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Melrose – The New Goldfield

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The Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser, Sat 14 Jun 1890

Melrose – The New Goldfield.

(from our special reporter.)

MELROSE, June 9.

Twelve months ago Melrose was unknown. To-day it boasts a population of between, five and six hundred inhabitants, and its interests are shared by thousands of persons in the Australasian colonies. As Hillgrove is to Armidale, so is Melrose to Uralla. The last-mentioned township is regarded by the Melrosians as ‘headquarters.’ and a constant run of traffic is kept up, not withstanding the fact (undisputed by those acquainted with it) that the road is one of the worst in the colony. The position of the field is about equidistant in an easterly direction from Armidale and Uralla, and the distance is said to be about 30 miles, but this measurement greatly depends, first, upon the weather, and, next, upon the means by which one travels. For instance, a drive out on a fine day behind Mr. Jim Bonnar’s spanking pair would convince one that a short 30 would cover it, whereas a ride in at nighttime after rain would argue in favour of a long 60. To quote a cautious member of the Society of Friends, ‘It all depends.’ Let that pass. From Uralla we will call it 30. The road from this town has some advantages, passing as it does through pretty Gostwyck, one of the most picturesque holdings of the colony; and being situated 15 miles nearer Sydney, on the railway, Uralla, with some improvements in mail communication, is likely to hold its own.

Various obstacles, including some 19 gates, having been overcome, we arrive at Mr. King’s half-way accommodation house ; and thence, through a series of swamps and bogholes, to the township of Melrose. As is usual in mining centres, the town ship is far ahead of the field. The speculative spirit is evinced in the commercial surroundings as well as in the development of the mines, and future prospects rather than present requirements govern the case. Three hotels flourish in the hands of Messrs. Martyn, Burraston, and Gardiner respectively; a skating rink and general ball of entertainment is run by Mr. Parkiss; stores by Messrs. Pearson and McCrossin, of Uralla, are evidently stocked with a view to future emergencies, and various other needs are more than supplied. In one important particular the Government has been neglectful. With 123 children in the immediate neighbourhood, there is no provision whatever for their educational necessities. No teacher has been appointed, nor school established. Of course, the reply of the Department to oft-repeated applications is the ever-ready word, ‘shortly,’ but in the meantime the children are running wild and losing the precious advantages of youth.

The descent to the mines may be compared to that from Hillgrove, though in the case of Melrose the township is fortunately partly down the gorge, and thus the distance is shortened. Besides this, thanks to the enterprise of the Enmore Consolidated Mining Company, a good road-siding has been made at an easy gradient of about one in four.

Chief interest is at present centred in the operations of this company, for upon the result of the first crushing, now going on, depends in a large measure the fate of the field, or at any rate its immediate development. Capitalists are eagerly watching progress of events. As far as can be judged, shareholders will have every reason to congratulate themselves on their speculation. Without indulging in extravagant hopes, it may be confidently anticipated that for 200 tons likely to be crushed by the date of ‘cleaning up’ (15th instant) the yield of smelted gold will run into four figures. With a working expense not exceeding, say, half an ounce per ton, it will readily be seen that should even this moderate estimate be realised the mine should pay.

The history of the mine dates from July last, when Messrs. McKay (the owner of the Enmore run, on which the field is situated), Robson, McCrossin, and McClelland struck the reef. The lodes are situated on a spur between Postman’s and Gorge creeks, having their trend into the latter creek. These creeks are about 1200ft. below the top of the main tableland and within three-quarters of a mile of the same. From the top of the spur on which the outcrop of the lodes was discovered into Gorge Creek is 400ft. perpendicularly. The stone at once commended itself to capitalists, and after a trial crushing showing 11oz. of good gold for 4 tons taken from a drive 30ft. below the cap of the lode a company was successfully floated, and Mr. John Lewis was appointed manager. Since the beginning of October an enormous amount of work has been accomplished. The captain has had to work against very heavy odds. The road above mentioned, extending over a mile in length, for the conveyance of the machinery to the battery, was constructed in little more than a month. One thousand feet of driving and 200ft. of winze sinking have been accomplished, besides the erection of an extensive battery, and this in spite of an extraordinarily wet season. Work was commenced at the cap of the lode about 400ft, above the creek, and a winze has been sunk 52ft. to No. 1 tunnel, which is now driven 128ft. on the lode, and rich stone has been obtained. A second winze is down 50ft. to No. 2 tunnel, which is driven 120ft. A winze of 50ft. connects this with No. 3. Gold is found all through, and the reef averages, say 18in. No. 4 tunnel is 300ft. below the cap of the lode, and on this level 200ft. of driving has been done — 100ft. on the course of the lode, which is here 6in. to 12in. wide.

