Wed 25 Oct 1865, The Wallaroo Times and Mining Journal (Port Wallaroo, SA : 1865 - 1881) Trove

We hare been favoured with, the following account of a trip from Adelaide to the Wallaroo district by an esteemed correspondent.

After spending a delightful evening, in company with the Professor and others of the Acre, I repaired to bed, and on the following morning I learned from HostFoote's railway card (not Bradshaw's) that the Northern train would leave at 8 a.m. To the station I proceeded and took a ticket for Salisbury, determined to have a ramble—not knowing or caring where. Arriving at Salisbury, I found in waiting a nondescript sort of vehicle, drawn by four horses, and called a mail-coach, the destination of which. I soon found was Kadina, the capital of the world-renowned Wallaroo copper mines. There happening to be room for more passengers than had booked for places in Adelaide, I determined on leaving the train and making one of the number. The passengers were of a motley description, two females, each with a babe in her arms, and two small children, several lately-arrived immigrants, miners, going to develop the famous store of treasure, and a gentleman with sundry packages, who I afterwards found was travelling for one of the large wholesale houses of the metropolis, and that the boxes contained his samples. I forgot to say that children and sample-boxes are not taken into account with respect to the room they occupy. Having got her Majesty's mail safely stowed away, we proceeded on our journey. The first twelve miles, through fine fertile-looking country, was quickly passed, and we arrived at the small but neat little village of Virginia. Having liquored, and having had a change of horses, proceeded on at a dashing rate through ruts, over stones, and stumps, until we halted for a few minutes at the township called the Two Wells. Preparations were making here for the forthcoming harvest; a smithy busy at work, and a fine stone building, intended for a steam four-mill, in course of erection, which, I think, from the amount of splendid crops of wheat growing in the neighbourhood, will scarely be idle on working days, and is likely to be a fortunate spec. On went the coach over splendid plains—I wish. I could say the same of the road—until a deep creek was reached—which certainly is an ugly place to be called The Light—where we had to alight. Practice had given our driver confidence, and the conveyance was driven down the dangerous bank, through, the bed of the creek, and up the other side in masterly style. We crossed on a foot-bridge thrown across, I am told, by the spirited contractor, to avoid any risk of detention to the mails, should the rain at any time flood the river and prevent the conveyance crossing. A section or two further on we came to the next place to change horses, and in a neat little cottage refreshments of a teetotal description are provided by the lady at a very moderate charge. We started again, and on asking the distance to the nest stage or changing place, I was told thirty-five miles. "What!" I exclaimed, " with the same horses! " " Yes ; the same horses." About half-way through, at a place well named Purgatory, the down coach was met. The drivers rested their horses a few minutes, and then changed seats. Our steady civil driver I was sorry to lose, but we found the other equally civil and obliging. Both are a credit to the firm they represent. This part of the road passes through a deal of sterile, hungry-looking stunted scrub, the only use of which I can see is to learn us to be contented and duly appreciate the more fertile fields we had passed. We arrived at length at a small public-house near Port Wakefield—small but commodious enough for the few straggling travellers passing. After refreshing the inner man, once more, I betook myself to the coach again. Beyond a dangerons fording-place, nearly opposite the inn, and which I thought might be made safe for a very few pounds, we crossed the Hummocks, the road over which no doubt will be improved some day when a member of the Government or some other bigwig has been unfortunate enough to get his leg or neck broken. The next stage is Green's Plains. There extensive paddocks have-recently been fenced in, and every preparation was making for the growing of crops for the use of the horses. A first-rate team was put in to finish the journey, and after passing over the plains, the country again appeared barren and worthless. At length we passed the New Cornwall mine, and arrived at Kadina, tired and dirty. I hope for the sake of others that may have to come this same journey, that it will not be long before the proprietor adds width and length to his vehicle, giving room for passengers shoulders and knees. The horses are a credit to Mr. Roounsevell.

Next morning I decided on looking round the Wallaroo and other mines in the vicinity, which you have so often described. I got back in time to start by a conveyance to the world-renowned Moonta. We reached the township about eleven o'clock. The road over which we passed was full of stamps and ruts, but the vehicle was rather more commodious, and well-horsed and driven.

