Gold Ore Mining

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What is gold ore mining?

Operators involved in Gold Ore Mining will have one or a combination of the following activities as the primary activity of their operations: alluvial gold mining; eluvial gold mining; gold bullion production; gold dredging; gold mining; gold ore roasting and flotation extraction, including metallurgical hydro-extraction; gold washing or sluicing; and/or reworking of mullock heaps or tailings for gold.


Charles Gerrard co-discovered gold at Golden Point, Ballarat, in 1851.[1]

The Black Hill Gold Mining Company was one of the many nineteenth century gold mining companies in Ballarat. Black Hill was the first Quartz area in Ballarat to be mined. [2]

The first crushing battery put up at Ballarat was erected at the foot of Black Hill. [3]

SIR. – Having watched as far as the short reports as given in the notes and news of the Star would enable me, the different topics gone into by the mining commission, as well as the several parties examined, I have much wished to see that some practical engineers had or were to be examined, touching one of the most important if not vital items connected with mining on Ballarat, viz., the probable cause of the recent boiler explosions; or rather, as the cause is pretty well known (viz., shortness of water) how best to guard against this mishap for the future. In respect to the last five boiler explosions that have occurred on Ballarat, two of which proved so deplorably fatal to human life, the blame was principally attached to the engine-drivers, whereas, in my opinion, the blame lay more with the engineers for having inserted the water or lower cock of the glass gage some two or three inches lower than it should have been, thereby regularly working the boiler with much less water covering the back part of the tube than was necessary to ensure safety, and so rendering an explosion more likely to occur from, comparatively speaking, very trifling neglect on the part of the engine-driver. In stating it as my opinion that it is or has been a fatal error with some engineers on Ballarat to insert the glass gauge some two or three inches lower in the front of the boiler than it should be, I know I am treading on very delicate ground, as engineers, like doctors and lawyers, hold it as a sort of “honor among thieves” to stick to each other, and not see any defect or error of judgment in a brother of the fraternity, for fear said fraternity as a body might suffer. So that, I say, to impugn the practical knowledge of engineers only as regards this one item, of fixing the gauge glass of tubular boilers, and expecting engineers to come forward and support my view of the case id I know not over probable, however desirable for public safety. My object in thus reverting to an old subject is, if possible, to induce some conscientious and disinterested engineers who may be of my way of thinking (and I know there are some) to come forward and speak on the subject, in order, if possible, to have some uniform rule adopted for the adjustment of the glass gauge in tubular boilers. At present there is no system at all adopted, some engineers being two or three inches below others. This state of things cannot be correct. The glass gauge is the principal guidance of the engine driver (notwithstanding the other two cocks), and as a general rule while an engine-driver can see any water at all in the glass he considers himself safe (at least from an explosion), and which is only in accordance with common sense, else of what good is the glass, if, while water is to be seen therein, the further end of the tube over the flame is above the level of the water and getting red hot. Now this was the case with at least four out of the five last boilers that exploded, as on examination I found that the hole pierced for the lower or water cock of the glass gauge to have been from four to four and a half inches below the top of the tube in front, or from five to five and a half inches below the top of the tube at the back (there being generally at least from three quarters to an inch or more inclination given to boilers), so of water in the glass the top of the tube at the back end of the boiler or over the flame was bare. Now, I ask any conscientious engineer if this state of things could be correct. What I would suggest to, or impress on the members of the Mining Commission is, the advisability of their advocating the adoption of a uniform system of fixing glass gauges in tubular boilers, so that while there is any water at all to be seen in the glass gauge there should be at least three inches of water covering the highest or back part of the tube. If this uniform system was adopted, in cases of neglect or accident where the water was allowed to get wo low as to recede out of sight in the glass, there would still be three inches of water to fall back upon while the error or neglect was being rectified before an explosion could take place. My reason for not either writing or going personally before the mining commission to state my views, is simply that no being an engineer I might not be considered competent to speak on the subject, although I flatter myself I have paid as much attention to this particular subject as any engineer on Ballarat. As the engineers belonging to the foundries of Ballarat are generally appealed to or consulted on any public engineering question, I might just state that I don’t expect this class to substantiate my views, I not being of the cloth, beside whatever they may think, they cannot afford to disagree with engineers who bring work to their foundries. However, I am happy to say there are other good engineers on Ballarat if they are only independent and conscientious enough to send their suggestions to the mining commission.
Yours, &c.,
13th September.

a Surveyor for the Golden Point, Gravel Pits, and Malakhoff Leads. Salary, £400 per Annum. To devote himself exclusively to the duties of those Leads. Apply by letter to Mr. William Fraser, Secretay [sic], Fountain Head Bakery, Main Road.[5]



The People

W. H. Foord (known as ‘Henry’) was Gold Commissioner in Ballarat in 1854 and later a mining warden and police magistrate.[6]

Alexander Fyffe replaced Henry Duncan in a cooperative mining agreement dated 22 September 1851.[7]

Alfred Higgins was one of eight men who signed a cooperative mining agreement on 8 October 1851.[8]

William Morrison was one of eight men from Geelong who signed a cooperative mining agreement on 8 October 1851.[9]

George Maynard was one of six men from Geelong who signed the first cooperative mining agreement on 22 September 1851.[10]

George Norgate was a member of a gold diggers’ party at Dalton’s Flat, Ballarat in 1854.[11]

William Beauclerc Otway ("Dr Otway") was the first digger at the Black Hill quartz lodes in 1853. He built a windmill to crush the rock.[12]

Walter Parling was a member of a gold diggers’ party at Dalton’s Flat, Ballarat in 1854. He died on the diggings in 1855 in a mining accident.[13]

William Patterson was a Geelong watchmaker who tested the original Ballarat gold.[14]

Alfred Scott was one of eight men from Geelong who signed a cooperative mining agreement on 8 October 1851.[15]

James Scott was one of six men from Geelong to sign the first cooperative mining agreement of 22 September 1851.[16]

James Watt was one of eight men from Geelong who signed a cooperative mining agreement on 8 October 1851.[17]


See also

Alluvial Gold Mining - Quartz Mining - Surface Mining - Long Wall Mining

Ballarat Mining Board - Ballarat Court of Mines

Gold Commissioners

Gold Mining Reefs and Leads - Gold reefs - Gold leads - Gold gullies - Gold gutters

Gold mining divisions - Gold claims - Gold mines

Gold mining companies - Gold mining co-operatives - Gold mining parties - Gold mining syndicates

Mine owners - Mine shareholders - Mine managers - Mine tributers - Miners

Mining Batteries

Practical Mining



  1. accessed 15 March 2013.
  2. Reid, John & Chisholm, Jack. Ballarat Golden City: A Pictorial History, Joval, Bacchus Marsh, 1989.
  3. Guide to Ballarat, F.W. Niven & Co, Ballarat, 1890, p49.
  4. The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 – 1864) Friday 19 September 1862, page 4.
  5. The Star (Ballarat, Vic. : 1855 – 1864) Thursday 7 August 1856, page 3.
  6. accessed 15 March 2013.
  7. accessed 15 March 2013.
  8. accessed 15 March 2013.
  9. accessed 15 March 2013.
  10. accessed 15 March 2013.
  11. accessed 15 March 2013.
  12. accessed 15 March 2013.
  13. accessed 15 March 2013.
  14. accessed 15 March 2013.
  15. accessed 15 March 2013.
  16. accessed 15 March 2013.
  17. accessed 15 March 2013.

Further Reading

External Links

--Beth Kicinski 10:30, 14 August 2013 (EST)

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