It was the copper mining at Moonta which first put Yorke Peninsula on the map. The large numbers of sheep which roamed the country in those days weren't nearly so valuable as the copper raised at Moonta.

The late Mr. F. J. Gillen, SM. a recognised authority on native dialects, said the proper designation of Moonta was Moonta Moonterra, meaning " place of impenetrable scrub." In the early days the locality was covered with dense scrub, very hard to get through because of the thick growth of creepers in the scrub.

Capt. Walter Watson Hughes, who later became Sir Walter Hughes, had pastoral leases in the district. He was one of the founders of the Adelaide University. There is a bronze statue of him in the University grounds. He was a student of metallurgy, suspected the presence of copper in his sheepwalks and encouraged his shepherds to look for the mineral. It was one of these who discovered payable deposits in the district.

Port Hughes was named in honour of Sir Walter Hughes'. It is said that he was the cause of Wallaroo being given its present name. Originally, the town had a native name — Wadla - waru with the "d" pronounced very softly. It was later twisted to Wallawaroo. This proved too long a name for stamping on the Captain's wool bales, so it was contracted to its present style—Wallaroo.

Kadina is said to be named from the native name given to a locality several miles south of the present town — Caddy-eena, or Caddy-inna, meaning "lizard plain."

Although sheep have once more taken precedence over copper, and the mines are closed, there are still industries in the three towns. The Wallaroo Clothing Company employs a number of people, many of whom, live at Moonta and travel back and forth each day. The Electricity Trust of S.A. has a pole factory there — the new electric light poles being erected all over the Peninsula were probably made at Wallaroo.

A large number of people are employed in the Superphosphate Works, and In June or July, when additional electric power comes through, it is exacted that production will start at the building erected during the recent war for a grain distillery. At this factory firebricks and high tension insulators will be made. Workers will also go from Moonta to work at the new factory, which, though it will start production in a very smail way, hopes to increase its output gradually to employ quite a number of workers.

At Moonta the Adelaide Milling Company employs about 30 workers, and the Fishermen's Co-Operative has stabilised the local fishing industry'.

Further down the Peninsula there are other Industries. South Australia provides most of Australia's salt requirements, besides shipping salt to New Zealand and some of the Pacific Inlands. Most of this salt is produced on Yorke Peninsula. There Is no refining done at Edithburgh now, but at Price and Warooka refineries work all the year round.

South Australia also produces the greater part of Australia's gypsum requirements, and much of this goes from the Stenhouse ' Bay deposits.

A lot of limestone is put through the Peninsula's various kilns, and goes away as lime. At the Adelaide Cement Company's works at Klein's Point limestone is continuously being mined and shipped away for cement making, And a lot of earth covering the limestone, which has to be moved before the stone can be got out, is being tipped into St. Vincent's Gulf.

Besides the native limestone, which is used mostly for building Peninsula homes, quantities are now being carted further afield for building, and thousands of tons of dolomite, another limestone formation, are being mined and shipped from Ardrossan to be used as lining for blast furnaces. I Edna Davies Copyright]


Sat 12th Jun 1847, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Trove

The South Australian peninsula above-named had for some time been considered an almost useless tract of country chiefly because during Colonel Gawler's administration, two Special Surveys were taken there — one on the eastern and the other on the western side— which the takers were allowed to exchange for two other Special Survey districts this side, on pleading the utter unavailableness of those they had chosen on the other side of the Gulf.

In some parts of the peninsula the scrub is impenetrable, extending from shore to shore, and there seems to a considerable extent an absence of surface water. It was ascertained, however, a few months ago, by Mr Weaver and his party, that some good sheep and cattle runs existed beyond the region of scrub, and they determined to reach them. In pursuance of this design they skirted the coast with their stock, and in their progress discovered a large copper deposit abutting upon the shore, near their cattle runs ; and having made special application for two hundred acres of land, Messrs Weaver and Hart effected the purchase at the last public land sale at the upset price, and thus secured (judging from report and assays made of some of the lumps of ore brought over) a property second only to the celebrated Burra Hurra.

In point of transit facility, the new discovery infinitely surpasses anything that has preceded it, for the ores obviously exist in abundance, and may be wheeled from the property, and at once put on board lighters, whose loadings may be transferred to vessels of large burthen, for which there is safe anchorage within about a mile.

