gold maps for clermont
The discovery of gold by sheep herders in 1861 was responsible for the establishment of Clermont. The town reserve was proclaimed on 25 March 1864. Copper was discovered soon after. Nine areas have been established for public fossicking with good gold lying at shallow depths. This pack contains these areas in maps, (plus others) and also as files that many GPS units can use to show the boundaries. as well as waypoints for GPS, Oziexplorer and Google earth.
Clermont town was established in 1862 on the banks of Sandy Creek opposite Hoods Lagoon. The town was flooded twice; firstly in 1870, which resulted in the loss of 15 lives and later in 1916, 3 days after Christmas, with 65 people being killed in this event. After the 1916 flood, the town was rebuilt further up the hill and the former town site restored as a landscaped park overlooking the lagoon. Gold was first discovered in 1861, in gullies south of Clermont (Lees, 1899). The discovery sparked off one of Queensland’s major gold rushes and by 1862 mining extended from McDonalds Flat in the south-east to Hurleys Dam in the north-west. Subsequent finds were at Western Creek, Oaky Creek, Expedition Creek, Cockatoo Dam, Eastern Creek, McMasters, The Springs, Black Ridge and Miclere.
Both alluvial and lode mining continued until 1873 when many miners left to join the Palmer River gold rush. The Clermont goldfield originally known as the Peak Downs goldfield was first gazetted on 11th August 1863. It was one of the earlier proclaimed goldfields of the State of Queensland. The goldfield consisted of an irregular shaped area comprised 4375km2 extended from Clermont west to Mistake Creek (MONTEAGLE), north to Miclere Creek (CLERMONT), east to Table and Bellevue Creeks (CLERMONT) and south to Theresa Creek and Mount Tabletop (RUBYVALE).
The Miclere goldfield was proclaimed in the 1870s, the Spring Rush Extended goldfield in 1879 and the Springs Extension goldfield proclaimed in 1888. In the early years, the development of mining was hindered by seasonal long drought or periodically excessive wet weather and the lack of suitable crushing batteries on the field. During a prolonged period of drought and shortage of water, dry blowers and dry jiggers were used to treat the loose dirt.
The supply of domestic water was from the Seventeen Mile well on the eastern side of the Gregory Development Road, the Jimmy’s well and an unnamed Government well on the bank of Miclere Creek. When supply of dam water was ensured, whatever available stampers batteries on the field then crushed the stockpile cemented ‘wash’. Shaft sinking up to 50m deep was the principal prospecting method and crosscuts were made to pick up the trails of the auriferous ‘wash’ at the base of the conglomerate. In 1900, dredging was attempted along Sandy Creek but failed to continue due to the short supply of water and low gold returns. In 1941, the use of jackhammers was introduced to work the lower grade ‘wash’ in the deep ground. Official records of gold production in the early years are incomplete. From the Mining Warden reports it is estimated that 1700kg gold were produced for the period 1861 to 1876 (Lees, 1899). From 1878 to 1901 the Clermont goldfield, which then included Miclere, Springs Rush Extended and Springs Extension goldfields produced gold valued at $1 422 000 (£711 000) equivalent to ~5600kg (180 000oz) from ‘deep leads’ and other alluvial sources, and ~310kg (10 000oz) from quartz lodes (Withnall & others, 1995). The peak year of production was 1898, when there were ~3000 miners on the field and the Wild Cat lead was the principal producer south of Clermont. In 1904, nearly 215kg (6900oz) were produced from the Miclere field. After 1904, production came mainly from the Black Ridge area. Gold mining was most active up to about 1910 and after thatproduction declined until it virtually ceased in the 1920s. A great deal of prospecting and development works was carried out in the field but with little gold return in the intervening years until the discovery of new leads in false bottom at Miclere in 1931 revived the field. This new find invigorated mining at Miclere, and produced 1244kg (40 000oz) of gold output for the next 25 years. In 1935, the Mines Department of Queensland conducted bore hole drilling at Clermont, Miclere, McDonalds Flat, Black Ridge, Black Johnson and