Early Report on Taranganba Gold Mine
(manually translated from original scan 27 Dec 2011, Andrew Thompson)
This article is sourced from The Queenslander, 29 January 1887, and reports on the discovery of gold at Yeppoon.
As you will notice by reading this and the other related newspaper articles on this site, there seems to have been a concerted media attempt to build up hype about the discovery of gold at Yeppoon.
If you enjoy this type of article, you can find more on the Central Queensland History page. Feel free to leave any related comments at the end of this page.
Andrew Thompson, editor | historian
The Taranganba Gold Mine
THE TARANGANBA GOLD MINE.
We published last week a telegram describing the purchase of the lease of the above mines. The subjoined is a description of the locality, taken from the Rockhampton Bulletin.
Taranganba is a freehold estate of several thousand acres, and is situated on the coast near the township of Yeppoon, about twenty-six miles north-east of Rockhampton. It is accessible by the road leading to Yeppoon, the turn-off to Taranganba being on the outskirts of the township. Taranganba estate is famed for its lovely scenery. A range of bare eminences, with precipices facing the sea, runs along the coast; and inland from these rise gentle slopes and wooded heights in picturesque variety. To the south are the lovely headlands and bays on Mr. James Ross’s Estate of Mulambin, forming coast scenery that for variety and beauty cannot be surpassed anywhere.
A few years ago Mr. Ross got a portion of the coast land laid off as a township, the native and appropriate name of which is Lamer(m)oor. Most of the lots have been sold, and several dwellings have already been erected in it. The dwelling-house of Taranganba, with its offices, sits on the ridge of a spur of the hills already alluded to. In the comparatively smooth slopes and rounded eminences there is nothing to lead to the surmise that at any time this portion of the earth’s crust had been subject to a convulsion leading to the accumulation of gold in large quantities.
The hill described as No. 1 in the plan, but familiarly known as Mount Piggery, is a rounded eminence adjoining the men’s quarters of the homestead. It was by accidentally crushing and washing the residue of some of the stone from this hill that the presence of gold in the locality was discovered. Repeated trials gave results which led to further search. On the hill we find evidence that operations have been commenced in earnest, and carried on systematically. So far as our unpractised eye can discern, there are trenches like cuttings for drains; masses of stones here and there; and in the side of the hill a tunnel.
The red colour of the earth shows it to be impregnated with iron; but let us examine the stone however narrowly we cannot see any trace of gold. We think we can notice in it, however, a resemblance to the lumps of stuff to be found in the quarries at Mount Morgan. What are now called the Big Hill and the Western Hill rise to a height of about 300 ft., some 300 yards to the south of Mount Piggery. On the Big Hill pits have been dug, and the rock laid bare. The surface soil is of the same ferruginous colour as that on Mount Piggery.
The stone bared appears to be of the same character as that already noticed, but harder and heavier. In one place a shaft 15ft. deep by 8ft. broad has been sunk into this dark rook. From the top of the Big Hill to that of the Western Hill is but a short walk. That the Western Hill is of different material from that of the Big Hill is at once evident. The stone is of a yellowish white composition, with thin seams of pitchy material through it. Here, again, we are reminded of the appearance of stone in the quarries of Mount Morgan.
The whole summit of the hill appears to be composed of this homogeneous stuff, and it is found on the slopes sticking out among the long grass. The other hills are some distance to the south of the eminences just named, and do not at all form conspicuous figures in the landscape. The whole of the eminences we have described might be included in a circle a mile in diameter, and with the dwelling-house of Taranganba near its northern circumference.
No. 1 Hill, or Mount Piggery, is situated immediately to the west of the stables and outhouses belonging to the Taranganba homestead. It was on this hill gold was first discovered. The appearance of a piece of stone caused Mr. Ross to crush it, and try a prospect. His curiosity was rewarded by finding free gold in the dish. This discovery led to the hill being systematically prospected. Near the crown of the hill three outcrops of quartz were trenched across, and in each case showed a well-defined lode. These follow a nearly north and south course, and so far as can be judged from the few feet uncovered they underlie slightly to the west.
