Once upon a time, a long time ago, my father-in-law took me (back in the courting days), along with a few others, down one of the mine tunnels on his property in the Adelaide Hills.

Then came a long story: back in the 1970’s he’d been out one day and found this long-haired bushy bearded chap wandering around in one of his paddocks. After a bit of “what the heck are you doing”, this guy turned out to be from the SA Dept. of Mines. He was investigating the old mine workings in the area, and was particularly interested in the Scott’s Creek Silver Rush.

So the father-in-law brought him back to the house, fed him lunch, showed him around, gave the guy the OK to dig out some of the old mine entrances and investigate. Which he did.

Later, he wrote a huge report and out of gratitude he gave a copy to my father-in-law. This was over 30 years ago, and the copy of the report is still kept by the family.

It was made on one of those old 1970’s wet process photocopiers, the pages are now getting speckled and starting to fade.

No doubt there are other copies buried somewhere in the archives of some successor govt department.

But in the interests of local history, the Dump family have just finished scanning and digitising all 120-odd pages. It’s all been through an OCR process so that the text is completely recovered, minor typos have been corrected, but it is otherwise generally presented and formatted in all its original manual-typewriter glory – with one big difference. The original was line-and-a-half spaced, this time the text is single-spaced. (That’s why the page count is lower).

For the history buffs, its HERE. (Beware: about 10 MB).

It’s fascinating to see how much money was sunk (literally) into the development of these mines. In most cases, everything invested was lost. There was more money to be made in growing spuds.


Fascinating stuff; the Scott Creek Silver Rush! Whoever has heard of it today? It’s like going through Kiandra in the Snowy Mountains and realising that there 15000 people living there once.
It’s the same story everywhere you look at the history of mining though. Apart from the occasional big one that gets under way such as Broken Hill, Kalgoorlie and Roxby Downs, the only people whoever made money from the mines were those who supplied the miners with requisites such as vegetables, groceries and of course beer.
I remember reading about an engineer who came out from the USA in the late 1930’s to supervise the installation of the first ever Masonite plant in Australia. I think it was near Newcastle in NSW. When finished, he saw an opportunity and resigned from the company and got a new company started with exclusive rights to carry all of the Masonite coming from the new factory down to Sydney for something like a 10 or 15 year period.
Now that’s lateral thinking!!

Comment by Dad | June 4th, 2008 3:20 pm | Permalink

Wow, I’d never even heard of it either and it makes you wonder if, with today’s better technology, such sites will be revisited and tried out again. Also great to have such an interesting document for your family’s history.

Comment by MillyMoo | June 8th, 2008 12:53 pm | Permalink

Hi Wally, google led me you your site. i just wanted to say thank you for taking the trouble of scanning the document about the local mines.

I’ve also had an interest in historical mines so its been an interesting read.

Comment by Peter | March 6th, 2009 3:11 pm | Permalink

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