Gold Occurrences in North Queensland
Home ] Up ] Gold Occurrences in Southern Queensland ] Gold Occurrences in Central Queensland ] [ Gold Occurrences in North Queensland ]






For detailed locations, please refer to the following Geological Sheets/Maps:  

Atherton;    Ayr;    Bowen;    Cairns;    Cape Melville;    Cape Weymouth;    Charters Towers;    Clarke River;    Cloncurry

Coen;    Cooktown;    Croydon;    Ebagoola;    Einasleigh;    Georgetown;    Gilberton;    Hann River:   Hughenden;    Ingham;    

Innisfail;    Mossman;    Mount Isa;    Red River;    Torres Strait;    Townsville;    Urandangi.


Just 'click' on to any of the following main headings:



  • Mount Leyshon

  • Lucky Creek Goldfield


  • Sandy Creek

  • Mount Wright

  • Other gold occurrences


PENTLAND - Overview

  • Lower Cape Area

  • Upper Cape Area

  • Mount Clearview

  • Mount Davenport

  • Mount Remarkable

  • Mount Emu Plains

  • Lolworth Diggings

  • Mount Stewart Area


  • Kidston – The Oaks Goldfield


  • Woolgar Goldfield

  • Percyville Goldfield


  • May Downs

  • Duchess Area

  • Urandangi Area  



  • Mount Mascotte

  • Russell River

  • Tinaroo

  • Culpa Creek

  • Christmas Creek

  • Sandy Creek

  • Jordan Creek Goldfield

  • Mount Peter Goldfield

  • Potallah Creek Provisional Mining Field

  • Mulgrave Goldfield

  • Bartle Frere Workings  

  • Russell Goldfield (from 1905: Russell Extended Goldfield)


  • Mareeba Gold and Mineral Field

  • Fluorspar Locality

  • Tate Goldfield

  • Mount Wandoo

  • Other gold occurrences







  • Overview - Geology of the Hodgkinson and Laura Basins , North Queensland


  • Palmer River Goldfield

  • Maytown gold reefs

  • Hodgkinson Goldfield

  • Other gold occurrences


  • Coen Gold and Mineral Field

  • Lochinvar Mining Field

  • Klondyke

  • Rocky River Gold and Mineral Field

  • Hayes Creek Provisional Mining Field

  • Blue Mountains area

  • Other gold occurrences

  • Wenlock Gold and Mineral Field.  

EBAGOOLA AREA / Hamilton Mining Field

  • Ebagoola

  • Yarraden


  • Starcke No. 1 and No. 2 Goldfields

  • Alice River (Philp) Goldfield

  • Other gold locations


  • Claudie River Gold & Mineral Field


  • Possession Island

  • Horn, Hammond & Thursday Islands


Extra information is always being added to this page !




Part of the Townsvllle 1:250 000 Geological Sheet area is included in the Charters Towers and Ravenswood Gold and Mineral Fields, but gold production has been small. The main mining centres and types of deposits are listed.

The Grass Hut and Fanning deposits, like those of Charters Towers and Ravenswood, are associated with the Ravenswood Granodiorite Complex. In the other centres, the gold mineralization appears to be related to late Palaeozoic intrusives in Devonian sediments.

Gold is also known to occur at Bunkers Hill (Ravenswood Granodiorite Complex and Kirk River Beds), Horse Camp Creek (Ravenswood Granodiorite Complex), Mount Squarepost and Magnetic Island (uppermost Carboniferous granite), Mount Elliot (Lower Permian granite), Ponto (Argentine Metamorphics), and Six Mile or Argentine Extended (uppermost Carboniferous granodiorite).

Total production of gold in the Geological Sheet area has been low, but returns separate from those for the Ravenswood and Charters Towers Fields are not available.

Charters Towers (134km by rail from the coast at Townsville) is the principal centre of the Charters Towers Gold and Mineral Field. Although production from Charters Towers has been small since the 1920s, its total recorded production since its discovery in 1871 to the end of 1964, except for a small quantity from the Cape River area, was 6,805,510 fine ounces of gold, and until 1959 it had produced more gold than any other mining centre in Queensland. Up to 1916, when practically all mining ceased, 1,000,565 ounces of silver and 3,684 tons of lead were also recovered.

