Sunday History Photo / NSW

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 07:43
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In May 1851 , only a few months after Australia's first Gold rush started at Ophir, gold was found at present day Lucknow. The Wentworth Goldfield (named after the early land owner W C Wentworth) was initially an alluvial field, but the wealth of the lode lay underground . A comprehensive network of mines was established during the late 1800s , the remnants of the mining operations still dominating the Lucknow village landscape.
During the late 1800s, a series of dams was constructed along Fredericks Valley Creek to provide water storage for the mines. The blueastone walls of these structures are still evident. To the East of Emu Swamp Rd, the 'Boat Dam' was constructed and used by the Lucknow village community for recreation. Swimming, rowing, and boat regattas were held on the dam.
By the early 1900s, the mines had flooded due to the rising water table, and much of the goldfield was abandoned. A resurgence in mining occurred during the 1930s but by the 1940s the boom years of Lucknow and it's mines were over. Today Lucknow services the surrounding rural community , it's poppet heads and mullock heaps remaining as testimony to the village's historic mining history.

The Lucknow workers strike was against the reduction in wages, the new system of grading pays and to protect the miners against ‘the perpetual search warrant’.
There was a lock out by Superintendent Warneford Lock. Up until then, the miners were receiving 7s 6d per day and the truckers were receiving 6s 6d per day. When the miners resumed work, they found that the new pay system had been introduced at a lower rate of pay. First class miners were to receive 7s per day, second class miners 6s 5d per day and truckers 6s 6d per day.
Pilfering of gold occurred on a grand scale at Lucknow. The superintendent, Mr Lock, and management of the Wentworth Proprietary Company were very aware of this problem but were unable to stop it. Because of the theft of gold, miners were required, before leaving the mine each day, to enter the change rooms to be searched. Under the new system they were also required to consent to their house being searched whenever requested by the superintendent.

This did not stop the stealing, so the police commenced patrolling the village by day and night.
The strike lasted 13 weeks during which time many of the miners left Lucknow and moved on to other gold fields. Those who stayed went back to work but more as tributers, doing their own prospecting, and paying the company a commission for the gold found. The Directors in London appeared, on the surface, to think that the strike had been a good thing, as it had introduced a superior stamp of miner and there had been a thorough breakup of the old local gang, thieves and receivers.
The Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW) reported on Monday 3 April 1893 ‘The Lucknow gold mine, in the Orange district, has been again the scene of a shocking disaster.’
‘Thomas Nicholls and Francis Dobson, both miners, were boring by hand preparatory to putting in a shot, when it is supposed that they came on a missed shot. A terrific explosion immediately followed. They were working in the main shaft, and so got the full force of the upheaval. Both Nicholls and Dobson were killed instantly. The latter, indeed, was blown to atoms, while the former’s head was blown off.’ ‘Two others, Thomas Dobson and Richard Bond, were somewhat more fortunate, though they are seriously injured and mutilated.’

The Wentworth Main Mine tells the story of goldmining in the Central West, from its early stages in the 1850s, through three stages, until its closure in the 1950s. It has been estimated that the fields yielded around 14,000 kg of gold in all
One hundred and sixty years on, the landscape around Lucknow is still dominated by its gold mining heritage. Poppet heads, mine buildings, mullock heaps & bluestone dam walls are still plainly visible in & around the village.Lucknow, near Orange, which was worked extensively from 1862 to 1867, yielding 504 474 oz to 1923.

The two five-head stampers in the Stamper Battery Shed were manufactured by T Hodkinson and Co. Engineering Works, Newtown, NSW and are numbered No 55 and No 56. The battery’s foundations are built of concrete to keep the stamper mounted in the one position and stop it from shaking. No other machine reduces ore as well as a gravity stamp. These stamps were able to reduce 100mm (4ins) quartz to sand at a rate of approximately 1 tonne per hour using 11.190kw (15hp) per 10 head stamper.
Water is fed into the boxes to wash the ground sand and gold over copper plates coated with mercury. Water from the bailing buckets was directed by a shoot into the battery; the greater quantity of water the more rapid was the stamping.
At the Wentworth Main shaft a number of buildings were erected in July 1935: fitting shops, miners’ change rooms, a manager’s office and a battery shed. A cyanide plant was erected to rework tailings. A ten-head battery was also installed, intended to crush ore from ‘several of the old dumps’ on the Company’s leases. The Stamper Battery was idle for the latter half of 1935 and during 1936 it ran intermittently.

