Durham Gold Mining Co.

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DURHAM GOLD MINING COMPANY, Swamp Lead-Notice is hereby given that a Call of £2 per share has been made payable at the Union Bank, or to the secretary, at the Company’s office, on the claim, on or before Tuesday, 23rd April, 1861. By order of the committee.
THOS. CORNISH, Secretary.[1]
A lamentable boiler explosion occurred shortly after nine o’clock on Friday night, at the claim of the Durham Gold Mining Company, Lake Wendouree, through which one woman lost her life and several men were injured, besides two buildings and portion of a third being almost entirely swept away. The claim, as is no doubt well known by the most of our readers, is situated close to Wendouree Parade, near the Wesleyan Church, and has been in existence for nearly six years. After some weeks of preparation, operations were just about to be commences to sink the shaft a further depth of one hundred and twenty feet, making it four hundred feet in all, with the view of working the gutter better under the lake, as it had been found in the upper grounds to dip very considerably. The company was getting itself into a better position, and matters on the whole, though not unprosperous before, were beginning to look brighter, until a terrible calamity occurred that has carried bereavement and desolation into one home at least, and minor but still great sources of grief into several more. How the catastrophe was occasioned is still a matter of conjecture; that the boiler did burst is all that is at present known, and the fearful consequences it has entailed we have already too plainly witnesses. About ten minutes or a quarter past nine o’clock on Friday night, the boiler – apparently none of the best, for it had always been leaking to a greater or less extent, - seemed as secure as usual. The engine-driver, Robert Henderson, then in charge, together with another driver named James Gibson, who had been at work on the day shift, were standing near & repairing a leaking joint in the steam chest. Gilhouley, the stoker, was engaged, it is said, at supplying the furnace with firewood, when all at once there was a terrific explosion, and the men were each thrown in different directions, where they remained for some time insensible. The boiler, which measures thirty feet in length by six feet in diameter and weighs nearly ten tons, was blown forth to a distance of two hundred and forty feet from its bed through the engine house and two wooden cottages, both of which it completely demolished in its passage. The first cottage – the on e in which the unfortunate woman Mary Peart resided – was situated at a distance of one hundred and twenty feet from the engine room. The second house destroyed, was built a little back from the same line, and distant from it about the same number of feet. After passing through the buildings, the boiler was left at a spot only about four feet distant from another dwelling, in which Mrs Richmond and her children were living, her husband being, at the time, away from home. With the exception of the front wall and part of the end of the two front rooms, the whole of the first house was blown down, the boiler having passed through the two back rooms, scattering the timbers in every direction. Two young children – a boy, and girl about three years of age – were asleep in one of the front rooms at the time. The latter reposed on a stretcher, and the other in a cradle. It was due to their forward position in the dwelling that they were saved from the horrible death which overtook their unfortunate parent. She, poor woman, had been in one of the back rooms which had evidently been used as a kitchen, and when the explosion occurred, she must have been struck by some of the flying timbers, for she was carried a distance of about six feet from the house and there left buried among the debris. Extraordinary though it may seem, her body exhibited very few bruises, for with the exception of a severe fracture on the forehead between her eyes, which had completely shattered her skull, and must have caused instantaneous death, there was only a few bruises on her legs and neck. This slows clearly that she received her death blow from a piece of timber as the stroke of the boiler dislodged it from the opposite end of the house and drove it through the other end. Had she been struck by the boiler, her body must have been carried before it, and in that case rendered unrecognizable before the second house was reached. When found by Mr Cron she was fully dressed, quite dead, and lay partly covered with bricks and timber. She had, it appeared, just returned to her own house after paying a visit to Mrs Richmond. Her two children, as already stated, escaped through being asleep in one of the front rooms, and they only as it were by a hair’s breadth. The stretcher on which the little girl was sleeping, had been by the force of the concussion