Celebrating South Australia


25 August 1838 Glen Osmond Mine

 25 August 1838 Glen Osmond Mine

On 25 August 1838 the South Australian register reported that copper had been discovered on Section 295 at Glen Osmond. This was the property of Osmond Gilles, the Colonial Treasurer, where some galena had been found by accident. It was some time before a mine, reputed to be the first in Australia, was operational but from about 1844 the silver lead mine was worked with the ore yielding 64% lead and 9½ ounces of silver to the ton. The Glen Osmond Mining Company, with a paid-up capital of £30,000, was formed in London and over the years of operation £30,000 worth of silver and lead was extracted, although this was roughly equivalent to the costs of setting it up and running the mine. In 1844 167 tons were exported and a further 1009 tons in the following years. A smelting works was erected in the first gully east of the quarry, with an underground flue to the chimney; in 1847 two blocks of miners’ cottages were built. Osmond Gilles’ brother, Lewis, came from Tasmania to manage the mine. The exodus of miners to Victoria in the gold rush and a dispute over the royalties paid to Osmond Gilles put an end to the mining and the property reverted to Gilles. The stone chimney on the hill at Glen Osmond is the only visible reminder of this short-lived venture.

V.S. Hicks, O.G. The Colonial Treasurer, 1985.