The History & Archaeology of Cadia Valley


Historical Timeline

Australian Town and Country Journal, 7 May 1870

The text of the Australian Town and Country Journal, 7 May 1870, page 14-15 (with spelling as in original – for example, Cadiangollong (sic)):


The Cadiangollong Copper Mine is fourteen miles from Orange, a severe twelve from Cargo, and fifteen from Carcoar.

This dis- (and ex-) tinguished company was composed originally of Messrs. Icely, Want, Samuels, Lawson and others, who bought the ground (1600 acres)of the Crown, and based that portion of it east of the creek to Messrs. Morehead and Young, of Sydney, who raised 3000 tons, erected four furnaces, and smelted a quantity of ore. Subsequently in May 1864, the Cadiangollong Copper Mining and Smelting Company was formed in 60,000 shares at £1; merely 40,000 being paid up, and 20,000 contributing – which company raised 5000 tons of ore, making in all 8000 tons, reduced to 850 tons fine copper. A trifling inconvenience appears to have arisen about the end of 1867; the capital was all called up, and the work ceased.

Of the amount of work done, an idea may be formed from the following figures: – The lodes, four in number, vary from one to six feet thick – (the north is metamorphic slate, the south is syenitic granite; lodes running east and west) – average per centage of copper twelve, but at the last improving. The shafts are thirteen in number, three of which are forty fathoms each, and ten vary from ten to twenty-five fathoms each. The engine shaft is twelve feet by five feet, and another nine feet by four feet, two chambers each; smallest shafts six feet by four feet, and slabbed. 4500 feet, or nearly a mile of driving has been done at various levels; and the working drawings show a large amount of stoping done, as well as a deal of “solid” remaining in the lodes.

Measures are now being taken for re-opening this mine, and starting afresh; but at present the furnaces are at work upon a rich red sample from Woods’s Flat, thirty-two mines away in the south-west; eighty-five tons brought in go as high as forty per cent. pure copper, and couldn’t be reduced until some bags of pyrites were borrowed from the Canobolas Copper Mine (a poor neighbour to the Cadia, averaging three per cent. copper, and distant one mile and a half, south-east) to flux it. These furnaces go through the processes complete – viz., first, smelting regulus; second, coarse copper (in this case, but not always); third, refined copper. That scarse article, a good Welsh smelter, is to be found here.

At the shaft, and erected in a solid stone house, built by Cornishmen, is the engine, of forty-horse power and ten-feet stroke. It is a low-pressure condenser with a thirty-feet beam, and fly and driving wheels twenty-seven feet in diameter, constructed to wind by a flat chain; boiler, thirty feet long, seven feet six inches diameter, weighing ten tons. Beside it is a portable engine of twelve-horse power, with forty fathoms of six-inch pumping gear, all fixed as well as winding gear; and another portable engine, of eight-horse power, on a roving commission. There are three furnaces in use, and three require rebuilding or repairs.

The first process in treating the stone is done by boys, who handpick it, separating the ore from barren rock, the ore being removed at once to the furnace, the intermediate or coarse ore only going through the processes of crushing and jigging.

Appleton’s stone-breaker driven by a belt, begins by cracking the stone neatly to the size of road metal, whence it meets with heavy Cornish cast-iron rollers, which again reduce and discharge it to a wheel fourteen feet in diameter and ten on the rim, having internal buckets which carry up again the stone, which is still too large to pass through the meshes of a circular revolving sieve. Eight jigging machines jumping under water in as many slabbed pits separate by specific gravity the ore sand from the silica coming from the sieve, and boys skim the latter off periodically.

Beside the extensive plant already enumerated, commodious workshops contain any amount of spare machinery: lathe, saw-bench, circular saws, pinions, spurs, bar iron and round iron, tools, and implements – the very anatomy of mechanism, and sufficient to make the gum-trees weep after a night’s fog, to see them lie idle and rusty. To Captain Holman I have much pleasure in being indebted for most of the above information, and looking round his office I perceive an assay furnace, plumbago pots, crucibles, and all the apparatus for assay. The office is roomy, and built of stone and copper slag. A fine clay is found here for brick-making.

Burnt Yards and the Forest. – These very interesting fields are too large to come within the compass of this letter. They will have to wait for the settlement of their account.

New Royal Hotel, Orange, 28th April, 1870.