Most of the work is let by contract, and the men employed are making rather more than average wages — miners, 9s per day ; labourers, 8s 4d. Sixteen miners are employed, six stone-breakers, eight men in the battery, and one for trucking quartz. The contract price for stone-getting is 15s per ton, and for breaking 2s 11d.

The machinery and means of transit to the battery are constructed with careful regard to economy of working and gold-saving. All the levels are connected with a large hopper at the foot of the hill by a shoot, which passes all the different tunnels, out of which the stone is tipped on to a plat, there broken and tipped through a grating into the shoot. From the large hopper it is conveyed by short tram to the battery. The battery consists of 10-head stamper, made by Messrs. Langlands and Co., Melbourne, driven by a 20-h.p. portable engine by Marshall, two self-acting ore-feeders, a 5ft. Huntingdon mill (imported by Messrs. Park and Lacy), and the necessary copper plates, blanket tables, &c. The plates at the Huntingdon mill are electro-plated. At the battery the quartz is tipped into a large hopper directly above the self-feeders ; it is reduced in the battery and passes through a punch grating, 200 holes to square inch. The pulp flows over the copper plates and blanket tables and into pyramidal troughs, where the water is separated from the pulp to a large extent, so as to admit of its passing through the mill, which mill, it may be noted, takes the whole of the tailings, regrinds them, and delivers through a screen 1600 holes to the square inch. After some experience, the manager considers these mills eminently adapted for regrinding the tailings from the battery. The whole was erected by Mr. E. Doherty, of Ballarat, at a contract price of £196, and with complete satisfaction. A very neat piece of work in connection with the battery was the excellent joining and making of the mercury troughs, &c., executed by Mr. E. Purkiss. It will be seen that the utmost care has been taken to save the gold, and as this is valued at as much as £4 1s a comparatively small average should pay well. Other reefs on the company’s property have been prospected, but are not yet sufficiently developed to warrant an opinion as to their future value.

In concluding notice of this mine, too much praise cannot be given the respected manager, Captain Lewis, for the extraordinary energy and skill he has brought to bear in developing this mine so completely, in the face of difficulties against which few mine managers have had to contend.

Houghton’s Blocks, alias ‘Jimmy the Reefer’s,’ has made rapid progress in public favour, and was next visited. The first reef was discovered by James Houghton in October last, and since that date no time has been lost There are about 60 tons of stone at grass. Two shafts have been sunk, and good gold struck on reefs about 18in. and 2ft. wide respectively. A tunnel is being driven, and Mr. Morgan, managing on behalf of a syndicate, anticipates the best results. A trial crushing by Messrs. Park and Lacy yielded an average of 2oz. 5dwt. The area extends over 29 acres, and is apparently gold-bearing country right through. The property has recently been brought prominently forward in connection with attempted ‘jumping ‘ on the part of an individual who had a fancy for what is known as the ‘wedge-shaped’ block. It would have been an acquisition, no doubt, but the warden could only see another instance of the necessity for mining-law reform, and gave the case against the jumper.

Adjoining Houghton’s blocks, on the north-west side, is King and Doolan’s 8-acre block, showing a large formation nearly 7ft. in width, having two well defined walls, carrying stone averaging 1oz. per ton in free gold, but being heavily charged with pyrites it is impossible to estimate the value until assayed.

