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5 July 1845 Kapunda copper mine

 5 July 1845 Kapunda copper mine

On 5 July 1845 the Adelaide Observer gave a description of the Kapunda copper mine that stated ‘£3600 worth of ores have been raised in the short space of six weeks’. Copper had been discovered in 1842 when Francis Dutton of ‘Anlaby’, while looking for sheep during a storm, noticed some green rock. He consulted his neighbour, Captain Charles Bagot of ‘Koonunga’, who produced a similar piece of rock found by his son. The two men kept the discovery secret until they could purchase the land on which it was found and then agreed that Bagot would have a 75% share and Dutton 25% in the mine. Bagot decided to manage the mine himself and had little trouble in getting experienced Cornish miners to come and work. The mine did well, and by 1846 smelting operations were begun and the town of Kapunda started to grow. With the discovery of gold in Victoria in the 1850s many miners left slowing production for a time, but the mine continued to operate until about 1880 after which only tributers, miners working for themselves and paying a percentage of their earnings to the proprietors, worked on.

Rob Charlton, The History of Kapunda, Hawthorn Press, Melbourne, 1971, pp5-21.

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