Band and Loch United Company

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Band and Loch United Company
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Town Redan, Ballarat.
Street near Leith Street
Known dates 1899-1908
Google maps -37.5796981,143.8411097

The Band and Loch was a gold mining company in Ballarat, <1899-1908.

Site[edit | edit source]

The company operated a mine near Leith Street, Redan, Ballarat.[1]

Map[edit | edit source]

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Background[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

Robbery, 1900[edit | edit source]

The mine office was robbed in May 1900:

The office of the Band and Loch Mine Ballarat, was entered by thieves, and nearly £100 stolen.[2]

Robbery, 1903[edit | edit source]

The mine was robbed in June 1903:

With reference to the entrance of robbers to the smelting house at the Band and Loch mine, at Redan, it has been ascertained that property valued at £20 was carried off, including crucibles and other articles used in the treatment of amalgam. The directors are offering a reward for the apprehension of the thieves.[1]

Fatal accident, April 1904[edit | edit source]

In April 1904 a miner died after an accident in the cage:

THE BAND AND LOCH FATALITY. THE INQUEST ON JOHN M'ALLISTER. HOW THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED. The inquest into the circumstance at tending death of the miner John M'Allister, who was killed at the Band and Loch mine on April 1st, was resumed yesterday, before Mr Dickson, P.M. Mr Fred. Ham appeared for the widow and children, and Mr H. S. Barret for the company, while the case for the police was conducted by Detective Rogerson.

Dr Hardy deposed to having made a post mortem examination of the body of deceased. There were no marks of violence on the body, but a fracture of the spine could be felt, and blood had entered into the spinal cord. Death was due to heart failure, the result of fracture of the spine. To Mr Ham—The spine was fractured at the base of the neck. That could be caused from bending of the head forward. Would it not have to come into contact with something? Mere bending would not break a neck. Mr Barrett:—Wouldn’t it- A wrestler can break a man’s neck. Dr Hardy—Of course, there must have been considerable pressure. The Coroner—Was he a man likely to have lived for a long time?Dr Hardy—Yes; he was a normally healthy man. Death was the result of direct violence.

Elizabeth M'Allister, widow of the deceased, said that her husband was on day shift, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the day of the fatality. He was in good health. She was in church, it being Good Friday, and was called out about 12.30, and went to the Hospital. Her husband told her that he was thankful that his life had been spared, and that he had not fainted or lost his reason. He said he was paralysed from his chest down. She asked him how the accident happened, and he told her that he had one foot in the cage when it dropped, and he was pinned between the cage and the shaft. She visited him daily up to the time of his death, at 6.30 on the evening of the 9th April. On the Tuesday after the accident she asked him whose fault it was, and he said that he did not know. It was someone s fault, but he could not say whose. To Mr Ham—Her husband had been a miner for many years. He had been married eleven years, and had been working at the Band and Loch for about two years. To Mr Barrett—The night before Good Friday she asked her husband if he was going to work in the morning, and he said “Yes." To the coroner—Her husband was always a temperate man, and for about three weeks before the accident he did not take any drink. He was not in any lodge, but belonged to the Miners’ Association. His life was insured for a little, but not against accident.

