Black Hill Flat Company

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The name "Black Hill Flat Company" also seems to have been used refer to the Black Hill Flat Gold Mining Company. For now, see Black Hill Flat Gold Mining Company for companies first mentioned prior to 1859.





This is the name of the company formed out of the remains of the "late lamented" Ballarat Quartz Crushing Company, formed ostensibly for the purpose of testing the merits of Mr Penrose's patent. The patent, however, was never tried, albeit the patentee was tried till he lost his temper, and nearly all hope in the good faith of his erewhile ardent patrons. Of how the ponderous Penrose wheel was wheeled off by the original company before either centre or circumference had taken visible or tangible shape or substance; of how said company decided upon then erecting a battery of stampers, contracted for materials, commenced preparations for the erection of a house for crushing operations, and then collapsed and gave up the ghost, is it not written in the minute book of the late secretary, and in the books of record of both our Police Courts? All this, then, is well known, and will, probably, be long remembered, by some at least, of those who once rejoiced in the possession of shares in the Ballarat Quartz Crushing Company. In fact, the history was one of crude projection, dubious management, and ignominious failure. Where the blame lay, or what dodging there was in the con duct of the affairs of the deceased, we know not. We only know the results, and regret, for the sake of all the losers in the undertaking, that so promising a scheme should so utterly have miscarried. However, the old adage, that "it is an ill wind that blows nobody any good," has perhaps, been exemplified in this as in other catastrophes. The company whose name appears at the head of this report, has sprung up on the ruins of the late company, and has, doubtless, been able to avail itself of the experience acquired from an intimate acquaintance with all the ins and outs of the defunct Penrose enterprise. The new company has got the ground of the old, and has largely added to its area; has taken to some very substantial items of its debris, and goes to work now, of course, with a tolerably accurate knowledge of what lies before it in the way of profit and loss; or at least, in so far as it is possible to calculate upon the issue of any similar undertaking. The company consists of six persons, to wit, Messrs E. A. Wynne, R. B. Gibbs, S. Wilson, W. Bailey, S. M Gibbs, and W. C. Smith; and they have a quartz area of 788 x 100 yards. As published in yesterday's (Friday's) Star, the company have applied for a ten years' lease of the area in question, and figures amounting to £8000 occur in the gazetted list of applications, but how they are intended to apply to the different portions of the enterprise, we cannot, from the gazetted notice, divine. On Friday, however, we went over the works and were courteously put in possession, by one of the above-named gentlemen, of divers particulars, which we will now proceed to jot down.

The company have purchased, for £700, that splendid engine erected under the hill by the late Waterloo Steam Sluicing Company. This engine is, we believe, the largest in the district. It is of forty horse power, has two boilers, and a ponderous fly-wheel weighing 6½ tons, and measuring some 16 feet in diameter. The engine is by M'Clellan, of the Clutha Works, Glasgow, and cost the Waterloo Company, we are told, £1800. The Black Hill Flat Company purposes erecting a battery of 12 stampers to begin with, intending eventually to increase the number to 36 or 40, should the claim prove remunerative. Crushing for hire will also be done, and already several thousand tons of quartz on the hill await the action of the battery. The cost of forming a solid foundation for the stamping bed will be considerably in- creased, as the only place available happens to be where an old drive exists. Contracts have been taken by Messrs Newman Brothers for castings and fixings at £575, and by Dow & Co for stampers, at £149 ; besides which there is a carpenter's contract for erection of shed and other works. The stampers are to be heavy enough in all conscience; with heads of iron and iron boxes, each stamper will weigh 7½ cwt. To bear the incessant concussion of a series of such enormous stampers, it follows that a proportionately substantial solid foundation must be procured for the bed. For this the company has provided ponderous timbers measuring 15 X 18 inches square, two layers of which will be laid on the solid reef horizontally, cross-wise, checked, and bolted; on these will be fixed timbers of the same dimensions, and some 8 or 10 feet long, in a vertical position; and on them, when bolted, will be laid a thick iron bed. On such a bed we should imagine the stampers, heavy though they be, may beat as furiously as they please and yet with impunity. Additional expenses will be incurred, moreover, because of the low level ol the engine, and the consequent necessity of extra mechanical contrivances in order to attain a proper working level for the crushing batteries, ln all, we are informed, that some £2000 will be laid out before work can be begun. It is expected, however, that operations will commence in about a month, and that with 12 stampers only some 200 tons of quartz per week can be run under the battery.

Mr Jones, the engineer of the Ballarat Gas Company, is the engineer of this company also, and under his directions the plans of the company's works have been prepared. Of the materiel of the company, we need scarcely remark that it may be regarded as symptomatic of a healthy confidence in the commercial possibility of remunerative quartz crushing on Ballarat. When we see half a dozen men old it mercantile experience, intimately acquainted with the gold fields generally and this one in particular, and possessing capital within themselves adequate to the thorough testing of the experiment, there is every reason to hope for something definite and reliable as a result from their enterprise. That the result may have not only those elements, but that also of ample success will be, we are sure, the wish of all who wish well to the interest of the district.[1]

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See also

Black Hill

Black Hill Chronology

Black Hill Flat

Gold Ore Mining



  1. Mining. (1859, March 19). The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), p. 2. [1]

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