carried a considerable distance from where it had been placed, and, strange to say, without being upset. The girl was found by a gentleman named James Black, who, with several of his friends, had been attracted to the spot. She was found asleep and unhurt, having been protected from the showering timbers by the previous fall of a portion of the [illegible], roof-like spanning the bed. The baby was also found safe in the cradle, which had been similarly shielded from injury. In the second house, the inmates, Mr and Mrs Kingshot and three children, escaped without injury, although the whole of their house was levelled to the ground with the exception of the back wall. The house was twenty-seven feet in width by twenty-four feet in depth, with walls nine feet in height. It contained four rooms, two of which were in front and the rest immediately in the rear. The three children were asleep in one of the back rooms, and Mr and Mrs Kingshot were taking tea in the other. Mr Kingshot had not more than five minutes previously come from Ballarat, at which place he had been detained on business. As Mr Kingshot and his wife made use of one of the front rooms for their sleeping place, and the late arrival of the former had kept them out of bed longer than usual, it was no doubt due to the latter circumstance that they escaped destruction. The two front rooms and everything they contained, were carried bodily away; the boiler in its terrific course having even torn up the flooring, and scooped a trench along the ground near the engine-house, and right through the trim little gardens up to the very spot at which the huge destroying mars was suddenly stayed in its career. The water seems to have been discharged from the boiler immediately after it sprang from its foundation, partly filling the trench and saturating the ground on both sides. Mr Kingshot states that the report and the falling of the house were all but simultaneous, although nearly two hundred and twenty feet distant from the claim. He was sitting in the back room nearest the claim, and when the explosion occurred he was thrown flat on his back by the driving in of the end of the building. At the distance of a few feet from him, and partly buried beneath a mass of bricks from the fallen chimney (which had stood in the centre of the room) and the timbers of the roof, lay his wife. With some exertion he extricated himself, and immediately afterwards, his wife, who, though uninjured, was much shaken. He then called out to the children, who answered that they were unhurt. By his directions, two of them managed to crawl out from under the rubbish, and he speedily released the third – none having sustained any injury. The escaped being crushed by the falling roof in consequence of the standards of the iron bedsteads in which they slept having borne if off from touching them. Several of the standards were bent back nearly double by the weight. At the claim, the end of the engine house was torn down, as well as the steam pipes, and everything else which had been connected with the boiler. The disaster from end to end formed a heart-rending spectacle, which will long be remembered by the crowds that visited the spot on Saturday.
The boiler gave way at the end nearest the shaft, and it is a fact worthy of notice that at that particular part one of the plates is only 3-16 of an inch in thickness, whereas in the other parts of the boiler the plates are twice that measurement – their proper strength. The engineers both state that the boiler contained plenty of water, and they declare they are unable to account for the explosion. When it took place, portions of the tube and the end were left behind, twisted and shattered in pieces. One of the engineers admits that he was always timid of the boiler, owing to its leakage, and that it was inspected about three weeks ago by a Mr Cartwright from the Soho Foundry. Without testing the thickness of the plates by boring them, he pronounced that with a few additional rivets the boiler would be as safe as ninety-nine out of every hundred boilers at work, in the district. Apart from the loss of time, it is reported that at the least from £600 to £700 will be required to repair the damage done at the claim. Mr Kingshot estimates the value of his property destroyed at about £150. Henderson and Gibson, the two engineers, were but slightly injured by the explosion, and are now able to go about; but Gilhouley, the unfortunate stoker, has been very severely scalded about the face and neck. He is not, however, considered to be dangerously injured.[2]
Shortly after three o’clock, on Saturday afternoon, an inquest was held by Dr Clendinning, at the Belfast Hotel, on the body of Mary Peart, who was found dead, as above related, among the ruins of her own house.
The jury having been duly empanelled, with Mr M. D. Morgan as the foreman, the body of the deceased was viewed in a house in the vicinity of the claim.