Yankee Camp and located minor auriferous ‘wash’ at Miclere, Flying Pan Flat, Flyspeck. Drilling intersected discontinuous basalt capping overlying coal measures and a basal conglomerate containing metamorphic basement-derived clasts. During the World War II years none of the fields was worked due to labour shortages. After the War, mining resumed at Miclere with a recorded production of ~99kg gold from 1945 to 1950. However, the field was mostly deserted by the late 1950s with little gold production came from alluvial mining at Miclere and Copperfield. Low gold output from the field continued into the 1960s. In the mid 1970s, a drop in the demand for sapphires led the sapphire miners of the Anakie gemfield to show an interest in alluvial gold mining at Miclere and Black Ridge–Cement Hill, areas. In the 1980s to the early 1990s, small to medium-scale alluvial mining operations were carried out in the McDonald Flats, Bathampton Expedition Creek and Cement Hill areas. About 19kg gold was mined from deep lead deposits in this period. In 1975, J Bailey discovered gold-bearing quartz reefs while doing roadworks across the Gregory highway. Three leases were applied and granted in 1981 and 1982, and open cut hard rock mining commenced in 1987 at the Lucky Break (MGA94 523836E, 7546946N). Australian Consolidated Mining (ACM) in 1985 outlined the Hill 266/Belyando prospect. Ross Mining NL commissioned the Belyando open pit gold mine in March 1989. These two mines produced a combined total production of ~3000kg gold up to when mining operations ceased in 1993. As a result of exploration conducted in the Frankfield Hill prospect area East West Minerals NL (EPM 4212, 1987 discovered the Byjingo deposit, 7km south-west of the Lucky Break mine. Here gold mineralisation is associated with quartz veins and/or strongly silicified zones occurring within strongly fractured/brecciated and altered meta-sediments of the Anakie Metamorphic Group. The “Byjingo” lease (ML2292) was granted to Belyando Mining P/L in 1988.
Alluvial Deposit Clermont goldfield Alluvial gold was discovered south of Clermont in 1861 when a party was building a homestead on a sheep station south of Clermont. A shepherd named Sweeney discovered gold in the nearby alluvial flats. However, a letter published in the October issue of the Queensland Government Mining Journal (1900) claimed that in 1861 Messrs Nelson, McDonald, Cameron and Jack, in Nelsons Gully discovered gold draining into Sandy Creek. Prospecting from Sandy Creek gradually expanded towards North Copperfield and by the end of 1862, numerous new alluvial gold deposits were being discovered over a wide area over a 50km long, north-north-west-trending zone from south of Clermont (between Douglas Creek and Miclere) in the north to as far west as the Western Reefs along Western Creek area. Some of the discoveries at that time included the Expedition leads (1863), Hurley’s and McMaster’s leads (1864), the Springs and Miclere leads (1865) and the McDonalds Flat leads (1866). Mining in this initial phase continued until 1873 when many miners left to join the Palmer River gold rush. Up to 1876, the total gold production is estimated to be 1700kg gold. From 1877 to 1901, 5680kg gold was recovered. This figure included production mostly from alluvial workings from the Miclere and Springs goldfields. In this period, only 308kg gold (9900oz) came from lode mining. Numerous nuggets included one of 1.5kg at McDonalds Flat (1864), one of 0.96kg near the head of the Victoria lead, one of 0.93kg at North Copperfield (1878), with several to 0.46kg at Fiddlers Creek (1902) and one of 0.3kg at the Four Mile Flat and Venus Flat diggings (1902). Smaller nuggets up to 60g were found at Prospectors and other gullies at the Springs goldfield. The area around Copperfield provided a ready made opportunity for many of the copper miners to take up alluvial gold mining when the Peak Downs copper mine closed in 1877. Over the years the centre of activity moved to other deep leads at McMasters (1890), Apsley Creek (1892), Hospital (1895), McDonalds Flat (1897), Fiddlers Creek (1901), Venus (1902), Black Ridge (1902), Miclere (1931), Apsley Creek-8 Mile (1934) and Mystery Gully (1935). The discovery of the Dead Horse and Wild Cat Leads south of Clermont in 1897 boosted production for a few years, and was responsible for a record