Exchequer Gold Mining Company

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Exchequer Gold Mining Company
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Town Springdallah
Street Racecourse Road
Known dates 1864-1867
Google maps -37.7564864,143.6140189

The Exchequer Gold Mining Company was a gold mining company in Springdallah, Victoria, <1864-1867>.

Site[edit | edit source]

The company operated a gold mine is Racecourse Road, Springdallah. The Victoria Heritage Database locates the mine at 37°45'14.4"S 143°36'45.2"E.[1]

Map[edit | edit source]

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Background[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

In October 1864:

The Exchequer Company, Springdallah, is reorganising with a stated capital of £12,000 in 2000 shares of £6 each. Mr James Buchanan is the legal manager.[2]

In November 1864, the company was taken to court as it was asserted that the area of their claim was larger than they were entitled to:

Cawley v Buchanan, manager of the Exchequer Gold Mining Company-An application to be put in possession of certain ground said to be held in excess. Mr Walsh appeared for complainant and Messrs Trench and M'Dermott for defendant, instructed by Mr Stedman. The case was postponed from last week for the purpose of hearing it be fore assessors. Four had been summoned and were objected to. It was an hour before any were elected and the case, gone on with.

Mr Walsh, in opening the case said that there were some few names of persons entered on the complaint when before the Court on a previous occasion, who had since wished to withdraw, which was agreed to. He then stated that the case came under the 77th section of the Gold-Fields Act. His clients did not wish to take any portion of the ground the defendants were really entitled to, but, as would be shown in evidence, there would be a large margin beyond their just rights. There were 94 complainants, and they did not want more ground than was their due. Some question arose in reference to the names of those who wished to withdraw. Counsel quoted a case heard in the Supreme Court, Melbourne, between the Hand-in-Hand and Great Republic Companies, which was similar, and endeavored to show that the striking out of the names of those not holding a miner's right was within His Worship's jurisdiction. Counsel then drew attention to the enormous extent of ground held by the Exchequer Company-7920 feet-the number of men being only 104. Allowing them 55 feet per man, it would give them 5720 feet, which would then be more than they were entitled to, and his clients would ask for the balance. The depth of sinking on which the area of the company's claim was based was 300 feet, but it would be proved that it was under 260 feet. He referred to Bylaw XVII., section 12, and said the deductions to be made on reading it could not have been contemplated by the Mining Board, as it would be what is called in law ultra vires.

John Lynch, Mining Registrar for the district deposed that he drew the plan then in Court, exhibiting the position of the Exchequer Company's claim which was 7920 feet, and had been computed at a depth of 360 to 380 feet, which allowed 79 feet per man, being 100 men's ground. Witness produced the registration. It was made in July, 1863, and fixed the depth of the lead. Witness said-I do no think the Try Again Company's shaft is bottomed, do not know the depth of the Exchequer Company's claim. I know the Golden Empire Company's claim. It is about three or four miles in the direction of the deep lead. It is not in my district. To the Warden-I do not know the depth of the Try Again nor of the Grand Trunk. If there was an application for the same ground as the Exchequer claim, of 3500 feet, I should estimate it at the same depth, and it would give forty-four men's ground and a fraction over. James Buchanan, manager of, and shareholder in the Exchequer Company, deposed as follows:-Ten bores had been put down across the supposed course of the lead. The deepest bore was 195 feet 8 inches. They had commenced to sink the shaft from twenty to thirty feet from the last bore, and had put down no shallow bores. There were two of the same depth; there is shallow ground on each side of the deepest bore. I do not know the depth of either the Trunk or Try Again. To the Warden-I was not manager of the company when it started. To Mr Walsh-Mr Lynch did not advise me to open out at 260 feet. To the Warden -The last bore came on soft white reef, which showed it was not near the depth of the gutter.

J. H. Webb, manager of the Grand Trunk Company, deposed that their claim was adjoining the Exchequer Company. The actual depth of the shaft was 192 feet, but they were working under table land, which was 166 feet above the level of the shaft. They first opened out at 179 feet, but were too deep. They subsequently opened out at 108 feet, and had driven 700 feet towards the Exchequer claim. In doing so they came on large crab holes unlike any other gutter, so that it would be almost impossible to tell the dip. W. Manners, manager of the Golden Empire claim stated that their claim was about three or four miles from the Exchequer Company's claim, and that there was a bore down 207 feet. The sinking of a shaft had been commenced about 75 feet from the bore. To the Warden-We did not bottom on the gutter, but on the reef. It is certain the shaft is not on the gutter. Thomas Bond deposed that he was one who took up the Golden Empire claim, and believed it was taken at a depth of 300 feet.