The following evidence was then taken:-
William Cron, landlord of the Belfast Hotel, deposed as follows:-I knew the deceased will. About ten minutes past nine o’clock, on Friday night, as I was shutting my bar, I heard a terrible explosion, like an earthquake or thunderbolt. I then opened the door, and on looking towards the Durham claim, I saw a mass of smoke and rubbish. I at once ran down to the place along with two other men; and on nearing the spot, we heard cries of agony and saw some houses levelled. On searching among the ruins I saw something like a female’s dress in the darkness. I caught hold of it, and supposing it to be a corpse, I called for a light and some assistance. I then recognised the body to be that of the deceased. She was lying face downwards, with her head and shoulders buried amongst the timber. She was fully dressed. We took her out, and found that she was quite dead. There was a lot of blood all about her head. We immediately afterwards looked for her two children, and found on in a cradle and the other, I believe, in a bed, alive and unhurt. They were then taken away; after which we searched the ruins fearing that the deceased’s husband was also buried beneath them, but nothing more was found. We then went towards the engine-house, and I saw the two engine-drivers, both wounded more or less – one bleeding from the head and the other lame. I then assisted in carrying the deceased to the house where she now lies.
Robert Henderson deposed-I am engine driver to the Durham Gold Mining Company, and I commenced my shift about half-past seven o'clock on the evening of the 30th September. I immediately afterwards examined the water gauge and gauge cocks in the fire hole in front of the boiler. I then returned to the engine house and took off my coat and went into the boiler house. I examined the safety valve and found it right, with about 20 to 25 lbs of steam pressure. The engine had been standing since eight o'clock in the morning. I next went on the brace and assisted the manager in patting the tank in the shaft. After doing this, I returned to the engine house and commenced using the engine by lowering the tank from the high brace to the surface, where I put a mark on the chain. I then went into the fire hole with the stoker and put in firewood, and again examined my guage [sic] and found all safe. This was between eight and nine o'clock. I returned to the engine-house and found my steam-chest leaking. The other engineman (Gibson) then came in and we commenced repairing the leaking joint. I had previously told the fireman to put the damper down. I then lighted a candle and held it whilst Gibson secured the joint. We were both together between the boiler and the cylinder when I heard a tremendous noise and shrieking out. I remember nothing more until I found myself lying outside the engine house, at the back of the office.
To the Foreman-I have been in the colony since 1863, but have only been driving the engine for three weeks at the claim. Previously, I was for eighteen months engaged as enginedriver at the Oriental Company's claim. I have been, altogether, an enginedriver about six years. I saw the safety valve about three-quarters of an hour before the accident. There was between four and five inches of water in the glass about five minutes before the explosion, for I then tried the guage-cock and guage-glass. The stoker and I were both firing the boiler at the time of the explosion. The boiler leaked a little, and before I came to the claim it was examined by a man from the Soho Foundry, named Richard Cartwright. I think the leak was in front of the boiler, but on account of it being closely built in, I cannot tell exactly where it was.
To a juryman-The only way we could tell whether the boiler leaked or not was by the steam coming out of the funnel, as no steam should come out there, only smoke. I calculated there was between twenty to twenty-five pounds pressure on the safety-valve, when I commenced my shift, at half past seven o'clock in the evening. The weight then hung at the end of the lever, and, by lifting the weight a certain distance, I made that calculation. There was plenty of water in the boiler, and the pressure of steam was not heavy. I cannot tell how the explosion took place. I was accustomed to blowing out the boiler every day, but it had not been cleaned since I went to the claim. I am not acquainted with the boiling points of water. The engine was of low pressure and condensing, but it was driven high pressure. The engine was standing all day, but there was always steam on in the boiler.
Dr Holthouse deposed as follows:-I have this day examined the body of deceased and found some superficial bruises or contusions on face, arms, legs, and neck. The body was but slightly marked. I found a contused wound on the anterior and upper portion of frontal bone, with a fracture of both tables of the same bone. There was also a wound over left eyebrow with a fracture of the frontal bone. They were both compound fractures. The inner table of the first fracture was pressed down on the brain, and the cause of death, in my opinion, was concussion and compression of the brain. I consider that concussion was the primary or principal cause of her death. The wounds were inflicted by some blunt instrument.