George Lawson, miner, deposed that he was working in Rennie's party at the Band and Loch mine. On the 1st April he arrived at the mine at about 7 a.m. and at about 7.45 he went to the shaft to descend the mine. At the shaft he saw deceased about four or five minutes before he got into the cage. When he went forward to the shaft, the deceased was sitting about 12 feet away. A man named Connolly said to deceased— “You don’t look as if you are going down.” Witness said to deceased— “No, it’s Good Friday; we will toss if we will go down.” M‘Allister said, All right.” and jumped up. They did not toss. Four men then got on the bottom part of the cage, but he only knew two of them. The cage was then lowered a few feet, when the top platform was level with the surface. Witness was the first to get on the cage at the side opposite him. Deceased and another man then got on. The braceman asked if they were all right. M'Allister’s reply was that he was not all right. The cage was then immediately lowered. The cage was down the shaft about 6 feet when it was stopped. The man on the surface called out to the braceman to stop. Deceased at this time was in a sitting position. When the cage began to descend his body was in, but the way he was leaning one of his feet must have been out. When the cage was stopped deceased's feet were hanging down between the shaft and the cage. Witness called out to stop the cage. The cage was then pulled up to about 3 feet of the surface, and with assistance deceased was dragged out. Deceased called out very loudly when the cage started to descend. When released deceased was quite sensible, but was unable to stand. Witness had been mining for about 50 years, the last three years of which he was working at the Band and Loch. The braceman, James Orr, was a very careful man. One of the men on the cage calls out “All right” when asked by the braceman if all is correct. Detective Rogerson—Are you quite sure deceased said he was not all right?—Yes. Witness, continuing, said he did not hear anyone else in the cage say it was all right, and he could hear well enough. There was sufficient time allowed for the men to get on the top portion of the cage from the time he (witness) got on to when the cage was lowered. To Mr Barrett—The engine-driver gets the signal to lower from the braceman, when he is told everything is all right. Between the giving of the signal to start and the lowering of the cage about six seconds would elapse. There was a catch on the cage to keep the trucks in. When they were getting into the cage he told deceased that he had better get out as he was a bit “tight.” Deceased did not reply, but tried to squeeze himself further in. When deceased said he was not right he spoke in his usual tone of voice. He had his back to the braceman. From the time the braceman said “Are you right?” about five or six seconds elapsed. At the time he said he was not right the cage was dropping. The braceman can see when anyone is in the cage. Deceased could hear what Connelly said about going down the mine. If he had had a penny they would have tossed and left the rest to luck. The P.M.—Yes: but anything else would have answered the same purpose as a penny. Witness said he said to deceased—“ Well I suppose we had better go down.” To Mr Ham— Mr Rennie was in charge of the party, but he was not on the cage. Nobody was in charge of the cage. It was for the last man to enter the cage to say he was all right. The braceman could see M'Allister get in. He did not know if the braceman was hard of hearing, or if he was a teetotaller. The deceased was a very careful man. To Mr G. Fitches — He could not hear the knocker at any time from the cage. To the foreman of the jury—The men got on from both sides of the cage. Deceased did not try to got out when the cage started. No alteration has been made to the shaft since the accident. Deceased was properly in the cage when it was started.

Sydney Coon, miner, said he was employed at the Band and Loch for about three months. On the 1st inst. (Good Friday) he got to the mine at 8 o'clock. He saw deceased there. He saw the men get on the cage, including Connolly, Stevens, and two others. The cage was been lowered a few feet. Lawson then got on the top deck first, followed by him (witness), then by M'Allister. He saw deceased step into the cage, and his body was in as far as he could see. He heard the braceman ask if all was right. He heard no reply either by deceased or anyone else. He then saw the braceman pull the knocker twice, and the cage was lowered about 6 feet. The cage was no sooner knocked away than he heard, someone cry out to stop the cage. It was stopped. He then saw that M'Allister's body was down in the cage. His legs appeared to be between the cage and the shaft. Someone called out to heave up. It was pulled up a few feet when deceased called out to stop. This was done. Everything was done to try and put him on his feet. He (witness) was then asked to get out and let a stronger person get in. He did not hear deceased say anything. He appeared to be injured, as he could not stand. To Mr Barrett—Witness was only about a foot away from M‘Allister, and was between deceased and the braceman. The cage usually starts fairly fast, and M'Allister called out to stop immediately after the cage started. The others also called out. To Mr Ham—Since the accident all the men get into the cage from the one side. He heard deceased say, when he was being pulled out—“l am done.” To Mr Fitches—He was standing on the catch side, and could see the brace man.

Doctor Langmore, of the Ballarat Hospital, stated that at about 10 a.m. on Good Friday morning the deceased was brought to the hospital. He was suffering greatly from shock. The lower portion of the body from chest downwards was paralysed. He complained of pains in the palms of the hands. He was treated for fracture of the spine, and he died in the hospital on the 9th inst. The day after he was admitted he (witness) asked deceased how the accident happen ed. Deceased said he was getting into the cage and it started before he was properly inside, and that he did not know how the cage started.

