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Hillgrove’s mines

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Friday 29 March 1889, The South Australian Advertiser


[By our Special Reporter.]


The directors of the Baker’s Creek mine are largely interested in the Mount Carrington mine, and, taking advantage of their three days’ stay at Hillgrove, some of the members of the party visited the claim. The Mount Carrington mine comprises 15 acres, situated on the aide of the falls above the Baker’s Creek property, and a little to the south of it, being separated from the south-east boundary of the big mine by the Baker’e Creek South holding. The company’s original claim was situated some distance to the north of the Baker’s Creek mine, but having secured the southern claim, they are at present working it in the hope of striking Smith’s and other reefs of the Baker’s Greek which run in the direction of their holding. The track to the present Mount Carrington workings branches off the creek zigzag about 500 feet from the top of the ravine, and is a much rougher road to travel than the older track. The mine is captained by Mr. J. B. Neales, an old Adelaidean, and acting on his advice we started to make the descent at 6 o’clock in the morning, so as to accomplish the task ere the sun beat upon the eastern side of the gorge. Our choice was a wise one, and in the cool morning air the journey was a pleasant although a rough one, while the sight of the ravine, partly in shadow and partly lighted by the sun’s rays, was worth rising very early to witness. About 20 minutes’ climbing brought us to the mouth of the company’s tunnel in time to hear the report of a blast which had been put in at the head of the work ing. The report of the explosion was startling in the quietness of the morning, and the echoes given forth from the sides of the ravine resounded for several seconds. Three shifts of men are engaged in putting in a tunnel from the face of the cliff, and the length of the excavation at the time of our visit was 249 feet. Some of the country passed through has been extremely hard, but it became softer as the tunnel was extended, and the work is in consequence now being pushed on more rapidly. From the shape and direction of Smith’s reef at the highest point at which it has been opened up the manager of the Mount Carrington expects to cut it in about another 70 feet. The prospect of his doing so is a very fair one, and in the event of his succeeding the property is almost bound to be a valuable one. The work is being carried out in a miner-like manner under the direction of Mr. Neales, who is firmly convinced that Smith’s reef will be proved to traverse the Mount Carrington claim.

Baker’s Creek South Mine.

Striking downwards towards the big mine we come to the workings on the Baker’s Creek South claim. Like the Carrington a tunnel is being put in by this company in the hope of cutting Smith’s reef, and the length of the drive is 128 feet. The tunnel is lower down the slope of the ravine than that on the Carrington, but if the reef is struck here it is almost certain to be found on the Mount Carrington property. A shaft has also been sunk to a depth of 64 feet, and a reef 22 inches in width showing traces of gold has been struck at this depth. Seventeen men are employed on the claim, and when Mr. k. T. Rossman, of Sandhurst, who has recently been appointed manager, takes charge of the mine the work of developing the property will be pushed on with fresh vigor in the hope of striking the rich reef.


Continuing our journey, we reached Barnfield’s Garden, a densely wooded strip of made ground separating the big mine from Baker’s Creek South. Our progress through this was very difficult, but after some hard climbing we emerged near Cornish’s tunnel, from which an easy path led to the creek at the bottom of the ravine; Continuing our journey along the bed of the creek, we arrived at a group of cottages situated on the bank of the creek, and here we found an excellent breakfast awaiting us at an eating-house built for the accommodation of the miners. We did full justice to the chops and steaks placed before us, our appetites having been sharpened by our long climb in the morning air. After visiting some prospecting claims on the western side of the gorge we returned to the Sunlight battery at the creek level, two or three hundred yards to the south of the big mine. The Sunlight claim is situated on the western side of the ravine above the battery, with which it is connected by means of an endless wire rope suspended on poles, which carries the ore in buckets from the mouth of the tunnel to the crusher platform. This side of the chasm is even more steep than the other, and as the hot sun was now beating upon it we declined the invitation to ascend to the workings. The battery consists of five head of stampers, and the return from the clearing up just prior to our visit was 190 oz. of gold, being at the rate of nearly 3 oz. to the ton. Returning to the Baker’s Creek property we watched for a time the working of the battery, and having inspected the workings on the Baker’s Creek North mine, where a shaft is being sunk and winding gear erected, we started up the zigzag path for our hotel, with the impression that only one Baker’s Creek mine had as yet been discovered, and that it would be a long tine before we would have an opportunity of inspecting another.

Written by macalba

November 13, 2010 at 8:06 pm

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