WESTERN AUSTRALIA, THE EASTERN GOLDFIELDS, KALGOORLIE AND THE BOULDER. [From South Australian "Chronicle "] If we put on one side for the nonce the deep leads of Kanowna, Bulong, and the Golden Valley, the district sur rounding Kalgoorlie and the Boulder township, of which, by the way, there are two, is the one on which mining in terest is at present centering in the West. While the mines run up to the confines of the township of Kalgoorlie the majority of the productive ones are situate two or three miles away, and are working on what are known as the Kal goorlie and Boulder reefs. Big mines, several of them, with enormously costly machinery, and small armies of miners and laborers, whose tents and wooden houses cover the fields. Here are mines such as the Ivanhoe, the Associated Australia, and the Great Boulder, all turning out large quantities of gold, and working on a scale of magnitude which is simply astonishing. The gold yields at these mines run high. About 10 square miles of country are being exploited here, and the forest of poppet heads and numbers of buildings indicate the wealth of the district. The machinery is all of the latest and most improved types. Reference may first be made to the As sociated Gold Mines, the property originally of the Adelaide Prospecting Syndicate, but now floated into a powerful company, with a large body of English shareholders. The capital originally subscribed was £225 in 1893. Up to December last the mines, had yielded over 318,000 oz of gold, and the market value of the properties at that date was nearly £9,000,000. These mines cover 156 acres, and it is proved beyond question that a great quantity of gold will be yielded by their lodes. They have found splendid specimens of telluride ores, and their sul phide veins give an average value of 6oz per ton. The machinery on this mine is immensely valuable. They are now trebling their cyanidation plant, and will also start a sulphide mill. The properties of the Associated Mines are the Three Australias, the Iron Duke, Medindie Hill, Medindie Hill East, the Iron Monarch, and the Adelaide. The prospects of these mines are to be counted in very large figures. indeed. The manager is Mr W. Irwin, a gentle man who is held in the highest respect on the fields, and under his control this valuable group of mines will be thoroughly developed. It may be of in terest to readers to note that the Ade laide board of management of this mine consists of Messrs G. Brookman and W. Finlayson. The workings are not down much deeper than 200ft, but the lodes increase in value as they deepen. Among other big mines are the Boulder group. These are under the general management of Mr Zebina Lane, a gentleman well known to South Australians from his long connection with the Broken Hill Proprietary mines. The Great Bouldder Proprietary mine is one of the most valuable properties on the field. The mine also, by the way, was an original property of an Ade- laide syndicate. The returns obtained from this mine will be best appreciated by the fact that last year no less than 155 per cent of the capital was distribu ted among the shareholders. The ma- chinery on this mine is also magnificent. It is working 10 shafts, two of which are the deepest in West Australia, going. to a depth of 500ft. The average of the gold yield is given as 8oz to the ton, besides which there are the tailings. These are now being treated by special process, and are estimated to yield an ounce to the ton. The condensing plant on this mine is the largest in the colonies. The manager of this and several of the other properties of the group is Mr Richard Hamilton, of whom Mr Waddlington, on his recent visit to Western Australia, pronounced the opinion that he was "the finest mining engineer in. Australia." The Great Boulder Perseverance is another fine mine. It is also one of Mr Lane's mines, and is rapidly growitig into a paying concern under the management of Mr W. Shepherd. Over £85,000
has been paid in dividends since crush ing was started towards the end of 1896. Five shafts are being worked, all yield ing good payable stone. Experiments are being made as to the best modes of treating sulphide ores, and it is hoped a satisfactory solution will be obtained. The latest contract for the treat ment of tailings does not ap pear to meet the approval of share holders, but it may be said that the managerial view is that it is the cheapest system which could be adopted. The question is, however, one which is too debatable to be threshed out by others than experts. There are eight mines in this group, including in addi tion to those quoted the Boulder No. 1, the Boulder South, Central Boulder, and West Boulder, and the Boulder Bonanza. All are being rapidly developed, and should before long be on the productive list. One very notable feature of the working of these mines is the cheapening that has been effected in all the labor processes. They present a magnificent panorama, especially if viewed from a point which takes in the Australia mines to the rearward on the Kalgoorlie line of reef. Among other fine mines in this locality are the Lake View Consols, the Ivanhoe, the Brown Hill, the Kalgoorlie, Hannans Reward, Hannans Croesus, Golden Horseshoe, and Coolgardie Mint. It may be interesting to note that the Great Boulder has produced 6 tons of gold and the Ivanhoe over 2 tons. I have no estimate at hand of the bulk output of the other rich mines, but I make no doubt some can total it in tons also. With mines covering acres of ground, intersected by a net work of reefs, producing rich gold along every foot, the old ounce and dwt method of computing outputs perhaps seems out of date. But, while this ton nage appreciation of gold may seem to have a touch of "Yankeeism" about it, the records are based on actual facts, and can be easily proved. The big men of Kalgoorlie and theBoulder all assert that the gold-mining industry in their district, and, indeed, in Western Aus tralia generally, is only in its infancy. And as practical evidence of the genuine- ness of their own belief, they point to the vast sums which have been spent on the erection of machinery on the mines, as well as the improvements still pro- ceeding. They point further to the fact that paying mines are to be found further in