John Jacob Kaufman, miner, said he had been working at the Band and Loch mine for the past 12 months. On the morning of the 1st inst he saw deceased and others there. He heard a conversation between deceased and Lawson. He heard Lawson talk of “tossing up” about going below. Deceased made no reply. He and the others then got on the cage. Before the cage was lowered heard M'Allister say “I am not right." The cage, however, went on a bit, about 18 inches. The cage was then, stopped as someone sang out “Hold.” When the cage was stopped he saw someone's two legs hanging down between the cage and the side of the shaft. He put his hand up with the assistance of Connelly got the legs back in the upper deck. When the deceased was being taken out of the cage he heard him say, “I am done.” To Mr Barrett—He did not hear Lawson tell deceased to get out of the cage. When M'Allister called out that he was not right the cage was just on the point of starting. To Mr Ham—He did not see or hear the signal being given. To Mr Fitches—He did not hear the bracemen say anything.To the Foreman—As far as he could see the cage was only lowered about 18 inches. The P.M.—If the braceman only heard the last word (right) of what the deceased said, would that be the signal to start? Witness—l don't know. William Connelly, miner, gave corroborative evidence. To Mr Ham—Any man can give the signal to start. It was the braceman's duty to see that everyone is right before he gives the signal to start. He could see the enginedriver from the deck of the cage when it was on the surface. To the Coroner—The deceased was a very cautious workman, and he never knew him to suffer from faintness.

George Thomas, miner, said that when the cage was lowered to the top deck he saw Lawson get on first, followed by M'Allister. He heard the braceman ask if they were all right. Deceased replied, “No, I am not all right." Witness was then between three and four feet away from him waiting for his turn to go down the shaft. At the same moment the signal was given to lower. M'Allister was in the cage, except his right foot, which was on the frame of the shaft when the cage began to be lowered. As the cage lowered he saw his foot disappear at the same time as the cover of the cage. As soon as he saw this he called out, “Hold, there is a man caught or jammed." At this time the cage had just begun to move. To Mr Barrett—He could not see the braceman from where he was standing. He thought the cage dropped a bit fast that morning. He did not take particular notice of what the deceased was doing until the cage started. He did not hear Lawson tell him to get out of the cage. To Mr Ham—He saw the deceased getting into the cage, and before he was properly in the signal was given to start. There were seven men in the cage; but eight were to go down. He was to have gone down. M'Allister took his place in the cage. Before the cage started to lower the braceman said there was room for another man on the other side of the cage. He had known the cage to rise a bit before it was lowered. He thought the braceman could have heard M'Allister call out. In his opinion the braceman only could have heard the last words which M'Allister called out. To Mr Barrett—Deceased took his place in the cage for a joke. There would be no advantage for him to do down at that time. It was just the same to him which lot he went down with.

Harry Drummond, miner, also gave evidence. He (witness) did not hear Thomas call to the braceman, though he might have done so. To Mr Barrett—The first thing he noticed was that when the cage was started the deceased's foot came up. To Mr Ham—When the cage started the deceased's foot was on the surface. He knew the deceased’s voice. It was he who called out, “Stop her, stop her.” He could not see the braceman from where he was standing. To Mr Fitches—He did not notice the cage start any quicker than usual. William Henry Luke, miner, said. The evidence given by the other witnesses as to the stopping of the cage, etc., was quite correct. To Mr Ham — He did not hear any signals given. Peter Bourke, miner, having given evidence, the proceedings were adjourned to Friday, 29th inst. at 11 o'clock. The jury accompanied Mr Fitches, the inspector then proceeded to the Band and Loch mine for the purpose of viewing the cage and surroundings.[3]

Pump breakdown, July 1905[edit | edit source]

A pump breakdown in July 1905 meant that the workforce of over 100 men were laid off for a week:

An unfortunate accident occurred, at a late hour on Sunday night at the mine of the Band and Loch Company, which will necessitate the complete suspension of operations for a week, thus throwing idle about 100 men. The mishap, which is one of a series that have befallen the company during the past 18 months, in this instance occurred to the pumping gear, one of the rods of which broke 200 feet down the shaft. It is not expected that the water will rise consequent upon the accident to any height in the mine, and pending repairs to the pumps, the tanks will be set going for the purpose of checking the water.[4]

Accident, October 1905[edit | edit source]

A miner was injured in a rock fall on 7 October 1905:

At the Hospital on Saturday Frederick Luke, aged 21, was treated for a cut tendon of one of his fingers, caused by the fall of a piece of reef at the Band and Loch mine.[5]

Accident, October 1906[edit | edit source]

A miner was injured in October 1906 in a rockfall:

A miner named Albert Webber, aged 33, whilst working at the Band and Loch mine this morning, received painful injuries to his head through some quartz falling upon him.[6]

Fatal accident, September 1908[edit | edit source]

In September 1908 mine manager and a miner were killed by falling timber in the shaft as the mine was being decommissioned for closure:

BAND AND LOCH FATALITY. ACCIDENT CAUSED BY THE SHAKING OF THE ROPE. SHAFT DECLARED QUITE SAFE. Mr P. Cohen, P.M. yesterday resumed at the City Court the inquest touching the death of Wm. Alexander Mason and James Collins, killed on Tuesday at the Band and Loch mine, Redan. Mr Fred Ham appeared for Mr Mason’s relatives, Mr T. Mann. (Messrs Pearson and Mann) for Mr Collin's relatives, Mr Horace Troup for the company, Mr H. G. Morrow for the directors, and Mr T. J. Lawn for the Amalgamated Miners' Association.

