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How the West was won

Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:11 am
by Philski
Discovery of the West
With thanks to Charles Whitlam and many others. The facts here are by no means exhaustive. But verifiable, nether the less.

The following notes on pioneer explorers of the Western regions of Tasmania are taken from the book by Charles Whitham, (1935) "Western Tasmania, A Land of Riches and Beauty." Whitlham writes: Between 1825 and 1850. explorations of the country to the south of Macquarie Harbour were made by Evans, J. H. Wedge, G. Frankland. J. E. Calder, Count Strzelecki, James Sprent, and W Sharland. Wedge also explored the region south of Circular Head.

Sharland.-In March, 1832, Surveyor Sharland set out from the Nive, and passing to the south of Lake St. Clair,which he saw from a distance of a couple of miles, reached the Frenchman's Cap, which he ascended, but did not quite reach the summit.

Frankland.-In 1835, Surveyor-General Frankland explored all the country between the Upper Huon and Lake St Clair, discovering and naming Lake Pedder and the Serpentine, Mt. Anne, the Picton, Boyd and Wedge Rivers. He named Lake St. Clair, with the mountains surrounding it (Olympus, Ida, Byron, Manfred), Lake Petrarch, Guvier,and the Navarre Plains. From this we may infer that Frankland was a gentleman with literary tastes.

Calder.-Between 1838-42, Surveyor General Calder carried out a series of explorations between Lake St. Clair and Macquarie Harbor, naming the Loddon Hills, Surprise River, Franklin and other features in that country. The Jane was named after Lady Franklin, the Cracroft Range after her cousins, Mt. Gell after Franklin's daughter's husband, and the Elliott Range after the Governor's secretary Calder Is immortalized in mere pass named after him by Lady
Franklin. The Frenchman's Cap is shown on the maps of 1830, but I cannot say who named it. Dundas is also entered, the only mountain of the West Coast Range (except Sorell) to be distinguished. Strzelecki named Mt. Arrowsmith in 1843.
James Sprent.-During the course of his trigonometrical survey of the colony between 1845 and 1855, Sprent ascended several mountains in the western country the Arthur Range, Frenchman's Cap, Dundas, Heemskirk, and the Cradle.
Gordon Burgess.-In 1853, Gordon Burgess went from Lake St. Clair to the Henty. The Tully, Burgess, and Henty Rivers seem to have been named by him. Burgess carried out other explorations in 1860-04.
Tully.-Tully, with Glover and Spong, ascended the Frenchman Cap In 1859,and explored some previously unknown country.

In 1864 Gordon Burgess was in the district to the south-west of Bischoff,and this region, perhaps as far south as Zeehan, appears to have been prospected, about 1872, by Harman and Heazlewood.

Gould.-At the end of 1859, Charles Gould, the Government Geologist, accompanied by Gordon Burgess as surveyor, and 20 other men, was sent out by the Government to prospect for minerals He started from Lake St. Clair and explored the Eldon Range and the upper course of the King without dis-covering anything but pyrites. Gould then turned northward, crossed the Murchison, went over Granite Tor. and 'past Cradle Mountain to Middlesex Plains. Burgess struck off to the west and reached ML Farrell. He then came back and took soundings In Lake St Clair. Mt. Murchison was named by Gould on this trip, but he does not appear to have designated Sedgwick,Lyell, Owen, Huxley, Jukes and Darwin until later, when ho went through the Vale of Chamouni (now known as the Linda Valley) across the saddle between Lyell and Owen, down to the Queen Valley close to where Unbeknownst stands, and on to Macquarie Harbor Another prospecting expedition led by Gould and Burgess was out in 1862 They had 30 men with them, and were again unsuccessful in there quest for payable metals, although in several places they found indications of gold and copper.
In his report of tho trip Gould mentions that in 1855 a Mr. Smith and party had visited Macquarie Harbor cutting a track from Kelly Basin for some miles-in the direction of Frenchman's Cap. Captain Butler Stoney in his book, "A Residence in Tasmania, 1856," says that a gold digging expedition was fitted out by some Hobart Town merchants in 1854. This expedition landed at Sarah Island, and did some prospecting about the shores of Macquarie Harbor discovering a piece of gold on the shore but that was all they found. No doubt this was Smith's expedition referred Toby Gould.
Gould in 18G2 established his main depot on the Gordon, sending one party to prospect along the southern Shore of Macquarie Harbor, and another to make a track on the left bank of tho Gordon towards the Great Bend. Risen,who was in charge of this party, found, like Innes and Hales In later years, that he had to go a long way to the south as far as Hermit's Valley and McFarland's pass before finding a practicable
route to the east.

