Midas Company

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Midas Company
Picture needed
Town Sulky Gully
Opened 1885
Known dates 1885-1911

The Midas Company operated a gold mine at Sulky Gully, Victoria, 1885-1911>.

Site[edit | edit source]

The company's mining claim was at Sulk Gully[1] on the Bald Hills Road.[2]

Background[edit | edit source]

The company began operations in October 1885 on a site of 725 acres at Sulky Gully.[3] The site was on the old Argyle Lead. The mine shaft was 125 feet deep (1885), and the company expected to employ 30 people.

History[edit | edit source]

Interested investors visited the mine site in November 1885:

MINING AT SULKY GULLY. Yesterday afternoon a party of ladies and gentlemen interested in mining in the Sulky Gully district proceeded on a visit of inspection to the various claims in the locality. The party, which included several residents of Melbourne, left Ballarat at half-past 12 o’clock, and after a smart drive they arrived at the promising mine of the Mount Rowan Company, where they were shown over the surface works, including the machine-room, &c. At the time men were engaged in washing off a machine of dirt, which gave a return of more than 30 oz of good coarse gold, and upon arrival at Sulky Gully, two miles distant from Mount Rowan, the party inspected the mine of the Midas Company, which is situated midway on the Bald Hills road, and about seven miles from Ballarat. The Midas Company, which consists of 26,000 shares,nearly all of which are held by Melbourne residents, was floated about a month ago for the purpose of working the old Argyle lead, which in days gone by gave large returns. The shareholders are confident, from information received from practical and reliable sources, that there are yet large quantities of gold unearthed on the load, and that with a comparatively small outlay the hidden treasure can be reached. Indeed it is felt that the funds in hand will be ample to defray the cost of driving on to the lead. The Midas shaft is about 125 feet in depth, and in sinking the wash was struck at 78 feet. There are two drives in the mine, one being already in wash at 78 feet, is in 62 feet, and is dipping in a south easterly direction, where it is expected to reach the Argyle Lead at 90 feet from the shaft. In the main drive the chamber is in about 15 feet going in a south-easterly direction. Included among the successful companies which worked in the Argyle lead were the Argyle, the Ben Bolt, and the All England Eleven. The area, of the claim is about 151 acres, and there is at present under offer an additional 308 acres which, when purchased, will give the company 462 acres of leasehold property Mr Joseph Hammer, the mining manager, who is well known in the Ballarat district, especially at the mine of the Band and Albion Company, is testing the washdirt as the work of driving proceeds. Yesterday he washed in the presence of the visitors the first dish of dirt which produced a number of specks of fine gold. The dirt was taken from the high reef. At present there are 14 hands engaged at the mine, but when operations are in full swing fully 30 men will be employed. The machinery on the claim is working well, and is giving very great satisfaction, and the stock of firewood on the ground at present will meet all requirements for the next two months. The company have applied for a portion of the prospecting grant, and as Mr Reginald Murray visited the mine on Monday last it is expected that the Mines Department will view the application favorably. Mr James Barnett, of 82 Collins street, Melbourne, is the legal manager for the Midas Company, and he was among the visitors to Sulky Gully yesterday. He holds a large interest in the mine, and this fact in itself is a sufficient guaranty that the interests of the shareholders generally will not be neglected by him. Should the expectations of the shareholders in the company be realised the mining industry of this district will receive a strong impetus, and one that may be the means of further developing the already vast resources of the locality. The party returned to Ballarat at half-past 7 o’clock.[2]

The company held its first general meeting in Melbourne in February 1886:

