photos and stories from the Powerhouse Museum
Gold has played a vital role in the development and prosperity of Australia ever since the famous goldrushes of the 1850s. This image shows a view of the Mount Boppy Gold Mine at Canbelego east of Cobar in northwest New South Wales. Mount Boppy was one of the most successful gold mining ventures in Australia in the early part of the twentieth century.
By the 1900s the time of the ‘digger’ striking it rich on the goldfields was long gone. Serious capital investment, heavy industrial equipment and well organised processing were required to access the riches held deeper in the earth. The Mount Boppy Gold-mining company was formed in London in 1900 with 110,000 one pound shares – a considerable capital investment for the time. Mining commenced in 1901 and by the end of 1911 shareholders had received a 350% return on their investment.
From 1901 to 1922 the Mount Boppy Mine produced 13.5 tonnes of gold from about one million tonnes of mined ore. In 1905 the mine employed 300 mine and supported the nearby town of Canbelego with a population of 1,500 people. It is estimated that the mine contributed 50,000 pounds per annum to the New South Wales economy.
The Museum holds a series of images of gold mining and processing at Mount Boppy dating from 1905.
Ref: Ken McQueen, ‘The Mount Boppy Gold Mine, NSW: A leader in its Day and More to Come’ Journal of Australasian Mining History, Vol 3 September 2005.