Captain Hart has just returned from the spot, bringing with him many admirable specimens of the ore ; and the Lieutenant Governor having quietly put to sea in the Government cutter yesterday, his Excellency is presumed to have gone on a visit to the new mine, where, we understand, ten or twelve men are already employed. The herbage on such available pasturages as have yet been discovered, is described as very luxuriant ; but those who are depasturing stock thereon have hitherto had to depend for the supply of themselves and cattle on a small lagoon of fresh water, being the only permanent supply yet discovered. Water has been found at a depth of about six feet in many places, but invariably too salt for use. In addition to a considerable number of sheep previously sent over, Messrs Coates and Co. have recently forwarded six hundred head of cattle.

The peninsula abounds in salt-water lagoons ; indeed, some of them may be called lakes, being ten or twelve miles in compass ; but in summer they become quite dry by evaporation, and then a deposit of salt, two or three feet in thickness, makes its appearance, being perfectly white and fit for culinary use or curing processes.

We can only hope that the enterprise of the co-proprietors may be handsomely rewarded by a successful prosecution of what they have so fortunately obtained.


Sat 25th Aug 1860, The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889) Trove


Survey Office. Ausrust 24. 1860.

Sir-In compliance with the instructions contained in your minute of the 31st ult., that I should report on the nature of the country claimed, under the Regulations for granting Mineral Leases, by Mr. W. W. Hughes and others, at a place called Walleroo, on Yorke's Peninsula, I have the honour to state that the mineral sections applied for are situated about four miles and half south of Point Ritz, and extend from the eastern sea board of Spencer's Gulf, in a straight line nearly south-easterly, a distance of nine miles and a half, at seven miles from the coast. Other sections are applied for, running nearly north and south a distance in all of four miles.

The area comprised by the applications is 3931 acres.

The country in which this mineral land is situated is apparently of limestone formation; is slightly timbered near the coast with thick mallee scrub and pine timber further inland, and rises very gradually from the coast, at which place the cliff is about 15 feet high. The only water yet known nearer than 12 miles is that at the Walleroo Sprints in sand hills near the sea beach. this water is very brackish, and although sufficiently good for cattle, scarcely is useable for domestic purposes.

Mining operations in some of leased land are being prosecuted with much vigour, and although the ground has as yet not been sufficiently opened to admit of the employment of a great number of miners, yet there are already about 200 persons employed in matters immediately connected with mining operations.

There are at present on the east and wpst line three principal shafts the "Wombat," on Section 152A; the "Home," on Section 144; and the "Bingo," on Section 152 D. There have also been sunk on the same general line, westerly from the " Wombat," four trial shafts, in all of which copper ore has been struck.

On the north and south line the principal shaft is the " Wandilta," situated on Section 159 A.

The shafts have been sunk an average of 65 feet in deplh on the " Wombat ;" and in the " Home" shafts galleries are now being driven laterally from the bottom of the shafts.

I descended the "Wombat" and the " Home" shafts. The width ef the lode in the former is six feet, and in the latter eight feet, and I saw no appearance of its dying out.

From the several shafts above alluded to, about 600 tons ot copper ore of a very good quality has been raised. Its value can soarcely be estimated at much less than £8,000. The copper ore lately brought from Walleroo to Port Adelaide was the produce of the " Bingo " shaft.

The quantity of the ore on the surface, the width and richness of the lodes, and the number of places in which it has been struck, are most hopeful indications of a very valuable and extensive mine. That the proprietors themselves are very sanguine of success is evinced by the substantial stone buildings they are erecting for the use of those connected with the mine ; good stabling has already been built for the horses that are employed on the works ; and the miners themselves are rapidly dotting the ground with comfortable though less substantial dwellings.

The mine is admirably situated as regards cheap and easy transport of the ore, being only about five miles from the convenient shipping place of Walleroo Bay. This bay is formed by Point Riley on the north, and by another point, unnamed, about 9and a half miles south. Although open to the north-west, yet it is stated that there exists a reef at some distance from the coast, which materially modifies any sea from the westward, and between the reef and the shore, both at its north and I south limits deep water openings are reported to exist. There is deep water near the present landing-place, to which there is already a good natural road, and a landing jetty might be constructed to this place at small expense.

A nautical survey of Walleroo Bay would prove of great service, and indeed would become absolutely neces-sary if a trade sprung up, such as from the promising appearance of the mine may be reasonably anticipated.