All the important mines were located in the Ravenswood Granodiorite Complex. The lodes are simple or composite tabular bodies, wholly or partly within fissures. The fissures belong to two sets of faults which dip to the east-northeast at 27° to 36°, and to the north or north-west at 23° to 50°. The fissure walls are well defined and are commonly slicken-sided. The lodes are formed of one or more quartz veins separated by crushed and altered country rock. In the major fissures two or more separate veins may occur in parallel or branching channels. Some of them are separated by unaltered country rock and were mined as independent bodies as in the Day Dawn and Brilliant systems.

The ore shoots were irregular in shape and no consistent direction of pitch is apparent. A crude en echelon arrangement of the shoots in parallel veins is discernible in places. The deepest workings were on the Brilliant lode (3,000 ft) and on the Day Dawn lode (2,700 ft). Only a few of the other lodes were worked below 1,000 feet. In all cases values became poorer with depth.

The ore is a simple mesothermal mineral essemblage: the normal primary constituents, in addition to native gold, are quartz, pyrite, galena, and sphalerite. The less common minerals include calcite, chalcopyrite, gypsum, barite, arsenopyrite, native arsenic, and an unidentified telluride. Galena was important as an indicator of gold values. The localization of the ore does not appear to have been related to the country rock or to intersection of the lodes either by dykes, early barren quartz veins, or faults (except in the last case for minor local enrichment).

Total yield of gold from the Charters Towers and the Cape River goldfields to date exceeds 211,000 kg. Maximum production was reached in 1899 with 9940kg. Renewal of prospecting in old workings in the Black Jack area led to production of some 1245kg between 1934 and 1951. Since that date gold mining on the field has languished. Ore occurred in shoots in fissure reefs and showed general impoverishment in depth. The lowest workings reached 915m. In the absence of favourable information as to reserves and in view of the heavy cost of dewatering and reconditioning, it is considered unlikely that the central connected group of workings, including the former main producers, could be successfully reopened. Future prospects on the field must therefore, depend on further exploration and developmental work on outlying reefs which are widely distributed in the surrounding areas.

Groups of workings at the Broughton, Rishton, Dreghorn, St. Paul’s, Mount Leyshon, Lighthouse, Windsor, Southern Cross, Fern Springs and Newhaven still offer possibilities for prospecting activity particularly in regard to selected portions adjacent to old workings.

Mount Leyshon

Gold has been mined in volcanic rocks which postdate the Ravenswood Granodiorite Complex at Mount Leyshon and Mount Wright. At Mount Leyshon the gold occurs in rhyolite and dacite agglomerate (Pzo) in an old volcanic vent at the contact between the Ravenswood Granodiorite Complex and the Cape River Beds. The gold is disseminated throughout the rock, or occurs in association with thin limonite veins and stringers which permeate the country rock. Values are erratic. Other primary minerals include pyrite and chalcopyrite. Production from 1887 to 1946 was about 38,000 fine ounces of gold from about 208,000 tons of ore.

Lucky Creek Goldfield

This goldfield of approximately 50 km² can be found in the far north-west corner of the Charters Towers Mining District. This location is also noted on the Clarke River Geological Sheet. Gold has been mined from the Lucky Creek Goldfield near the headwaters of Lucky Creek, which is a tributary of the Burdekin River. The gold is in lenticular quartz reefs that conform to the bedding of steeply-dipping sediments of the Lucky Creek Formation. Gold mineralization occupied a length of 1,000 feet and a width ranging from 8 inches to 2 feet. The deepest mine was the Try Again, which was worked to a depth of 115 feet. Production reached a peak in 1907, when about 250 tons of ore was mined to yield an average of 2 oz gold per ton.


Ravenswood (87 km by rail from Townsville to Mingela thence 42km by road). This also was one of the major gold-producing areas of Queensland, the total yield to the end of 1963 being some 900,000 fine ounces. The field was discovered in 1868, but early development was slow and it was not until between 1898 and 1912 that annual production was consistently high and more than half the total yield was produced.

