... Moonta Home Page ...
Moonta Cemetery Index Website
Wallaroo Hundred Map Website
History of Moonta Website
Moonta - SA. A Brilliant Blend
Moonta is a pretty coastal town that is steeped in history.
Just 165 kilometres from Adelaide, it's popular with holidaymakers, especially families. Nearby, you'll find Moonta Bay - a delightful holiday spot with excellent accommodation and facilities. Its sandy beaches and jetty make it a drawcard for fishermen, families and holidaymakers alike. While here, take the opportunity to go on a fishing charter, and use local knowledge to find secret fishing spots for a great catch.
Take to the Moonta Mines Walking Trails, or ride the 50-minute round trip on the Moonta Mines Tourist Railway. You can also discover more about the town at the Moonta Mines Museum.
Port Hughes is a close neighbour. The Port Hughes jetty offers excellent fishing opportunities, and the area is also popular with boat fishers and charter boats.
South Australia's second largest town in its hey day, Moonta was predominately settled by Cornish miner's and their families. Moonta owes most of its prosperity to the Moonta Mining Co.
During the prosperous late 1800s, Moonta had the largest urban population outside of Adelaide, with 12,000 people including many Cornish miners who brought their skills and lifestyle. For this reason Moonta is known as 'Australia's Little Cornwall'. Every year, it helps host the Kernewek Lowender (or Cornish Festival) along with the towns of Kadina and Wallaroo. It's a chance to enjoy enjoy street processions, dance, music, theatre, a vintage car rally and more.
The name Moonta comes from the Aboriginal words 'Moonta-Moonterra' meaning impenetrable scrub. It has a population of 3,500 which rises to 10,000 during the summer holiday season.
Did you know: One of the things Moonta is most famous for is the Cornish Pasty. Miners used to take their lunch to work in a package of pastry - so it wouldn't get dirty. The pastry was joined along the top with a ridge so that it could be easily carried. The miner would open the pastry, and find in one end meat and vegetable; the other end would have fruit and jam for dessert. Today you can still buy delicious meat and vegetable filled traditional pasties in Moonta.
Copper was discovered at Moonta in 1861 by a shepherd, Patrick Ryan, working for Captain WW Hughes. By 1876 dividends on the rich Moonta Mine totalled 100 million pounds - the first Australian mine to reach this figure. By this time Moonta was the largest town in country South Australia, with a population of 12,000. By the 1880s the population had almost doubled to 20,000.
Three years after the Moonta mine commenced, it was employing 1,000 miners. Many of these were Cornishmen who had previously worked at Burra, Kapunda, or in the Victorian goldfields. However, the largest number of Moonta miners came direct from the tin mines of Cornwall. In 1865, 43% of the total number of arrivals in South Australia were Cornish. The last major immigration was in 1882-1883, when the mining company sent Captain Richard Piper to recruit 50 good miners. In March 1883 he sent back 408 Cornish people. In 1889 Hughes' other copper mine at Wallaroo was combined with the Moonta company.
Rises and falls in world copper prices, apart from the physical dangers, made the lives of the miners and their families uncertain. It also contributed to the formation of one of the state's earliest unions, the --- Miners Association in 187-. The 'great strike' of 1874 which lasted for - months was a testament to the tenacity of the miners, and set the ground for the improved conditions and enlightened organisation of the mining company through the greater part of its history.
The First World War saw a sharp rise in the value of copper, but subsequently world prices fell and ultimately copper mining in 'the Copper Triangle' collapsed, with operations ceasing in 1923. The enormous stockpiles at Moonta kept the smelters running until 1926. Mining resumed on a small scale during the 1930s Depression, largely through government unemployment relief funding.
The end of mining saw the communities at Moonta and the other towns shrink as the younger generations sought livelihoods elsewhere.
The attractions at Moonta and Moonta Mines encompass a number of venues which are operated by the National Trust SA, Moonta Branch. The National Trust SA, Moonta Branch was formed in 1964 with the specific purpose of preserving and promoting the heritage assets of the district. Coupled with a strong tradition for conserving, restoring and maintaining our local historical sites we have also used an innovative approach to develop a variety of tourist attractions that draw visitors locally, from interstate and also from all over the world. The National Trust, in Moonta, is privileged to have a large band of volunteers, currently numbering 117 active members. These volunteers give of their time and considerable expertise to enable "The Trust" to run a total of seven venues and attractions, which encompasses the historic Moonta Mines State Heritage Area - 1861-1923. The Moonta Mines were established by Cornish immigrants who came to the area as experienced copper miners and established themselves as hardworking miners in Australia. In turn, the miners built a strong town and resilient community which formed the basis for the modern Moonta and Moonta Bay areas which are located on northern Yorke Peninsula, approximately 165km North West of Adelaide...
MOONTA: Hughes pumping house at the Moonta Mine 1900 - State Library of South Australia - B 58893
Destruction caused by boiler explosion at Beddomes' 17 March 1884 when the stoker, Frederick William Atkinson, 28 was killed. His body was found about 100 yards distant. The boiler landed at the back door of a miner's cottage belonging to "Massa" Brown without causing any damage except to a fowl-house 1884 - State Library of South Australia - B 12617
Young boys sorting ore on tables at Moonta mines 1913 - State Library of South Australia - B 19609
Apprentices and other staff outside Moonta Mines Engineering Shop 1890 - State Library of South Australia - B 26969
MOONTA: Buildings at Moonta Mine 1900 - State Library of South Australia - B 58894
School of Mines, Ellen Street, Moonta. Built as Baptist Church 1866; Enlarged in 1903 by the School -
State Library of South Australia - B 33804
Group of Moonta Miners 1895 - State Library of South Australia - B 23893
George Street looking towards Mines 1906 - State Library of South Australia - B 21233
Churchgoers outside East Moonta Church 1910 - State Library of South Australia - B 26974
George Street in Moonta. Two storied centre building is a branch of the National Bank, erected in 1866. (Note by Mr O Pryor) Another two storey building is along side the Bank and a single storey Chemist, Druggist and Bookseller is on the other side. Both of these smaller buildings have wide verandahs overhanging the footpath
State Library of South Australia - B 6343
Staff and customers are posed under the verandah in front of Solomon Cousins' store, where there appears to be a sale in progress. Further down the street other buildings can be seen including Chappell's Boot and Shoe Warehouse. [On back of photograph] 'Moonta in 1870 showing store of Solomon Cousins' 1870 - State Library of South Australia - B 3780
MOONTA: The premises of R.W. Lamming & Co. motor garage at Moonta, with cars parked outside 1927
State Library of South Australia - B 33906
Miner's cottage, Moonta Mines known as Peter Bowden's. Believed to be one of the earliest built on the Moonta mining leases. It was occupied for more than 80 years and was demolished following the death of Mary Bowden last surviving member of the family 1900
State Library of South Australia - B 12612
The Fire Brigade Station at Moonta 1920 - State Library of South Australia - B 34822
Panoramic view of maintenance shops at the Moonta Mines 1908 - State Library of South Australia - B 12603
Railway Station at Moonta 1927 - State Library of South Australia - B 33892
R.Learmond's Grocer's cart at Moonta, P.D.Learmond stands by the horse 1908 -
State Library of South Australia - B 29698
A group of women, some men and toddlers in a courtyard at the Moonta Mines Methodist Sunday School, identified as 'Mothers' meeting. Baptismal service' 1900 - State Library of South Australia - PRG 1185/7/46
George Street at Moonta (looking West) 1904 - State Library of South Australia - B 33811
School at Moonta 1927 - State Library of South Australia - B 33885
A rumour has been prevalent in town for two or three days past, to the effect that a magnificent discovery of copper, rivalling the Moonta in richness, had been made on a claim of Capt. Hughes's, at the Tipara Springs, but on enquiring of every one likely to be informed on the subject, we cannot learn that there is any foundation for the report, although the Tipara Springs is thought to be a very likely spot for a good mine.