James Gibson, miner, deposed as follows:-I am in the employment of the Durham Gold Mining Company as a miner and engine-driver. I have been engine-driving to the company for the past four years. I was on the day shift yesterday up till seven o'clock, and I left everything safe when Henderson came and took charge of the engine. I then went to assist the manager in getting the tank on the brace, and afterwards went home and had tea, returning to the claim about nine o'clock p.m. I was on the brace when Henderson called me down into the engine house, where I found a joint in the steam chest blowing off steam. He asked me to tighten up the nuts. I went once round them all, and was in the act of going round a second time, when I got a blow on the back and also on the head, which knocked me down. I recollect nothing more until I heard some person calling my name, when I found myself lying in the engine room across the machinery. I then got up to render all the assistance I could, after which I became sick from loss of blood, and had to be assisted home. The safety valve was about 3 or 3 ¼ inches. I fed the boiler from eight till nine o'clock on yesterday morning. I gave her a heavy feed, so as to run the steam down. The weight was on the end of the lever of the safety valve.
To a juryman-I do not know how to calculate the weight upon the lever. The boiler was purchased new about eighteen months ago from Mr Campbell, of Ballarat, but it always leaked. The water was about two-thirds in the guage-cock in front of the boiler at half-past seven o'clock. There was a good supply of water shown in the steamcock. Only on one occasion, some months ago, did I notice hot water coming back through the feed-pipes. The connection between the pump and the return valve on the boiler was off all day, but it was left in good order. I could not account for the crown of the furnace coming down by the accident. The valve would blow off at thirty pounds pressure. We have always been frightened of the boiler on account of the leakage. It was examined by Mr Cartwright, of the Soho foundry, who put some men to work to repair the leakage. From that time until yesterday, I noticed that no steam passed up the funnel.
To the Foreman-I have been frightened of the boiler for the last twelve months, and a boiler maker told me it would not last for two years. I reported the leakage of the boiler to the manager of the company.
William Walton deposed as follows:-l am mining manager of the Durham Gold Mining Company. I came upon the claim about five o'clock p.m. yesterday. About nine o'clock I was standing about two yards from the shaft, taking up some tools, when I was struck down face downwards and I must have been some minutes on the ground. On getting up I called for assistance and found the engine-drivers lying on some timber at the bottom of the steps. I then for the first time knew there had been an explosion. The company has had the boiler for some eighteen months or two years. As it always leaked, it has not been considered a very good one, and the directors instructed me about six weeks ago to have it thoroughly inspected. I applied to the Soho Foundry for a suitable man to do so, and Mr Cartwright was sent. He inspected the boiler about four weeks ago. He only looked over it, and then reported that if it had a few new rivets put in, it would be a very good boiler. Those repairs were executed by men sent by Cartwright, after which I had Mr Sims to examine it and go through all the flues. He reported most favorably. Since then we have been using the boiler and working the engine by it, and from that time until yesterday I saw no further leakage nor heard of any until Mr Gibson called my attention to a leak in the fireplace. On examination of the boiler since the accident, I find that one plate of the upper end is only three-sixteenths of an inch thick, the proper thickness being three-eighths of an inch. Mr Cartwright did not bore any holes in the plates of the boiler to ascertain their thickness at the time of his examination.
At this stage the inquest was adjourned until Monday morning at ten o'clock a.m., at the Wheatsheaf Hotel, Wendouree Parade.[2]

The adjourned inquest into the circumstances attending the late boiler explosion at the works of the Durham Company, Swamp lead, was held at Grant's Wheatsheaf Hotel, Wendouree Parade, on Monday morning. The same jury was convened. The first witness called was
Richard Cartwright, who deposed that he was a boilermaker, employed at the Soho Foundry, Ballarat, and that four weeks ago that day Mr Walton went there, on the part of the Durham Company, to request that a man be sent up to examine the boiler. Witness went at once to the claim and inspected the boiler, taking Peter Brand with him. He went through the tube and found several leaks inside the tube. He went round the flues inside the boiler and "she was leaking outside at nearly every seam more or less.” He pointed out the places to Brand, and marked the places where she should be caulked and rivets put in. He then went away. He did not examine the boiler after that. Brand being a practical man and understanding the work as well as witness himself. He believed the boiler would be good after the repairs had been done. He had that morning seen a thin place at the endplate of the boiler, but he did not think that of any importance as the plate was very narrow there. The boiler was reasonably new, he thought, and in very good condition. He believed he had pointed out two rivets that needed refiling, but, otherwise, the leakage was the only thing he had found wrong.