annual production from the field of some 933kg of alluvial gold in 1898. In 1901 and 1902, a small rushes to Fiddler Creek produced 53kg gold at the rate of 30g gold per load, and up to 6g/t gold to Venus flat respectively. Ball (1905a,b) reported that work was also carried out at McMasters, Black Johnson and Schnuffler Dam. Output (mainly from Black Ridge) increased and in 1906, ~8000t of ore were crushed at the Miclere and Black Ridge batteries. Production steadily declined in the following years and in 1911, the alluvial workings produced less than 3000t of ore. Prospecting works were carried out on the old grounds of the Wide Cat and Dead Horse leads, the McDonalds Flat area south of Clermont, and at the Black Johnson north of Clermont. Prospecting shafts were sunk to 60m but met with little success in locating payable ‘wash’. By 1912, some of the miners were lured to the rich Anakie sapphire field and the Blair Athol collieries. The move to the sapphire field was short lived and the miners returned to Black Ridge, McDonalds Flat, Fiddlers Creek, Venus and Hurley Dam areas. Apart from the New Rush claim near the Cumberland Lead at Black Ridge showing some promises, none of the prospecting works proved to be successful over the old grounds. One of the problems was an excessive influx of water met in shaft sinking and many of the shafts were given up without reaching the projected depth of the basal ‘wash’ of the conglomerate overlying the basement schistose rock. Gold production virtually ceased in the 1920s. In 1928, the alluvial deposit on Muirhead’s Selection (Black Ridge), ~11km north of Clermont, was tested by shafts, which intersected ‘wash’ very similar to the Wild Cat. Traces of gold were found but were not payable. The Leo’s Flat and Apsley Creek areas were also explored by shallow shaft sinking to 10m, without hitting payable gold. The Wild Cat, Cat and Kitten, Dead Goat and White Hill leads were also explored by shaft sinking to 15m and met with success by intersecting some low grade gold-bearing ‘wash’. Some attention was focussed on the old Four Mile area where shallow shafts to 5m were sunk in ropey schist. In 1931, a small rush to Apsley 8-Mile area followed by the discovery of gold in the local municipal gravel quarry. The workings were shallow and bottomed at 4m. Most of the gold was in small flattened pieces free from quartz, the largest piece recorded being 24g. The deep ground in the area was tested by shaft sinking to over 70m deep but failed to intersect payable ‘wash’. Up to 1935 the total production from this area was ~3kg gold. In 1932, the discovery of gold in billy stone and in false bottom (local term ‘tish’) ~5km south-west of White Hill at Ferry’s Rush revived mining interest to the Miclere area. Intense prospecting work was carried out successfully in locating payable ‘wash’ below false bottom and boosted output of deep lead gold for many years. In 1935, the Mines Department of Queensland conducted bore hole drilling at Clermont, Miclere, McDonalds Flat, Black Ridge, Black Johnson and Yankee Camp and located minor auriferous ‘wash’ at Miclere, Flying Pan Flat, Flyspeck. The field was deserted in 1956 and lay dormant for many years. Only a few tenacious miners remained on the field eking out a desultory living at Oaky Creek and North Copperfield. Miclere goldfield Gold was discovered in shallow alluvial and eluvial gravels at Miclere in 1865 but the ground only became prominent in 1870s when the Miclere goldfield proclaimed as separate entity from the Clermont goldfield. By 1900 a major source of the gold at Miclere had been traced to an eroding white quartzose sandstone conglomerate at White Hill. An extensive area was worked in the Upper Camp area. At Boulder Hill, a capping of billy (varying from 1–2m thick) covered a 0.3m thick bed of consolidated ‘wash’. At the Lower Camp area the gold was traced from residual surface deposits into basal conglomerate. Both ‘wash’ and bedrock are generally bluish-green. The near surface ‘wash’ was soon worked out, and between 1907 and 1930 little mining was reported in the Miclere area, and the Black Ridge area took over as the leading gold producer in the Clermont area. In 1930, Jones and Peterson discovered gold in surface rubble on the north-eastern slope of White Hill near the Lower Camp. The gold was confined to small patch of the surface