TOWNS, PEOPLE, AND THINGS WE OUGHT TO KNOW
UNIQUE RECORD OF THE MOONTA MINE Epic Race For A Great Fortune
Why was the Moonta Mine unique amongst its kind? Because it was so rich that it never required a penny of capital to be put into it. It paid its way from the start. The history of this bonanza is one of the most remark- able on record—right from the first day, when Will Horn made his epic dash to Adelaide to lodge the claim, until when, sixty odd years later, operations were suspended.
See Naples and die. See Moonta and live!
I suppose Moonta is one of the bestknown country towns in the world. The mines put it on the map. Oswald Pryor has done the same thing for the mines.
One doesn't have to be a Cousin Jack to appreciate the humor of Pryor. He can draw. He has vision and imagination— especially imagination. He draws imaginary goats— the four-footed variety. He draws imaginary citizens with billy-goat beards and aldermanic corporations, squat bowler hats with bits of candle stuck in by way of decoration, poppet heads, and slag dumps, and mine cap'ns. He presents us with a little bit of Cornwall stuck in this far-away corner of the earth.
The explanation, of course, is that Pryor depicts Moonta as it was. I saw Moonta as it is.
You see. I had not been in Moonta before. I had never travelled. All I had to go on was Pryor's delineation of the town. I don't believe that today you could find a billy-goat in the place if you hunted through it with a microscope. There were plenty of alder manic corporations. But bowler hats were at a discount; in fact, they were a novelty. I think I sported the only headgear of the kind in Moonta, and a local wag was so moved by it that he hailed me as —
I have not got over the shock yet. Nor have I decided whether I ought to feel hurt or complimented at being mistaken for the Premier. Moonta isn't a bit like you imagined it. I am writing, of course, for those ignoramuses who, like myself, have been tardy in making the acquaintance of the "world's metropolis." It is, in fact, quite a good-looking town. It has a big town hall with a tower and a clock. It has a main thoroughfare as wide as King William street, and tarpaved. It has handsome public buildings and commodious shops. It has electric light. And it has real Cornish pasties— not the shrivelled-up monstrosities which masquerade under the name in city shops, but dinkum, mansized mysteries of the sort that "maw-ther" used to make.
The Mayor is Mr. R. C. Kitto. He was absent in the city when I called, but I found a good deputy in the Town Clerk (Mr. T. P. Couch). After I left him I felt I had more than a nodding acquaintance with this amazing little corner of the world. I say "amazing" advisedly, for as I gazed eastward from my hotel over the abandoned dumps and ruins of buildings which were once the celebrated Moonta mines, I could not help recalling the remarkable fact that this mine had been such a wealthproducer that it never needed a penny of capital for its development. Let me tell you the story of the Moonta mine. I promise you it is a fascinating chapter in the history of your State. Moonta Mines Whether you are In Kadina, Wallaroo, or Moonta you are supposed to talk mines. That is not, of course, as true today as it was when the great copper shafts were in full blast. But the residents have been brought up so much on this kind of fare that even now the mines that were are a favorite topic.
The 'Three Towns" are still deeply interested in the whys and the where fors of the disaster which overwhelmed them when the great industry gave up the ghost, and there are many who still hope that some day something of the old glory will come back to them. Unfortunately, my enquiries do not encourage me to share their optimism.
Yet I suppose the story of the Moonta Mines is without precedent. Just imagine, not a single penny of capital was ever subscribed to work Moonta. The mine paid its way from the very beginning. It is a mine of that description which South Australia needs today to extricate her from her difficulties.
But if Moonta was a bonanza, Wallaroo in its early stages was not. Captain Hughes had a very dickens of a time trying to raise the capital to get the Wallaroo mine going. It was only after a long and bitter struggle that he rounded the corner. But when he did a long road of prosperity stretched before him— and it seemed to have no end.
Here is something of which South Australians may be proud. The Moonta mine was the first to Australia to pay £1,000,000 in dividends. Even the famous Ballarat gold mines, which had a long start of Moonta, could not claim that honor. Altogether copper valued at £20,000,000 came out of this field, and altogether over £2,600,000 was distributed in dividends. When you have absorbed those figures— and their real significance— you will understand why I referred to the closing of the mines as a disaster to the State. The Moonta and Wallaroo companies amalgamated in 1889. They held their claims under a 99-year lease from the Government. This lease, which embraces an area of 3,187 acres, still has about 47 years to run. For the right to mine the company paid a rental of 1/ per acre annually, and a royalty of 21 per cent, on the declared profits. So, you see, the State benefited directly, as well as indirectly, from the big venture.
It is not generally known that the late Sir J. J. Duncan was associated with the Wallaroo mines from their inception to his death. It was he who, as a boy, was sent to carry the news of their discovery to the outside world —in that case Adelaide. It was he also who took back in his dray the first miners to work the discovery. Eventually he became a director.
In the early days of its existence the Walaroo company was a private concern, and did not publish its records. But during that period it returned its owners some £500,000 in profits.
Race For A Fortune
Moonta was discovered a few months after Wallaroo. The shepherd who found the copper was named Ryan. Ryan street today commemorates his memory. The circumstance is chiefly interesting here because of the historic race between the late W. A. Horn and Thomas Day to get to Adelaide first to lodge a claim to the mineral rights. This was in 1861.
At the time W. A. Horn was staying on the station of Captain Hughes for the purpose of gaining experience in sheep farming. Close by lived the Days. One morning when Horn was out riding about ten miles from the homestead breaking in a grey mare, which was inclined to bolt, he was surprised by the arrival at a hard gallop of a messenger from Captain Hughes, bringing a note— "Dear Will. Come back to Wallaroo as fast as you can."
For once Horn was thankful for the bolting propensities of the mare. He turned her head for home, and let her bolt. As soon as Horn was within hearing distance, Captain Hughes called out—
"Copper has been found at Moonta. The Days have heard of it, and left for Adelaide last night to register the claim."
The case looked fairly hopeless. The rival family had a start of 17 hours on a journey of less than 120 miles, but over rough country. If they got to town first and were granted the mineral rights, the mine would be theirs. "Do you think you could beat them?" asked the captain anxiously. "I'll try," Horn volunteered, "if you can fix up for horses."