Most of the yield has come from mines situated in the town, at Brookville and at Sandy Creek. The reefs occupied comparatively small but persistent fissures in granite. The sulphide ores, being complex, were not amenable to normal battery treatment and this somewhat retarded development. Payable ore was obtained to a depth of 215m, but only a few of the many reefs were worked below 120m. The Ravenswood reefs are considered to be far from worked out, although the fact remains that the ‘cream’ of the reefs has gone and a great deal of capital would be required to reopen and develop the old mines to a stage of production and to provide suitable treatment plant.

The main lodes, comprising quartz-sulphide ore-bodies in fissures in the Ravenswood Granodiorite Complex, were situated in the town area and at Sandy Creek. The Ravenswood field included a number of outside centres, each of which had its own village, around which were grouped several mines. Except perhaps for Brookville, none of these centres was a large producer. They include Kirk, Four Mile, Donnybrook, One Mile (or Totley, mainly silver), Trieste, and Hillsborough (or Eight Mile).

The lodes at Ravenswood itself trend in two principal directions; some trend between north-north-west and north-north-east and dip to the east, and others between north-east and east and dip to the south. The north-trending lodes are more important and numerous. The lodes do not form a network, but rather several groups of north-trending lodes are separated from each other by a few east-trending lodes.

Sandy Creek

At Sandy Creek, a few miles southeast of Ravenswood, the lodes again trend in two directions. The more important lodes dip south-west, the less important north-west. In many of the outlying centres the lodes generally have a north to north-westerly or an east to east-north-easterly trend. Payable ore was obtained to a depth of 700 feet, but only a few of the many lodes were worked below 400 feet. The highly refractory sulphide ores were not amenable to normal battery treatment and this retarded early development. The primary minerals included native gold, galena, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, pyrite, quartz, and possibly calcite.

Mount Wright

At Mount Wright, deposits occur in a hydro-thermally altered breccia pipe (Cur). The breccia consists mainly of biotite granite, but it also contains pieces of fine-grained volcanics or dyke rocks. The lode consists of an ill defined zone irregularly impregnated with pyrite and sphalerite, with traces of copper and arsenic. Siderite also occurs in both auriferous and non-auriferous sections. Production figures are incomplete, but approximately 1,300 fine ounces of gold were produced. Small quantities of gold have also been worked from deep leads at the base of Tertiary sediments forming Little Red Bluff, and the Puzzler Walls.

Other small reefs have been worked at outside centres such as the Kirk, Rochford and Hillsborough, and may still hold interest for the prospector or small syndicate. At Mount Wright, 10km north-west of Ravenswood, a slightly shattered and mineralized zone in granite has been open-cut to over 30m for low average gold values, and boring has shown that there may be further limited reserves. The somewhat similar “Welcome” lode at Sala Siding has been proved by boring to offer little prospect for further development.

Other gold occurrences

Other gold occurrences in the Ravenswood Granodiorite Complex occur south-east, south, and south-west of Charters Towers. None was a big producer, but among the more important were Broughton, Rishton, Dreghorn, St Pauls, Lighthouse, Windsor, and Southern Cross. Many are described by Marks.

A little gold has been produced from the Old Homestead diggings (which is within the Mount Pleasant Goldfield and sometimes referred to as the Toomba Goldfield), 11 to 19km north of Homestead and from the Big Hit mine. In both cases the mineralization is probably related to the Lolworth Igneous Complex.

Gold has also been found in the Cape River Beds and Mount Windsor Volcanics: gold was worked at the New Homestead diggings south-east of Thalanga siding late last century; at Liontown in the early 1900s; and at the Highway mine in the 1950s. Numerous old shallow workings, about which little is known, occur between Brittania homestead and the Gregory Developmental Road. They are the result of gold mining and prospecting activities earlier in the twentieth century; some may be the result of work during the depression years of the 1930s. None of the deposits in the Cape River Beds has been a large producer.

Ravenswood also forms the centre for prospecting operations in an area to the south which carries gold. Lolworth is 50km north-west of Pentland. Initial development took place many years ago, and numerous gold-bearing veins have since been worked. The most important deposits, however, have been of the greisen pipe type, notably the Mons Meg and the Midas. Exploration has shown hat there is no prospect for further production below the 60m level in the Mons Meg. There is a wide extent of auriferous country between here and the Cape River, extending also south-easterly through Mount Stewart and the Homestead field to Allandale.  (Further information on these fields can be found in the next section under the “Hughenden Area”).