Burgess made a track up the Franklin until he same to Sir John Franklin's Crossing at Eleanor Ferry. This old track was then reopened to the Jane and the Acheron. Gould went up Smith's old track, and appears to have reached Mount Fincham. Ho then turned to a depot they had established on the Franklin, and managed to ascend ..the river with a boat until they got right under the Frenchman. It is almost in-credible that they did so; it was a most difficult and dangerous undertaking,passing about seventy falls and .rapids.
Although traces of gold were found in several places it was nowhere in payable quantities Before abandoning the search Gould went up the King River as far as the entrance to the gorge. He re-commended that a more extensive search should be made of this river and its tributaries, and his advice was followed years later, when the Lynch'» Creek,Linda, and Flanagan's Flats goldfields were discovered.

For several years before he discovered the Bischoff mine, In 1871, James Smith was exploring and prospecting the Forth, Leven, and Arthur rivers. After his pertinacity was rewarded prospecting parties set out from Waratah, dis-covering gold on the Arthur, also asbestos, iron, copper, and platinum between the Arthur and the Pieman Rivers

Re: How the West was won

Posted: Sat Apr 18, 2015 12:42 am
by Philski
Again many thanks to Charles Whitham In his book"Western Tasmania: A Land of Riches and Beauty,"
In it he deals with an extract from the report of Mr. G. Thureau on the Linda goldfields, made in 1886.

"The Messrs. Henry and Co., of Long Bay (now Strahan), have favored me with a memo., viz.: They bought in 1886, 400 oz of gold, and In 1886 to September 22550 oz. Messrs. Gaffney and Harvey during 1886 bought 250 oz., but both parties state that a considerably greater quantity was taken away to the other colonies It has been estimated that the actual yield of gold from the Linda, Queen River, Lynch's Creek, and Mount Sorrell (Flanagan's  Flats) alone exceeded 2000 oz. for that period. The gold from the formation of the Mount Lyell Mining Co. (Crotty and Co.) exceeded 600 oz. for 1886.
"Among the parties reporting returns of gold; were. Evert and Co., Watson and Co., Zeppelin and Co., North and Co, Hall and mate. The returns of gold would be considered large and remunerative if the small number of miners employed at about half time were considered. These prospectors think nothing of carrying from 60lb. to 80lb. each of provisions through impenetrable scrub, across deep rivers,flooded morasses, along positively dangerous sidelines, and strong looking men have succumbed after but a year or so's packing, and are the wreck of what they were before, if only for light work.

"Besides gold, copper (chiefly found in Its pure malleable state), occurs along a zone about, nine chains' cast of the original Iron Blow. Ono vein measures 12in. and two others 2in. to 5in wide. It occurs in quartzite, embedded in a kind of hard brown' clay, and appears to.account for the lumps of pure copper found, in Watson's claim, North Mount Lyell, weighing from 21b. to 61b.each. Sometimes from one pound. to 21b. of pure copper can be washed in a dish.
"As the population is daily increasing,numbering at the time of my departure (September 20, 1886), nearly 200 persons, as against 60 or 70 in 1885, the incessant traffic has cut up the tracks very, considerably, and at least a hundred men should be put on the track from Long Bay in order to get the worst portions made this' season.


"Commissioner Glover, In his report September 19, 1885, has a few words today about the difficulties of getting to Linda at that time: "It is reached by what may be said to be literally a wallaby track made through extremely broken, precipitous,and densely wooded country, extending about, eight miles from Lynch's Creek, and crossing the Queen twice by means to spars felled across the stream. In some places the traveller has to climb acclivities by tho use of this hands as well as his feet, and with the aid of roots and branches of trees. Added to this is the ever present mud from Oin. to 2ft. deep, even on the steepest hills. The labors of the unfortunate diggers, carrying from 80lb on their backs, can only be faintly imagined by those who haven't had personal experience of these tracks.

'"Gregory in his 'Geology of Mount Lyell' (1905) says: '
"Thureau, the Government Geologist of Tasmania, reported on the field in 1886, and was Impressed with the unusual character of its ores. He stated that the deposit was not similar to any lodes, reefs, or even dyke deposits that he knew. The mining results were still disappointing, but with the magnificent perseverance of the Australian miner the men would not abandon the field,and they gradually learned the great extent of the mineral resources.