"You can beg, buy, borrow, or steal any horses you come across," retorted Hughes, "as long as you beat them to Adelaide."
Home selected the fastest horses in the stable, and, with a companion, set out on one of the most epic rides in the history of South Australia.
He rode hard until the horses were on the point of knocking up. Then he came across a farmer who was watering two likely-looking animals
"Will you sell those horses?" panted Horn.
''Yes— at a price," said the farmer: "£40 each."
The price was absurd. But Horn had no time to haggle. He counted out the £80 and threw in his own animals as well.
Then he set off again. Night fell, but still the "thud," "thud" of hoofs on the soft turf woke the silence of the bush. A cold, drizzly rain began to fall. Horn's companion commenced to show signs of distress. Horn's own anxiety was increased on hearing that the Days were well ahead, and were taking a shorter track. Horn decided to go by the longer route, so as to avoid them.
At three o'clock on a pitch dark, raining morning they reached Red Banks Station, and got the manager out of bed. They asked for horses.
"You can take whatever horses you can catch," said the manager, and he went back to bed.
Searching for horses on a big station on a dark night, with the rain falling, and the knowledge that your rivals might be eating up the miles between them and their destination, and so render your mission fruitless, was something of an ordeal. After a good deal of trouble they got some animals into the stockyard.
Then further trouble arose. Horn's companion declared he could go no further. Horn himself was wet through, sore, hungry, and sleepy. He decided to leave his mate behind, and to push on. But he couid not fight Nature. He went to sleep on his horse. He had covered many miles in this fashion when he returned to consciousness— to find himself back at Red Banks. Feeling the relaxed control, the horse had returned home.
Horn set out again, wretched and exhausted, but still intent on beating the Days, though now not very hopeful. His mind began to wander. He saw visions in the bush; obstacles, which did not exist, in the track. He found himself muttering incoherently. He tried to rectify these conditions, but could not.
His horse carried him as far as the North Adelaide Bridge. There it collapsed. He did the journey into town on foot.
With the aid of a city friend he got to the Lands Office. He was in time, and secured the right.
As might have been expected, the ciaim of Captain Hughes to these properties was promptly challenged. Charges and counter-charges were hurled at each other by the interested parties. Some of them were not too nice. All Adelaide took sides. Such a noise did the trouble make that Parliament appointed a select committee to investigate the whole business.
This committee awarded the disputed leases to a man named Mills, on the ground that he was the only man who could prove that he was authorised to apply for the leases by the actual discoverer (the shepherd Ryan). Parliament, however, did not adopt the report.
There was later an historic legal fight. I do not propose to take you through the long story of litigation which preceded the acquisition of the mine by the Hughes claimants. If you are sufficiently interested to wade through the mass of charges and counter-charges, accusations of fraud, and other unedifying allegations which at times almost degenerated into a competition of villification, you can read the account for yourself in a book at the Public Library titled "Tipara Mineral Claims: Addresses By Counsel." You will find it an enlightening volume. The main point to be mentioned here is that the Hughes group eventually got control of the property.
Claims In The Sea
These Moonta mines, originally called Tipara, turned out to be the richest copper fields in Australia. The stories told of their fabulous wealth set Adelaide mad with excitement. The Lands Office was besieged by persons anxious to lodge claims in the vicinity. Most of these people had never been near the peninsula. They did not know where the mines were. But that did not deter them from lodging a plan, and paying £5 deposit on each claim. It was a pure gamble— a hope that they might accidentally "hit" on a block which would bring them a fortune.
How How wild these speculations were will be realised from the fact that when the officials had completed mapping out the claims on the plans, it was found that some of the "blocks" applied for were located miles out at sea!
No story of the mines would be complete without a brief reference to the man who developed them — first Moonta and then Wallaroo. This was Captain H. R. Hancock. He died in 1919 There are many who remember the tall, white-haired and white-bearded old man. But there are few who recollect the active young fellow of 28 who, strutting down King William street one day in the early 60's, bent on getting back to England as soon as he could, ran into Mr. Thomas Elder —he had no title then — and was persuaded to try his luck at Moonta. It was this chance meeting which began "th' cap'n's" long association with the mines, a connection which ceased with his resignation in 1898 after 34 years' service. He was known in the 'Three Towns" as "the man who made the Moonta mines." That phrase shows the esteem in which 'th' cap'n" was held.
Captain Hancock came from the copper districts of Devonshire, close to the borders of Cornwall. At 18 years of age he was engaged as assayer at the Wheal Ellen mine, near Callington. It was ten years later, when he had finished his work there, that he had the chance meeting with Sir Thomas Elder.
One of the earliest difficulties which faced him was to get miners. Mining is like everything else— there's a knack in it. When you come to look into things generally there always is a knack. If it's only mending a leak in a tin kettle you've got to know how to do it if you want to make a job of it. That is why I never turn my nose at an experienced workman. I know that, in the matter of his job, he knows more than I do, and to that extent he is my superior. That applies to menial as well as technical work. It is not a man's calling which counts— but the way he does his job.
So "Cap'n" Hancock set out to get miners — not just men capable of digging a hole in the ground and burying themselves under a few tons of rock. He combed Adelaide for them, and when he could not get enough he sent an agent to the Victorian diggings. He knew he would find them there— and he did. He brought them to South Australia in a specially chartered ship, and set them to get out the 60 per cent, ore which made Moonta.
The mines closed down about eight years ago. I understand there is still plenty of good ore in them, but it is too deep down for profitable working. The abandonment by the miners of the sliding scale scheme of wages, under which they were paid in accordance with the fluctuating price of copper, which acted for years as one of the fairest methods of payment ever devised, was another factor an bringing them to a standstill. The miners threw up the scheme in favor of Arbitration Court awards.
I do not want to enter into a discussion of the rights or wrongs of the arbitration system as applied to wages. But I cannot help asking myself whether the workers are not paying too dearly for the privilege of allowing people who know nothing about industry to have most of the say. I also ask myself whether, in regard to our few remaining Australian gold mines, it would not be wiser to apply to them a similar system of payment to that which proved so satisfactory at Moonta for many years?
But perhaps I am old-fashioned and unprogressive. You see, I still believe you can't sell an article for less than it costs to produce without landing yourself in the Bankruptcy Court. And when you do that sort of thing on a wholesale scale, as a nation, you are extremely liable to find the task of balancing the national Budget as easy as an attempt to cross the gulf, Blondin fashion, on a length ot cotton thread.
The native name of Moonta was Moonta-Moonterra. It meant 'im-penetrable scrub land." As you look about the country today you are surprised by the absence of trees. The land is comparatively bare of them. In these circumstances you could be pardoned if you imagined that for once black brother had gone wrong in his instinct for descriptive nomenclature. But you would be mistaken.
Years after South Australia was settled the whole of Yorke Peninsula was a mass of tangled scrub. That is why it remained so long unsettled and unallotted. It was just what the blacks called it — impenetrable scrub. I will not go further into the subject here, because the story of the development of the Peninsula belongs to another article. I merely mention it briefly to explain the origin of the name of Moonta.
