South Australian Mining History Group


Pugholes and Brickworks of the Western Suburbs: 28 April 2018

Due to the absence of timber suitable for building purposes brick making commenced in SA soon after the establishment of the colony in 1836. Hand-moulded primitive bricks were first made using red alluvial clay from the banks of the River Torrens through the parklands. After the banning of this activity in 1840, brickmaking moved to the low-lying area west of Adelaide including Brompton, Torrensville and Beverley which became the major brickmaking region of South Australia. For more than 100 years the history of the Brompton, Torrensville and Beverley areas was the story of pugholes – digging them out and filling them in.

Moonta Mines State Heritage Area: 21-22 October 2017

The discovery of copper ore near Kadina in 1859 was followed by a second discovery in 1861 about 15 kilometres to the west. These discoveries led to the formation of the Moonta and Wallaroo mining companies which eventually amalgamated in 1890. The Moonta Mine developed rapidly and was the first mining company in Australia to pay one million pounds in dividends. By 1875, the Moonta district had a population of about 12 000, more than half of whom lived on the mining leases.  The mine area was listed on the SA Register of State Heritage Items in the 1980s and, in 2017, it was added to the National Heritage List.  Mine brochure

Kanmantoo-Callington: the Cornwall of the Colony  14-15 May 2016

Copper mineralisation was discovered in the Kanmantoo-Callington district west of Adelaide in 1845. The South Australia Company and the Paringa Mining Company purchased a Special Survey of 20,000 acres to acquire the mineral rights. Copper was widespread as vein deposits in Kanmantoo Group metamorphic rocks and mining commenced in 1846. The most significant mines were Kanmantoo, Bremer and Paringa, the largest being Bremer which produced about 35,000t up to closure in 1875. The Kanmantoo Mine was reworked in the 1970s and again since 2009. Smelting in Welsh reverbatory furnaces was carried out at six smelter sites between 1849 and 1873. Silver-lead ore was also mined from the Aclare Mine 1859-1895.   Program   Summary

Talisker Mine and Silverton   29-30 October 2015

0343062.jpgAn outcrop of silver-lead ore was discovered near Cape Jervis in 1862 by the McLeod brothers and named after a location in their homeland, the Isle of Skye.  It produced silver-lead bullion between 1862 and 1872, and the township of Silverton was established with a population of up to 300 people. The mine ruins and workings provide a unique picture of 19th Century Cornish mining and ore processing techniques.  Program

Sketch: Talisker Mine, 1870

Kapunda Mine and township  1-2 November 2014

kapunda-mine.jpgThe Kapunda Mine which commence operation in January 1844 was Australia’s first commercial copper mine.  The rich carbonate ore was initially shovelled into drays and shipped to Wales for smelting.  Within a few years two Cornish engines had been erected for pumping water and hauling, and a smelting works commenced.  A Henderson plant was erected by a Scottish company in 1866 to leach copper from low grade ore and precipitate it on scarp iron but this was not an economic success and the mine closed in 1879.  Program

Painting:  Kapunda Mine, 1845.  By S.T. Gill, Art Gallery of South Australia

Blinman Mine and Township  13-14 October 2012

blinman-1903.jpgBlinman in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges celebrated 150 years since the commencement of the town and nearby mine. As part of the celebrations the Blinman Tourist Mine was officially opened in front of about 100 people. The Blinman Mine was worked during four separate periods from 1862 until 1907 when ore was exhausted. It yielded 200,000t of ore containing 10,000t of copper and was the largest mine in the Flinders Ranges.   Program

Photo:  Blinman Mine, 1907

Barossa Goldfield and Lady Alice Mine  7-8 September, 2013

barossa-gf.jpgThe Barossa Goldfield located 10 km southeast of Gawler produced about 50,000 ounces of gold between 1868 and 1871. Within a week of the first discoveries of alluvial gold in October 1868, about 2000 people had rushed the area. At its peak in late 1868, the rush attracted up to 4000 people, the largest gold rush in South Australia’s history. The township of Barossa was quickly established consisting of a narrow lane of stores and hotels. The rush was over by 1871 but the township survived until the 1950s.   Program

Photo:  Barossa Goldfield, 1869