rubble and the auriferous ground deepened in a southerly direction. It was found that the gold derived from the weathering of a bed of ‘wash’ lying on a false bottom within the sedimentary strata known as a miner term as ‘tish’. The discovery of new leads at Boulder Rush and Ferry’s Rush on this false bottom, and the persistence of penetrating the ‘tish’ led to the success of locating ‘wash’ at deeper ground and opened up new opportunity for many miners to test deeper below the false bottom at Miclere. Subsequent discoveries were the White Hill lead in 1932, Salters lead in 1935 and the Frying Pan Flat lead in 1937. The Frying Pan Flat lead (to the south of the Salter’s lead) was worked by the Hit, Yorkshire Pudding and Bernborough claims. Peak gold production was more than 3.2kg (105oz) gold in 1937. The Salter’s lead was worked from 1935 to 1939 by many claims (e.g. Chance, New Surprise, Ora Banda, Just in Time, Surprise and Victory workings) giving a total output (estimated from the warden reports) as >84kg (2700oz) gold. The White Hill lead was worked by numerous claims (e.g. All Blue, All Nation, Blue Lagoon, Bluff, Bower Bird, Consols, Diamond, Eddie’s Dream, Ginger, Ginger Meg, Golden Casket, Golden Eagle, Hawk, Homeward Bound, Johnny Dory, Joker, Jupiter, Just In Time, Kangaroo, Mae West, Major, Mars, Milky Way No 2, Neptune, Rainbow Trail, RSF, Saturn, Southern Cross No 2, Three Dicks, Three Twos, Venus, Victory, William’s Fancy, You Owe Me). Significant gold output was also recorded for the Golden Eagle, Johnny Dory, Jupiter, Rainbow Trail, Southern Cross, Three Dicks and Venus workings (from various editions of the Queensland Government Mining Journal in the 1930s). The gold from these workings was coarse-grained and included nuggets up to 0.65kg in weight. By 1934, shaft sinking to gold bearing ‘wash’ on bedrock at depth to 30m were common. Both the basal conglomerate ‘wash’ and bedrock were mined. The miners considered the irregular quartz veins, which crosscut the phyllite, as an indicator of a higher gold grade in the ‘wash’. However the veins themselves are barren. The gold on the false bottom was unevenly distributed in a bed of white, cemented, and slightly clayey ‘wash’. The ‘wash’ carries abundant white quartz pebbles with rare boulders up to 0.5m in diameter. Most of the gold occurs in the lowest 150mm of the ‘wash’ and in a 30mm of the bed of white shale, which constitutes the false bottom. Gold was mined by sinking of shafts from false bottom to deeper levels in a blue-grey coloured polymictic conglomerate (Blue Ground) below the white clay ‘wash’ (White Ground). Most of the gold production came from the Blue Ground, particularly near the contact with the underlying schists. In the deep ground, shafts were sunk and intersected over 30m of quartz conglomerate underlain by coaly shale and shale on top of a conglomerate containing boulders of phyllite, granite and quartz. Bedrock was intersected at a depth of 70m. Some of the productive mines included Neptune, Venus, Mars, and Mars Extended, Mae West, Three Dicks and Milky Way No 2. Patches of ‘wash’ with rich gold grades associated with irregular depressions or gutters were intersected in the underground drives. In 1936, the Queensland Government Mines Department drilled four bore holes that intersected bed rock around 65m with a thickness of up to 5m of ‘wash’, supporting the general opinion of a westward extension of the ‘wash’. In 1939, there was a falling off in gold production after the shallower ground at Salter’s Lead was worked out. In 1941 the use of jackhammers was introduced to mining in the deep ground with a higher resulting gold production. By the end of 1942 the field was almost deserted because of shortage of labour during World War Two. Towards the end of 1945 operations were renewed on the field but the scarcity of surface water was a great drawback to development. After the War years, mining was resumed at Miclere. The White Hill Lead was worked extensively with a post-war production of 98.6kg gold bringing the total to 530.9kg gold since discovery. Gold production came mainly from the Mae West mine. Development work was also carried out in the Golden Casket mine and drives were cut to connect with the adjoining Rugby, Royal Blue and Hawk workings. The field was totally deserted in the late 1950s. In the 1980s, mining at