I wonder if there is a jetty or a pier in South Australia which ought not to be somewhere else? I have never yet visited a seaport in the State without being solemnly assured that there was a better site a mile or two further down. I came up against the same old growl at Moonta, with this difference— that Moonta got its second jetty. Now you can take your choice as to which port you prefer— Moonta Bay, a mile or so west of Moonta or Port Hughes, two miles further south. I think it was Premier Verran who built the Port Hughes pier, which has a depth of 30 ft. 6 in. at low tide. 'The jetty should have been put there originally," I was told.
Probably it should. What I wanted to know was why the taxpayers should have been called on to provide two jetties when one should have sufficed?
Moonta. By R. J. Hughes, Mayor.
Moonta derived its name from the native name "Moonta - Moonterra," which, in the aboriginal code, means "The land of impenetrable scrub." That it has been aptly named has been verified by the pioneer settlers of the district.
The discovery of the rich copper fields gave Moonta its birth, which, in its hey-dey, was one of the leading towns in the State. In a write-up about Moonta, one must of necessity refer incidentally to the copper industry (without encroaching unduly on other writers' reserves), upon the success of which depended its growth and prosperity. The famous Moonta mine, which was discovered in 1860, and contributed in no small way to the resources and development of the State, made Moonta historic.
Moonta can be classed as unique, for the following reasons:—Its mine produced the best copper in the world, and was the first mine in Australia to pay a million pounds in dividends; it was the first town in South Australia to have a Labour Member in Parliament, viz., the late Richard Hooper, in 1891 (and from then on has been a strong Labour centre, being in the succeeding years represented by nominees of that party); it produced three Premiers, the Hons. J. Scaddan and John Verran (since deceased), and Hon R. S. Richards (the present senior member for the district), besides other Ministers of the Crown; it was the first town in Australia to have a cementation works; it had the first School of Mines outside of Adelaide; it was the first town in the State to have its own gas works (tenders for the plant and 2,000 yards of mains in connection with which were called in August, 1873); its total population of approximately 12,000 (in the good days) were mostly Cornish or of Cornish descent; its agricultural society, formed in 1872, received the highest Government subsidy of any similar society in S.A. in 1873.
Religious and Medical Professions.
Moonta may also be classed as unique in that no less than 14 of its young men have entered the ministry, viz., Samuel Rossiter, John Pearce, Horace Faull, Thos. Allen, A. D. Bennett, A. W. Wellington, W. J. Magor, Les. Richards, Gordon Rowe, Fred Rogers, Geo. White, Stan. Harper, and Nelson Drummond; while many others enlisted for service with that great religious and social organisation, the Salvation Army, notably Colonel Jim May.
The following Moonta boys qualified for the medical profession:—Charles and Fred. Bennett, Hugh James, Cyril Bennett, and Len. Cock; while another, Graham Bennett, is in the last year of the course.
Another old Moonta boy, Mr. R. Williams, has just recently been promoted to the high position of Air-Marshal of the Air Forces of the Commonwealth.
Moonta as a Municipality.
Moonta was proclaimed a municipality in August, 1872, the first Council comprising the following gentlemen:— Mayor, Charles Drew; Councillors, W. H. Beaglehole, S. Rossiter, D. Buzza, T. Hague, -J. H. Bennett, J. Harris, J. Assheton, and L. L. Furner: with G. T. Crutchett as Town Clerk and Thos. Jones as Town Surveyor. The town was laid out on the square, its corners being on the four points of the compass—north, south, east and west. Its original area was 140 acres.
The following gentlemen have occupied the Mayoral chair:—Charles Drew, 1872-73, 1879-81; L. L. Furner, 1873-6; Samuel Rossiter, 1876-9; Edward Elphick, 1881-3; J. J. Beare, 1883-4; Thomas James, 1886-8; Henry Martin, 1888-9; John Symons, 1889-91; W. H. Wilkinson, 1891-3; James M. Symmons, 1897-9; H. W. Uffindell, 1895-7; George Emerson, 1897-9; Thos. H. Cock, 1899-1901, 1919-20; William Cowling, 1901-3, 1907-9, 1915-16; W. H. Goldsworthy, 1903-5; John Snell, 1905-7; E. Major, jun., 1909-11, 1914-15; Edward Nankivell, 1911-12; Stephen Hill, 1913-14; Robert Learmond, 1916-19; William Stocker, 1920-22; Thos. H. Hooper, 1922-24; Arthur R. Clayton, 1924-26; Leslie Bennett, 1927-30; Richard C. Kitto, 1930-33; the present Mayor being Robert J. Hughes.
Moonta has only had four Town Clerks, viz., G. T. Crutchett, 1872-82; W. J. Phillips, 1882-1912; Horace S. Bennett, 1913-19; Thomas P. Couch, the present Town Clerk, who has held the position for the past 16 ears. Mr. John Fiveash served the town as overseer from 1877 to 1911. Others to occupy that position were A. Bray, G. Bryant, and A. Jones (the present Overseer). Moonta's Jubilee In 1922 the town celebrated its jubilee, and as a result the Moonta Jubilee Hospital was, established, which has supplied a long-felt want, and has been efficiently conducted and largely availed of during the past four years. The personnel of the council at the time was:—Mayor, W. Stocker; Crs. J. Lawry, C. H. Martin, A. B. Michell, P. B. Sampson, J. H. Hosking, T. H. Hooper, H. F. Northway, and V. G. Crutchett, with T. P. Couch as Town Clerk.
The Hospital Board consists of the Mayor as chairman (ex-officio), Dr. A. R. Clayton (medical officer), C. H. Martin, L. Bennett, C. T. Chapman, R. I. Swan (treasurer), A. B. Ferguson, Hon. R. S. Richards, with T. P. Couch as secretary. Matron Tredrea, who has been in charge of the institution from the time of its inception, is relinquishing the position owing to impending marriage, and Nurse Annie Merle Trenerry, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Trenerry, of Moonta, has been appointed her successor.
Back to Moonta.
In 1927 "Back to Moonta" celebrations took place, and proved a great success, £3,000 being raised. Of this amount £2,000 were vested in a Moonta Bay Improvement Committee, for the purpose of improving Moonta Bay— Moonta's popular watering place. The committee discharged its task in a commendable manner, and it was only in 1934 that it transferred its responsibility to the Moonta Town Council. This was deemed expedient owing to the town boundaries being enlarged, as the result of the recommendations of the Local Government Areas Rearrangement Commission, made in June, 1932. Portions of North Moonta, Moonta Bay, Port Hughes, and about 11 acres of mineral lease on the eastern side of the town were embodied in the municipality, resulting in a greater Moonta. These added areas, were previously under the control of the Kadina District Council. As a result of the alteration, two more councillors were added to the Town Council, representing Moonta Bay Ward, making 10 in all. The town's total assessment on unimproved land values last year was £26,676, and the total general revenue amounted to £1,800. Revenue from electric light was £3,100. An amount of only £38 Is. 11d. was outstanding at November 30 last for rates and taxes.
Moonta's Lighting System.