Passing through Hunter and party’s 10-acre block, with reef on the cap showing gold, we come to the Louisa, where considerable work has been done. A tunnel has been driven 100ft. through blue slate country, with a view to cutting Houghton’s reef in the underlay. The country is good, and the gold, if struck, should live. The four men who are working the claim so industriously have evidently great faith in their property.

On Carter’s block of 10 acres a quantity of trenching and cutting has been done, and three shafts sunk. The influx of surface water has greatly hindered operations on this as on many other portions of the field. Two shafts the men were compelled to abandon on that account.

At Sunnyside, or Maid of the Valley, a gold bearing reef of about 6ft. wide has been struck. Here, too, the stone is heavily charged with pyrites.

At the Hand-in-Hand, a 20-acre block, a wide reef varying from 3-9ft. is being opened up, and the testings so far show promise of good results.

The Granville Gold-mining Company, recently floated for £40,000, has an area of 28 acres in two blocks, on one of which they have a strong reef 6ft. in width carrying gold. There is another shaft down 52ft., showing a body of stone 1ft. to 18in. wide. Economy of working will be a strong feature of this claim, there being little expense in landing large quantities at grass. The Granville North adjoins the above and contains an area of 36 acres, on which fine reefs have been opened on the caps. In driving the tunnel a reef was crossed showing width of 13ft, and carrying a little gold all through. A shaft is down about 14ft on the line of the Granville Reef, and gold is showing. The claim is, comparatively speaking, undeveloped.

Messrs. Walsh Brothers’ blocks adjoin the Junction claim near the Consolidated, and consist of two blocks, comprising nearly 14 acres. The reef is exposed for a distance of 5 chains in length, carrying gold in the caps all the way. There are also four other reefs on this land, but only opened on the cap. They all carry gold.

At Dangar and party’s claim a reef has been opened up, and at a depth of 14ft is shown to be 2ft. wide carrying gold.

At No. 1 North (McCrossin’s), adjoining the Enmore Consolidated, a considerable amount of work has been done. A tunnel of over 100ft. has been driven, with a view to cutting the reef on the line of the Consolidated ; but another 100ft. will probably have to be driven before the line be reached.

The Eureka, having an area of 12 acres, shows an outcrop in the open cutting, the reef being from 6ft. to 8ft. wide and bearing good indications. The cap of this reef may be seen the whole length of the 12 acres, and it is believed to be a true fissure lode. A company has been formed for its development, and it promises well.

The adjoining claim is the Lord Hopetoun No. 1, with an area of 20 acres, on the same line of reef. At the open cutting, where the reef is now exposed, there is a body of stone 6ft. 3in. wide. A shaft to cut the reef at 65ft. is now down 37ft., and in this a crosscut leader has been met with 3in. wide, carrying good gold, and going into the main reef. The Lord Hopetoun promises to be not far behind some of the best shows on the field. Last, but by no means least, is the latest find on the field, the ‘Sliprails,’ situated five miles on the Armidale side of Melrose. The prospectors’ area consists of a 10-acre lease application, and the outcrop of reef shows the great width of 17ft., having footwall in the granite and hanging wall in slate. Various samples have been taken from right across the reef, and have realised about 1oz. to the ton. A shaft is now down about 12ft. on the reef, and prospects even better than on the surface. It is believed and hoped that the reef will narrow as it goes down. The mine is in the hands of an energetic syndicate, amongst whom may be mentioned three of the prospectors of Enmore Consolidated, and also the manager of that mine. It may, therefore, confidently be said the best will be done to secure good results. In summing up the prospects of Melrose, it must be admitted that they are very encouraging. For the short period of its existence there is ample evidence of good work, begotten of faith in the field, having been done, and though all are anxiously waiting the result of the crushing at the Consolidated, even were this not as satisfactory as to all appearances it is going to be, there would still be good and sufficient reason for believing that sooner or later Melrose will be one of the paying goldfields of the colony.

