Tuesday, 8 July 2014

John William Hillcoat - Gympie

Selection of articles from Trove re John William Hillcoat in the Gympie area.

Threlkeld's quartz crushing machine is now ready to commence operations, but the first crushing has been postponed to Monday next. Through the courtesy of Mr Hillcoat, the superintendent, I am in a position to give you some particulars concerning the establishment, which I took an opportunity of inspecting this morning. The site is admirably chosen at a convenient part of the first pocket, scarcely a mile from the Post Office and just beyond the Chinese camp. The Victoria, Golden Currie, and Boulton reefs run directly towards it to the south. There are ten stampers, and the engine is of eight horse power nominal, the whole machinery being from the foundries of Messrs P N Russell and Co, in Sydney. Steam was got up for a trial on Monday and Tuesday last, and everything worked most satisfactorily, no jarring or vibration of any kind being perceptible. The tank is fed by a pump worked by the engine, and the first well, thirty three feet deep, is forty feet below. The pipes pass from the base of this well through a tunnel 4 feet 6 inches in height, and 3 feet 6 inches in width. At distances of forty feet from well No 1 down to the river bank, are other slabbed wells or shafts, to enable the pipes to be periodically examined and repaired with facility, whenever necessary. The tunnel is very well constructed, having set props every four feet from the main well at the river side to the first well at the lower shed. Taking a glance at the whole premises, it is at once palpable that all the works are completed throughout in the most substantial manner. The engineer's laboratory is in the enclosed yard, and that department is under the supervision of Mr Bennett, of Sydney. It has been questioned whether the onging is sufficiently powerful to efficiently work the ten stampers and the pump simultaneously .There is, however, little doubt that it will perform the double duty satisfactorily, as three men turning the pump wheel with wooden spokes not regularly fitted to, are able to send the water in large quantities to the tank.
Brisbane Courier 11 September 1868

The serpentine allurements of the Black Snake succeed in concentrating in that locality about 150 persons, who are all engaged in reefing. The Shamrock, Black Snake, Mariners', and Table Land are exclusively the lines of reef operated on, whilst returns ranging from 5dwts. to 11 ozs. to the ton continue to afford requitement and hope to the owners. In connection with this section of the mining interest, Mr. Hillcoat, manager of the Hope Machine, kindly furnished me with interesting statistics which, as compiled from the machine register, show that from February, I870, the date of commencement, to December 31st, 1870, there were crushed 1208 tons of quartz for a yield of 1507 ozs. 15 dwts. gold, or an average yield per ton of 1 oz. 4 dwts. 23 grs. Nothing can better demonstrate the value of the reefing interest in this district than the plain rendering of these few figures. In consequence of there not being sufficient employment, the Hope Machine is engaged only 12 hours a day. The reefers have a decidedly satisfied look, whilst the machine manager, Mr. Hillcoat, by way of offering a guarantee for the future, is erecting spacious and costly dwelling, which bids fair to surpass in architectural elegance most ordinary bush habitations.Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser 26 January 1871

OUR KILKIVAN CORRESPONDENT.   (To the Editor of the Chronicle.)   Black Snake, February 1, 1871.  
Sir, — I have just seen your issue of the 26 th ult., and must beg to be allowed to say a few words in reference to your correspondent's remarks on Kilkivan, especially as far as it refers to the Black Snake. Your correspondent has been wrongly informed with regard to the number of persons located on the Black Snake. If he had left out the 1 before the 50, he would have been nearer the mark, and even then he would have over-estimated the number. The quantity of stone crushed at the machine, as also the average yield per ton, is correct; and I fully endorse your correspondent's ideas with regard to the mineral resources of the district, and I believe that with capital to open the different reefs which are known to contain gold, silver and copper in payable quantities, this would be one of the richest districts in Queensland. It would be useless for men to come here without money, thinking they could get a payable reef at once, for they would only be disappointed. It is by companies alone that this place can be worked with profit. The Shamrock line of reef is one that in my opinion would well repay a capitalist. The crushings have averaged from 6 to 8 dwts. to the ton. No. 3 south has yielded from 1oz. to 2½ozs. to the ton. This line, with the exception of No. 8, is abandoned, the men engaged not having sufficient money to sink a deep shaft and test the ground at a depth of 150 to 200 feet. The tailings are valuable, containing a large percentage of gold in the iron pyrites, which can not be extracted by the ordinary crushing mill. The gold is of very superior quality, and realises from £3 12s. to £3 14s. 3d. per ounce in Gympie. I have no hesitation in saying that in Victoria such a line of reef would not be vacant a day, but would be made to return a handsome dividend to shareholders. The success of the trial of 3 tons -of ore from the prospectors claim , Marina's Reef, first crushed at the machine, and the concentrated tailings treated in the trace, and afterwards manipulated by Mr Cossins, has been so satisfactory that ground adjoining has been taken up, and formed into a small company, and will be tested in the same manner for gold, silver, and copper. With regard to the postal communication, it would be a very great convenience if the Post-master would have a bag made up for Black Snake. The mail contract is for a weekly mail to Kilkivan, via Black Snake if required. The road for a horse-mail is good, and one or two miles nearer than by Mullally's, and it would save the inhabitants a ride of 25 miles for their letters, a delay of a week in answering, and another ride of 25 miles, to post letters. One more remark with reference to your correspondent's idea of a "spacious and costly dwelling being erected by the manager as a guarantee for the future." I am erecting a plain cottage of three bedrooms and a sitting room, just large enough to contain my family (eleven in all), having no pretension in any way to an architectural elegance, and at the very smallest possible outlay. Yours, &c.,         J. W. Hillcoat,         Manager Hope Machine.
Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser 7 February 1871

At the monthly sitting of the Gympie Land Court, on the 2nd instant, the following applications were conditionally approved by the. acting  Commissioner:
homestead. J. W. Hillcoat, 160 acres, pastoral, Noosa River;
Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser 12 October1872

THE Gympie Times of Saturday last, says   "At the usual monthly sitting of the Land Court, held on Wednesday last, twenty-two   applications for 4192 acres of land were conditionally approved by the Lands Commissioner:
The following are the applications:  J. W. Hillcoat, 1280 acres, second class pastoral, Tinana Creek;
Brisbane Courier 11 October 1873

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