A gas company (previously referred to) supplied the town with gas for many years, but went into voluntary liquidation when the Corporation's electric light system was instituted in August, 1917. This is one of the town's best assets. The original plant consisted of a suction gas plant with a 120 h.p. engine and batteries. This plant, although still retained as a standby, has been placed out of commission, and the present units operating are I50 and 106 h.p. Ruston-Hornsby engines, and a 34 h.p. Blackstone engine, all crude oil. There are some 500 consumers. Following the extension of the town's boundaries, the Corporation took over the mains serving North Moonta (owned by a private syndicate) and Moonta Bay (under the supervision of the Moonta Bay Improvement Committee). The engineer (Mr. G. Bridgman) has been associated with the power-house almost from its inception, and was appointed to his present position in November, 1921. The town is fortunate in having a man of Mr. Bridgman's ability in charge of its power plant.
Moonta's Part in the War.
Moonta and district played its part in the Great War. An honour roll, presented to the Town Council by the then Mayor (Mr. Wm. Cowling), contains the names of 247 who responded to the call of the Empire, and the imposing monument in Memorial Park, erected in 1920 by the residents, bears the names of 55 who made the supreme sacrifice. Ladies' committees did yeoman service, and the fence surrounding Memorial Park was the gift of the ladies of the town and district. A sum of £180 was vested in the Town Council by the Soldiers' Society for the maintenance of the monument, which is set in beautiful surroundings. Moonta trebled its quota in connection with one War Loan, doubled its quota in another, and raised its quota for the Diggers' Loan, which were duly recognised by the Commonwealth Government by way of a tablet, honour flag, and certificate. There is a Moonta Sub-branch of the R.S. & S.I.L., with Mr. L. P. Johncock as president and Mr. E. White as secretary. They have their own hall, situate in Ryan Street.
Moonta's Agricultural District.
When the Wallaroo and Moonta Company went into liquidation in 1923, it was a great blow to Moonta, as well as to the other two centres of its activities, viz., Kadina and Wallaroo. Since then Moonta has had to rely chiefly on the agricultural industry, since it had but few secondary industries. For. the season just closed approximately 181,500 bags of wheat and 80,000 bags of barley were delivered at the local yards. The district has not known a failure since the introduction of superphosphates. In the drought of 1914 the district proved the salvation of northern farmers. A large proportion of the mineral leases have been surveyed and cut into blocks, and these are occupied today by men who have started dairying and poultry farming. Unfortunately, the prices of eggs, butter, cream, etc., have been comparatively low during the past twelve months, and the families in possession of the bloqks have experienced difficulty in making a living.
Moonta Bay's Fishing Industry.
Moonta Bay has one of the largest fishing fleets in the State. The following figures will give some idea of its importance. For the year ended June 30, 1934, 2,622 baskets of fish were despatched from the Moonta Railway Station to Melbourne, the freight on which amounted to £1,728 8s. 10d. In addition to this, 250 tons were sent to Adelaide, the freight on which amounted to £875; making a total of £2,613. Some years ago a boat harbour was promised for Moonta Bay, in order to protect the fleet from storms, but was not forthcoming. There is need for one today, and in view of the great amount of revenue derived from the local fishing industry, one would reasonably expect greater consideration in this matter. Storms have wrought considerable damage to the boats from time to time. The storm of last August demolished some of the improvements at the Bay, and lifted the shore end of the jetty (for a length of seven chains) from its base from 8 to 10 feet. The jetty is a condemned structure, but it is essential to the fishing industry as well as to the Bay as Moonta's watering place. A grant of £100 was made by the Unemployment Relief Council and Harbours Board for the work of placing the jetty back into alignment and repairing same, which was successfully carried out under the supervision of the town's electrical engineer (Mr. Bridgman). The latest project for Moonta Bay is a shark-proof swimming pool, and steps are already being taken to that end.
In the early days of Moonta vested interests won the day for a jetty at Moonta Bay, a counterpetition for one at Port Hughes (the most suitable place of the two) being turned down. During the Hon. John Verran's term as Premier a jetty was put down at Port Hughes, and it only requires extending another berth, and the provision of certain minor facilities, to make it suitable for overseas shipping. Had the jetty been placed there in the early days, Port Hughes would undoubtedly have been a busy shipping port. It may yet come into its own. The Adelaide Steamship Coy.'s m.v. "Moonta" calls at the port every Wednesday, bringing with it goods and passengers. The company paid the town a compliment by naming its miniature liner after it, and the boat has been well named and is living up to the traditions of the old town.
Moonta is noted for its parks, the area of which is 140 acres. In this regard the town and district is greatly indebted to the tree-planting committees of years ago, who passed down a great heritage. In 1887 the original tree-planting committee was Messrs. H. R. Hancock, T. James (M.D.), H. W. Uffindell, J. W. Hughes, John Symons, David Archibald, Wm. Cowling, John Clark; G. W. F. Marshall, P. Shiels, and John Fiveash. Others who came in afterwards were Messrs. S. R. Page, Jas. Symons, H. L. Hancock, R. Haining, F. J. Gillen, T. S. Archibald, S. Lathern, T. H. Cock,. and H. Keightly. Queen's Square is situated in the centre of the town. All goats (for which Moonta was noted in the early days) impounded were destroyed, and it is said that at least one goat was buried in this , square for every tree planted. Victoria Park, with an area of 40 acres, is one of the best of its kind outside of Adelaide. , Prior to being planted it was a sand hill, and drifting sand therefrom was a menace to the town. There are other parks, chief of which is Memorial Park, which contains bowling-greens, croquet lawns, shrubbery and gardens; also the Soldiers' Memorial previously referred to. The Hon. R. S. Richards, with the cooperation of Mr. Chris. Nankivell and the Town Council, established what is known as Railway Park, which is making great progress; while Mayor Kitto, during his term, was instrumental in having a park established on Blyth Terrace, which is also doing well. Mineral lands situate between Moonta and North Moonta are about to be dedicated to the town, and portions of these will doubtless be planted. Should that eventuate, Moonta will be surrounded by parks.
