Albert Goldfield / Warratta Town | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Albert Goldfield / Warratta Town

Item details

Name of item: Albert Goldfield / Warratta Town
Type of item: Archaeological-Terrestrial
Group/Collection: Mining and Mineral Processing
Category: Mineral Discovery site
Location: Lat: -29.5966488502 Long: 141.8390315560
Primary address: 25km south of Silver City Highway, Tibooburra, NSW 2880
Local govt. area: Unincorporated
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Tibooburra
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT843 DP762124
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
25km south of Silver City HighwayTibooburraUnincorporated  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Office of Environment and HeritageState Government26 Nov 98

Statement of significance:

The Albert Goldfield is of state significance. It irrevocably altered the nature of the northwest of the state, giving it considerable regional importance. It was the first mining locality to tap into the arid country mineral fields of Australia and as such paved the way for the mineral exploration of the Australian interior using a range of technologies for arid country goldmining that originated on the Albert Goldfield. The overall integrity and intactness of the structures is high allowing their form, function and interrelationship to be easily established. The archaeological remains are particularly illustrative and informative of geological and mining techniques of the period and have the potential to provide further research information relating to the miners responses to their surroundings, especially distance from service and population centres, aridity, the area's geology and the skewed sex ratios of the area.
Date significance updated: 03 Apr 06
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Construction years: 1880-
Physical description: Albert Goldfield and Albert Town are situated approximately 25 kilometres south of Tibooburra along the Silver City Highway. Nine structures built of local stone are standing above the surface of the ground and another three masonry structures are fairly close to the ground. The remains are spread over an area of c. 50 metres north - south and 150 metres east - west. The masonry structures generally consist of fire places and wall alignments mostly constructed of mass angular sedimentary chunks of slate. Evidence of superstructures is limited.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The overall integrity and intactness of the structures is high allowing their form, function and interrelationship to be easily established. The archaeological remains are particularly illustrative and informative of geological and mining techniques of the period and have the potential to provide further research information relating to the miners responses to their surroundings, especially distance from service and population centres, aridity, the area's geology and the skewed sex ratios of the area.
Date condition updated:31 Mar 06
Current use: National Park
Former use: Gold Mine

History

Historical notes: Gold was first discovered in the area during October 1880, when John Thompson and a friend found payable gold at Mt Poole. About five months later James Evans found found about 14 ounces of alluvial gold at Mount Brown. News of the find caused a rush to this remote location. As the country was opened up, rushes also occurred at Easter Monday, Good Friday, Nuggety Hill, The Granites and many other areas as gold was found. Reefs such as the Pioneer and Warratta Creek were found. In a very short space of time as auriferous belt some 50 miles by 10 ahd been opened up.

This became known as the Albert goldfield with Milparinka as the main settlement. Milparinka is an Aboriginal word meaning water can be found here. As there was no water at Mt Browne, the miner's chose to camp at Evelyn Creek, which later became known as Milparinka

The discovery of gold at Mt Browne, some twenty miles south of Mt Poole was announced in February 1881 amid much scepticism from the print media. Newspapers warned prospective miners of the many deaths from thirst and heat which had occurred when a similar rush had occurred 150 miles south of Mt Poole. Despite these dire warnings, over one thousand men soon flocked to the site of the new discovery. The Albert or Mt Browne goldrush had begun.

The Albert Goldfield was declared in early 1881. By the end of 1881, several of the 25 quartz claims near Warratta Creek had been formed into public companies, based in Melbourne and Adelaide. It was reported that gold showed freely in the quartz veins, but the Mining Warden warned that shortages of timber, firewood and the high cost of transporting materials and equipment would make the cost of extraction high.

Conditions were harsh and miners tended to converge on sites where water, no matter how small the amount, existed. Such supplies were quickly exhausted. Water shortages prompted the carting of excavated soil from Mt Browne to Milparinka for washing. Other miners resorted to dry-blowing to extract the gold. At times, neither teams of bullocks or horses could transport supplies into the field and miners were reported to go for days without flour, subsisting on mutton and ?wild spinach' which grew near the creeks. Camel trains, travelling overland from Beltana in South Australia were introduced to help alleviate transportation problems. Illness also took its toll on the miners. In 1882 temporary hospitals had to be established at Milparinka and Tibooburra as scurvy and ophthalmia (Barcoo Rot) were rife and there were many deaths from dysentery and a fever similar to typhoid fever.

