public," which excited
considerable interest.  He visited the gold-bearing districts in Scotland
and Ireland, read a series of papers before the British Association upon
“The production of gold in the British Isles,” and other subjects, engaged
in a controversy with Sir Roderick Murchison, and afterwards published a
valuable work, entitled “The Gold Rocks of Great Britain and Ireland.”  He
became a recognised authority on the subject of gold-mining, and his
services were much sought-after.  His engagements were numerous, and
amongst them was included inspection of mines in Mexico, Californian,
various parts of African of Spain, Portugal, Germany, and other European
countries, as well as in Cornwall, Wales, and Scotland.  These engagements
extended over a large number of years, and during this time his inventive
faculties were busily occupied improving machinery, designing various
appliances, and inventing an electrical process for treating gold bearing

His whole life appears to have been that of a busy man, and at an age
which only wanted a couple of years to make him an octogenarian, he was
contemplating a journey to South America, to look after his interests
there.  Since then, he has again turned his attention to this colony, the
results being the formation of the syndicate concerning which several
notices have appeared in these columns.  Mr Calvert is described as a hale
and hearty man, full of unimpaired vitality, and the portrait which we
have seen goes very far to bear out the statement.  It is that of a fine
looking man, apparently stoutly built, with plenty of pluck and
determination written on his intelligent countenance.  As to the
marvellous tale he has been repeating to willing ears in England, we shall
probably soon hear if there be anything in it.  And it will not do to
expect too much from this marvel.





The Government Resident, Mr Hare, arrived last evening.  About 40 diggers
assembled at the Court House this morning when Mr Hare addressed them.  He
said that he went to the field via Robe River.  He calculates the distance
at 350 miles.  He returned via the Hamersley Ranges.  He estimates the
distance this way about 240 miles.  It took him nine days.  At the lowest
estimate there are 300 men on the field.  About 2000 ounces of gold have
been obtained since the discovery, but the creek is about worked out.  One
50oz nugget had been found.  Provisions were scarce, but he met teams
going.  He advises all to remain quiet until further discoveries, as the
present ground is all taken out.  He reports favourably on the road via
the Tableland, but water is scarce and the road is rough in places.  He
heard that men got colour on the road between Onslow and the fields.


The directors of the Central Gold Mining Co. have received the following
report, dated 12 inst., from Mr B. H. Woodward, F.G.S.: Gentlemen, — I
have the honor [sic] to report that I have assayed the four bags of
samples received from Mr Clifton yesterday (11th inst.)
                                               oz.         dwt.
Tailings … … 1 7 18 per ton
Blanketings … 5 14 8 per ton
Skimmings (5cwt)               18 19 3 per ton
That is to say the 5 cwt. contain altogether 4 oz. 12 dwt. 6 gr.

Skimmings (1/2 cwt.) after the pieces of iron have been picked out,
contain at the rate of 58 oz. 12 dwt. 13 gr. to the cwt., or, taking the
whole bulk, there is nearly 1/2 oz to the lb, without making allowance for
the chips of iron.  With ordinary fluxes it will be troublesome to reduce
and difficult to obtain the full quantity unless a very large quantity of
flux is used, but if you like I shall be happy to undertake the half cwt.
and reduce it on the plan I discovered, and of which I made use
successfully in reducing similar material from another Yilgarn mine.
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