Mr Trench then addressed the assessors on behalf of the defendants, and in doing so requested to have the miner's-rights examined, and the identity of each owner proved; but the Warden suggested that they be taken as they were. He then entered at some length on an explanation of the bylaw referred to by Mr Walsh, which stated that when the depth of the lead was not known, the registrar should mark off the claim from the best possible data. Counsel for the complainants had not shown a line in the bylaw to justify the claim put forward by his clients.

The Warden summed up as follows :-1st. Whether the form of complaint was correct-had the complainants held any meeting to form themselves into a corporate body or company. 2nd. As to the difference of the first claim of 3400 feet, and the present one of 2200 feet. 3rd. As to the depth of the lead, neither of the witnesses had said anything to determine it. The assessors, after a lengthened consideration, gave their decision as follows :-" We find that there is no evidence before us to prove the actual depth of the ground; nor to show that the defendants (Buchanan and others) hold any ground in excess; and therefore dismiss the complaint."[3]

Work at the mine site was reported in June 1865:

The Exchequer Company, Springdallah, is making good progress with the erection of a most complete surface plant, at No. 1 shaft. The boilers are two, each 26 feet by 6½ feet, and set in squared bluestone masonry, furnished with a chimney-stack having a base of bluestone up to 11 feet high, and continued upwards in brick for 55 feet more, so that the flashing courses of stone are all that remain to be raised, and will make a total of 60 feet. The poppet-heads are little short of the same elevation, being 60 feet to the top; pulley-wheels are fixed, the framing being strong and symmetrical, with a brace 24 feet square. The sinking of this shaft is still standing until the surface works are completed. The engines are two, a winding engine of 16½-inch cylinder and 3½-feet stroke, and a pumping engine of 24-inch cylinder and 4-feet stroke. The iron pumping shaft to which the crank is attached is a fine sample of the perfection to which local manufacture is now carried. Its dimensions are 10 inches diameter and 12 feet long between the bearers and it was forged of faggot iron at the Black Hill foundry, Smythesdale. The timber used for the engine beds is of the most serviceable and solid description, and where space is not required the sides of the logs are left in their natural round form, thus giving additional weight and steadiness to the whole structure. The principal bearings are built solid upwards, being strengthened by diagonal basins laid laterally from one to another and bolted with iron. There is a peculiarity in the winding gear worthy of notice, meant to prevent the wear of one of the wire ropes, which always happens by the plan in general use, through the back twist given to the wire in passing over the pulley and the drum on opposite sides of the flat rope. The improvement is accomplished by setting the two drums on different centres, with a brace of pinion-wheels connecting them, so that both ropes coil in the same direction. The drums are of cast-iron and 6 feet diameter, with 3 inch wrought T iron arms projecting, with a total diameter of 10 feet. Considering the space thus occupied and that taken up with the two fly wheels each 16 feet in diameter, much skill has been shown in rendering the two engines compact so that both are easily under the control of one driver. The designs for the housing are prepared, and include a provision for readily hoisting any part of the gear from its bearings by means of a travelling stage overhead; contracts are let for this part of the works. No. 2 shaft of this company is down 99 feet in honeycomb rock. The Derwent Jack's Lead is said to be making directly for this part of the claim.