Albert Town was established in 1882 and sits between two arms of Warratta Creek. Warratta Reef (later known as The Reefs), discovered in 1881 as part of the initial exploration of the Albert Goldfield, and worked continuously from that time onwards is immediately to the west, while the Pioneer, Elizabeth, Phoenix and Rosemount reefs are to the east of the creek.

Warratta Reef was mined by trenching following particular visible quartz seams and other exploratory trenches running across the line of reefs to intercept buried reefs. A number of shafts and shallow holes were dug. Because of the aridity of the area the technique of dry-blowing was a major source of gold yield. Initially this was through dish winnowing, and later machines were developed.

The goldfield had a great impact on the remote region, bringing a range of resources, including goods, labour, capital investment and public awareness to the Corner Country. The influx of resources can be seen in how the area competed, although only for a year or two, with Silverton as a successful centre in the far west of New South Wales.

By the end of 1882 the goldfield had settled into an established demographic pattern which saw Milparinka and Tibooburra as the major centres, Mt Browne as a struggling community with sporadic bursts of alluvial mining and Albert as a struggling community which was abandoned before the turn of the century.

While initially producing 11,900 ounces in 1881 gold production declined markedly with only 387 ounces produced in 1906. Both the drought and Depression of the 1890s severally impacted on the Albert Goldfield and can be related to the decline in production.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Plains and plateaux supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
2. Peopling-Peopling the continent Migration-Activities and processes associated with the resettling of people from one place to another (international, interstate, intrastate) and the impacts of such movements Gold rush-led migration-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Camel trains-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Mining-Activities associated with the identification, extraction, processing and distribution of mineral ores, precious stones and other such inorganic substances. prospecting for gold-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Mining-Activities associated with the identification, extraction, processing and distribution of mineral ores, precious stones and other such inorganic substances. miner's cottage-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Mining-Activities associated with the identification, extraction, processing and distribution of mineral ores, precious stones and other such inorganic substances. Mining for gold-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Mining-Activities associated with the identification, extraction, processing and distribution of mineral ores, precious stones and other such inorganic substances. Miners' accommodation and living conditions-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Mining-Activities associated with the identification, extraction, processing and distribution of mineral ores, precious stones and other such inorganic substances. staking claims-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Mining-Activities associated with the identification, extraction, processing and distribution of mineral ores, precious stones and other such inorganic substances. Transporting gold-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Living as a hermit-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Townships-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Leasing land for mining-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Vernacular towns serving a specific industry-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Shaping inland settlements-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Urban landscapes inspiring creative responses-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages A quiet Rural District-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Gold mining-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in mines and quarries-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting heritage places-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Has a national significant because the Albert Goldfield was the first mining locality to tap into the arid country mineral fields of Australia, and as such paved the way for mineral exploration of the Australian interior. The Albert Goldfield saw the start of a range of technologies being developed for arid country gold mining which were used to great effect elsewhere in the Northern Territory, Queensland and especially Western Australia. It was effectively, the springboard for the desert goldfields of Australia.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The setting of the Albert Goldfield and Albert Town are aesthetically pleasing as an arid landscape. The appearance of the building remains, ash heaps, mining trenches and other cultural remains within the complex is evocative of the romance of the historical period of gold mining.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Albert Goldfield is socially significant as Albert Town and the Albert Goldfield reveal the responses of the miners to their surroundings, especially distance from service and population centres, aridity, the area's geology and the skewed sex ratios of the area.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
That distinctive Australian arid country adaptation for gold prospecting, dry-blowing originated on the Albert Goldfield. Some of the archaeological remains are particularly illustrative and informative of geological and mining techniques of the period, while other remains can contribute useful information on the lifestyles of miners and others, all of which has the capacity to contribute to a range of pertinent research issues in historical archaeology and social history.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Albert Goldfield is the oldest Australian example of the response to gold prospecting in arid conditions in the form of dry-blowing.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Albert Goldfield is representative of a unique response to mining in an arid environment.
Integrity/Intactness: Integrity and intactness are high. Almost all of the structures retain enough original fabric to allow their form, function and interrelationship to be easily established.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0097502 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
National Parks & Wildlife Service Section 170 Register  National Parks & Wildlife Service  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Albert Goldfield (within Sturt National Park) View detail
TourismTourism NSW2007Sturt National Park View detail

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5014102


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