At a public meeting, held in the Prince of Wales Assembly Room on April 29, 1864, it was unanimously resolved that a literary institute should be established at Moonta. Officers and committee were elected as follows:—Patron, Sir Dominic Daly; president, John Meridith, M.D.; vicepresident, D. W. Melvin; treasurer, G. F. Wyatt; secretaries, John Polglaise and W. J. Dickenson; committee, Messrs. Melvin, Birks, Furner, Beer, Jackson, Maddern, Kitto, Knowles, Ellis, Odgers, Trezise, and Roach. The erection of the building was at once put in hand, and on October 17, 1864, the first institute building (situate near the intersection of Ryan and Gardiner Streets) was opened. In March, 1865, the committee was instructed, to sell the land and building with a view to securing a better site for the institute. Part Lot No. 138, George Street was purchased, and it was decided to erect a building in accordance with plans drawn by Mr. Beattie, as a cost not to exceed £150. In September the new building was opened. On February 27, 1867, there was an amalgamation with the Moonta Mines Institute, but some five months later the institute was closed owing to the involved state of the finances. On June 17, 1869, a public meeting decided that the building should be sold with a view to building a larger one. Subsequently Messrs. Drew Bros' offer of £189 for the property was accepted. On May 27, 1869, Mr. Rossiter's tender of £439 for the erection of the new building (now the Friendly Societies' Hall) was accepted. In July the foundation-stone was laid by Mr. D. Bower, who had presented the land, and on April 29, 1870, the new building was completed and handed over. In April, 1883, a movement was started for a new and larger building, and in January, 1884, the subscribers empowered the committee to sell the old building and proceed with the new. The property was sold in December of the same year for £500, and Messrs. Pollard & Cowling's tender for the new structure was accepted;. On March 25, 1885, Mrs. J. R. Corpe (wife of the president) laid the foundation-stone, and on September 11 the building was opened by the Governor, Sir W. C. F. Robinson. The cost of the building was £3,500. A bazaar held in connection with the opening resulted in a profit of £589 8s: 9d. In 1926 the matter of providing increased accommodation in the hall was considered, and the committee's proposal to install a dress circle to seat about 250 was approved by the members. In July of the following year the tender of R. C. Hawke, of Kadina, at £2,250, was accepted. The additions practically meant the reconstruction of the front portion of the building and the erection of two new rooms abutting Henry Street. A new fibrous ceiling was also fixed in the hall, and the whole of the building was thoroughly renovated. The alterations and improvements involved an expenditure of £3,000. The new circle was officially opened by the president (Mr. A. W. Frick) on June 11, 1928. The library contains some 7,000 volumes, and there are members' and public reading rooms. The present committee are:—President, Mr. C. H. Martin; vice-president, Mr. E. F. James; treasurer, Mr. J. T. Hicks; committeemen, Messrs. J. London, J. H. Ferry, W. J. Edwards, T. P. Couch, L. B. Spicer, J. H. K. Phillips, R. I. Swan, and W. J. Verran; secretary, Mr. W. J. D. Phillips, who has held that position for the past 26 years.
The proprietors of National Talkies screen a programme in this hall twice a week.
Some shears ago an institute was established at Moonta Mines, towards the support of which a small weekly levy was made on the employees of the mining company, by mutual arrangement. The institute is still functioning, although on a comparatively small scale.
The Moonta A. H. and F. Society was formed in 1872, and held its first show on October 23 of that year. This was opened by the then Governor, Sir James Ferguson. The officers were:— President, H. R. Hancock; vice-president, L. L. Furnfer; secretary, W. J. Phillips; committee, W. S. Olifent, Jas. Bentley, Dr. Herbert, Capt. J. Warren, John Butson, J. Beer, Fuss, Orsmond, Trewenack, C. , Moody, E. Beythein, and others. The society has since continued to function, and today is an incorporated body. Its present president is Mr. C. H. Martin; and secretary, Mr. Leslie Bennett. For years it held its Shows on grounds midway between the town and Mines, but some few years ago removed to the Moonta Recreation Grounds, of which they secured a lease.
For years Moonta was a prosperous town. It, however, experienced the vicissitudes incidental to mining centres. Its banking, institutions, post office, etc., were amongst the most flourishing in the State. The two public schools, viz., Moonta Mines and Moonta, were also the largest attended in the State outside the metropolitan area. The peak attendance at the Mines school must have approximated to 900. In the year 1893 there was a roll number of 793. Today the attendance is about 170. Dr. Torr was head teacher of the Mines school in 1878, and I have heard it said he used to round up on horseback scholars inclined to "minchy" or play truant. As regards the Moonta school, records show that in 1882 there were 585 scholars on the roll. Education was not then free, and the amount raised that year by means of fees amounted to £209 18s. Seven years later the amount totalled £274 19s. The following were members of the Board of Advice:—Thos. James, M.D., chairman; Henry Hancock, James R. Corpe, Samuel Rossiter, Thomas Cowling, John J. Beare, Geo. F. Wyatt. Today the school has 310 on the roll. The two present head teachers are Messrs. R. E. T. Edwards (Moonta) and J. S. Lord (Moonta Mines).
The Moonta Cemetery is, without doubt, one of the best kept in the State. The first meeting of trustees was held on May 3, 1866, when there were present Messrs. C. Drew (chairman), S. Furner, Thos. Stephens, N. Thomas, and Geo. Crutchett (curator). At a subsequent meeting Mr. Geo. F. Wyatt (treasurer) was also present, and Jas. Lander succeeded Geo. T. Crutchett as curator. Records show that from 1866 to the present time the burials total 6,800. In the year 1873 there were 327 burials, mostly children. In August, 1931, the then existing trust, viz., Messrs. John Symons, T. H. Cock, H. Lipson Hancock, A. W. Wearing, C. E. Harvey, O. Pryor, and Chas. Thomas, transferred the cemetery to the Moonta Corporation.
The Moonta School of Mines was established about the year 1891, in what was then known as the Moonta Baptist Church buildings, which were subsequently' enlarged to provide the necessary accommodation. Members of the school council in 1902 were:— President, Dr. T. James; Messrs. H. R. Hancock, S. Lathern, R. Cowling, John Symons, H. W. Uffindell, R. Hainiifg (treasurer), and J. W. Hughes (secretary). Mr. Haining succeeded Mr. G. W. F. Marshall on the council. The school, was well equipped, and such subjects as chemistry, physics, mathematics, drawing, mineralogy, machine design, mechanical drawing, mine surveying and levelling, metallurgy and assaying, steam and the steam engine, sheet metal work and plumbing were included in the curriculum, and there was a capable staff of instructors. In order to enable students residing at Wallaroo and Kadina to join the classes, conveyances were requisitioned, and about 50 students were brought over weekly. Subsequently centres were established at those towns. The 1 school continued its good work for years, and the training received enabled many students to occupy important and lucrative positions. The school ceased its activities with the advent of what is known today as the Technical School. Moonta has also its District High School, with Mr. L. P. Johncock as head master. The establishment of the Yorke Peninsula Aboriginal Mission, in 1867, was brought about by interest manifested by prominent residents of Moonta, Kadina and Wallaroo. Some of the founders were H. R. Hancock, R. Burden, Rev. J. B. Stephenson, Malachi Deeble, J. R. Corpe. In 1915 a brief record of the history of the Mission, compiled by Mr. T. S. Archibald, was printed. The object or purpose of the Mission was the civilization and evangelization of the aborigines on Yorke Peninsula. The Rev. W. Julius Kuhn was the first missioner.
The, old and oft-repeated phrase, "You haven't travelled if you have not been to Moonta," uttered more often than not in a spirit of satire, apparently originated from the fact of erstwhile residents, scattered far and wide throughout the Commonwealth and other parts of the world, "talking" Moonta.
For many years a tram service supplied passenger transport between East Moonta, Moonta Mines, Hamley Flat, Moonta, and Moonta Bay. About 1930 the Act in connection with this line, and also the one at Gawler, was repealed, and the local Service was discontinued. There is still need for a regular transport service for Moonta's suburbs.
In the early days cock-fighting and wrestling were popular pastimes with many. Those were days when men had to make their own fun. Today people are catered for in matter of entertainment.