Miclere produced ~18.5kg gold (6000oz) at grades ranging from 10–15g/t gold. From 1947 to 1949, Gold Mines of Australia drilled 20 holes to study the “Miclere Basin” structure and sank a shaft to 106.7m in the Black Ridge area. Two drives each 15m long were driven east and west from the shaft and intersected gold values to 0.2g/t gold. Exploration was terminated after a limited underground development. Very little mining was carried out in the 1950s and 1960s and alluvial gold output came mainly from the Mint, TER, RSF and Mae West claims. From 1969 to 1971, a reported production of ~10.9kg (350oz) gold was obtained from the Iron Pot working. Most of the gold was coarse-grained with nuggets up to 0.5kg (17oz) in weight. During 1975–76, Australian Anglo America Ltd (EPM 1509) conducted seismic exploration and drilled 10 widely spaced holes across the Miclere basin. Anomalous gold grades were obtained in several holes, and an occurrence of native copper and chalcopyrite was reported from drill hole BADH4 near the stratigraphic level of the Permian coal measures. Dampier Mining Company Ltd (EPMs 1627 and 1635, 1976) also conducted drilling of 38 boreholes in the general area that intersected anomalous gold grades in the Permian conglomerate. Exploration for coal by CRA, BHP and White Industries P/L indicated the coal in the Wolfang Basin carries up to 0.9g/t gold. From 1987 to 1900, Harlock Pty Ltd drilled 87 RC holes in the northern half of the Miclere Basin. A decline was cut in 1989 to bulk sample the Blue Ground conglomerate at Miclere. The decline was excavated for 178m, but it failed to intersect the expected conglomerate. The Miclere Joint Venture between Sedimentary Holdings Ltd and Posgold Ltd was formed in 1993. Posgold Ltd drilled 72 RC holes to test targets generated by a regional airborne geophysical survey. Two prospects, Breakaway and Heywood, were outlined for follow-up exploration. Spring Rush Extended and Springs Extension goldfields The Springs Goldfield Extension was proclaimed over an area of 32.375 km2 in 1888 and included Cement Hill, Linklaters and Victoria Leads, Leonard’s Gully, Christmas Hill, Pewt’s Hill and the shallower workings at Black Ridge. In the early years, the Cumberland, Cement Hill and the Victoria leads were the richest deposits in the region. Coarse and rounded gold was discovered in 1865 at Cement Hill. Prospectors Gully, on the northern side, was the richest part of the Hill. On the Victoria lead, the ‘wash’ yielded 45g of gold to the load (~1t) and up to 240g of gold had been reported. Prospectors, Scrubby and Saint Patrick’s Gullies were also rich in coarse-grained gold. Numerous nuggets up to 60g were found at Prospectors and other gullies. The shallow ground at Pewt’s Hill was opened in the mid 1870s. Most crushing of the cement ‘wash’ assayed 12 to 20g/t gold with some as high as 40g/t gold. Both angular and rounded gold was recovered and considerable paint gold occurred along planar surfaces in the uppermost 150mm of the schist. The paint gold occurred on limonite-stained foliation planes and fractures, generally proximal to easterly striking quartz leaders. On the south-eastern slope of Pewt’s Hill, gold was recovered at a depth of ~9m from a false bottom, 3m above the basement. Fox and Aplin in 1895 discovered gold on the northern extremity of the Black Ridge. However, gold had been found and worked as early as 1892 in Gowrie Creek to the north. From 1896 to 1905, Black Ridge became the major centre of production. During 1899 and 1900, mining was conducted at the Slaughter Yard, Daintree Knob and Hard Hill Lead. In 1901, working was carried out to the west around the head of Gowrie Creek and the Blue Ground was tested to a depth of 52m. The occurrence of a layer of billy along Gowrie Creek retarded prospecting to the west of Fox Lead, but in 1903 after the discovery of payable gold on the old Cricket Ground, the whole of the flat area west of the creek was worked. The ground worked extended northwards for a little over 2km from the surfacing on the southern end of Hard Hill and westwards from the workings on Flyspeck Gully. The Deep Ground became productive in 1904; the output generally increased until 1906 when more than 8000t went to the batteries; but afterwards there was a constant falling of extraction until in 1911, the mines gave <3000t. By 1906 most of the