the Kanowns direction, further northward in the direc- tion of Menszes, and away north east beyond that, to Mount Leonora (where the sons of Gwalia mine is min- ing out good yields), and Mount Mar- garet, and also away north-west through the Mount Magnet district to Cue. Before long, if money is available, the railways will be extended in both those directions. It is said, however, that a large proportion of the machinery on the mines in the eastern and nor- thern fields was taken up before the ex- tension of the line from Southern Cross. The loads taken by the teams, princi- pally camels, were incredibly large. At one time there was a block at Fre- mantle, owing to the arrivals of machines being altogether out of pro- portion to railway facilities, and it is said that several acres of wharfage were covered with machinery awaiting freight age. There is a story told also of an immense boiler, destined for one of the mines in the interior, which started from Fremantle but never reached its destination. That was nearly two years ago, and it has not been traced yet. Kalgoorlie itself is fast becoming a handsome goldfields city. Wide streets are the rule here also, and some of the hotels are exceedingly good. The rail way station is just outside the town, and the hansom cabs awaiting passengers on the arrival of trains are almost sug- gestive of North-terrace or Spencer street the traveller, however, soon remembers that he is not in Adelaide, for the goldfields' Jehu demands half-a crown, whereas his Adelaide brother accepts a shilling with courtesy for a couple of hundred yards' drive. It is hardly fair to institute comparisons, as horse-feed is costly on the fields, and the fares are fewer. Kalgoorlie is well looked after by its municipality, and is the only goldfields' town which possesses a made road. The width of the streets render this work expensive, and yet it
is very desirable, as the dust in the gold fields' towns is at times unbearable when it is blowing hard. On account of the paying mines and large population in its vicinity Kalgoorlie is now very prosperous, and promises to become even more so. Government buildings of a handsome character are being erected in this town also, while it possesses many fine private and business edifices. It is a great sporting community, and racing, football, cricket, and cycling are pursued with keen enthusiasm. There was as keen competition over the championship as exists in Adelaide or Melbourne, and without knowing anything of the strength of the teams it is pleasant to think that the Hannans Football Club were shaping well towards victory. They bear the name of the discoverer of gold in that vicinity, and it seems proper that they should maintain its honor. This is, of course, written before the termination of the season. I witnessed one match, how ever, and should be disposed to plank my modest dollar on the Hannans, although the Boulder team is a fine one. The familiarity of many of the names prompted enquiries, which resulted in the discovery that several of the players were t'other siders, formerly well known on the battlefields of South Australia and Victoria. Not even dust, added to heat, breaks down the ardor of these footballers and cricketers, and truth compels me to add that the dust is sometimes exceedingly unpleasant on a football ground. How the outside men track the ball once it gets into a dust scrimmage is an unsolved mystery, but they are at the point all right when wanted. On Saturday afternoon and evenings visitors flock into Kalgoorlie from the Boulder, and the town be comes very lively, while excellent order is maintained. It is true that the gold- fields' cities have attracted a certain class of undesirable people from the eastern colonies, but these work very much in the dark, and are careful to keep as quiet as possible. Boulder City is the name of the fast growing little settlement in the vicinity of the Boulder mines. It is a new town, comparatively. The old Boulder township was a very small square block of buildings alongside the present rail way line, and here, it is said, in the good old days, the hotelkeepers have made fortunes. Considering that the "good old days " come within a period of abont six -years their antiquity is questionable. But in so far as it im- plies that the miners of today are more careful of their health and their money than those of yore, the information is satisfactory. The fact is that with few exceptions the miner working for wages is a prudent saving man. Those who spent money recklessly were those who came by it quickly. I do not mean to imply that the earlier prospectors did not undergo great hardships and work long for their money. But their discoveries came about at once, and the sudden possession of wealth not unnaturally caused many a decent fellow to lose his head and go in for dissipation on the strength of his good fortune. But with rare exceptions, even the men who make finds or pick up large nuggets nowadays do not go in for much dissipation. They leave for the other colonies, and perhaps go to England, or Germany, or France. It is true that at Coolgardie I met an old explorer and prospector who had made his pile some years ago, and had man- aged to spend it on his travels. through Europe. He has manfully shouldered his swag again, and is now out on an exploration tour with a few camels, quite hopeful of making another find. I think we may wish him "good luck." These are the type of men who make Australia what she is. They may be light-hearted and careless enough in days of prosperity, but when adversity overtakes them they are not afraid to face a six months' tramp through. the sandy wastes of West Australia with nothing but a compass to guide them, and in constant danger of starvation or death from thirst. It is a fine stamp of man. But to get back from the interior to the Boulder. The sight on the mining field is unique. The little cottages of the miners, many of wood, although comfortable hessian tents are in num- bers, are scattered over a very large area of ground. These are mostly men en gaged on the mines in different capaci-