The erection of machinery here is deferred for a time, as there is a difference of opinion as to the expediency of increasing the present outlay -one section of the company being in favor of receiving an advance from the bank, while others prefer to maintain the present financial independence of the company, and remain as at present out of debt. This claim has lately excited attention from gold having been got on three sides by three adjoining claims, namely, the Grand Trunk on the north, the lowest situated though highest paying dividend company on the main lead, the Alchemist on the east, which company's prospects from Derwent Jack's Lead are just now brightening, and the Cape Clear Company on the south, whose shaft has just bottomed on gold. So long a notice of this claim would be hardly complete without a mention of Mr Buchanan, who acts as secretary, mining manager, and engineer, whose industry and talent, as shown by the successful progress of the works under him do not interfere with the exercise of a courtesy which makes it a pleasure to have business with him.[4]

In September 1865, a dispute over the installation of machinery at the mine turned violent:

Serious Assault. — On Tuesday, a messenger went to Senior-constable Butcher, of the Piggoreet station, and asked him to go to the claim of the Exchequer Company and arrest two men, stating that they had carried away some articles in connection with the machinery. The constable went to the place immediately, and the manager, Mr Buchanan, gave in charge James Robson, engineer, and Robert Martin, his assistant ; the former on a charge of having stolen four starting bars from the engine-house, value £10 ; and the latter for being accessory before the fact. It appears that, on Monday, a dispute in reference to a settlement of the contract for the erection of the machinery had taken place between Mr Buchanan and the contractors, and that while the manager was standing with his hands in his pockets looking at some work being done, Robson fell on him and beat him severely about the head, blackening his eyes, splitting the cheek to the bone, smashing the ear, and also inflicting several other injuries on the back of the head. Robson, it appears, had a heavy colonial gold ring on his finger at the time, which helped to make the blows do so much damage. The taking away of the starting bars was, it appears, done with the view of preventing the machinery from being started, the contractor not being satisfied with the treatment he received in reference to the settlement for the execution of the work. The prisoners were conveyed to Piggoreet lock-up for the night, and on Wednesday morning were taken into Smythesdale and brought before Mr J. P. Hamilton, P.M , who remanded them till Monday, Robson being admitted to bail in £100 surety, and Martin in a personal security of £25.[5]

There was a special meeting of the company at the Scarsdale Hotel in January 1867 following the resignation of the mine manager:

Exchequer Company, Springdallah- At a special meeting held at Whitpaine's hotel, Scarsdale, on 23rd January, Mr J. P. Roberts in the chair, Mr Thomas Weir was elected manager, vice Mr James Buchanan, resigned. Mr Alex. M'Vitty paid a high compliment to the retiring manager, in respect of the manner in which the machinery had been erected under his supervision, as also regarding the indefatigability with which he had carried on the works. There were four applicants for the situation Messrs J. H. Marshall, James Maine, Thos. Angrove, and Thos. Weir.[6]

In June 1867:

The Exchequer Company has not yet got into proper working order, but tenders have been called for driving in washdirt.[7]

In August 1867:

The Exchequer Company washed off late on Saturday evening and the return was not ascertainable; very little washdirt is yet being got, but it is expected that in the course of a month the ground will be pretty well opened up; the new mining manager, Mr J. Buchanan, has entered upon his duties.[8]

The People[edit | edit source]

  • In June 1865 the mine manager was James Buchanan.[4] He resigned in January 1867.<ref name=jan67>
  • In January 1867 Thomas Weir was elected as manager.[6]
  • In August 1867, James Buchanan had returned as manager.[8]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Exchequer Co., Victorian Heritage Database, https://vhd.heritagecouncil.vic.gov.au/places/12001
  2. 1864 'MINING INTELLIGENCE.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 12 October, p. 4. , viewed 25 Aug 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66348787
  3. 1864 'WARDEN'S COURT, SMYTHESDALE.', The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), 9 November, p. 4. , viewed 25 Aug 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article66349569
  4. 4.0 4.1 1865 'SPRINGDALLAH, PITFIELD, AND BULLDOG MINING INTELLIGENCE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 29 June, p. 2. , viewed 22 Aug 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112887841
  5. 1865 'SERIOUS ASSAULT.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 16 September, p. 7. , viewed 24 Aug 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article155039223
  6. 6.0 6.1 1867 'MINING INTELLIGENCE.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 25 January, p. 2. , viewed 24 Aug 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112860979
  7. 1867 'SMYTHESDALE DISTRICT WEEKLY MINING REPORT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 24 June, p. 3. , viewed 24 Aug 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112875917
  8. 8.0 8.1 1867 'SMYTHESDALE DISTRICT WEEKLY MINING REPORT.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 5 August, p. 3. , viewed 24 Aug 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112869273

External Links[edit | edit source]