Mode of Occurrence and Origin

In the BMR Report Number 126, it reports that there are several kinds of primary mineralization in the Hughenden Geological map area: 

(a) quartz veins associated with porphyry dykes into which they merge in places (Upper Cape and Mt Remarkable); 

(b) greisen and pegmatitic quartz veins (Lolworth diggings); 

(c) quartz veins and greisen (Mt Emu Plains); 

(d) simple quartz veins (Mt Remarkable, Mt Clearview, and Brilliant Brumby); 

(e) and erratic pods in barren rock (Pentland district).

It is almost certain that more than one period of mineralization is represented in the area. The primary structural control seems to have been fractures trending between north and north-east.

Government Geologist, Richard Daintree emphasized that the mineralization at the Upper Cape Mine and the Mount Remarkable Mine is often closely associated with acid porphyry dykes or ‘elvans’. (The word ‘elvan’ is used by authors on the geology ‘of Cornwall, for quartz-feldspar porphyry and felsite dykes which intrude the Cornish granites and surrounding slates), for example near Gorge Creek (Upper Cape district), where the quartz veins appeared to him to be almost ‘a continuation to the surface of the elvan veins themselves’. Rands describes Greens Specimen reef at the Upper Cape as a kaolinized feldspathic rock resembling quartzite, which is transected by auriferous quartz veinlets. Unfortunately such dykes were not sighted in the Gorge Creek area during the 1963 regional survey, and their affinities and relationships are unknown.

However, throughout north-east Queensland they appear to be characteristic of a high level of intrusion, and are commonly associated with epizonal granites. Therefore the acid porphyry dykes at Gorge Creek and Mount Remarkable are unlikely to be related to the Lolworth Igneous Complex, which is not a high-level intrusion, and whose associated dykes have granitic, pegmatitic, and aplitic textures. The difference in association is epitomized by the contrast between the Lolworth Igneous Complex, on the one hand, and the epizonal subvolcanic Mundic Igneous Complex, on the other, which intrudes it. Clearly it is important that any future study of the gold mineralization in the Cape River district must solve the problem of the identity, age, and relationships of the porphyry dykes.

Morton reports that the Mons Meg lode at Lolworth diggings appears to post-date a diorite dyke cutting across the granite of the Lolworth Igneous Complex. It is thought that this dyke and the mineralization are more likely to be related to the Mundic Igneous Complex than to the Lolworth Igneous Complex. On the air-photographs a prominent swarm of intermediate to basic dykes of the Mundic Igneous Complex can be seen trending north-west through the mineralized area. Such dykes are nowhere known to be related to the Lolworth Igneous Complex. Dykes of porphyritic hornblende andesite, metasomatized and slightly mineralized in places, are described petrographically in CSIRO Mineragraphic Report No, 211. It seems reasonable to relate these dykes to the dyke swarm of the Mundic Igneous Complex that transects the Lolworth diggings.

Alluvial gold derived directly from coarse disseminations in a porphyry dyke was recorded by Daintree near Mount Remarkable or Mount Specimen. It is possible that this has a genetic connection with the gold occurring in veins of quartz and felsite in volcanics (Puv) south-west of Golden Mount.

The most likely source of the mineralization at Mount Emu Plains and Mount Clearview are respectively the Dumbano Granite and the Lolworth Igneous Complex. Although dykes are mentioned are in the reports on Mount Clearview, their relationship with the mineralization is not clear.

The source of the gold-bearing veins in the Pentland district and at Mount Davenport is unknown, Hands (Report of 1891, p 2) reports that the Union reef is ‘crossed’ (presumably cut) by dykes of coarse muscovite (?) granite, which suggests that these reefs may be related to or older than the Lolworth Igneous Complex.

Many creeks, which were often used as reference points in the old reports, such as Sandy Creek, Reedy Creek, and Specimen Creek, are not marked on the RASC topographic map which was used as a base for the geological map. However, in most cases they can be identified by perusing the air-photographs while reading the descriptions in the reports.  In view of the occurrence of coarse waterworn alluvial gold at the base of the Campaspe Beds in the Cape River Deep Lead, and the similar occurrence at Chinaman's Gully, the Campaspe Beds should be regarded as a prospective target if any further exploration for gold is carried out in the area.