"In 1890' Montgomery, who had succeeded to the post of Government Geologist, again called attention to the field in his report on tho state of the mining Industry on the West Coast. In August, 1891, Messrs. Bowes Kelly and William Orr, attracted by the fame of the great Lyell ore mass, visited the locality :The vigorous development of the field mainly resulted from that visit. Mr Kelly fully Inspected the Iron Blow,and some of the ore was sent to heartbroken Hill smelting works. There was examined by Mr. H. H. Schlapp, who subsequently visited Mount Lyell. Mr Kelly and his advisers concluded that the ore would not pay. if worked as a gold mine, but that if attacked on sufficiently largo scale the pyrites could be worked for copper, and tho gold and silver gained as byproducts. A syndicate, of which Mr. Kelly was the most active member, further prospected the field, and ( this led to the formation of a company named the Mount Lyell Mining Company, No Liability, which was superseded In 1893 by the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway' Co. Ltd.
The now company In 1892 obtained reports at high expense from Dr. E. D.Peters, the best American authority on copper, and from Mr. T. A. Allan, who had been manager of the Rio Tinto mines in Spain. Both experts recommended the establishment of smelting works, and ? Mr. Robert Sticht was brought from the United States to design, erect, and manage the plant. Before his arrival Mr. O. G. Schlapp and Mr. Powell hod been the mine managers,while tho construction of the various tramways and railways, the laying out of the smelters' site wore in tho hands of Mr. E. Mr Driffield. Mr. Stitch died in 1922, and was succeeded by Mr M. Murray, the present;: general manager. Mr. Driffield remainder control of the railways and tramways until 1923.

"The engineers in charge of the Mining Department have been Clarke, 1896-1901; W. T. Batchelor 1901-1906; R. M. Murray, 1906-1922; GF. Jakins, from 1922. The metallurgist in charge of the smelting works have been G. F. Beardsley, 1897 -1902; A, L Dean 1902 -1913; R. P. Roberts, from 1913 Shepherd. 1896-1900;' A. N. McNeil, 1900- 1906; G. W. Wright, 1906-1923; G. L Thorn, from 1923. Electrical engineers E Du Rieu, 1914 to 1920; T. A. C. Preston, from 1920. Engineer for supplies Huntley J. Clarke, from 1897. Other officials who have been prominently concerned with the working on the company are: A. Davy, W. Boon, Barwick A. Triffett, S. Walsh, G. Batchelor, M. Westbrook, H. G. Faull, R Eyes, J.O'Connor, A. P. Chaperon, W Hogg, E. McHugh, B. Brooker, M. Dobbie, A. Beilward, AV. A. Quosman, W Wedd, H. Hopwood, L. Hudspeth, J Hepburn, W. D. Proctor, B. Young, F Burke, L. Smith, G. Barkway, D. Sargeant, A, Sargeant, W. Rathbun, EBarkies', T. McArly, G. Bradshaw,' F Bradshaw, F. Horner, W. Spurling, W Weir W. Coxal!, R. Ren. R. Lycetl F. Compton, E. Berron, R.. Robinson, RBroadby, G. Sehapira, J, H. Bowsklll, JLay, N. Wood, J.Harry, and J. Morely


Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:28 pm
by Philski
The following article on "the Story of Lyell," taken from Charles Whitham's book, "Western Tasmania; A Land of Riches and Beauty," deals with the story as set out in extracts from the "Mount Lyell Standard" of November 20, 1857, and notes by the editor of the "Standard" (Mr. Wi H. Taylor}.Continuing, Mr. Whitman writes: "From an article in the 'Mount Lyell Standard,'November 20, 1897, by 'One Who Knows," take the following: 'Lynch's Creek didn't prove an El Dorado, and if the difficulties at the Pieman fields were bad those at Lynch's Creek were tenfold worse At the Pieman supplies had only to be packed for five or six miles through comparatively open country. In order to reach Lynch's Creek prospectors had to go by boat from F. O. Henry's store at Old Strahan across the bay to the mouth of the King River up which the craft was pulled for about 15 miles to the Top Landing. Before the Top Landing was reached there were rapids to be negotiated at frequent intervals In places it was impossible to make headway with the oars and the boat had to be towed from the banks clothed with almost Impenetrable Jungle. When the river was low and a rapid reached, the occupants of the boat had to Jump Into the water often above their waists and push the boat over. The land journey was oven worse. Through almost inaccessible country packs had to be carried on men's backs. The razor grass bauera, and horizontal scrub added to the difficulties. When a narrow track was cut through the forest the almost incessant rainfall soon made it a quagmire, and it is a mystery to how men managed to carry swags weighing from 50 to 70lb,
"In the early part of 1883 Harry Everett, Howard Henley and a couple others started out from Long Bay,Strahan, through the bush towards the West Coast Range. They came to open country (Gould's Honeysuckle Hill)which they named Howard's Plains after one of the party. Crossing this open country in a direct lino for Mt. Owen,which was not more than six miles distant, they found themselves on the western fall of a large stream, which proved to be the Queen River. Payable gold was discovered in a creek flowing into lt. sic:(Princess Creek)
"The discovery caused a small rush,The blazed line of the prospectors was formed into a kind of track by a man named George Meredith, the tract)was named after him and many a curse,deep and terrible, poor Meredith had to bear on account of it, although he wasn't to blame. Among the men who were on Howard's Plain at this ' time were George Lambie, Henry Botta, Partisanna, Steve Karlson, the Coones Brothers, Fred Borley, Josh Maestri, Lee the Frenchman, Jim White, Frank Lester, Tom Gilbert and Tabby the French man.

