A TRIP TO THE HIGHLANDS OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA.
Having visited the show at Balhannah, we took the opportunity of traversing a considerable portion of the country, comparatively unknown to the colonial public. We mean the gold region in the neighbourhood, and the rich lands to the north of Balhannah. Our stay being limited, we could not examine everything as we would wish, but the facts we ascertained will, we think, be found interesting.
By the kind permission of the Hon. John Morphett, Captain Phillips accompanied us to the diggings. The gold section of Mr O.Gilles, on the Onkaparinga, which is probably the most valuable on the river, adjoins Balhannah. The Gold Company possess a number of sections, both above and below Balhannah, which contain several miles of river frontage. The Company have divided their operations into two branches, both of which we visited.
That above Balhannah, at a distance of about five miles, is under the charge of Mr Adelberg, a Russian, who employs about 19 men. That below Balhannah, and close to that township, is under the charge of Captain Phillips, whose father was one of the principal tin-streamers in Cornwall, and who has himself had some experience as a tin-streamer. He employs about 12 men.
The two managers pursue very different systems. The great object, of course, is to separate the soil, stones, and other foreign matter from the gold. Mr Adelberg does it by means of a machine, which he has himself invented. He takes the soil from the river, washes it in his machine, and reduces it to a value of about £40 per ton, which he sends into town in order that the final process of entirely separating the gold may be there effected, and it is calculated that by an expenditure of £8 10s., a value of £25 is produced. It is further stated that three barrowsful per minute, valued at l shilling each, can be produced by seven men.
Captain Phillips pursues quite a different plan from that pursued in Cornwall, in streaming for tin. This plan consists in washing away the entire upper or alluvial soil, and concentrating the deposits of gold, the gravel and rocks of the substratum, before proceeding to the process of separation. By this mode he can ultimately accomplish more in one day than can be done by the other mode in a month, but then he must wait for the coming of the waters. He cannot take away the alluvium unless the river flows, and it only flows during the rainy or winter season.
At present, therefore, he is merely making preparations and experiments. It is known that the richest deposits of gold are at the bottom of the pools, and some of these he is draining, in order to satisfy the proprietors. He proposes also to form a large reservoir where the waters shall deposit the gold contained in the alluvium of the banks, which he throws into the river when it flows.
The Captain washed several portions of the soil in a hollow shovel, in our presence, and produced from some of the shovelfuls four or five, and in one instance no less than seventeen particles of gold. The gold is detected by colour and weight. By repeated manipulation and passing through water, the contents of the shovel are at last reduced to sand, fine particles of iron and rock, and particles of gold.
These, when the shovel is shaken, always maintain separate positions. First the gold, then particles of rock, then iron, and then sand, and we noticed the gold at the distance of several yards. The country in the neighbourhood of the Onkaparinga is much diversified, and there is a large tract of stringy bark ranges, which are barren, but immediately adjoining are very fine valleys, and tracts of as rich land as any in the high districts; and it is well known that a large portion of the land in these high districts cannot be surpassed in the world.
It, therefore, did not surprise us to learn, that for some considerable estates £7 per acre could at any time be procured. Here also, as in other parts of the colony, new springs and streamlets have broken out. One of the latter was pointed out rising on the estate of Glensloy, which runs the whole year. As a proof of the progress of this district, a flour mill has just been erected in the neighbourhood of Balhannah by Messrs Driffields Parr and Co.
This will be a vast advantage to the neighbourhood, as not only will cartage over the worst roads in the province be saved, but the settlers will be able with the bran to feed pigs and poultry, which are a most important and lucrative adjunct to cultivation in this country.
St Thomas Anglican Cemetery
Below are SOME of the headstones of the Balhannah Cemetery. In an attempt to save as much space as possible and increase the speed of downloading, only part of the stone is displayed. Flinders Ranges Research has a full photograph of each of these, and many others as well.