On geological grounds it seems reasonable to suggest the existence of potentially auriferous deep leads beneath the basalt which all but encircles the Lolworth diggings. The possibility of fossil gold placers occurring in the sedimentary rocks along the present north-eastern edge of the Galilee and Eromanga Basins was first pointed out by Daintree, and should also be considered in the course of further exploration.

Of metals, only gold and minor silver have been produced in commercial quantities. The discovery of alluvial and primary gold along the Cape River in 1867 heralded a long period of spasmodic prospecting which resulted in a total recorded production of nearly 55,000 oz (1,710.5 kg) of gold. In 1910 gold and minor silver-lead were discovered 18 km east of Mount Emu Plains homestead and the total recorded production of gold was 400 oz and 4,500 oz of silver.

The chief gold-producing area was the Cape River Gold and Mineral Field, which included all of the gold deposits in the geological map area south of the Lolworth Range , and also those at Mount Clearview and Mount Stewart. The field has a total recorded production of 45,000 oz (1,399.5 kg). The actual production was considerably greater, because there is no record of the quantity won by the Chinese miners, who were almost as numerous as the Europeans during the productive years of the field, and because the small production in later years was included with that from Charters Towers.


PENTLAND - Overview

Pentland is 238km by rail south-west of Townsville. In the deep lead of the Cape River a rich deposit of alluvial gold was followed southerly for nearly 6km at depths up to 30m, but generally much less. Investigation has shown that, contrary to general opinion, loss of the lead was not the cause of cessation of operations, the workings having been abandoned when the gold became scattered over a broader area downstream below a bar. The lead has never been traced to the original source of the gold.

Lower Cape Area

The most important single occurrence of gold in the Pentland or ‘Lower Cape’ district was in the basal conglomerate of the Campaspe Beds, in a strip known as the Cape River Deep Lead. Gold was also won from other deep leads, from quartz veins, and from Recent alluvium. The deposits in Recent alluvium were quickly exhausted, many of the gullies were extremely rich but the output was not recorded.

The Cape River Deep Lead consisted of auriferous conglomerate, about 30 to 50cm thick, resting on schist; the overlying finer-grained sediments were virtually barren. The lead began just south of Capeville homestead, where it was shallow, narrow, and rich. To the south it became progressively deeper, wider, and poorer. About 4km south of Capeville the grade fell off abruptly where a large aplite dyke forms a high bar in the bedrock. South of the bar, only small disconnected areas were rich enough to be mined, and the cost of sinking below a depth of 30m made further exploration prohibitive. Morton traced the lead at the surface for a further 4km, and concluded that, although rich patches are probably present, they are too small and scattered to repay exploration.

Another gold lead, evidently also in the Campaspe Beds, was worked along Sandy Creek (Chinaman’s Gully) near Cornelia homestead.

The position of the Sarah Houston (Howson), Mystery, Hayward, Hughes Leader, Just-in-time, and Big lodes is not clear, but they were probably located about 4km north-east of Pentland. The lodes, which were reported to occur in ‘granitoid schist’, trend north-east. The Golden Hill reef and the Springs reef, south-west of Pentland, were other small producers. The hand-sorted ore from the Pentland lodes yielded up to 2 oz (62.2 g) of gold per ton, and the deepest shaft was 30 m deep.

Upper Cape Area

In the Upper Cape area, workings were centred on the lower reaches of Gorge Creek, where it joins the Cape River. The deposits occur in narrow rich quartz veins near the contact between metasediments of the Cape River Beds and biotite-rich gneissic adamellite of the Ravenswood Granodiorite Complex. Most of the lodes occur in the Cape River Beds. Some were reported to originate from, or occur within, acid porphyry dykes or sills.

Alluvial gold occurred in small rich leads (Canton, Pothole, and Bluff) along Gorge Creek and in the Cape River north of Oak Vale homestead. The leads carried gold to a depth of 12m, where they died out in contact with hornblende schist bedrock. At one time consideration was given to dredging these deposits (Morton, 1933), but nothing eventuated.