Moonta was connected with the train service in 1891. Prior to that horsedrawn trams connected with the train at Wallaroo. The town and district originally had six hotels, but local option reduced them to three. Moonta has its own municipal Band (with Bert Roberts as conductor), a branch of the D.T.N.S., boy scout and girl guide movements. Just recently the scouts acquired a hall (known as W. Stocker's storeroom), where the Salvation Army conducted its first meetings. Two newspapers are published here weekly viz., "The Farmer" and "The People's Weekly." "The Y.P. Advertiser" (now "The Farmer") was first published in 1872, the proprietors then being E. H. Derrington and W. Richards. Succeeding proprietors were W. H. Wilkinson, W. J. Phillips, and H. W. Tossell. "The People's Weekly" was established by the Stratton Bros, in 1892, and the present proprietors (Hicks & Hughes) have carried it on for the past 40 years. Sowden and Skewes, I understand, also started a paper. Sir Wm. Sowden was at Moonta in the early days, and used to write for one of the papers.
Moonta and district have always been in the fore in sport. Clubs in active operation at the present time are football, cricket, tennis, golf, bowls, croquet, coursing, rifle shooting, and swimming. The golf club is extending its course to 18 holes. I am told that Dr. Torr was the first to introduce football in Moonta. The Yorke Peninsula Football Association (which comprised Moonta clubs) was the first country association in the State, its existence dating back as far as 1886. Moonta Bay" rowing crews were the champions of the State in the early days, for both four-oared and eightoared. The members of the crews were:—Four-oared: R. Sims, F. P. Johnson, X. Simms, F. J. Simms (stroke), B. Simms (cox); eight-oared: L. Simms, T. Simms, C. H. Bird, J. Roberts, F. P. Johnson, X. Simms, R. Simms, F. J. Simms (stroke), B. Simms (cox). It is somewhat of a record that six brothers were in the eightoared crew.
In common with most other towns in the State, Moonta and district have their unemployed. It is a sorry day for any State or Commonwealth when so many are deprived the opportunity of maintaining their status and independence in society. We can only hope that the near future will usher in more prosperous times. The estimated present population of the town and district is approximately 4,000.
THE PENINSULA MINING TOWNS. No. II. THE MOONTA MINE.
Accidentally discovered by a shepherd in the year 1861, the history of this great cop-per mine is probably unique in the annals of mining— unique, inasmuch as it paid considerably over a million sterling in dividends without calling upon the shareholders to subscribe a shilling as working capital, and as having the proud distinction of being the first mine in Australasia to pay dividends aggregating p.1,000,000 although operations on the rich gold reef of Victoria had been in full swing for years prior to its discovery. The show of ore on the surfare of even the richest Moonta lode was but slight, and on some of the most productive there was no sign of copper on the surface whatever. In many places, however, two or three of the lodes gave rich deposits of green and grey ore at a depth of less than 20 feet. In the yard at the back of the mine offices may now be seen a pile of ore containing about 100 tons that was recently found within about 10 feet of the surface. Some of the rocks of ore in the pile would each probably turn the scale at from a quarter to half a ton, and are very rich, being a mixture of grey sulphuret, green carbonate, aud red oxide, and the whole pile as taken from the ground will probably assay 50 per cent, of pure copper. As a rule, the ground immediately under these, what may be termed surface deposits, is unpro-ductive, but on attaining a depth of about 60 feet black oxide, associated with grey sulphuret, make their appearance, with sometimes masses of native copper. Somewhere about double, the last-mentioned depth copper pyrites is struck, and this class of ore continues to an indefinite depth either as chalcopyrite or bornite, the for-mer of which may contain as much as over 30 per cent., and the latter 50 per cent, of copper. This in the predominating ore, the former especially, which is now produced nt the Moonta. although, of course, not much of it is of the high percentage quoted. There are five main lodes in the Moonta, each of which is a mine in itself— Elder's, Beddomc's, Hogg's, Green's, and Fergus-son's, and from all of these minor lodes branch out. Taylor's Shaft, on Elder's lode, has now attained a depth of 2,340 ft. The lode at this point is about 20 ft. wide, carrying yellow ore chiefly, with occasional patches of purple, but at this depth it cannot by any means be called a rich lode, as much of the veinstone as broken would not contain more than 3 per cent, of cop-per, and were it not for the magnitude and efficiency of the machinery employed in dealing with it, which will be described later on, it could only be extracted at a loss. One would naturally suppose that at this great depth the miner would find it insufferably hot, but this is not the case, as by an elaborate system of ventilation by means of doors quite a pleasant temperature is created by cool currents of air circulating at even the deepest point. On, Hogg's lode sinking is now proceeding below the 1,440-ft. level. Both this lode and Elder's have produced enormous quantities of ore in the past, and are the chief sources of supply to the present day. Green's lode has been explored and opened up to a depth of about 1,400 ft., but of late it has fallen off considerably in productiveness. Bed-dome's lode to a depth of about 800 ft. was unusually productive, but below that level it began to get poorer as depth was attained. The deepest point reached on this lode is 1,000 ft. Large quantities of black oxide of copper was discovered between the 60 and 120 ft- levels on Beddome's lode, the bulk of which assayed fully 40 per cent., while many picked samples would go as high as 70. Fergusson's lode was also very rich from near the surface to the 600-ft. level, particularly in rich grey sulphurets at the upper levels. This lode has been sunk on to a depth of 1,500 ft., at which point it produces yellow ore, but not in large quantities. Nearly the whole of the ore now being broken in the Moonta require dressing before it in ready for the smelters, and the concentrating plants for this purpose are of the most efficient character, consisting of stone crusher, Cornish rolls, and Hancock's jigs, and attached to each plant are over 20 buddles for treating slimes. Each of these jigs easily treat 1,000 tons of crude ore a week, and, if necessary, could deal effectively with 90 per cent more. About 70 tons of marketable ore is recovered monthly from the slimes. The ore receives very little handling from the time it is broken 2,000 it. underground until it leaves the jigs ready for the smelter, as much of the machinery works automatically. From the deepest point in the mine, 2,340 ft., 150 tons of stuff is hauled to the surface in eight hours, the skips, which hold one and a half tons of ore, travelling at the rate of 1,500 ft per minute. In the Moonta a large number of percussion rock-drills driven by compressed air are em-ployed to advantage in the sinking of shafts, construction of rises, and driving of levels. These drills are manufactured in the mine's workshops from the Messrs. Hancocks' patent. Many diamond-drills are also constantly employed in prospecting. As showing the magnitude of development work it may be mentioned that the shafts and drives alone world extend to a length of fully 50 miles, and in all the underground excavations were taken into consideration the aggregate would be equal to a full-sized tunnel extending from Moonta to Adelaide. In the neighbourhood of the concentrat- ing plants are heaps, one can truly say mountains, of tailings, known colloquially as 'skimpings,' containing about 1/2 per cent. of copper to the ton. The copper ore in these tailings after being stacked a num-ber of years become somewhat decomposed.. A stream of water pumped up through a pipe to the top of one ol these heaps percolates through it, and reappears at the bottom as a green-coloured liquid. This green water is then diverted into wooden tanks, which contain old scrapiron of every description, such as wornout kibbles, kerosene tins, broken bits of machinery, iron shavings from the foundry. &c. The