Aclare mine South Australian History

The Aclare Mine.


The Aclare mine, discovered in 1857 on St Ives' farm belonging to George Venning, was not opened up until 1869. Francis Corbet Singleton became the owner of the deposit in 1861 and named it Aclare after his family house, built by his father Henry Corbet Singleton at Demesne County, Meath, Ireland. As he was far too busy with other matters, including the management of the Great Northern Copper Mining Company which worked the Nuccaleena mine, very little work was carried out at Aclare.

During 1867 Singleton employed a few miners on tribute working in an open cut. No investment or borrowing of money was involved as the ore was believed rich enough to pay its own way, as had happened at Moonta. For a time the ore was dressed, bagged and transported to smelters at Port Adelaide.

Finally in June 1882 Singleton floated the Aclare Silver Mining Company N.L. with a nominal capital of $100,000 subscribed by seventeen investors from Adelaide, among them Charles Cameron Kingston, William Benjamin Rounsvell and William Bentham Neales. Kingston, born in Adelaide on 22 October 1850, had entered parliament a year before and was to become famous throughout Australia, even before becoming Premier of South Australia, for his involvement in the federation of all Australian colonies into the Commonwealth of Australia.

Within a few weeks Captain John Penberthy was appointed mine manager and the building of a blacksmith shop, whim and store was started. Penberthy only stayed for a very short time before moving to Queensland and was replaced by Captain Price. For nearly two years a number of short and long adits were dug but little silver raised.

After the death of Singleton, the mine was taken up by a new company, the Aclare Silver-Lead Mining Syndicate, which in turn sold it to the London based Kangarilla Proprietary Silver Mines of South Australia Ltd. in 1889. Before the end of that year it had engaged Captain Prout, who was almost immediately replaced by Captain Pinkerton.

Once more Aclare was alive with the sounds from tunneling, stoping, dressing, sorting, bagging, and the loading of ore from the mine. During this time members of the old Aclare Syndicate formed the Aclare North Silver Mining Company to mine an area adjoining the original Aclare boundary and hired retired Moonta Captain Deeble as consultant.

WC Copley (SLSA)

In February 1891 the Kangarilla Proprietary acquired the services of David Rosewarne, who resigned from his job of Inspector of Mines while in London, and T.A. Masey, a past director of the Blinman Mine. On his return from England, Rosewarne set to work building, planning, designing and ordering machinery from the May Brothers of Gawler.

Within three months Rosewarne and his family had moved into the newly completed Manager's house and by the middle of the year a new concentrator had arrived from Paris. Nearby Callington railway station was also kept busy receiving and dispatching equipment to the mine. At Aclare itself a blacksmith store, carpenter shop, assay office, cottages, well, chaff house, water tank, stables and a machinery house were all under construction and nearing completion.

The official re-opening of the mine and the start of all the new machinery was performed by the Commissioner of Crown Lands, the Hon. W. Copley on 1 August 1891. It was watched by nearly three hundred people most of whom came from Adelaide by special train. The opening was even reported in London. More than thirty-four years after its discovery some sixty miners were employed raising the ore while above ground thousands of tons of old tailigs and ore were smelted. Finally investors could look forward to a substantial return of their money.


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