shallow ground on Black Ridge east of Gowrie Creek was worked out (Figure 4). In 1912, 400t was extracted and the production for subsequent years was much smaller. From 1904 to 1914 total production is estimated as 775kg gold. Ball (1916) reported an average grade of 18.75g/t gold was obtained at the Deep Ground for the 39 850t treated. The gold was recovered mainly by puddling but some strongly cemented ore required crushing by batteries. In 1916, the Black Ridge Gold Mining Syndicate was formed to work the deep ground at Black Ridge. The syndicate drilled a series of boreholes along the northern boundary of their lease with assistance from the Mines Department. The holes were drilled to 90m and indicated the lead strikes north-north-westerly. Low gold grades were intersected and as a result very little mining was conducted. The next attempt to revitalise this area was by Gold Mines of Australia Ltd in 1948. The company drilled 20 holes totalling 900m and outlined a target area for shaft sinking. The shaft reached bedrock at 105m. Drives were cut to the east for 26m and to the west for 27m but failed to locate sufficient auriferous ‘wash’ warranting a mining operation. The influence of high gold prices in 1980, led White Industries P/L in early 1987 to conduct an alluvial gold mining operation at Cement Hill where resources of 1.3Mt at 0.3g/t gold and 1.9Mt at 0.2g/t gold were estimated. By late 1988 the grades were consistently lower than assessed and the operation was phased down. Over the period of operations a total production of over 191kg gold was recovered. In 1987, a joint venture of Denison Resources Ltd and White industries conducted drilling in the Black Ridge area and postulated a potential inferred resource of up to 1Mt with grade of 0.5g/t gold. Underground exploration was conducted at the Herbert and Perseverance shafts. Bulk samples were collected and tested at the Black Johnson mine site. However, no mining was carried out. The surface material was almost invariable dry-blown or dry-jiggered. The gravels were puddled, whether they were clayey or not. The puddlers were erected adjacent to a constant supply of water (a permanent well) and the material was carted to them. Where the conglomerate was not cemented it was also worked by puddlers, but generally it was indurated and sent to the stamper battery for crushing similar to reef quartz. Surfacing was done by removing the whole of the soil and subsoil and laying bare the bedrock. The gold in the vicinity of Black Ridge occurs in ‘wash’ higher up the hillside. In some other localities the gold is residual from the weathered schists with auriferous quartz leaders. The poorer material was dry-jigged whereas the richer was dry-blown, and the very rich carted to the puddlers for treatment. Work was conducted at Gowrie Creek and continued southwards past Cumberlands lead through Flyspeck and Armenians Gully to Smiths workings and the Hard Hill Lead. Shallow sinking included the opening of shafts and working the wash to a depth of up to 15m deep. These were conducted at Fox’s Lead, Turkeys Nest, Cumberland Lead, Flyspeck, Smiths Workings, White Ground, Yellow Ground, Red Ground, Daintree’s Knob, Hard hills Lead, Blue Ground, and Old Cricket Ground. Deep sinking was generally from depths of 50m to 80m. The wash is very hard; it carries a fair amount of white quartz and pebbles of green schist, with much granite embedded in a cement of the same colour. ‘Tish’ is a local miner term for a rock made up entirely of fine or coarse angular fragments of schist, with the appearance of a detrital talus deposit, which is quite barren, though gold occurs both in the coarse ‘wash’ above and in the fine ‘wash’ below it. ‘Tish’ is also known as ‘fire rock’ when iron-stained and carried fine-grained gold. Lode Gold Clermont goldfield The principal lode gold occurrences lie to the south of Clermont, extending from McDonalds Flat west to Copperfield and beyond to the Drummond Range. North of Clermont there are minor occurrences at Apsley and Miclere. The early mining history of reef gold is scanty as most of the Ming Warden reports were mainly on alluvial gold mining in the Black Ridge, Miclere and Clermont areas. The reefs named Somersetshire, Doctor, Victoria, Christmas and Sultan in the McDonalds Flat area apparently were among the early discoveries, as was the Star