Edward George Watts, miner, of Windermere street, who gave formal evidence of identification on Wednesday, was the first witness. He said—On the 22nd of this month I was working at the Band and Loch mine, where Mr Mason was manager, and Mr Collins was a miner. I was chiefly on the knocker, and all three of us were together from 8 till just before 12 o’clock.- Everything had gone right during the morning; nothing dangerous had been noticed. Mason and Collins were breaking the pumps between Nos. 6 and 7 and 8 levels. The distance between the levels is 100 feet. Tho two men were 15 to 20 feet under me. They had a cover over their heads, 100 feet up, in the otherwise open shaft. I was on the No, 7 level, 900 foot. I was on a "plat.” My duties were to give signals to the surface and give assistance when needed. At 12 noon Mason said, "Knock three and one to the capstan engine-driver, and then knock one to lift.” When I lifted it he called out "Hold! Knock two to lower.” Then we started to lower; the pump, must have caught on one of the planks, and Mason called out. "Hold." Then I heard something falling down the shaft. I sang out, after something went past, "Are you all right?” and got no reply. I then Knocked 12 to the winding-engine driver, to let him know there was an accident. I signalled myself to be let down to the 1000 feet level, No. 8. I saw that the two bodies had gone through the staging, and that all the staging had been carried away except a piece of round timber. I went to No. 9 level, and found the two bodies in the pump shaft on the stage. Both men were dead; the piece of timber now in court was on the bodies. I went to the surface. Hooley and four others went down with me in the cage. We sent the bodies up. The shaft, as we went up and down, seemed all right to me. To Mr Troup—The shaft is inspected every 200 feet by the manager before we draw it. I do not know if it had been inspected that morning. To Mr Mann—The staging on which they worked consisted of a piece of 12 x 12, fixed between the rungs of the ladder and the side of the shaft. Mr Ham—For whom were you working?—I suppose the bank. Don’t suppose anything.—Then for the company. The Coroner —I don’t see how that matters. I am here to discover how these man came by their death; not by whom they were employed. Mr Troup—I must protest against any fishing enquiries. We know what these gentlemen are here for. The Coroner —I shall not allow any such questions. Mr Ham—There was not sufficient covering to protect these men? Witness—It didn’t prevent this piece of wood from coming through. What interval would there be from the moment you signalled "Hold” and the stopping of the pump?—About a minute. To Mr Fitches, inspector of mines—It is the custom to shake the capstan rope to break the joint when the engine has taken the weight of the column.

Dr Steele deposed that he examined the bodies. He found that both skulls had been fractured; portions of the bases were missing; all the brains of one of the men and most of the brains of the other had been knocked out. Death had been caused by these extensive injuries. John Edward Loader, Ascot street, said—During my shift I went up in the cage through the pump shaft to No. 6 level; had a look in the pent house; had to make a door; did not see anything dangerous, saw no loose pieces of timber about. I know that this piece of timber which caused the accident was half of a piece between No. 6 and No. 8 levels It was the only sawn piece that had a fracture that I noticed. It was about 40 feet above where Mason and Collins were working, but it appeared all right to me. Mr Ham.- Was the pumping shaft securely " —No, I could not say that. The timber was more or less broken. The logs and sawn timber go right across the shafts. There are gaps in both shafts. I was working under Mason, who was supposed to be engaged by the Band and Loch Mining Co. Since the mine was closed down we have been drawing piping, rods and air pipes.

When Mr Morrow rose Mr Mann asked for whom he appeared. The Coroner.—You have no right to ask that. Mr Morrow appears, like yourself, to assist me. At the first hearing he told me he appeared for the directors. I cannot myself under stand why it should be necessary to have one professional man for the Company and another for the directors, but I allow it. (To the witness) Did you think the shaft safe? Witness.—Yes. I suppose if you had not you would not have worked in it?—That is right, sir. Witness, to Mr Ham —I could not regard it as altogether safe because there were broken side slabs. Mr Fitches.—Were the pumps you removed above the place where the piece of timber came from?—Yes. The deceased drew the pumps, past where the timber was, and must have seen it?—Yes. Cristoph Krausgill, engine-driver, Drummond street, testified that the evidence as to signals to the capstan was correct. Constable Hooley corroborated the first part of the first witness’ evidence as to bringing up the dead bodies.

