Page 8 SOUVENIR-CHARTERS
TOWERS, 1872 TO JULY, 1950
few years prior to 1897, they did not expand and were no serious
opposition to the pyrites works who only purchased concentrates of a
value of over 1oz. per ton. In 1897, Mr. A. Sellars and Sons built a
cyanide works at Millchester and entered a contract with the Papuan
G.M. to purchase their tailings. This was the first tailings to be
treated in Charters Towers. Results from the first clean up were good
and showed the great possibilities to
expand. Up to
this time the crushing mills, where possible, ran their tailings into
the creeks and depended on floods to wash them away. Much of these
tailings during flood time were washed out onto the flats and
inlets of creeks leading to Millchester Creek and also along the
banks of Millchester Creek. The only tailings that could not be
put into the creeks were those of the Excelsior Defence and
Enterprise Mills some 2,000,000 tons, which had to be stacked. The
exact boom in cyaniding commenced when Sellars took up 4 miles of
Millchester Creek and purchased a large tonnage of
the Enterprise Mill tailings. A great rush set in and every creek
leading into Millchester Creek and Millchester Creek itself right to
the banks of the Burdekin River was pegged out. Cyanide works sprang up
like mushrooms, gold produced increased enormously the cyanide
process added to the value of the production of all the mines and in
1900 Charters Towers was the most prosperous town in Australia. A
tribute paid to Mr. A.
Sellars was, he was named the "Cyanide King." Now as to the pyrites
works, by 1899 low cost of cyaniding (about 5/-per ton) against the
pyrites works of not less than 25/- per ton meant they were finished
and at a meeting of the Directors, held at Alan B. Bright's
offices, Mosman Street, arguments developed and the Manager,
Brown, shot dead the Chairman, Mr. Graham Haggarth. A terrible
finish to a once prosperous treatment works.
It would be interesting to know just what was the value of tailings
washed down the creeks previous to 1897, considering the gold
content of the tailings ranged from say 2 dwts. to several ounces per
Worn from her yielded Treasure,
Brooding alone of the past.
Dreaming her dreams in the shadows,
That ever her grey mounds cast.
Weaving her spell still upon me
As always a mother must,
Breathing her spirit of grandeur,
From the lips of her voiceless dust.
Scene after scene comes
As fog from the fog bank clears
And the pointed arrows of memory,
Sweep down the curving years.
Wisps from her smoke-stacks curling,
Thicken and folds and fly.
The phantom relics of power,
That live but a moment and die.
The trampling stamp of her stampers,
That marched to the golden goal
Though faded now in the distance,
Are tramping yet in my soul.
Still the boom of her whistles
That startled the midnight air,
And her mine-heads again are blazing,
In the darkness that settled there.
Mid the clash and clatter of engines,
Her song once again rises clear
Calling her sons to give battle,
Touching her daughters with fear.
Strength to a mighty strength matching,
Muscle and blood against stone,
In a world apart from their loved
Clawing their fight out alone.
This is the song that she sung me,
The Visions her memories fed,
But the bars of her yellow treasure,
Are stained- with the richest red.
For memories, like skies that we gaze
Gave clouds they must ever retain
The alloy of life that time mixes,
Seems made up of pleasure and pain.
She gave to me none of her
I gave her nothing of fame
But still I have worshipped her
And lived in the shade of her name,
As ever she seems to me calling,
With her golden voice of the past
To dream her dreams in the shadows
That ever her grey moulds cast.