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\ ROMANTIC HISTORY I
ii of a GREAT MINE
The Sons ot J
if - * hwmmvwwvi By JOHN MEIKLEJOHN. wwwwvvw.vu>«
OBÜLS BROS. -Brere among J
th" earliest scorekeepers j on Coolgardie goldfields, j In late --*95 the elder bro-j ther. Tommy, took a well-j
earned holiday and visited I
- Iiis native town of Llan- elli*, in Wales. Coming fresh from the new Eldorado, with the possibility of having done well, all his relatives and friends came forward tri th eager Inte- rest to give him a hearty welcome home. " Intending to return to the fields shortly,- he had in view the formation of. a. gold-prospecting syndicate. In the position he occupied on the fields it was a good opportunity te possibly benefit some of his fellow townsmen.
His scheme was that £2000 should be the basis of capital involved, and he was willing to put up £200 of his own money towards this, if nine other men could be found to do likewise. He informed his uncle of the project, and the uncle welcomed it at once, stating he would be pleased to become a mem- ber. The proposition was put before a number of. wealthy men at the prin- cipal club, and, without any .trouble, the full number of names was secured. The agreement was drawn up and signed." it was really more an arrange-
ment as between trusted friends than a water-tight legal document. On Tobias* part he was pleased to under- take the direction of affairs on the
fields, and, being strongly hopeful ot successful results, he asked fair no other recompense or profit than what might come to him as an ordinary partner in the fortunes of the syndi- cate. . Ko cash was called np, it "being understood that as he nsed his own capital for the purposes ot the syndi- cate, they should repay him when call- ed upon to do so.
In early '96 he arrived back in Cool- gardie, and, in order to get the syndi- cate's affairs moving Quickly, he broadcasted bush wires.to get itt touch with Frank White and Glendinning, the men he specially wanted to prospect for them. - Eventually he found them, called them in "to a conference, told them his proposition, and stated his terms. They willingly fell into line, requesting, however, that Jack Carlson be brought in as an additional pros- pector, which was allowed. Camels and a complete outfit were purchased, and the parly went off into the bush.
After they had gone Tobias made out a statement of his expenditure and found that altogether he had used about £500 of his own capital in the syndicate's interest He cabled home rough particulars asking them to re- mit him the amount, together with an additional £100 or so to carr}' on with.
Meanwhile, mail from England was then arriving, and he received a letter from the syndicate secretary, a county sheriff and a man of big note in' Caer marthenshlrc, blaming Tobias that he had not kept up correspondence, and asserting himself as being much dis- satisfied. There had been no real need for detailed correspondence up to that moment, and a letter of this descrip- tion came as a nasty surprise. Tobias was consequently nettled with the in- justice of the accusation, and cabled a reply explaining matters, giving them seven days in which to settle his claim, otherwise he would act inde- pendently. No reply of any nature fol- lowed, so the matter of the Welsh syn- dicate automatically closed.
Tobias then notified the prospectors and called them into a meeting. He explained how the original syndicate had let him down, and left him to bear the burden. He could not carry on with them (the prospectors) on the terms he had previously made with them. He was a considerable sum out' of pocket hut did not regret this; he was willing to carry on with his own money if they cared to continue on some reasonable basis, thus making an entirely new combination. After a joint conference the prospectors em- phatically .assured Tobias they would be no party to his being a loser; they would willingly continue, and gener- ously offered to allow two-thirds to him out of what they found, retaining the remaining one-third for them- selves. This was agreed to.
Before they left for the bush the prospectors asked. "If we find a reef, what name will we give It?" "Give it 'the name that was mentioned' at a dinner given me In Wales by'the. de- funct syndicate - 'The Sone of Gwalla.'" "Good-oh!" they answered. They had not been gone more than three weeks before they wrote saying they had struck a likely-looking reef near tb* then new Leonora camp, and had pegged out and applied for a lease. They also stated that G. W. Hall had visited them, had inspected th?¡ reef in the pot hole they had sunk, seemed favorably impressed, and asked could he do business with them. They re- ferred him to Tobias in Coolgardie. As he left, he took some samples with him.
Following Tobias' receipt of this letter. Hall came to see bim in his store at Coolgardie. Hall was then re- presenting Pritchard Morgan, the fam- ous Welsh millionaire, in the manage- ment of the North Star mine at Mal- colm. The object of Hall's visit was presumably to obtain an estimate for large supplies for this mine. Many of the Items were piping and such like material which would necessitate time for inquiry. Hall had just finished his conversation, liad grasped the door handle in the act of departure, when he paused and turned as if struck by an afterthought. "I saw your prospec- tors in the bush last week, and bad a look at what they had just found," he said. "I will make you a sporting offer and give you £1000 for it" "No, thank you," said Tobias, immediately on the alert "I am holding for a more ambitious figure than that."