The largest amount of work has been done on the most westerly of these reefs, the “cap” being exposed for some 30ft. or 40ft. The stone is a mixture of brown and black iron and quartz, and pieces from it prospected so well it was decided to penetrate the hill from the western side by means of a tunnel, so as to see what the three reefs referred to were like at a depth, and also to prospect for other auriferous veins. Accordingly an east and west tunnel was commenced at a suitable spot. At the present time it has penetrated the hill a distance of some 130 ft. At about 80ft. from the starting point a vein of black stone was cut. It was about 8in. in thickness, and we are in formed yielded, by assay, 16oz. to the ton, whilst good returns could also bo got from hand crushing.
Work was continued easterly, but nothing was found of importance until lately, when a lode was met with of gossan and quartz, streaked in places with ” blush” of variegated colours. Prospects gave satisfac tory yields by hand crushing, while the assay retiu’us are given as in excess of 4oz. per ton. The reef is of a slightly broken character, aud is easily worked, but gives indications of becoming more solid as it attains greater depth. The miners have already gone through more than 6ft. of this lode, but have not yet reached the hanging-wall. The reef is underlying to the east in the tunnel, be if it be identical with the outcrop on the surface the direction of the dip has changed from west to east. So far as can be judged, the underlie is at an angle of about 45deg.
Mr. Ross is decidedly of opinion this reef is not the lode which outcrops on the surface, and that work will have to be advanced some 20ft. or 30ft. further before it will be reached. The new proprietors will probably continue the tunnel until the custom side of the hill is reached, and then the north and south veins and leaders it contains will bo exposed. The country is easy to work, and the boring in of course dry. It may be mentioned that the depth of the tunnel from the top of the hill is about 50ft., leaving that quantity of ” backs” to be worked.
About 200 yards south of Mount Piggery is No. 2 or Big Hill. Several small cuttings have been made on the northern side of this mount, and in some of them there are in dications of reefs similar to those referred to on Mount Piggery. The largest amount of work, however, has been performed on the southern side of the crown of the hill. Here a huge shaft or paddock has been sunk to a depth of some 15ft., right in the middle of the lode. No walls have been reached on either side, but the main course of the reef is evidently pretty nearly the same as the others—north and south.
The stone is a mixture of brown ironstone and quartz, with black streaks, and presents a very solid and massive appearance. Hundreds of tons could be grassed at a trifling expense, aud a small yield per ton would unquestionably give a payable return. As the walls have not been reached it is impossible to say how wide the lode may lie, but it is undoubtedly in excess of 10ft. in thickness. Most of the stone is what is called “good-looking” from a miner’s point of view, and we were informed that from top to bottom of the shaft it gave excellent results, both by hand crushing and assay.
The rather scrubby nature of the timber precluded a reliable estimate being given as to whether this lode was a continuation of that on Mount Piggery, but in all probability it is a parallel vein lying further to the west. No. 3, or Western Hill, is divided from Big Hill by a depression which becomes a gully towards the base. A few small trenches have been made where quartz “blows” are visible, but the work done on the hill is not so great as on the two already described. Near the summit, there is a huge outcrop of stone, perhaps better in appearance than much of that already referred to.
A good portion of the stone resembles some of that from the Mount Morgan claim. There are undoubted evidences of the action of fire, and there is not quite be much solid quartz to be seen in what is exposed here as in other places. There are no means of ascertaining the width of this lode, but it is certainly of immense size. It is quite distinct from that on Mount Piggery, being probably 100 yards to the west. On the northern side of Western Hill there is another massive “blow” of a reef. The stone very much resembles that on the southern side, except that more quartz is mixed with the brown and black iron.
The Western Hill is the one regarding which Dr. Robertson expresses the opinion it is equal in value to Mount Morgan. If the quality of the stone be like that of Mount Morgan, the learned metal lurgist’s view may be quite correct, for apparently the lode is from 40ft. to 60ft. in width on the surface, and in all probability increases in size as it descends, like those veins that have been most prospected.
Shortly, the position of the three hills described is this :—Mount Piggery not a hundred yards to the west of Mr. Ross’s house; Western Hill 300 yards to the west and south of Mount Piggery; and Big Hill about 200 yards to the south of Mount Piggery.
Big and Western Hills are about equal in height, and are probably 100 ft. or so higher than Mount Piggery, which is elevated some 30ft. above Mr. Ross’s residence. Central Hill is considerably to the south of the localities described, and no prospecting has yet been done on it.