Optimistic Report on Taranganba Gold Prospects
(manually translated from original scan 27 Dec 2011, Andrew Thompson)
This article is an incredibly biased article from The Capricornian, 22 January 1887, and relates the “discovery” of gold at Yeppoon. This was the beginning on an episode which would later become known as the Taranganba Gold Scandal, and the greatest mining fraud in Australian history.
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Andrew Thompson, editor | historian
The Capricornian, 22 January 1887
When it is considered what material advantages have accrued to the people of Rockhampton, during a period of unusual dullness, from the operations carried on by the Mount Morgan Gold Mining Company, and the lasting benefits they are calculated to confer on the district, the excitement evinced by our citizens, upon receiving information, on the authority of two mining experts of high character, and when one of these gentlemen backed his opinion by the deposit of a large sum of money in support of it of the existence a gold-mine, as extensive and valuable as Mount Morgan, does not furnish cause of much astonishment.
Often [indecipherable] that our [indecipherable] of such [indecipherable] was very [indecipherable] which would be found any [indecipherable], and, least of all, in the vicinity of Rockhampton. Some individuals there were, however, who were always ready to declare there were surely more than one Mount Morgan; but the trouble always was about where we were to find the others.
That it should have been found in the vicinity of Rockhampton is beyond the anticipations of the most sanguine. We have had so many mines said to be like Mount Morgan discovered, however, which have proved such veritable Mount Miseries to their owners, that upon reflection we may well pause and consider. In this case, there are circumstances which point to the conclusion that large lodes containing the precious metal have been discovered; and that, whether united they equal Mount Morgan or not, they contain promise of great wealth.
The reefs have not been newly discovered. The first gold-bearing stone was found some months ago, and the hills in the vicinity of Taranganba have been, to some extent, prospected. To a considerable extent the operations have been carried out upon the surface. But just because of this they are the more extensive; and, when the results of them are considered, give fair grounds for large expectations.
Stone has been taken from the shallow cuttings, and holes dug in the surface rock, and tested carefully by practical metallurgists, and by amateur examiners, which has in the great majority of trials yielded gold. Samples of stone have been taken from particular points and examined with different results; specimens have been taken from the reefs at various places, made into a little heap, and when crushed the gold has been quite apparent.
In the case of some of the mines in this locality, judging from subsequent events, the tests and trials have been made, and results reported, to suit a purpose. There is not the least likelihood of that having been done in this instance. Most of the analyses which have shown the best results have been made by disinterested persons. Then, a guarantee as to the real character of the mine has been given by gentlemen of professional reputation and high standing in the colonies. They examined the mine very carefully; considered the assays which had been made of parcels of stone from various portions of it; picked up stone at random, crushed and washed it, and noted the result; got assays made of specimens taken from the ground. With the facts thus gained before them; with their experience and professional knowledge to guide them, they came to their own conclusions.
What these were may be inferred from the subsequent event: the mine has been bought on a ninety-nine years’ lease for £20,000. The gentlemen interested in making this purchase are not likely to have deceived themselves. While all these circumstances support the idea that the Taranganba mine will prove to be a valuable property, we must be permitted to hazard the opinion that it may not prove another Mount Morgan.
Dr. Robertson may be able to see farther into the Western Hill than the majority of us, but we must trust our own eyes in the meantime. There is no doubt a large body of rock of a comparatively uniform character visible, and crushings and assays may have furnished him with evidence that it is auriferous; but we have yet to learn that the whole hill is of the same substance. It was not till the crown had been cut off Mount Morgan, and its sides quarried and tunnelled, that its enormous mineralogical value was apparent, and even yet its greatness has not become fully evident.
There may be surface indications in the outcrops of mineral on the crest and sides of the hill, which, to the trained eye of such an expert as Dr. Robertson, may warrant him in coming to the conclusion he has arrived at. Everyone will share our hope that his expectations may be realised. Though we may not have found another Mount Morgan, there is cause for rejoicing in the fact that we have found a mine, which will lead to the circulation of capital in our community.
The large sum put into the Taranganba hills in the shape of purchase money, we may depend upon it will not be allowed to lie there idle. No time will be lost by the gentlemen who have in hand the undertaking in endeavouring to get a return for their money, and there is some satisfaction in the thought that they know how to do it.
This is not by any means the first concern of the kind with which Mr. Barton has been connected; and Mr. Maurice Lyons, we understand, is already on familiar terms with eminent capitalists in London. Come of it what may, there can be no doubt our community have cause to rejoice at the recent revelations and proceedings in connection with the Taranganba Gold Mine.