Next day Hall was back again, the prospective order for supplies still be- ing held the main topic. After con- versing about it and, just as he was leaving, he brought up-again quite casually-the prospectors' find. "Had another look at your Sons of Gwalia samples since I saw you. and I am tempted to increase yesterday's offer. Twill give you £2000.for it" "Nothing doing," answered Tobias. "I- have my* prospectors' interest to consider as well as my own. and I must do much better than that Let us get ahead with the order. Mr. Hall: the other business can wait" Again Hall ad- journed.
The following day. Hall returned. He went through a similar perform- ance to what he had done on previous occasions, and made a fresh offer ' of £3000. Tobias was adamant would not consider the figure, and urged Hall to get closer with the order.
.The next day Hall tried thc bigges bluff of any. He drove .up to the stor in his handsome tandem buggy outfi accompanied by his secretary an stenographer, as if he .were going : journey. Tobias made a show of be lng occupied, saying to him," "Excus me just a moment. Mr. Hall." H scribbled a.- note to his odd man
Jack-to the effect: "Saddle hay horst
and when Mr. Hall's outfit leaves hert follow it discreetly and let mc knot where lt goes." The note despatchec he turned full attention on Hali. A usual, the latter centred on the pros peeöve order. As he finished, bo inti mated: "I am just leaving Coolgardi for the North Star mine, and will b gone some time. Before I leave, I wi] make yon a last offer of £4000 for th Sons of Gwalla." In reply, Tobia opened a drawer of his desk, took fron it a letter alleged to have come fron his men, read from it the euppoeei contents, ending up with the state ment: "It may be a guide to you ii your negotiations to let you know wi consider the show Is worth ten thou sand." "In the face of that," Tobia: continued. "I regret I must refuse yow offer. Meanwhile let us get on wit] the order." Hall concealed his dis appointment and left. Jack followed Within the hour the latter returne< and reported that Hall had gone ord; a short distance out and bad returnee to Coolgardie by another track.
That evening Hall was back at th« store. He made a plausible excuse foi
j his sudden return, and, this time with-
out any pretence, went direct to hil real object. "I have come to xnaki you a further offer - for the Sons o: Gwalla. I bid you now £6000 for lt This is the last offer I intend to mak< you." Something in Hall's manner in- timated he had really touched'his ter- minal price. Tobias realised his bluf] for tea thousand had not caught on His thoughts raced quickly. If he re- fused this offer the reef might turr out very good and they might do heap better. On the other hand, thing might not go too well, and they might never get another offer. He or hit brother did not wish to be saddled with the development of a reef. They had known numerous cases of men who had refused decent offers and left with nothing in the end. The Inward decis I ion was to play for safety and be re-
lieved of the burden of present cost The' alleged mine was only a shallow ' hole, and as the prospectors had only
been engaged a few weeks the sum now offered represented a handsome
: profit to each of them.
Hall would not listen to allowing share interest; he said his instruc
! lions on that point were strict After j discussing preliminary details. Tobias
consented to call in the prospectors and obtain their views. They duly ar- rived. In considering their decision on
j the arrangement it was not self inte-
rest which influenced them so much as a loyal desire to see their supporter get his money back with a profit; con i sequently they agreed. An option was
I given Hall, he paying £600 in .deposit
the balance to be paid within 90 days. Hall commenced work immediately on th of property, and well within the epe ! citied period the purchase was com- pleted. The partners congratulated themselves on tbe_göod stroke of busi- ness. Little-did tljey ' suspect they had
j parted with a vast 'treasure for a mere
In 1897. Tobias visited Wales again. I His uncle informed him . that the
county sheriff was the mah responsible for wet-blanketing the Syndicate; the
other members had followed his lead In deference to his high, position and influence. ,
There happened an evening about then when Pritchard Morgan and this county - sheriff ? bad occasion to ..have dinner together at-the National Liberal Club. Morgan told the sheriff of the success of the Bona of-Gwalla, and that he had just completed the formation of a company to- acquire it with a capital of £200,000. The'sheriff was a sore listener when Horgan, assured him: "My fortune would have been yours if you had only followed the lead yon were on. As it is, I will make a quarter ot a million out of it" He
made much more. >
[ ' If .the members of that defunct syn-
dicate werè sorry then, their regrets
I would not be less severe in following
the subsequent brilliant financial suc- cess of the Sons of Gwalia. It is offi- cially recorded as being the fifth larg- est gold producer In W.A. Up to the end of 192E lt had turned out nearly £5,500,000 worth of gold, repaid its capital in dividends many times over, the Bhares were considered gilt-edged stock, they stood for long at high: values in the markets, and the mine i ia still alive. As a matter of fact this mine and the Great Fingall Consolida- ted were the only two companies out- side of the Golden Mile limits whose : productions have exceeded the million ounce records.
I Tobias has neyer sought the lime'
light from the fact that he was directly instrumental for the origin of such a I great mine, although he might justly
I bavé done so. He lives quietly in com-
fortable retirement In a Perth suburb. Glendinning and Carlson are also llv < lng in the suburbs and have no'com- plaints to make. .Frank White died some years ago, and Hall, after his retirement met his death in a motor accident in Wales.