SANDY CREEK/COCKATOO VALLEY - SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Located within the Houghton inlier
Sandstone, medium to coarse grained, grey, brown, green, quartzitic to micaceous to clayey, flaggy, heavy mineral layers, cross bedding, lenticular bedding; phyllite.
Min & Max: Torrensian
The Barossa Cement, named by local miners was deposited in the Tertiary (15 million years ago) in the Victoria Hill area of the Barossa Goldfields. The conglomerate was cemented with sand, rounded quartz pebbles, and boulders, it represents a large lake environment once active 15 million years ago. That lake once expanded north towards Kapunda.
Gold in Victoria Hill was eroded from outcropping reefs along the hills with sand and gravel that washed into old drainage channels, up to 30 meters of alluvial materials were deposited in those channels. Uplift in the area 2 million years ago pushed the Barossa Cement upwards where it was eroded away and now remains as capping to the hills in the area.
Minerals In Quartz Veins
The South Para River
The Barossa Goldfields
Once the Barossa Goldfields suffered their demise, the majority of the miners scattered or moved away completely to the newer discoveries at Watt's Gully, where a new smaller rush began.
- THE UKAPARIIVGA SCHIST: A COPPER-BEARING BIOTITE SCHIST NEAR WILLIAMSTOWN, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Victoria Hill (Alluvial Shaft Mining)
More than 100 shafts are located on Victoria Hill and were worked as Alluvial Shafts, a number produced up to 10 ounces (310 grams) of gold, the majority produced almost nothing at all, the gold was coarse with many smaller nuggets, the largest found within Victoria Hill was 5 ounces (156 grams).
The gold here was deposited within ancient river channels, now covered by 24 meters of sand, clay lenses, and gravel. Shafts were sunk deep in the middle of each claim for the wash dirt (Pay Dirt). To reach the wash dirt, it took 4 weeks of digging to bottom the mine, then testing for pay dirt and payable gold took place if the tests came in positive horizontal shafts were then opened below the vertical shaft and pillars were left behind for support as pay dirt was removed.
Once the pay dirt was removed and brought to the surface so the clay could be separated by puddling (removing clay), panning, and cradling. A lot of the time the pay dirt has been 'cemented' and has to be crushed before gold could be separated.
The shafts are rectangular in shape, some still have the holds visible that miners used to climb in and out, tools like picks, chisels, crowbars hammers, and spades were used to dig out the verticle shafts. On occasion, gunpowder was used to blast 'cement' so operations could continue. To move the mullock (waste rock) to the surface a windlass was operated, to vent the deeper shafts windsails were used. To prevent collapse and dumping mullock the shaft collars were timbered.
Abandoned Mine Adits
A number of mineral claims were marked out covering 40 acres near the South Para River, those claims were placed down after the discovery of a wide gold-bearing quartz reef in 1895, the Belle of the Barossa Mine was once one of those claims.
Underground Mine Adits of the Barossa Goldfields
The first mine tunnel on the hike is comprised of a short underground tunnel and a vertical shaft. Mining was done in the below Precambrian Gneiss formed 1500 million years ago, this was because the ancient Alluvial deposits of the Barossa Cement were much harder to mine.
Belle of Barossa Mine:
The mining claim was put down in 1895 with several others, when sinking shafts several gold-rich specimens were discovered in a 1-meter wide quartz vein in crystalline gneiss, those specimens were put on display in Gawler. No economic ore was ever found within the mine so operations ceased in 1897.
A few hundred meters down the gully to the northwest of the Menzies Barossa Mine is the copper and gold-bearing Mckenzies Tunnel, this was discovered in 1899. The mine was following quartz veins in the Barossa Complex Metasediment.
The Pheonix Tunnel was focused on a gold-bearing reef
Lady Pearce Tunnel:
Lady Pearce Tunnel No. 2:
Lady Pearce Extended:
(Return to site for Photo)
A Major Economic Disaster
Menzies Barossa Mining Co & Lady Pearce Syndicate Partnership
Menzies Barossa Main Shaft:
When the Lady Pearce Syndicate and the Menzies Barossa Gold Mining Co amalgamated in 1897, they created the 60-meter deep vertical shaft of the Menzies Barossa Mine to intersect a gold-bearing reef that the once active Phoenix Tunnel was previously mining. The tunnel was then driven north and to the south to connect the Phoenix Tunnel with the Lady Pearce Tunnel and to move ore to the surface via steam power. Those two tunnels never ended up connecting.
A 13.5-meter high oregon headframe was built over the 60-meter deep shaft with a winding gear to connect with a small winding engine. A landing brace was made to house the ore after that it was tipped into trucks and taken by a horse-drawn tramway to the battery house. The original shaft was 4.3 by 1.5 meters and was once timbered to the surface, the shaft was divided into three sections for the ladderway, pumping equipment, and ore hauling.
In September 1897 the shaft reached a depth of 65 meters, some drivers and cross-cuts were also made, the battery began operations in March of 1888, 1,500 tons of ore had then been stockpiled. The first-ever cruising was a major economic disaster and operations were forced to cease in 1888.
Uhlman, M.W, Ware, M.D, Scott, W.D., Shannon, C.H.C, & Archer, D.S. (1987). Para Wirra. Quarterly reports to licence expiry for the period 5/11/1984 to 1/3/1988. Record 1 of 3. SARIG.
Department of environment and planning, Department of Mines and Energy. (n.d.). Menzies Barossa Main Shaft [Photograph, and information]. Barossa Goldfields Walking Trail.
Mines and Energy South Australia & Department of Energy and Natural Resources. (1996, August). The Barossa Goldfields a guide to the walking trail. Steed Press, 1–7.
South Australian Government. (n.d.). SARIG geological map. SARIG.
Department of environment and planning, Department of Mines and Energy. (n.d.). Alluvial Shaft Mining [Photograph, and information]. Barossa Goldfields Walking Trail.
Department of environment and planning, Department of Mines and Energy. (n.d.). Barossa Cement [Photograph, and information]. Barossa Goldfields Walking Trail.
Department of environment and planning, Department of Mines and Energy. (n.d.). Belle of Barossa Mine [Photograph, and information]. Barossa Goldfields Walking Trail.