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The Annual Geological Report
Record no:
27 August 1890
Woodward, Henry P. is quoted in 'The Inquirer' in his capacity as the Government Geologist. The quotes are taken from his Annual Geological Report for 1888-1889.
Kept:Press clippings book 1, p. 47
The Inquirer.


The Annual Geological Report.

We have before us the Annual General Report of the Government Geologist,
Mr H. P. Woodward, for 1888 — 1889.  It contains a notice of the

geological work done up to the end of 1888, a physical and geological
description of a large portion of the known portion of the colony, and a
very interesting account of the writer's personal researches.  Its chief
value consists in the conclusions to which the writer has arrived from
evidently careful observation as to the places and tracts of country in
which gold, tin, coal, lead, copper and other more or less valuable
minerals are likely to be found, and in the confidence he feels of their
proving a source of great national wealth.  As regards gold, he considers
that in the South there is valuable auriferous country near Kendenup, and
that the mine opened there by Mr Hassell failed to pay for working only
because the manager did not follow the shoot of gold-bearing stone, or
more probably was not able to extract gold by the ordinary process.  He
says "there is no doubt that gold does exist in this reef in payable
quantities," and hopes "that now gold saving processes have reached such a
high state of perfection another trial will be made."  He also states that
there are several other reefs on the same property that remain to be
tested.  The locality near Bindoon, on the road to the Victoria Plains,
where some shafts were sunk for gold many years ago, but abandoned, he
regards as "very promising," and as "not having had a fair trial, as the
reefs near which gold was found have never been tested."  He adds that
"the gullies have not yet been prospected for alluvial gold, but so many
rich specimens have from time being picked up here that it is natural to
infer that the stream beds would pay for working."  Of Yilgarn, which he
describes as "a belt of country extending for about eighty miles in a
southerly direction, rich in gold-bearing quartz reefs," he speaks most
encouragingly.  He says "the stone, as a rule, is very rich, often
containing as much of six ounces of gold to the ton, and trial crushings
that have been made show that there is, at any rate in one or two claims,
a great mass of stone carrying about two ounces to the ton."  He adds,
"There cannot be the slightest doubt that this field presents one of the
finest surface indications yet met with in Australia."  Further north, the
country to the East of the Upper Irwin round about Mt Kenneth, Mt
Singleton Range and the Monger Range, is described as containing "rich
looking quartz reefs quite worth prospecting."  Round about Mt Kenneth he
thinks "gold will certainly be found."  Of portions of country round
Roebourne he speaks highly, as affording every indication of gold, an
opinion which recent discoveries have fully confirmed.  The country
further North has not yet been visited by him, and he only mentions it as
having been proved to be in places rich in alluvial gold and as affording
a promise of turning out rich in reefs.  In lead and copper he adds little
to the knowledge already obtained, but describes the carboniferous
formation in which coal is found as existing over a great extent of
country.  The coal which has been found he describes as of inferior
quality and of little commercial value, but he traces the carboniferous
formation for many hundreds of miles, and regards it as possible that it
may crop up at places as far distant from each other as the Gascoyne and
the South coast, and in many instances prove of good quality.  The value
of a coal mine depends on the character of the coal and its proximity to
the place where it is wanted, and can only be determined by the result of
borings.  But he is evidently under the impression that coal mines may
some day be one of the colony's greatest sources of wealth.  Of the
tinfields he speaks most highly.  "That rich lodes exist on this field" he
says "there is not the slightest doubt," and recommends prospectors to
"examine the Blackwood river and the small streams that feed it from this
side, as the field will most likely be found to extend in this direction."

Mr Woodward's description of the portion of the colony he has passed over
is that of a country abounding in indications of mineral wealth, waiting
only for population and capital for development.  Although Mr Woodward has
travelled over something like fifteen thousand miles of country, he cannot
have examined more than a mere fraction of the whole.  But he has seen
enough to give promise of a good return to a large amount of enterprise.
What remains to be discovered is probably beyond anything we have seen.
The practical question is, What is the best thing to be done?  It may be
assumed that one of the objects of Parliament will be to assist in the
development of one or more goldfields.  But the question is whether it
would be best to confine itself to developing that which is already
discovered or devote a sum of money to testing promising localities nearer
the principal centres of population.  As is observed by Mr Woodward, there
is at present not capital enough in the colony to do justice to the one or
two mines where prospects seem assured.  But on the other hand the
discovery of a payable goldfields at Bindoon or in the Darling Range would
from its position be a thousand times more valuable than one at Yilgarn,
and its success would lead to the introduction of outside capital and the
development of mineral wealth in all directions, including that which
exists at Yilgarn.
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