John Henry Fitches, mining inspector, said, that on having the accident reported to him, he went to the mine, examined the shaft, and particularly where the men had been working. Mr Mason was an extremely careful and competent man, and seldom took risks. The broken side slab had in his opinion been displaced by the shaking of the capstan rope. The rope was shaken by the deceased men in their endeavor to break the pumps after the bolts had been taken out. To Mr Ham.—Outside pressure had caused a good deal of the timber about that spot to be crushed. Mason would never send a man to a place where he would not go himself. I have not the slightest doubt the fracture in the slab was noticed. It would have stood a thousand years, if it had not been touched by the rope—the blow, perhaps the 50 blows. The action of the striking against it dislodged it. As mining inspector I think that shaft was safe. It is in exactly the same condition today as on the day of the accident. Mr Ham.—Then you say these two men—any two men —might be killed any day in a shaft you consider safe?—Yes. Mr Ham—Then I say God help miners! To Mr Mann.—The outside pressure of the ground broke the side slab years. ago. The break would extend ½ to ¾ of an inch into the shaft. But all the timber was safe, although more or less crushed and broken. I have never inspected the pump shaft. To Mr Lawn.—This timber was a replaced set of the lining set. This was all the evidence.

The Coroner said he was satisfied that the disaster was due to the rope banging against a piece of timber which had been fractured by outside pressure. The only man who could have stated whether the shaft had been examined was the unfortunate man Mason who was killed, and whose duty it was to make the inspection, and with his reputation it was only reasonable to suppose that he had inspected it and had satisfied himself that it was safe, as he worked in it himself and allowed the men to go down. The deaths were due to an accident.

Sub-inspector Ryan mentioned that he had summoned some poor men to give evidence, and they, applied for an order for payment, as they had lost their day's wages. The Coroner said that great credit was due to the men who had gone down the shaft to fetch the bodies, and he would certify for their expenses. He also considered that Constable Hooley deserved a word of praise for his promptitude in assisting to get the bodies up. Sub-Inspector Ryan said he would take care that the Coroner’s reference to Constable Hooley should be brought under the notice of the proper authorities.

One of the solicitors engaged, in the case has served the police with notice that the log of wood is to be preserved and produced if necessary.[7]

The People[edit | edit source]

  • John Cavendish, miner, knee injured by a truck, August 1899.[8]
  • James Collins, miner, killed 1908.[7]
  • William Connelly, miner.[3]
  • Sydney Coon, miner.[3]
  • Harry Drummond, miner.[3]
  • John Jacob Kaufman, miner.[3]
  • Cristoph Krausgill, engine driver.[7]
  • George Lawson, miner.[3]
  • Frederick Luke, 21, miner, injured October 1905.[5]
  • William Henry Luke, miner.[3]
  • John McAllister, miner, killed 1904.[3]
  • William Alexander Mason, mine manager, killed 1908.[7]
  • James Orr, braceman.[3]
  • __ Rennie, miner.[3]
  • George Thomas, miner.[3]
  • Edward George Watts, miner.[7]
  • Albert Webber, miner.[6]
  • John Whelan, director, (d.April 1899).[9]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1903 'COUNTRY NEWS.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 27 June, p. 12. , viewed 24 Dec 2018,
  2. 1900 'VICTORIA.', Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners' Advocate (NSW : 1876 - 1954), 7 May, p. 4. , viewed 24 Dec 2018,
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 1904 'THE BAND AND LOCH FATALITY', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 22 April, p. 3. , viewed 24 Dec 2018,
  4. 1905 'MINING NEWS.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 25 July, p. 3. , viewed 24 Dec 2018,
  5. 5.0 5.1 1905 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 9 October, p. 2. , viewed 11 Mar 2020,
  6. 6.0 6.1 1906 'MINING ACCIDENT.', Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1929), 9 October, p. 3. , viewed 24 Dec 2018,
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 1908 'BAND AND LOCH FATALITY.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 26 September, p. 9. , viewed 24 Dec 2018,
  8. 1899 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 31 August, p. 2. , viewed 24 Dec 2018,
  9. 1899 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 13 April, p. 2. , viewed 24 Dec 2018,

External Links[edit | edit source]