The Harp of Erin and Wheel of Fortune lodes are situated 3.5 to 5km south-west of the main group, in mica schist and quartzite cut by granite dykes, but no production figures are available. Rands reports on gold workings in small veins and alluvium near the headwaters of Reedy Creek and in gullies in quartzite country to the west of Black Mount.

Mount Clearview

The auriferous lodes at Mount Clearview were discovered in 1915, but although considerable development took place, little gold was won. Work recommenced in 1933, and from then until 1938, nearly 1,700 oz (52.9kg) of gold was produced, with an average grade of about 14 dwt (21.8 grams) per ton. The gold occurred in four lodes in fine-grained gneiss and schist of the Cape River Beds. The metamorphics trend north-east, but the lodes occupy meridional fissures. Granitic dykes striking parallel with the schists are reported to occur in the area, but it is not clear from the reports whether the dykes postdate the lodes, or vice versa.

Government Geologist, William Rands described alluvial gold workings in Italian Gully, Sneak-away Gully, and others in the headwaters of Oxley Creek, but he quoted no production figures.

Considerable attention has been paid in the past to the reefs at Mount Clearview, but the necessity for transporting the ore to Lolworth for crushing then hampered development.

Mount Davenport

Mount Davenport was the centre of some lode and alluvial production. The Union and General Grant lodes were worked in mica schist. The main shaft in the Union reef was sunk to 55m, and the main shaft in the General Grant to 34m.

Mount Remarkable

Both alluvial and lode deposits were worked near Mount Specimen and Mount Remarkable. The problem of locating the workings accurately is complicated by confusion over the identity of Mount Remarkable. It seems that the hill called Mount Specimen on the 1959 RASC 1 :250 000 topographic map, which has been used as a base for the geological map accompanying the Report, was known as Mount Remarkable to the Survey geologists who reported on the area. (This Geological Map is not reproduced here. Please refer to the original report for full details).

Between Norwood and Specimen Hill, near the Balgay mine, a large amount of alluvial gold has been won from shallow ground. Many small, rich leaders occur in the locality. Specimen Creek and its tributary gullies were rich in alluvial gold.

The erratic primary gold mineralization occurred in quartz veins related to porphyry dykes. The veins occupied meridional fissures in quartzite and mica schist. The deepest shaft was 49.5m, but most were about 10m deep. The average grade of ore was 40 dwt (62.2 g) per ton, though some lodes carried up to 400 dwt (622 g) per ton.

Crushings were small, and were generally composed of picked stone. The main producing lodes were the Balgay and the Barcoo: others were the Morning Star, Governor Blackall, Lone Star, Martins, Albions, Mariners, and Commissioners. Attempts were made in the late 1930s and early 1940s to recommence mining of the Balgay lode, but the venture failed. At least some of the gold in the Mount Remarkable district appears to have occurred in quartz veinlets in the Upper Permian (?) volcanics (Puv) south-west of Golden Mount.

Mount Emu Plains

The Mount Emu Plains area, to the north of Hughenden, was worked from 1910 to 1915 and from 1939 to 1942. The mines are in the Dumbano Granite near its contact with the Cape River Beds. The granite here commonly contains muscovite instead of the more typical biotite. The ore-bodies consist of quartz veins or greisen with quartz lenses: extraction of the gold was hampered by the content of galena, pyrite, arsenopyrite, and sphalerite.

Some difficulty was experienced in treating the sulphide ore with the crushing mill available on the field and later parcels were sent to smelters.

The most important lode is the Granite Castle, which has been explored for about 400m on the surface. It consists of greisen and lenses of quartz in a well marked fissure which trends east and dips steeply to the north. It ranges up to 1.5m in width. The quartz veins, which average about 25cm wide, contain most of the gold. The lode has been worked to a depth of 30m in the Granite Castle and 27m in the Granite Castle West. Recoveries from hand-picked shipments were over 20 dwt (31.1grams) of gold per ton. A small but rich producer was the Diecan, sunk on a narrow quartz vein showing free gold. The vein was followed to a depth of 18 metres.

Lolworth Diggings

Several mines situated between Brandy and Toby Creeks were together known as the Lolworth diggings. Gold was discovered in 1926, and mining effectively ceased in 1953, although attempts are still made from time to time to reopen the mines on a small scale. There was very little alluvial production.

