James Lancelot Stormont

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James Stormont died in 1903.[1]

In evidence given in court in 1860, James Lancelot Stormont states that he arrived "here" in 1844, and at Ballarat in March 1852.[Notes 1] The record of his evidence states, in part: "I constructed a quartz-crushing machine within 20 yards of where Dr. Otway constructed one in the end of 1853, at Black Hill. My machine was made at the end of 1852. The stampers had round heads, and had a vertical and rotatory motion. The vertical motion was given by cams; the horizontal motion by spur wheels. There were three stampers. It was erected in a public place. Dozens of persons saw it, and made fun of it. I worked it for about five or six weeks there. I crushed about 10 or 12 tons on the Black Hill. I then removed it to the bottom of Rotten Gully, a mile or a mile and a quarter off. It could have been seen by all who came. I explained it, and got laughed at for my pains by Cornishmen. There were not many persons at Ballarat then. I worked it there again five or six weeks - as much as before. The shaft revolved with a disc. The crushing produced about 10 oz. of gold to 20 tons. It was worked by hand. I made it myself... The whole machine was 6 feet high, and the stampers were 6 inches in diameter... I told Dr. Otway of it. My mill was removed before Dr. Otway. I told him that I had tried the grinding as well as stamping process. I had a mate - D. Laby, an American - who worked with me. He advised me to go into quartz. He went to California.
Cross-examined. - I came here in 1844, and to Ballarat in 1852 - in March, 1852. Dr. Otway was not there then. There were only two tents. There was no one on the hill - Black Hill; about two tents between that and Rotten Gully. There were a number of persons in the immediate vicinity. I gave an order to a storekeeper, who kept the Melbourne Store, for the stamp heads. The stamps were made of wood, shod with iron. The machine was not a mere model. We had to shepherd our alluvial claim. I showed the machine to H. Hall. He is not here. I last saw him when Sir Charles Hotham was here, at the levee. He approved of it. I cut it up, as the timber was wanted, in the latter end of January, 1853. It was made in August, 1852...
To a Juror. - I abandoned my machine because it didn't pay so well as alluvial.
Re-examined. - I was making trials in crushing, then. I have received as much as £8 per ton, five years ago. I believe mine to be the first machine made in Victoria. Alluvial washing was more profitable than crushing, then. One bucket of stuff paid each man of nine £384. It took all I was making by the machine for food then.[2]



James Stormont married Kathleen Sara Russell. There children are: 1. Bessie (born 1857, Sandhurst (Bendigo). Died 1857, Sandhurst) 2. Bessie (born 1858, born Whipstick near Bendigo. Died 1945, Harrisfield) 3. Herbert (born 1863)

See also

Dr William Beauclerc Otway


  1. See Stevens' patent rotating stamper head – court challenge for the complete transcript.


  1. Victorian Death Registration No. 4707.
  2. LAW REPORT. (1860, June 1). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 3. Retrieved August 22, 2015, from [1]

Further Reading

External links

--Neil Huybregts 17:04, 16 October 2015 (AEDT)

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