"It was 3rd October, 1883, that the two men known as the Cooney Brothers, but whose real names were William 'and Michael McDonough, heard of this rush Being stranded at Heemskirk they made for the now find. Reaching Old Strahan which had a population of about a dozen they got their outfit at F. O. Henry's store. For a month they prospected unsuccessfully and then decided to push eastward between Mt. Owen and Lyell' Before doing so it was necessary to return to Strahan for stores. While therefore at Strahan Mr. Henry asked them to take back with them a man named Johannes Stephanus Karlson. better known as Steve Karlson.
"The party crossed the ridge between Owen and Lyell and camped near a creek about 300 yards west of what was afterwards the South Lyell tunnel From that point a wildly grand panorama lay before the wondering gaze of the prospectors. Not more than a stone's throw from their camp their attention was directed to an Irregularly shaped mass of dark looking rock ? jut¡ ting several feet out of the ground, and capped by a round patch of green scrub This was the famous Iron Blow, Central of the Mt. Lyell mine, which If known at Lyell as 'the Blow' to this day.

"the Top Landing on the King- River referred to by the narrator from whom :have quoted was at the clearing Just where the river emerges from the gorge and is plainly visible from the train After landing their stores the prospectors followed the valley of Sailor Jack'!I Creek to Rlnadeona, and thence down into the Queen Valley, taking the sami1 route as the present railway line. The trail was used for two or three years only, as a pack track was put In from Strahan to Lynchford round the face of Mt. Owen to the Linda field in 1886. Mr James Elliott, who is still fossicked around Lynchford, remembers using the King River route, and is the best known authority on the early days of the Lynchford mines. He worked as a boy Heemskirk, and in June, 1883, was engaged by Con Lynch as nipper on the King River mine. He says that working the King and afterwards carrying a swag to Lynchford ranks as the hardest work he has ever known. 'Taranaki' (W. McGrath) had a store at the Top Landing "I shall now let Mr. Taylor continued his notes:" 'Among the miners who came from Heemskirk wore William and Mick McDonough, familiarly known as the Cooney brothers, and Steve Karlson. They have been prospecting on Howard's Plain with indifferent results, so decided to make for new ground on the foothills of Owen and Lyell. In November, 1883, they started from their camp on the Plain with light loads containing about week's provisions. The first day they crossed the Queen, near the present Reduction Works and climbed over the spur connecting Owen and Lyell, following an old route supposed to have been Gould's, and not long before traverse by Currie and the Moore Brothers, The fact the Moore's were then prospecting the western side of the ridge, an directed the Coonies to the track.

" That night the party camped in gully above the subsequent workings The South Lyell Co., and next morning walked over the site of the Mt. the mine, passing close to the famous Iron Blow, until they reached the upper portion of the Linda Valley near the waterfall on the old King Lyell Co.'» ground little prospecting soon revealed the presence of gold, and three men's group was pegged off. The party soon afterwards returned to Howard's Plains their tents and tools, and lost no time !reaching the location of their claim Several other prospectors accompany them, and the Linda Valley was soon busy scene. While Karlson was pitching camp on the hillside above their alluvial claims Bill McDonough went further up the incline to examine the Blow, and having pulled up some button-grass and shook the attached soil into his dish panned off an excellent prospect. . The party lost no time In further prospecting the hill, and were so satisfied with the results that they posted a notice to prospecting an area of 60 acres, in the center of which was the blow. They where of the opinion that the huge outcrop was the source of the gold found in the valley below. Having secured the prospecting claim in Bill McDonough's name (he had to go all the way to Waratah to register the claim. F.O. Henry, then the only storekeeper south of Heemskirk, was given an interest therein. As part Payment for monies owed. The partners now began to quarrel; very little gold was to be obtained. Bill McDonough was frequently away, and during one of absences Steve Karlson was at Trial Harbor securing water rights for sluicing operations at the Blow, Mick McDonough, who was scared by an attempt to Jump the prospecting area, admitted William Dixon as a member of the parity Dixon was at the time packing stores for the miners, who were getting good results from the Linda Valley. Shortly after James Crotty, who Left before Sinking on the Pieman, and subsequently prospecting on the Ground appeared on the scene. He was met on the track by Mick McDonough and accompanied him to the Blow. Crotty was evidently pleased with the prospects, for a few days after he bought Mick McDonough's interest Bill McDonough dropped out. shortly afterwards, and his interest became Dixon's. the mutual distrust the partners now became manifest, bickering became the order of i he did However, a good deal of prospecting done over the area, and the sulfide were tapped for a considerable distance