of Hope (also worked by the Eldorado-Golden Gate-Day Dawn, Dolly Dixon-All Nations-Never Despair, Caledonia, Sons of Freedom, Ida Compton claims). Homeward Bound and Welcome reefs at North Copperfield were discovered around 1869. Due to the locally dry conditions and lack of ore crushing machinery, mining of the lodes could not be advanced to any extent. In 1879, the Iron Duke battery was erected at McDonalds Flat but the battery was not effective in treating the sulphide ore mainly from the Star of Hope line of reef, and the Doctor and Somersetshire line of reefs at McDonalds Flat. In 1881, two rich gold-bearing quartz leaders were discovered at Apsley Creek. The find did not live up to expectation as the leaders cut out at shallow depth. By 1888, a further discovery was made on the Drummond Range west of North Copperfield. This was the Venus line of reef (CLERMONT), which was worked and a small battery was erected to treat the ore. Near the summit of Mount Walker, 1.5km north-west of the old Venus Hotel, a west-dipping gold-bearing quartz leader was worked to a depth of 12m. The ore was very rich, but the ore shoot was narrow and cut out at the bottom of the shaft (Ball, 1906a). At Fig Tree Gully, a discovery of an area with alluvial and lode gold was reported (ARDM, 1901). The first crushing from the Fig Tree Gully was 1.9kg gold from 26t of ore. Other discoveries were on Brewery Creek where the Brother claim yielded 1.9kg gold from 22.5t of ore. Several claims were also taken up to work the Pioneer and New reefs at Western Creek. The quartz lode averaged 100mm and yielded 90g/t gold. Because of the distance to Clermont, any reefs yielding <60g/t gold were uneconomic to work. Very little effective lode mining was carried out from 1890 to 1897 apart from prospecting by shaft sinking to test the Somersetshire and Doctor, and the Star of Hope line of reefs. In 1898, the Hutsons and Co crushing machine commenced working and gave much hope to many reef miners who had taken up old claims. The total lode gold production from 1879 to 1901 from the McDonalds Flat and Copperfield areas was estimated at 307kg (Rands, 1886). In the 1900s, the Bedford reef was one of the significant lode gold producers in the field. A single return from cyaniding of tailings returned 3.2kg gold. However, underground development carried out to test the lode at depth met with little success. The Doctor, Sultan and New Idea at McDonalds Flat were worked where gold output came from narrow quartz leaders. The Star of Hope, which was abandoned for a long time, was reworked. In 1902, the underground workings reached 60m deep and produced 1500t of ore with a grade of 28g/t gold (14kg gold). In 1906, the Columbia lode was discovered in untried ground between Copperfield and McDonalds Flat. Trial crushing gave 0.8kg gold from 18t of ore. From 1910 to 1919, the attention of lode gold mining shifted to the Drummond Range. The reefs at Western Creek produced some rich specimen stone containing up to 0.4kg gold, and a parcel of 25t of ore crushed at the Black Ridge battery yielded 4.5kg gold. Bulk sampling of the tailings returned a grade of 50g/t gold. At Chinaman’s Gully in the Expedition Range the Petersen (Last Chance) mine was tested by shaft sinking and intersected a large body of ore formation containing native gold. Some rich specimens were obtained. However the cost of transport prohibited continuous working of the mine until a battery was set up in the field. The Grass Tree mine was worked and the lode averaged ~40g/t gold. A parcel of 6t of ore crushed at the Fig Tree 5-head battery returned 0.46kg (14.75oz) gold. However, no further work was conducted at the Fig Tree mine due to the local drought condition. Some underground prospecting work was conducted on the Venus, Bedford’s and Star of Hope reefs. The Venus lode produced some good results but a lack of finance and an uncertain grade of ore led to its abandonment. Work at the Star of Hope progressed well with a reported crushing of 1500t which yielded a return of <1oz per tonne. Mining for lode gold virtually ceased during the first half of 1920s. Some of the miners went to work for the Blair Athol coal mine. An exception to this was that some work was carried out at the Fig Tree mine in 1925, and ~6t of ore with grade up to 15g/t gold was raised at that time. No further work was