copper held in solution in this green water precipitates itself into the scrap iron, which it completely absorbs, and then assumes the appearance of a red clayey substance containing something like 70 per cent, of pure copper. Such is the method adopted at the Moonta for recovering the valu-able contents of these huge heaps of tailings. An extract from the Anaconda (Mon-tana) 'Recorder' shows that a similar process is not unknown in the United States: —'One of the most interesting sights in the great mining town of Butte is the process by which copper is caught from the emerald coloured water that flows from the Anaconda Mine. It is estimated that this water, which for four or five years went to waste, is now bringing the Anacon-da Company £6,000 a month, at a cost of about £200 a month. It is only within the present year that the Company undertook to handle this water. Heretofore it was worked under lease. An old German, named Mueller, was tho first man to save copper from the water. During the last three years Thomas Ledford had a lease of the water. He paid A 25 per cent. royalty to the Company. It is claimed that he realized at least £20.000 a year from the water. Ledford is a pretty rich man today. Now that the Company is operating the waters on its own account, it has discovered what a great money-making enter-prise it is. At the present time several acres of ground are covered with wooden vats. These are filled with all the old scrap iron they can hold. It has proved a splendid scheme for disposing of the tons and tons of old iron the Company has ac-cumulated for years. But to return to the Moonta. Not the least interesting sight to the visitor in the well-appointed workshops. Here may be seen planing machines, steam hammers. powerful lathes capable of turning and boring sheave pulleys 12 ft. in diameter, hydraulic riveting and milling machinery, and numberless other great and small labour saving appliances of the most modern type. In these workshops nearly the whole of the new machinery required for both mines and smelting works is manufactured and practically all the repairing work for the Moonta executed. Locomotives and rock-drills are made, shafts 12 in. in diameter forced, and cranks weighing a boa each an turned out. The yearly output of castings is fully 300 tons. The saving in time and money, by being able to speedily rectify on the spot the most untoward mishap was exemplified some little time ago, when a serious breakage happened to some most important machinery. If this breakage could not bare been dealt with on the mine it would bare involved an expenditure of £800. As it was, new parts were made and fitted, and everything again in working order in fourteen days from the date of the smash. The contrast in value between the copper ore won in the Moonta auring the fine ten years of its existence and the ore extracted today is something remarkable. In the early days a whole cargo shipped to England averaged 60 per cent, of copper. This cargo was put on board in the same state as when broken underground at Young's and MacDonnelTc Shafts. With cupper at £80 a ton— by no means a high price in those days— this ore probably realized, less returning charges, £48 a ton, which would be equal in value to quartz carrying 12 oz. of gold. What do we find now? We find thousands of tons of ore extracted yearly from the Moonta which as broken will not average more than 3 per cent., and which is a perfectly valueless commodity until it is put through the most elaborate dressing machinery- The marvel of it is that the extraction of such miserably poor stuff should leave any profit whatever, and it is more a marvel when we consider that this ore in broken at a great depth in. extremely hard ground, which entails much labour and requires the most powerful explosives. The veinstone being so poor, it necessitates an ever-increasing quantify to keep up the output of copper. The quartiry of high-percentage ore to be leen on the floors of the Moonta Mine today is certainly small when compared with the quantity that was usually seen on them, ^y twenty yean ago. But, even, if no new ?. 'scovenes are made, there are many years o.' profitable work before the old mine yet. That there is a probability of further discoveries is proved by the rich *?M made two or three months ago only about 10 ft. from the surface. Hundreds of men bad probably walked over the spot every day for the last thirty years, yet not one dreamt of such a rich patch lying at their feet. The Moonta property is a large area of ground, and no one knows ite richness. Probably many such rich deposits as the one described at the beginning of this article only await the miner's pick to be turned into gold, and- there is a possibility that development work may discover entirely new lodes as prolific in rich ore as were the old lodes in the past ' From its discovery to the date of its amalgamation with the Wallaroo, the Moonta Mine produced 513,127 tons of ore, which realized £5,113,252, out of which £1.168,000 was paid in dividends to the lucky shareholders. These figures show that the enormous sum of £3,945,252 was disbursed in wages and in the purchase of mining materials, nearly the whole of which was put into circulation in the colony. These huge figures are sufficient proof of the benefit South Australia has derived from the accidental discovery of the Moonta Mine.
GA2610 - State Records of South Australia
Moonta School Date Range:1878 - 1978 Inventory of Series Description
The Council of Education constructed a new school building in the town of Moonta in 1876 (1), however, a school had been operating within a room rented from the Bible Christian Church, taught by Mr. E.M. Pearce prior to the construction. (2)
In May of 1876 the head teacher, E.M. Pearce advised the Council of Education that the children had been sent home from school due to an outbreak of scarlatina in the town. (3) In September, the teacher also reported that the evening school which had been conducted for three months was closed due to a drop in attendance. (4)
The Moonta School was used for a short time in 1877, but was not formally opened (5) until 4 February 1878, when it was opened by Hon. Neville Blyth, the Minister of Education. (6) An infant school was also operating from the site from 1880.
In 1911 the Local Board of Health reported that the Moonta School premises required thorough cleansing and renovation, including installation of a septic tank, due to an outbreak of diptheria in the town. (7)
Secondary schooling was provided at Moonta from 1907 operating from a classroom at the Public School, initially recorded as a continuing class, and from 1912, recorded as Moonta District High School. (8)
In 1912, extensive alterations to the school buildings were undertaken, as recorded in the local paper at the time, which were reopened by the Chief Secretary, Mr. J.G. Bice on October 11. (9)
In 1944 a High School 'Preparatory' Class was established at the High School, effectively moving the enrolment of Year 7 students to the High School to assist in boosting the enrolment numbers. This arrangement was abandoned at the commencement of the school year in 1964 with the enrolment of Year 7 students reverting to the Primary School. (10)
In April 1978, the school celebrated its centenary and the Minister of Education, Dr. Hopgood performed the official opening of the festivities. A history of the school was published at that time. (11)
In 1978 Moonta Primary School and the Moonta High School were disestablished and Moonta Area School established in their place. (12)
Microfiche copies of the Admission Registers from this school are available for viewing in the Research Centre. As at 13/08/2015 no original records from the school have been transferred to archival custody.
(1) Report of the Council of Education, South Australian parliamentary papers, paper 34 of 1877
(2) GRG50/3 File 1746/1876
(3) GRG50/3 File 901/1876
(4) GRG50/3 File 1691/1876
(5) Report of the Council of Education, South Australian parliamentary papers, paper 40 of 1878
(6) http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au, accessed 07/08/2015
(7) GRG18/1 File 82/1911
(8) Moonta School Admission Registers, microfiche copy, Research Centre Collection
(9) http://trove.nla.gov.au, accessed 07/08/2015
(10) GRS 809/1 File 277/1/3
(11) GRG18/170 South Australian Education Gazette, 1978
(12) http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au, accessed 07/08/2015