Ooloo Silver Lead Mine

The Ooloo
Silver Lead Mine.

This mine, situated on Murnpeowie station on the Strzelecki Track, was discovered in 1923. Within a year it was stated by the Mines Department that the discovery did not appear to become a mine of any significance, but that there was justification for further exploration by a small syndicate. Eventually it was opened up in the 1930s. The Ooloo Silver Lead Mining Company NL. was formed on 8 January 1936. The company's capital came from the issue of seven hundred shares of five pound each. It bought three mineral claims, number 11,850, 15,099 and 15,098, from Hermann Rieck, who had discovered the deposit, and paid for it with four hundred fully paid up shares in the company. Out of this parcel of four hundred shares Rieck had to pay Joseph Henry Turner of Cowell 133 shares for assistance rendered.

Later his son Frank wrote in Life as I see it, that when his father discovered the deposit he thought that at last his battle for years had ended. He also hoped that fortunes would soon be revealed by the large area of surface tracings and indications of two separate lodes of ore carrying good prospects of silver and lead. Samples assayed gave up to 120 ounces of silver and up to 80% of lead to the ton. With figures like these it was perhaps understandable that Hermann dreamed of the establishment of a large city next to his mine.

The first directors of the newly formed company were Hirsch Krantz of Magill, Wilton G. Venus of Fullarton, Otto Heysen of Tusmore and Hermann Rieck of Port Augusta, who was also going to be the mine's manager at five pounds per week. A fair amount of work had already been done by Rieck who had opened up two distinct lodes showing lead, silver, zinc and small quantities of gold. Both lodes ran in an east-west direction and could be traced on the surface for a distance of some four hundred metres. Two shafts had been sunk, one of ten metres on the southern side and another shaft of twenty-three metres on the northern side of the lode.

An offer to buy the ore had been received from O.T. Lenspriere and when a hundred shares had been sold the company proposed to start further work. By 10 February 108 shares had been sold and work was commenced. Among the shareholders there were several Turners, including Samuel Reginald Turner of Lock and Russell James Turner of Mangalo. There was also a Clifford Reuben Davison of Adelaide and Ernest Riches of Murnpeowie.

It all looked very promissing and Joseph Henry Turner bought an additional seven shares, taking his holding now to one hundred and forty. Ernest Riches had bought another six and now held twenty shares.

A year later Krantz as chairman, reported to the board of directors that a loss of 225 pounds. had been made and would be carried forward. To develop the mine during the past year had cost 562 pounds. Of that amount the sum of 160 pounds had been obtained from the Mines Department as a subsidy, which had to be repaid. The report also stated that during the past year the directors had worked closely with the Mines Department and following their recommendation transferred its operations to the northern lode.

A contract was let for the deepening of the excisting shaft and in view of previous assays of ore taken from this shaft, some interesting reports should be available in the near future. Last but not least it was pointed out that, in order to conserve all the funds possible for the further development of the mine, the directors had agreed not to accept any fees for their services.

On 12 March 1938 Joseph Henry Turner was elected director of the company and had one of the shafts named after him. He had to solve several problems. During the dry weather the track to the mine was passable but work had to be done on it to carry heavy traffic. A dam had to be constructed before a large number of men could be employed and a diesel pump had to be installed to keep the shafts free of water. All this would need a lot of capital, which was not available.

Share Certificate kindly supplied by Harold Riches.

Finance was provided on 26 April 1938 when share capital was increased with an issue of an additional 63,000 shares of ten shillings. Shareholders came from all walks of life and from all over South Australia, including Eyre Peninsula. Even with the additional money the company was unsuccessful and on 30 May 1939 it was decided that it would be wound up volutarily.


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