I examined the country with a view of selecting a site for a township, and conceive that one with advantage, mighthe laid out near the landing place, and south of Mr. Hughes's head station. That gentleman has applied for a square mile to be surveyed round his station ; but as this request, if complied with, would embrace the best locality for a township, I am not prepared to recommend it ; still I think Mr. Hughes's interest on the Head Station, and the public requirements would be met by surveying a block of about 240 acres, so as to include Mr. Hughes's buildings, and which would leave ample space for the proposed township.

I am inclined also to recommend the survey of another township, about six miles inland, situated between Wandilta and Home Shafts, to give miners and others employed on the mines chances of obtaining freehold property in the immediate neighborhood of their work.

Whilst on the ground the Surveyor might be instructed to lay out for sale a few sections in the vicinity of both townships. A rumour was current that speaks of gold have been found in some of the pieces of copper ore raised at Wallerow. I do not believe this part of the country is auriferous. The report may probably have arisen from mistaking mundic for gold. I accompany this report with a rough plan, showing the bay, the proposed township, sites of the mineral sections applied for, and the principal shafs sunk.

I have, &c.,

A. H. FREELING. Lieut. Col. B.E.,

Surveyor-General. The Hon. the Commissioner of Crown Lands.


Sat 26 Apr 1862, South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1867) Trove

Two or three weeks ago we despatched a special representative to Wallaroo and the neighboring mines, in order to collect on the spot reliable information with reference to these new and important hives of industry....


Wed 28 Dec 1864, The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889) Trove

Water, water, is now all the cry, and it's becoming a most serious matter to the whole district, no rain having fallen far five months. The tanks at Kadina, Moonta, and wallaroo Bay are almost exhausted and the price now is 12s. for a load of two hogs heads....


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

Sir,'—If you can find space in your next issue to insert the following, it would possibly be useful in directing the attention of the proper authorities to the advantage of our having a daily mail....


Sat 26 Aug 1865, The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889) Trove

No part of the Province of South Australia at any period of its history ever advanced with such rapid strides as that triangular portion of Yorke's Peninsula comprising' the mines of "Wallaroo and Moonta, and the Port of Wallaroo....


Wed 23 Aug 1865, The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889) Trove

Having, in our last, given a general cursor view of the history and present condition of the great mining district of Wallaroo, we shall proceed to describe more particularly the roads, the physical features of the country, the townships, the mines, the social and political condition of the population, &c, &c....


Wed 30 Aug 1865, The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889) Trove

The first of the mines which attracts the attention of the traveller overland from Adelaide is the Cumberland, situated about a mile and a-half to the south of the Clinton-road, and 11 miles from Kadina....


Fri 1 Sep 1865, The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889) Trove

The physical features of the Peninsula are not very interesting. The country is alternately open and grassy, and covered with extensive patches of scrub more or less dense....


Tue 5 Sep 1865, The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889) Trove

The township of Wallaroo is the most pleasantly situated of the three Peninsula townships, being built on the shores of the bay, having a total frontage of about three-quarters of a mile to the sea, and extending inland about the same distance....


Tue 12 Sep 1865, The South Australian Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1858 - 1889) Trove

The trade of Yorke'a Peninsula is in the aggregate larger than that of any other part of the colony of equal extent....


Sat 10 Jun 1871, South Australian Chronicle and Weekly Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1868 - 1881) Trove

There is no more interesting study for thoughtful men than to watch the progress of material industries opened out in new colonies....


Fri 10 Apr 1874, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Trove

A Moonta ring meeting was held on Wednesday, April 8. Mr. Prisk, who again presided, opened the proceedings at 10 a.m., remarking that be was pleased see so many people present, and trusted that they would as usual pay strict attention to anything that might be said....


Tue 14 Apr 1874, Evening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912) Trove

My first impression in entering Moonta was an appalling sense of a terrible waste of human and mechanical power. The smoke of a score or more fine chimney stacks surrounding the town has ceased, and the powerful machinery within the -well-built engine-houses, instead of being employed in preparing valuable produce to freight the shipping at Port Wallaroo or to employ hundreds of smelters, is all idle and useless....


Tue 21 Apr 1874, South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900) Trove

Moonta. Monday morning, April 20. Yorke's Peninsula now seems to have returned to its normal condition of tranquillity, and but for the hearty demonstrations which take place as the delegates who have advocated the cause of the miners return to their homes nothing at all unusual would be noticed.......