Alice Cornwell

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Alice Cornwell was born in 1852. At the age of 21 she married a 70 year old blacksmith, John Whiteman. After six years of marriage and the birth of one child the couple divorced and Alice gave up custody of her son. Alice became a business partner with her father and they had several goldmines including the Mindas Mines near Dowling Forest, the Speedwell Mine and the Victorian United. Alice was the mine manager and was renowned for her ability to find gold and manage me,[1]

Known as Madame Midas, Miss Alice Cornwell's British Australasian Mining Investment Company floated in London in July 1889. She studied mineralogy in her youth and became a mining enthusiast.[2]

She was also associated with the Midas Gold Mining Company, with an office at Queen Victoria Street, London. It was at this office that Alice Cornwell exhibited the Lady Loch 'Monster' Nugget. [3]

Alice Cornwell was living in England after 1890.[4]


A play on Alice Cornwell by Phil Beck was performed in Sydney and Melbourne in 1889.[5]

See also

Midas Mine

Victoria United Co.


Miss Alice Cornwell has issued the prospectus of, her British and Australian Mining Trust and Investment Company. The capital of the Company is to be £500,000 Among the English directors are Lord Suffield, Mr. Braddon, Agent General for Tasmania, and Mr. Joseph Harrold, of the firm of Harrold Bros. The Victorian Board will include the Hon. M. H. Davies, M L.A., the Hon. J.L .Dow, M.L.A., and the Hon. H. Gore, M.L.C. Miss Cornwall is to receive £73,000 from the Company for her properties, and for floating the Company.[6]

Not much has been heard lately in the City of 'Madam Midas,' the sobriquet of Miss Alice Cornwall, the Australian lady financier who achieved a celebrity for a season by succesfully floating the Midas Gold Mining Company, launching several other colonial ventures, and becoming the proprietress of the Sunday Times. Advices to hand from Melbourne announce the death of her husband, Mr John Whiteman, in his seventy second year. He was a native of Warwickshire, emigrated to the goldfields, and established himself as a blacksmith in Melbourne in 1857. Being a good platfrom speaker he was elected for South Melbourne, and held the seat for a dozen years. He was a prolific contributor to Melbourne Punch, and the author of a volume of verses, both serious and humorous, under the title of 'Sparks and Sounds from a Colonial Anvil.' Miss Cornwall was his second wife, but the union did not prove altogether harmonious, and the lady resumed her maiden name.[7]

Miss Alice Cornwell, or "Madam Midas," as she is called, who has business offices in London, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, and other places, now proposes to open an office in Wall-street, New York, for the transaction of a general banking business. Through her own exertions and business ability, it is said, Miss Cornwall became a millionaire at 30. One morning, a few years ago, she appeared in Threadneedle Street as a promoter of mines. Almost her first success was floating the Midas. From that time her fortune was assured. Ever since her fortune would permit it she has owned a bright weekly paper in London. She is a regular contributor to its columns under the pen-name, " Mme. Midas." Wall Street is in a state of pleasurable excitement over the report. The coming there of anybody with money is always hailed with delight. It is believed that Miss Cornwell will also establish a branch office in San Francisco, as she has a penchant for mining shares. [8]


  1. Ballarat Courier, 12.03.1987.
  2. Southland Times(NZ), 2 January 1888.
  3. Southland Times(NZ), 2 January 1888.
  4. family Correspondence, 6 July 1973. Federation University Historical Collection. (Cat. No. 9197)
  5. family Correspondence, 6 July 1973. University of Ballarat Historical Collection. (Cat. No. 9197)
  6. West Australian, 12 August 1889
  7. Bush Advocate, 19 January 1893
  8. Ashburton Guardian, 3 March 1893

Further Reading

External links

Photograph of Alice Cornwell by William H. Bardwell

Map of Alice Cornwall Mine

--H. Scarpe 09:38, 28 August 2012 (EST); --Clare K.Gervasoni 13:15, 2 December 2016 (AEDT)

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