ties, for each mine, in addition to miners, teamsters, and engineers, em ploys much mechanical labor. A few, however, are working alluvial ground, and unfortunately are occasionally in conflict with the mining companies. The Ivanhoe Venture mine has been compelled to resort to expensive litiga tion to enforce its claims, while the alluvial workers are equally satisfied that they are within their rights. There is really but one remedy, and that is to give up the whole of the leasehold to the lessee. Labor conditions may be enforced, and special provisions made requiring the working of the allu- vial as well as the reef gold. Justice must be done to the alluvial diggers. They are entitled to as much considera tion at the hands of the Government as the companies. But the claims of the latter must not be forgotten. They have laid out large sums of money, and should be safeguarded. There is no doubt that this constant litigation will harm the reputation of the mines abroad. The alluvial digger can find plenty of places where he can work profitably with out clashing with the companies. And he too should, and can be, easily pro tected. Let his claim be made over to him absolutely for two or three years, or until the mining inspectors are satisfied the alluvial is worked out, and mean while accord no reefing rights to any other person or persons on the same land. Further, give the first right of reef mining in the same block to the alluvial digger who has exploited it, if he desires it, subject, of course, to fair conditions. This theme has been under discussion for months past in West Australia, both sides being equally insistent that they are within their rights, but as a reasonable solution of the difficulty no other presents itself to me than that which I have attempted to indicate above. It might and probably would involve some hardships, but it would be a settlement of an intricate question. The majority of the houses on the mines, that is those in which there are no women, are left quite unguarded. Boxes are nailed to a post with notes of instruction to the baker or other trades men as to what to leave in the box, and on one ocesion it was amusing to read a note of reproof, from some tent-owner who fancied himselt in the possession of a grievance, against his providore. And it is pleasant to learn that these tents are very rarely entered by malefactors. Woe betide the man caught in the act and for whom a roll-up of the men is called. The Boulder is getting more settled now, and there are pleasant little family groups to be seen around comfortable houses, and even little chil dren who appear to thrive well in the sand, and to be perfectly happy. Little churches dotted here and there show that the one great tranquilising factor of life is exercising a good effect. The new town, Boulder City, as it proudly terms itself, is a comlortable looking settlement, which promises to assume large proportions at some future date. One feature of it is a very large sports ground, with a bicycle track. The roads are wide, and in many cases the blocks on which cottages are erected or tents raised are not fenced in except in the centre of the town. But it will rapidly blossom out until it attains a legal right to term itself a city. There is little doubt that mining operations on these fields will extend in almost all directions. It must be re membered that a very large sum of money has been spent in developing the existing mines, but once these have settled down to permanent productive work, as many have already done, there is little doubt that the country lying idle will be further exploited. There is no reason why other Boulders, Aus tralias, and Ivanhoes should not be discovered, and no reason to suppose that the country around Kalgoorlie and the Boulder has, arrived at the end of its mineral discoveries. On the way up from Kalgoorlie to Menzies, which journey can now be accomplished in a few hours by railway, various mines are now being worked to profit, and there is no doubt that the railway facilities will materially increase mining activity in parts of the hundreds of miles of country which intervene. At Menzies the Lady Shenton and the Queensland Menzies are mines which pay well and are in competent hands.
The Lady Shenton is splendidly deve loped and has paid £48,000 in divi dends. This district is one to which insufficient attention has been given as yet, owing to the finds on the fields to the south, but it thould in time constitute an important addition to the gold output. The quartz at Menzies resembles very much that of the Bendigo reets. Further up along the.road to the Murchison district, where the Cue mines are situated, many'mining properties are being developed, although under difficulties, owing.to..the cost of carriage. There will be one day a railway along this track.. West Australia -is.in the happy position of being able to count with certainty upon its goldfield lines paying. To the north-east there are the Mount Margaret and Mount Leonora fields, both in the course of development, and away-beyond that the East Mur. chison fields. The Sons of -Gwalia mine at Leonora is already giving handsome returns, and promises to become one of the best paying mines in West Australia. It is situated, roughly speaking, about 50 miles from Menzies and 150 miles from Kalgoorlie. If the reader will pause to consider the immense area of land which is thus being opened up here and there and giv ing handsome results, he will realise that the gold wealth of West Aubtralia is enormous. It is true that every mine does not prove to be reproductive, and that much .money is being spent and will'be spent without returns, but that its output of.golii will in years to come be perhaps as large as that of all the other colonies put together there is just reason to believe. I have left reference tc the rich deep leads at Kanowna, Bulong, and the Golden Valley for re ference in another and a concluding article. The mines to which reference has been made are those which call for the intervention of i'apitil. While at Kanowna there are several gold-niining companies now in existence, chief in terest c?itires upon the work of indi vidual miners. It is essentially a- poor man's diggings, although I fancy that a. good many of the men who have been. working there for the past eight or ten months are no longer poor, if they were so at first. But here also it must be remembered that luck has, much to do 'with success.