To jurymen-He found some corroded places on the water line inside. Did not bore it through, as he could see the thickness without that. Thought the corrosion did not affect the strength of the boiler much. He did not think it necessary to bore the boiler to test its thickness. The thin place spoken of was caused by corrosion and leakage both, and he could not see that at the time, as it was covered by brickwork, but he left Brand to look after any other places. He was there only about half an hour, but he thought that quite long enough. The boiler had not been cleaned out-at least she was wet. Never heard of boring to test in such cases. They were cleaning the scales away when he was there. He served his time in Manchester, and worked at Fairbairn's. Never saw Fairbairn put holes through boilers. The thin plate be had spoken of was at the bottom exactly. The collapse of the tube was due, in his opinion, to shortness of water. A collapse might arise from accumulated pressure. But in this case he thought the flue was red hot in the middle, and though there might be water in the glass she would be dry at the end. He thought the middle of the tube gave way first. It was evident that the tube got heated at the top, and was, he should think, nearly red-hot. From what he had seen of the boiler that morning, his opinion was not altered as to the condition of the boiler when his inspection was made, save as to the thin plate which he had not seen at the first time. If the boiler was not set level, as was, he thought, probable, that would account for the collapse and the explosion. He thought she went in the middle first, and then both ends at the same time, but with a new flue he thought the boiler would be as good as ever. Did not notice, but thought the blow-off cock was underneath. He had no hesitation in saying the thin plate was not the cause of the explosion, as, though thin, the area was only about five inches. The end of the tube and the boiler, too, were riveted to the thin plate, so that only a few inches of exposed space was left. The boiler was strengthened by angle iron gussets, as is usual. The boiler was 6 ½ feet in diameter and about 30 feet long.
Peter Brand deposed that he was a boiler-maker, and he had caulked the boiler as instructed by his foreman, Cartwright. The boiler seemed to be leaking in several places in the flue. He cut three rivets out of the flue. He found leaks in the shell also. He was told to make all the necessary repairs, and he caulked wherever it appeared to be necessary, and also chipped it where ever necessary. He put in three new rivets in the flue, besides eight in a small patch in front. He was two days and six hours about the repairs, and as far as he was able to tell, the boiler was as safe a one to work with after the repairs were done as before. He did not know of the thin plate at that time.
A Juryman-But was it safe before the repairs?
Witness-Well, that is a difficult question to answer.
A Juryman-Well, if you are a practical boiler maker, you ought to be able to tell.
Witness-I believe she was safe to carry 40 lb pressure, but she was short of water, that is evident. The plate was three-quarter inch thick where he put in the rivets. The thin plate he supposed to be about five-sixteenths inch thick.
To Mr Peart-I am sure the boiler was safe when I left her.
William Sims deposed that he was a mining engineer, and that he set the boiler two years ago, being engaged as engineer for the company. The masonry was done by contract, but the setting of the boiler by day work. The boiler was got from Mr Matthew Campbell as made of the best Lowmoor iron. He considered the boiler was a first class one, and the setting also was properly done, with a fall of about 1 ½ inches to the fire end. After she had been working for some time, leaks were discovered in some of the joints. About three weeks ago he was engaged to do repairs to the engine. The boiler leaked for two years off and on, but nothing to detract from the strength or efficiency of the boiler, or at all events only a little from its efficiency. About three weeks ago, repairs were done to the boiler, and he was engaged to repair the engine, when he examined the boiler and fines also, and he considered the boiler to be in first-rate condition after Cartwright's repairs were done. He did not test the thickness of the plates, but only as to the leaks. The blow-off cock was at the front end. If there had been any shrinking of the masonry it must have been uniform, and he thought that the position of the boiler at the time of the explosion was the same as when set.