Written by macalba

March 29, 2018 at 1:43 pm

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Alleged Rich Gold Reef in the Uralla District

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Tuesday 23 July 1889, Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton)

GREAT excitement was occasioned in Uralla on Friday last in consequence of a report that an auriferous quartz reef, the stone from which was studded with gold, had been discovered in the Mihi Creek falls country, at a place known as Postman’s Point, about 30 miles from Uralla in an easterly direction. The alleged discovery turned out to be correct, the fortunate discoverers being two residents of Uralla, Messrs. G. McCrossin and Robson, who have been prospecting in the locality for some weeks past. The reef crops out from the surface for some distance, and small pieces of the stone, which is of a slaty character similar to that of Baker’s Creek and other Hillgrove reefs, have been tested; and the yield of gold is considered very good. When the news spread quite a rush set in to the locality (a portion of the eastern falls, the waters of which go to the Macleay River), and scores of residents of Uralla and the surrounding district, many of whom have pegged out near the prospectors’ claim, visited the spot as soon as the find was made known. The place where the reef is situated is on the borders of Cunderang and Enmore runs, in exceedingly rocky and broken country, the exact counterpart of that at Kookrabookra and Hillgrove ; and many of those who have visited the place are sanguine that, as the locality becomes thoroughly prospected, it will no doubt develop into a rich quartz-reefing centre. It certainly has a likely look at present, and it is to be hoped that the new find will turn out another Bonanza. The nearest route to Postman’s Point is by way of Uralla, Gostwyck, and Enmore, the track being good to the latter place ; from this to the new rush (about 12 miles) the road is rough and broken. The locality is a regular wilderness, and those going there must take rations and tents. It is situated in the Uralla mining district, and in consequence of the discovery the Mining Registrar (Mr. Garland) has during the past few days been literally besieged by applicants for miners’ rights and leases. A good many people are already camped at the place, the country being dotted in all directions with tents. Here it may be said that the locality has for years past been regarded as auriferous, alluvial gold having been worked at Boro Creek and other places in the falls country. It is stated that the reef discovered by Messrs. McCrossin and Robson has been traced for a considerable distance down the falls, and the prospectors and others believe they have a good thing in hand. The find was made by pure accident, whilst the prospectors were resting after a search among the rocky spurs.

The following applications for leases have been posted up at the Court House :- A. A. Dangar, 10 acres, county Sandon, parish Meregalah, on left bank of Postman’s Creek; J. D. McLennan and party, 15 acres; Rainey Mackay and party, 15 acres ; J. T. McCrossin and party, 15 acres; C. McL. Marsh and party, 15 acres ; J. Burraston and party, 15 acres ; John Rogerson and party, 10 acres ; G. H. Robson and party, 15 acres ; George McCrossin and party, 20 acres; T. Doyle and party, 15 acres.; J. Miller and party, 15 acres; Wm. Thorley and party, 15 acres; K. Finlayson and party, 15 acres (these applications adjoin). From this it can be seen that intending claim holders have taken time by the forelock, and are determined to be in the. swim. It has been somewhat difficult to get at the facts through the conflicting reports in circulation, but the above may be accepted as the main truths associated with the discovery. Whether it will merge into a New Eldorado, time alone will show ; but both Adelaide and Melbourne speculators who are now in quest of palatable things in the quartz-reefing line, and whose appetites have been tickled by the developments at Kookrabookra and Baker’s Creek, are said to be very anxious to take part in the boom at Postman’s Point; indeed, it is reported that a good round sum has already been offered for a block intersecting the supposed golden stone. It is intended by the prospectors to thoroughly test their ground at once.

-Walcha Times.

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April 18, 2011 at 8:39 pm

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Prospector’s claim

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Monday 28 January 1935, The Sydney Morning Herald

URALLA, Sunday.