On arriving at Moonta I was fairly startled by the huge engine-house, the extensive; buildings, the number of shafts opened, the crowds of men and boys going to and from their work, the handsome and commodious inns, shops, and dwellings, all the work of so short a time. There were immense heaps of ore waiting for cartage, the quantity of which, one of the captains informed me was considerably over two thousand tons. After visiting the ponderous engine, working with its silent steady stroke pumping the water, the newly-built smiths' and engineers' shops, with their punching, cutting and boring machines, their powerful lathe and other conveniences for carrvinsr out the heaw works required, I left the Moonta Mines, thinking that they were indeed the sons of fortune who became possessed of shares through, the generosity of the first proprietor, Capt. Hughes.

Rambling on over a sandhill, I came to the Karkarilla Mine. This property, though riot extensive, nevertheless shows unmistakable signs of prosperity. A rich pile of ore was in progress of bagging for immediate removal to the Port Adelaide Smelting Works. The engine, a beautiful piece of mechanism on the horizontal principle, was forking the water from the 70-fathom level,—the greatest depth that any mine is at present working in the province. Mechanics were busy erecting ft house for a crushing machine. All about work seemed to be carried out in a systematic and economical maimer, a credit to the superintendent. I soon expect to learn that this is a dividend paying mine.

Still further rambling, I found myself in the township of Moonta. Like all new places much remains to be done to improve the township. I learned that the town was under no corporate body—not even the police regulations against nuisances. Slaughteryards are erected in the principal parts ; pigs and goats roam about with impunity, and the greengrocers deposit their filthy refuse in the midst of the street, to the disgust and risk of the health of the inhabitants. Perhaps it is necessary for some contagion to break out before the inhabitants will bestir themselves to abate such nuisances, The shops I found commodious and stocked with every necessary and many of the luxuries of life. There are two schools, but the bulk of the population residing at the mines, have their schools and places of worship there. The place, I overdone with inns. The different denominations are well represented there being chapels for the Baptists, Bible Christians, Wesleyans, and Church of England, but at present no Romish Church.

No public conveyance connects this place with Port Wallaroo, which I think is a mistake, compelling me either to go back to Kadina by coach, hire a trap, or tramp it; the latter I determined on; and I soon reached the Yelta Mine. Here a great deal of money must have been expended in trying to trace the Moonta lodes, but at present without much success. I saw a place close to Hancock's shaft, from which, a fine bunch of carbonates had lately been taken. A shaft has been sunk 20 fathoms on it, but the prospect had not continued down, and no ore was raising at the time of my visit. At Hancock's shaft the result was better, ore of a very rich description was raising, and a good pile on the floors. I thought myself a lucky fellow that the excitement caused by that discovery had not influenced me in buying shares. I thought also they were lucky that had sold, notwithstanding reports I have seen to the contrary. No doubt time and money will some day develop the mine, but I should not like to wait for the mine paying dividends to provide me with an income. Other parts of the mine I left unvisited, having ascertained the distance I had to walk to me port to be ten miles.

The tract cut through the scrub , in a direct line, was at intervals taken up by the works of the tramway in course of construction, but the road everywhere was in a miserable state—sandy in parts, dusty and toil some to travel over.

Three hours' weary waljking brought me to the Bay. Here were full-rigged ships, barques, and schooners; besides a fine large screw steamer, all employed in transporting machinery, coals, and merchandise of every description, required for the use of mines and the men engaged on them. The Bay if of great extent, and the ancourage first rate. Should at some future time a breakwater be built, the port will then resemble a dock. Tracks laden with goods run to Kadina and a decent sort of carriage for passengers, having first and second-class compartments. The town is divided by the tramway, giving it the appearance of two towns. It is well situated, on gentle slopes, and has a clean apperance. The houses of the working-classes are built of stone, the shops are numerous; everywhere the place exhibits signs of prosperity. The most noticeable building is the Smelting Works", whose glaring fires and tall chimneys you have so often described. I could not help noticing the many splendid edifices ercected for public worship. I determined on remaining at one of the inns for the rest of the week; said having previously refreshed at the Globe, thither I went, and secured my bedchamber. I found the host ready to give any information required the accommodation equal to any in town, and thought him the right sort of man for a Boniface. Sunday, found the shops of every description closed, and the places of worship well-attended by well-dressed persons, but the tall chimney belched forth its disagreeable black smoke and sulphureous: fumes much the same as on other days. Sly curiosity led me to ramble through the works. Men were there busy feeding fires. Sunday was unheeded under that shed. While the chapel bells were calling their congregations together, men were busy wheeling materials into the furnaces. I thought the same law that compelled the small shopkeeper to observe the Sabbath might be made to apply to the rich Smelting Company.

I returned per steamer, and after a delightful run of 24 hours, arrived at Port Adelaide.

BRAMBLER. October 13,1865.