Thomas Cornish, legal manager of the Durham, Oriental and Fortuna Companies, deposed that he knew Robert Henderson, who had been about three weeks in the Durham Company's employment as engine driver. Before that, Henderson had been eighteen months in the Oriental Company's employment, but had been discharged by that company's mining manager, Mr Patterson (a juryman) for some kind of inattention in the matter of winding, not being attentive to the knocks from the shaft, and not winding up the cages with sufficient promptitude. Henderson was employed for the Durham Company by that company's mining manager, Mr Walton. Only heard of the charge of slowness against Henderson, not of inefficiency. Henderson erected a winding engine for the Oriental Company as an engineer, to the company's satisfaction, working it also for about five or six months.
Theodore Jessen, a shareholder in the Durham Company, deposed that he was on the claim about six p.m. of the day of the explosion, and saw the mining manager and the engine-driver, Gibson. He went down to the fire-hole with them, and said to the manager, "the boiler is not quite tight yet," and the manager said he thought it was. Walton then went away, and witness said to Gibson that the gauge-glass cocks and taps were all new, and Gibson said so too. Looking at the glass, witness saw about four or five inches of water in the glass. That was at about a quarter-past six o'clock. He did not prove the glass by turning the tap. Gibson was then firing up, there being then a middling fire on. Witness then went away, and was in Ballarat when the explosion happened.
John Patterson, one of the jurymen, and mining manager of the Oriental Company, deposed that he knew Robert Henderson, who had been for about eighteen months engine-driver for the Oriental Company. He discharged Henderson for not paying proper attention to his work in winding, and letting the steam down. Once or twice there was not steam enough to wind up with, and sometimes the cages were kept waiting for five or tm minutes, from a want of attention on Henderson's part. He was finally discharged by witness for being absent from his shift, and not relieving the other driver in time. When steady in his attention, Henderson was competent, but be was not steady in his attention.
Edwin Bull, engineer, deposed that for years he had been engaged as a superintending and practical engineer. On Saturday morning, having heard of the explosion, he had gone to the Durham claim, and had inspected the boiler, and found that the tube had evidently been heated. It appeared that the back portion had been subjected to the greatest heat. He meant that the heat was above that necessary to raise steam. In examining the tube he found the thin plate in the back end of the boiler, and found it about ¼ inch thick. The tube had been a ¾ inch plate, but had been slightly oxidised. That thin plate was not the cause of the fracture. The end of the boiler was better stayed than any he had seen lately. It was better gussetted than many he had seen. There were five gussets. It necessarily followed that when the tube collapsed the thin plate parted, the flattening of the tube tearing the tube to pieces. Had it been weakness in the place of the thin plate that caused the explosion, the burst-out would have been there. Weak ends of a boiler may blow out but they never collapse a tube. The shell, and every part of the boiler seemed of good material and construction, and he thought the shell perfect and fit to use next day again for that matter. The iron of the tube was of ordinary thickness, and of sufficient thickness to stand 80 or 90 lbs. pressure any day. His opinion was that the explosion was caused by shortness of water. There might be a fault in the glass gauges not showing the actual height of water in the boiler, and the lower cocks might show water when there would be none at the end of the boiler. The boles for the gauge-cocks appeared to be level with the top of the tube. Water might waste from leaks, from waste-cocks, or from the steam-chest. There could not be the least doubt in the world that want of water was the cause of the accident.
To a juryman-The tube cracks looked blue, and that showed the cause to be beat, The boiler was beautifully stayed at the ends. As many engine drivers are appointed for cheapness rather than efficiency, I am now setting boilers level, so as to do away with even the chance of anything wrong from the following of the usual practice of giving boilers an inclination towards the blow-off end, I have for the last twelve months been setting them level.