Mr. Jack Thompson, a prospector, who formerly worked on the Melrose field (a “rush” that took place nearly 50 years ago) asserts that he has again found the reef, and that it averages 15dwt of gold to the ton. The reef is in the gorge country, 900ft down. He has applied to the Mines Department for assistance in installing a treatment plant.

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March 25, 2011 at 8:04 pm

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Sir Henry Parkes in Armidale

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Tuesday 11 March 1890, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

The Prime Minister in New England.

(Herald of yesterday.)

Sir Henry Parkes, who left Sydney on Friday night for Armidale, arrived there on Saturday morning, after an agreeable trip. He met with a splendid reception, and was likewise warmly welcomed at Tamworth en route. The meeting in the evening was the largest, most orderly, and enthusiastic ever held in the Armidale Town Hall, and Sir Henry’s speech, which occupied nearly two hours in delivering, was listened to in the most attentive manner, there being only one instance of an interjection. A vote of thanks, accompanied by cheers, terminated the meeting, which was attended by a largo number of protectionists. Mr. Inglis, M.L.A., who is in the district, finds the country in places almost impassable owing to the heavy rains. Coming from Melrose on Saturday to meet Sir Henry Parkes, he experienced great difficulty in crossing Grocer’s Creek, the flood waters being over the seat of the buggy, and the driver and Mr. Inglis had a narrow escape. His intention of meeting Sir Henry at Uralla was frustrated, and it was not until late in the afternoon of Saturday that he reached Armidale. The condition of the country is simply indescribable. The roads are boggy, and the stock is beginning to suffer very much from the wet weather, which is also retarding mining operations, many of the mines being swamped. Sir Henry visits Hillgrove today, and will deliver an address in the evening. He leaves Armidale for Sydney on Tuesday a little before noon.

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April 24, 2010 at 8:07 pm

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News from Armidale

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Thursday 30 January 1890, The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser

PROTECTIONIST GATHERING.-The visit of Messrs. Barton, Lyne, and Traill last week gave the protectionists another opportunity of furthering their cause in this electorate, and the public meeting was largely attended by all classes of the community. The speeches were attentively listened to, and the party consider they have had their cause strengthened by the visit of those hon. gentlemen, and there can be no doubt about the determined attempt that will be made at the next election to return two protectionists for this electorate.

FREETRADE MEETING. – Another attempt is being made to bring the freetraders together, and a successful meeting was held on Saturday night, when a branch association was formed.

THE APPROACHING SHOW.-The show, which is to be held on the 26th, 27th, and 28th February, gives promise of being a success. The season is a good one, and as the Society continues to make improvements on the ground for the accommodation of exhibitors, a large entry is anticipated. Entries close on the 12th February, but late entries will be received up to the Monday previous to the opening of the exhibition at an extra charge of 10 per cent for entering.

FATAL MINING ACCIDENT.-I regret to record a fatal accident, which befel Mr. Hugh Mackay, an old resident of the district. He was working a mine at Melrose, when a fall of earth occurred, seriously injuring the unfortunate fellow. He was brought into Armidale, and taken to the hospital, where he received every attention, but succumbed to the injuries on Friday night. The funeral, on Saturday, was largely attended. Deceased leaves a wife and large family, in not very good circumstances.

THE CROPS, &c.-Threshing is being proceeded with in the vicinity of Armidale, and although some of the crops are giving fairly good yields, in most cases the wheat is pinched through the rust. Hay is selling cheaply, viz., from 30s to 50s per ton. The late heavy rains destroyed a considerable amount of wheat up Guyra and Ben Lomond way, and also damaged the potato crop. Grass is plentiful, and stock are in good request.

RIFLE SHOOTING.-A match was fired on Saturday, between the Armidale and Uralla Rifle Reserve Companies, resulting in a win for Uralla by 27 points.

ANNIVERSARY DAY.-The town is quiet to-day. Some picnic parties have gone to the country, and athletic sports are being held on the show ground. The weather is everything that could be desired.

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April 23, 2010 at 8:01 pm

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