MIDAS COMPANY SULKY GULLY. The first annual general meeting of shareholders was held in Melbourne on Friday. Mr W. B. Gedge occupied the chair, and over 23,000 shares were represented. Directors' Report.—“ Your directors have the honor to report that the company was registered on the 15th October, 1885, £500 being placed to its credit, the original proprietors, Messrs Edwards and party, having advanced all expenses of registration and management of their property, comprising 154 acres. Of this 80 acres are leased from the Dowling Forest Estate Gold Mining Company at 5 per cent. royalty, and 74 acres from Mr Henry Sutherland at 2½ per cent. royalty. Since then your directors, thinking it advisable to increase the area, have arranged for the lease from the Dowling Forest Estate Gold Mining Company of four additional blocks, in all about 300 acres. For these the sum of £1200 has to be paid as follow:—£50 on signing the leases, and the balance at the rate of 30 per cent, of the profits until the amount is liquidated. Your directors have also secured from Sir W. J. Clarke, Bart., 230 acres, situated for the most part between Mounts Hollowback and Pisgah, for the sum of £467 and 7½ per cent, royalty. It was also considered advisable to lease those portions of block 89, and belonging respectively to Sir W. J. Clarke, Bart., Mr Henry Sutherland, and Mr Wilson, consisting of about 70 acres in all, on similar terms to the above 230 acres. With the original leases and the agreements since entered into, your claim has developed into a valuable property of over 725 acres, known to contain five auriferous leads, one of which, the Argyle, is in process of being opened out. The progress of developing the mine since its registration has been in the hands of Mr Joseph Hammer, late of the Band and Albion Consols, who has worked most energetically and with the economy so necessary for the development of a young and struggling company. Mr William Glover, of Creswick, has been appointed local director, and his know ledge of the old workings adjoining your claim should be of great value to the company. Under his direction a locality plan is being prepared, tracing all the old leads from their sources into your ground. This should be of great assistance in picking up the old leads. You will be glad to learn that, owing to the generosity of one of your large shareholders, who has promised to advance to the company £200 or £300, it is hoped that there will not be any necessity for calls. In fact the money that will be required for erecting larger machinery and puddling plant will, it is confidently expected, be obtained from the same source on similar terms. A portion of the Government Mining Grant was applied for, but was refused on the grounds that we had struck payable gold and our leads were certainties. Sir W. J. Clarke, Bart., on the eve. of his departure for Europe, presented your company with a cheque for £25 towards the purchase of a small puddling machine, as a token of his goodwill and approval of the progress already made by the mine.—W. B. GEDGE, Chairman.” Mining Manager's Report.—This dealt with operations at the mine from the 8th October, 1885, to date. The reports and balance-sheets were adopted, and the following gentlemen elected to the directorate for the ensuing year:—Messrs W. B. Gedge, W. A. Liddell, Wm. Glover, Charles Tynan, H. B. Harrison. The offer of a shareholder to advance the money necessary to put up efficient machinery at 8 per cent, interest per annum was accepted in preference to making a machinery call. It was unanimously agreed to forward the thanks of the shareholders to Sir W. J. Clarke, Bart., for the interest he has always shown in the welfare of the company. With a vote of thanks to the chairman and mutual congratulations on the well-being of the concern, the meeting terminated.[3]

In 1887 the Governor of Victoria inspected the mine:

Apartments have been secured at Craig’s hotel for his Excellency the Governor, Lady Loch, and suite. The vice-regal party will arrive in Ballarat to-morrow, and on Friday they will proceed on a visit of inspection to the Midas mine, Sulky Gully. His Excellency will return to Melbourne on Friday night.[1]

In January 1910 the company announced it was baling water out of the shaft and hoped to begin underground work soon.[4]

In 1911 the size of the mining claim was mentioned in a newspaper report:

The Minister of Mines has, however, refused to grant the application for this large area of ground because he considers it embraces much territory, notwithstanding that it has been pointed out to him that larger areas have been acquired by the Midas Co. at Sulky Gully. The Midas Co. has three miles by one mile along one line of reef...[5]

The People[edit | edit source]

  • W. B. Gedge, Chairman, (1886).[3]
  • Joseph Hammer, mine manager, (1885).[2]
  • J. W. Tank, mine manager (1910).[4]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1887 'No title', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 21 September, p. 2. , viewed 28 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article207774925
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 1885 'MINING AT SULKY GULLY.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 13 November, p. 4. , viewed 29 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206303729
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 1886 'MIDAS COMPANY SULKY GULLY.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 1 February, p. 4. , viewed 29 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article206306844
  4. 4.0 4.1 1910 'CRESWICK.', The Ballarat Star (Vic. : 1865 - 1924), 10 January, p. 4. , viewed 29 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article216043248
  5. 1911 'A MAMMOTH LEASE.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 19 July, p. 13. , viewed 28 Dec 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article196217511

External Links[edit | edit source]