conducted as there were shortages of funds and the transportation costs were too high for the ore to be payable. In 1926, prospecting in the Daintree Reef Prospecting Area near Sandy Creek located a 25–75mm wide gold-bearing quartz leader within an area of 15m long by 15m wide. About 480g gold were recovered from quartz leaders containing irregular shaped gold nuggets up to 90g in weight. The small quartz leaders cut out at ~5m deep. Another discovery was an east-trending quartz leader at Pine Gully, ~1km south of the Clermont hospital. The quartz is ~100mm wide, and returned a grade of 108g/t gold. The gold is fairly pure and occurs throughout the quartz leaders, some specimen stone carries up to 620g/t gold. In the 1930s, new discoveries were made in 1932 at the Southern Cross on Oaky Creek (MONTEAGLE), and in 1936 at Marjorie, north of Jimmy’s Well, Miclere (CLERMONT). The Southern Cross claim was applied for over two parallel reefs. A 2-head battery was erected on site and 19.5kg of gold was won from the crushing of 24t of ore. The mine was worked for the following ten years on ore averaging >60g/t gold. Two nearby claims, the Sunrise and Two Pointers were also applied to work the reefs. The Marjorie is the only reported lode occurring in the Miclere area. However, the lode had a short mine life and was worked out within a couple years of discovery. A parcel of 21t of ore was crushed and yielded 357g gold. In the McDonalds Flat area, the Garden lode was tested to a depth of 20m. High yields included 5.6kg gold from 55t of ore and 4.85kg gold from 39.5t of ore. The lode was mined out within four years of its discovery. During the 1930s the Bedford’s mine was reopened and mining from the 28m level yielded 2kg gold from 70t of ore. An additional return of 6kg gold from 180t of ore was obtained from the adjacent Sunshine lease. Prospecting work was also conducted at Copperfield where underground mining of the Dolly Nixon lode, also known as the Star of Hope West lode, produced 1.2kg gold from a crushing of 52t of ore. Prospecting successfully located three small reefs in the Expedition Creek area (MONTEAGLE). At Peterson a 5-head battery treated 40t of ore and yielded 1.3kg gold. The Grass Tree mine was worked and ~100t of ore was mined from the oxidised zone and crushing at the local battery yielded 1.6kg gold. The Southern Cross mine continued to produce in the early part of 1940s when 2.5kg gold was won from crushing 45t of ore. During the war years, shortage of labour decimated the field. Mining resumed at Southern Cross in 1947. A battery was erected on the bank of Oaky Creek ~3km away. About 18.3kg gold was won from 196t of ore. The mine was worked intermittently in the 1950s with a total production of 10.2kg gold from 321t of ore for that period.
LOCATION AND ACCESS The Clermont 1:250 000 Sheet area (SF 55-11), approximately 320km west-north-west of Rockhampton, is bounded by latitudes 22°00’S and 23°00’S and longitudes 147°00’E and 148°30’E in central Queensland. It consists of the FRANKFIELD (8353), KILCUMMIN (8453), GROSVENOR DOWNS (8553), MONTEAGLE (8352), CLERMONT (8452) and CLOTHERSTONE (8552) 1: 100 000 Sheet areas (Figure 1). The main regional centre Emerald lies ~95km south-east of Clermont. The Capricorn Highway connects Rockhampton to Longreach via Emerald, and the Gregory Highway provides access through Emerald to Clermont and Charters Towers in the north. All these roads are sealed. Major unsealed roads connect Clermont with Alpha to the west. Emerald lies on the main railway line connecting Rockhampton with Longreach, and a branch line connects Emerald with Clermont and the Blair Athol–Mackay line (Figure 2). The other main settlement is the town of Clermont. The Peak Downs Highway connects Clermont in the south-west to Mackay on the coast to the north-east.
A network of maintained, unsealed secondary roads provides access to station homesteads. Two-wheel drive vehicles can negotiate these roads in dry weather. Vehicle tracks of varying condition connect station homesteads with stock facilities on the properties. Off-road driving is possible in many parts of the area, particularly in the granite country, but locally dense stands of wattle, rosewood and sandalwood, as well as steep slopes, hinder access in some areas. Other areas are covered in dense brigalow, gidgee, lancewood or bendee scrubs.