In 1936 a new board was elected, with William AJ Marshall as chairman, supported by his brother Alexander Marshall, and two investors, Francis H Galloway and Reginald Braid (who was Alexander’s brother-in-law). All four continued as directors until after World War II. Francis Galloway passed away in 1950, Lucknow engineer Eric J Taylor was appointed in 1952 and Braid left in 1955.The Marshalls were not involved in the formation of Wentworth (Lucknow) Company, but were keenly aware there was only one ‘lost reef’ in the northern part of the Lucknow field, where Bismarck Range was operating and there were ‘ten rich lost reefs’ in the south. They bought 45,000 shares in the Wentworth (Lucknow) company
In a project jointly funded by Orange City Council and the Heritage Branch of NSW, the Wentworth Mine is being conserved and re-opened to the public. One of the galvanised iron sheds hides an almost complete stamper battery, together with all its gold processing equipment, just as if the miners left yesterday, instead of 60 years ago. This is one of only a handfull of stamper batteries in Australia that survive in good condition.
EHA recently assisted Council in the reconstruction of the Wilfley or shaking tables, which were used to extract the last grains of gold from the ores. From the stamper battery, the crushed ore passed over a first set of tables. Mixed with mercury, much of the ore would be precipitated for separate processing, but larger particles passed onto the second set of Wilfley tables, made of timber with surfaces clad in canvas, where the gold would be collected. Failing this, gravity separation was used as a third method of retrieving the gold, in galvanised iron tanks. This ore would finally be treated with cyanide to separate the gold.

While the stamper battery shed has been used for later farming purposes, much of the equipment was left where it stood. The Wilfley tables had been dismantled and moved into a corner. Although partly damaged, it was these tables that were put back in their original position in 2009, supported on a simple timber frame, so that their weight was taken off the fragile timber legs that had allowed the tables to shake or sway back and forth during processing. The works were originally powered by a simple horizontal steam engine, most of which is still intact.

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Reply By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 07:48

Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 07:48
I forgot to add at the top... this is Sunday History Photo number 300th.

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Reply By: Member - Peter H1 (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 08:13

Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 08:13
Another great story Doug, keep them coming.

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Reply By: Member Bushy 04(VIC) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 08:36

Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 08:36
Well done on the 300th Doug, that's quiet an achievement.
Keep them coming Doug as it is always an interesting read.

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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 11:11

Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 11:11
Yeh well I trying to catch up to my No 1 singer Andrea Berg and her Guinnes World Record of an Album as of March 16th 2013 for 532 weeks on the Austrian charts and 347 weeks on the German charts . A bit of topic I guess but type her name into You Tube, you'll be amazed.

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Reply By: Nomad Navara - Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 08:58

Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 08:58
Congratulation on 300 episodes Doug, please keep them coming.
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Reply By: Member - Bruce C (NSW) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 10:56

Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 10:56
Great work Doug and many thanks for it.

That is sure some milestone Doug, 300 SHPs, Congratulations, greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Bruce.
At home and at ease on a track that I know not and
restless and lost on a track that I know. HL.

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Reply By: Member - kev.h - Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 11:14

Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 11:14
That's great Doug brings back memories I lived in Orange for 22 years (1951- 1973/4) and visited Lucknow several times for a look around the old diggings great to see they are protecting it, a lot of these old historic sites fall into disrepair and get destroyed
Congratulations on 300th edition looking forward to the next 300
Thanks Kevin
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 15:30

Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 15:30
Thanks Kev, yes 300 is about 6 years , I'm not sure about the next 300 though mate ...we'll see.
I had a bit of a struggle preparing it yesterday , I started on a 3 month 4 treatment of Chemo at Orange Hospital on Friday so wasn't firing on all 6 , just 5 but we got there , I chose Friday as a start so I get a few days to get back into form for my Wednesday's 3 hour Radio programs on FM107.5 , so SHP's and Radio is top of the agenda and cannot be missed .

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Follow Up By: Member - kev.h - Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 20:35

Monday, Mar 10, 2014 at 20:35
Hope all is OK, sorry to hear about your Chemo hope it all goes well and you don't suffer too many side effects .... take care mate and good luck
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Reply By: Life Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 23:07

Sunday, Mar 09, 2014 at 23:07
Congratulations Doug on your 300th SHP, well done, they are a good read and very informative as is the one above.
Hope all is OK, sorry to hear about your Chemo.... take care.

Simba, our much missed baby.

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