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Union Jack Mine

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  • Brochure Page from a Percydale Goldfields Heritage Tour information brochure
  • Union jack mine pha 4
Fiddlers Track, Percydale VIC 3478

Features

The Union Jack mine in Percydale features an impressive open cut as well as many open shafts and an adit. The mine is bordered by a fence for safety. This is a dangerous mine site - keep away from the open shafts, children must be well supervised, and keep any dogs you bring along on a lead.

Find more abandoned mines of the Victorian Goldfields here.

The following text is printed in a brochure for the Percydale Goldfields Heritage Tour:

Like most Fiddlers Creek reefs, Union Jack Reef was probably worked during the 1870s. The battery site and cyanide works appear to date to c. 1904.

Open stope
On the crown of a steep hill is a 30 metre deep open stope which is approximately 50 metres long and 30 metres wide. There are at least three adits and two open shafts located in the open stope.

Haulage adit
At the base of the hill, west side, is an open adit which has a 30 metre long narrow cutting. Running north from this cutting, past a water dam, is a 200 metre long tramway embankment which terminates as a loading bay.

Battery
At the base of the loading ramp is a narrow depression which once contained the wooden foundations for a 10 head of stamps (edit: a newspaper article printed in 1881 reports a 12 head battery in use at Union Jack mine, see below). Below the stamper foundations are the remains of several small concrete mounting beds (1/2" mounting bolts) and some sections of a concrete floor.

Cyanide works
To the west of the battery site is a 50 metre long dump of tailings which has three well preserved 18ft diameter galvanized iron cyanide vats. At the base of the tailings dump is a small galvanized iron drainage vat.

The following text was published in The Avoca Mail, 06 Dec 1881:

UNION JACK COMPANY, PERCYDALE

The half-yearly meeting of the above company was held on Wednesday, at the Club Hotel, Lydiard street. A large number of shares were represented. Mr J. F. Paten was voted to the chair on the motion of Messrs Corbett and Smith. The directors' and mining manager's reports and the balance sheet were then read as follow : 

Directors' Report

"Since our last meeting we have had the pleasure of commencing returns in a very substantial form and our first crushing was, as you are aware highly satisfactory, and we do not doubt but that the present crushing will be equally profitable.

Our financial position would have been better but for one misfortune - the dam leaked. This has been remedied, and we are now in full swing, but owing to the above mishap, we deemed it needful to call a special meeting to increase the capital. The increase we will ask you to authorise when the time comes, as it can do no harm and might prove very beneficial. You will please observe that we are paying Messrs Hall and Inglis 50 per cent of the gross yield of gold until we have paid them a total of £400 as per agreement, when our returns will place us in a much better position. This Company is much indebted to the Barnes Company, for their waste water and you are fortunate in having such kindly disposed neighbours. We shall shortly have a sufficient supply for our own use from the main shaft, when we trust our troubles on that score will be over. 

For information as to the works of the mine and its prospects, we have great pleasure in referring you to the elaborate report of the mining manager. - Wake Copeland, Chairman : T. H. Thompson, Manager.

Mining Manager's Report

"During the past six months a great deal of progressive work has been done, and the stone proven by the crushings in our own battery to be highly remunerative. Our present position is as follows : - The battery is one of 12 heads, with suitable boiler power, and good gold-saving appliances. The main shaft is being cut down and will shortly be finished, when we shall drive for the lode, and expect a good supply of water. The intermediate shaft is in good stone, and east, north and west drives all open up good quartz. The north drive especially we are pushing ahead, to connect it with our northern working at Hall and Inglis' old shaft.  At the north-west shaft we have good stone, and indeed, taken as a whole, I consider the mine is opening up first rate. 

We hope to have no more stoppages for want of water. The dam is in good order, and our supply is largely augmented by the waste water coming from Barnes Company. The claim has been carefully and judiciously enlarged, so that the share holders of this company may reap the benefit of their prospecting and the capital invested." 

Half-yearly balance sheet

Receipts - To balance forward, £43 10s 11d ; capital, £1078 3s ; gold, £161 8s 7d ; claim, £2 12s 6d ; balance, £169 1s 11d ; total £1457 16s 11d. 

Expenditure - By salaries and wages, £404 0s 6d ; contract. £462 5s 6d ; machinery and plant, £360 0s 7d;
claim, £108 ; ironmongery, £42 ; which together with a few small accounts made a total of £1457 16s 11d.

The general balance-sheet showed receipts amounting to £2075 5s 6d.

The auditors, Messrs Harvey and Pinnell, reported the books and accounts all correct. The reports and balance-sheet were adopted.

The chairman congratulated the shareholders in having a mine that if properly worked would be second to none in the colony. Everything depended on good management, and he hoped that the Union Jack would not share the fate of many other mines in the Avoca district, viz., be ruined by ignorance and mismanagement. 

The following directors were then appointed 
Messrs Ware Copeland, Henry Copeland (N.S.W.). John F. Paten, W. H. Longwill, and A. H. Corbett.

Messrs Harvey and Pinnell were re-elected auditors. A vote of thanks to the chairman brought the meeting to a close.

A few earlier paragraphs regarding the Union Jack mine:

Published in the Avoca Mail, 21 Jun 1881

Union Jack - Percydale

Whilst sinking north shaft used the mullock for filling-up for three "stulls," so that he has now three faces or stopes of good stone in the north workings ready to commence breaking quartz from at any time. Now engaged fixing screw and staging in connection with valve at dam. Contractors have commenced to take down machinery at Elaine.

Published in the Sydney Morning Herald, 5 Oct 1881

The mining manager of the Union Jack Co. Percydale, reports: "At the intermediate shaft we have completed cutting the chamber, and started driving north. The reef is improved in size as it is being opened up, and some of the stone showing splendid gold. I have fixed a whip on this shaft, and got it ready for working, and making ladders to put in, so shall do away with the windlass altogether in a few days. 

North Shaft: Putting in a large drive on the east leg; fair gold-bearing stone still continuing in that direction; drive now in 11 feet from shalt. l am starting the slopes about 20 feet behind the present face, where there is good quartz to commence on. The contractor for erection of machinery will get through the biggest of the work this week."



DID YOU KNOW...

  • Evidence of the mid-late 1800's gold rush can be found throughout the Victorian goldfields in the form of abandoned mine shafts and tunnels, mullock heaps, buildings and ruins, circular puddling troughs, remains of cyanide vats, and quartz kilns.
  • Gold prospecting is the recreational act of searching for natural gold deposits in the ground using tools such as gold detectors, gold pans and gold sluices. The Goldfields region of Victoria is a popular destination for gold prospectors, with many of the world's largest alluvial gold nuggets found in the area!
 

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