William Sims, recalled, deposed that he had examined the boiler that morning, and that the explosion was caused by an extraordinary accumulation of pressure. The tube had collapsed, and the end of the case, or the outside of the boiler, bad burst outwards and torn away from the other portions or case of the boiler. The pressure was for beyond the ordinary working pressure of the boiler. That would cause a collapse. The undue pressure would be caused by the safety-valve getting jammed and not relieving the pressure, whereby an undue supply of steam was generated; or the valve might produce the same results by being of insufficient capacity to take away the steam as fast as it was generated. It had been decided by investigation in England, that it took 350 lb or 400 lb to the square inch to burst a plate of the ordinary cylindrical form. The engine-driver must have been mistaken when he thought the pressure was only 25 lbs. The valve must have got jammed or something. But from seven to nine o'clock the steam might have risen to the pressure which he considered caused the accident. Witness proceeded-I have examined the boiler, and I see no evidence whatever of there having been an insufficiency of water. If you take a bit of boiler-plate and put it in the fire it would be discolored, but the tube is not discolored at all nor burned. If the tube had been red hot there would be evidence of it. The end of the boiler-which I call the outside case-is gone. The shell is perfect, but the end (of the tube) is separated from the tube. It rent at the thin plate end first. I do not think it was the collapse of the tube that caused the blowing out, but that the over pressure caused it. I see no reason at all to lead anyone to suppose that the accident was caused by a want of water. My opinion is that the pressure first took away the end of the boiler, and that caused the collapse of the tube.
Mr Bull, in reiterating his opinion as to the cause of the accident said, the course of the projection was always from the point where the explosion took place. The Eureka Cement Company's explosion and the Bluejacket Company's explosion were both due to the same cause, want of water. It was the same at the flour mill a few years ago. He did not think it was anything like 200 or 300lbs pressure that caused the collapse. The plates had thinned by the heat, and tore like a bit of brown paper.
Mr Sims-I call it an explosion.
Mr Bull-I call it a collapse. No reasonable being will show that the giving of the end of the boiler caused the collapse of the tube.
Mr Sims-Most decidedly it would.
Mr Bull-I decidedly saw that the tube had torn apart at the rivets, from the action of fire, and the form of the tube having been altered, the strength of the tube was insufficient to bear the pressure. Gas, not steam, caused the explosion, water running over the heated iron generating the gas. If the valve was perfect at seven o'clock, the steam never could have increased so as to cause the pressure Mr Sims supposed, or the blowing off of the steam would have alarmed the neighbors. At the Working Miners Company, a plate in one of Jennet's large tube boilers had thinned down to half its thickness, and yet stood the heavy pressure.
Mr Sims-I knew a tube bend right down without any explosion. That was at the Deptford water works, and the plates came down a foot or fifteen inches. How do you account for that?
Mr Bull-I never heard of anything of the kind before. It does not alter my opinion at all in this instance.
The Coroner, at this stage of the proceedings, suggested that, as the engineers differed in opinion as to the condition of the boiler and the cause of the accident, the jury should revisit the scene of the disaster, in company with the engineers. This was agreed to, and the inquest was adjourned at half past one till three o'clock, for that purpose.
At the appointed hour the jury reassembled, but no further evidence was taken, and it was judged expedient to adjourn the enquiry until ten o'clock this morning (Tuesday), at the same hotel.[3]



Community Involvement

Works Produced

Workplace Relations

The People

Thomas Cornish, Manager <1864>


See also

Further Notes


  1. The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), Saturday 20 April 1861, page 4. Digital copy accessed via Trove.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), Monday 3 October 1864, page 1. Digital copy accessed via Trove.
  3. The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 - 1864), Tuesday 4 October 1864, page 1. Digital copy accessed via Trove.

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--Beth Kicinski 13:00, 16 January 2013 (EST)

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