The deposits occur in biotite adamellite of the Lolworth Igneous Complex. The adamellite has been intruded by various dykes which, may be related to the Mundic Igneous complex. The ore-bodies were probably formed at relatively high temperatures. They consist of small veins, with greisenized aureoles, which contain pyrite, arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, and sphalerite; greisen pipes containing small amounts of the same sulphides; and pegmatitic quartz veins. Other high-temperature minerals present in small amounts are wolframite, scheelite, molybdenite, bismuth, and tourmaline. Torbernite has also been recorded. The occurrence of gold in bournonite from the 115-foot (35m) level of the New Venture mine is described in CSIRO Mineragraphic Report No.211.

The Crystal Oak mine was the site of the original discovery. The deposit consists of a stock-work of gold and copper-bearing quartz veins. A small amount of Copper and about 350 oz (10.9kg) of gold were produced between 1928 and 1939. The grade averaged about 20 dwt (31.1g) of gold per ton from picked ore. The workings are less than 30 m deep.

The Midas mine was the biggest producer at Lolworth; 3,550 oz (110.4kg) of gold were taken from it between 1934 and 1950. The ore occurs in a pipe of greisenized granite. Besides gold, a little sphalerite and chalcopyrite are present. The main shaft is 40m deep, and the average grade was 28 dwt (43.5g) per ton. The mineragraphy of some specimens of ore from the Midas mine is described in CSIRO Mineragraphic Report No.205.

At the Sunrise and Big Shine mines the ore occurs in small pegmatitic quartz veins occupying fissures in the granite. The Sunrise produced about 800 oz (24.9kg) and the Big Shine 250 oz (7.8kg). The ore averaged about 100 dwt (155.5g) per ton at the Sunrise, and 40 dwt (62.2 g) at the Big Shine.

The Mons Meg lode was discovered in 1934 and was worked until 1953. The ore-body is a greisen pipe containing gold and small amounts of galena, sphalerite, and chalcopyrite. The ore averaged 17 dwt (26.4g) per ton, and was enriched where the ore body intersected a diorite dyke (Mundic Igneous Complex?), which probably acted as a barrier to the ore-bearing fluids. The main shaft is 59m deep, and the total production was 2,700 oz (84kg).

It is recorded that the Lolworth Diggings area produced approximately 8,363 oz (260 kg) of gold.

Mount Stewart Area

No geological work has been done on most of the mines near Mount Stewart, and their locations are not known, but over 60 of them are mentioned in Wardens’ and other reports but it is likely that at least some of them are related to the Mundic Igneous Complex, which forms Mount Stewart itself.

Most of the lodes on and around Mount Stewart trend north to north-east, and dip to the east, and their average thickness is about 30cm. The maximum recorded depth of workings is 34m at the Surprise. The distribution of the gold appears to have been erratic. The total recorded production is 1,650 oz (51.3kg) of gold from 2,300 tons of ore.

The Brilliant Brumby mine was worked from time to time and lies to the west of the main group. The main lode trends at 350° and is almost vertical; there are several smaller parallel lodes. The average thickness of the veins is about 30 cm and the maximum thickness about 1 metre. The outcrop can be traced for 300 m, and surface workings extend for over 200 m; the main workings, which are at the northern end, are about 120 m long and up to 24 m deep. The total recorded production is 790 oz (24.6 kg) from 950 tons of ore.



Kidston – The Oaks Goldfield

Kidston (42km south of Einasleigh) also called “The Oaks.”  About 75,000 oz of gold have been won from the Oaks Goldfield, 1.6km west of Kidston. Gold was discovered here in 1907 and mined till 1942. The most comprehensive description of the Oaks Goldfield is that by Marks in his geological report. The gold is found in quartz veins and altered and crushed zones of the Forsayth Granite.  Large bodies of low-grade gold ore have subsequently been worked by open-cuts, chiefly at Wises Knob.

More recent attention has been towards working of groups of small leaders. Operations were facilitated by the existence of a State battery now out of commission. Kidston forms a centre for outlying areas to the south, at which wolfram, scheelite and gold-copper have been worked. Less important occurrences of gold are apparently associated with quartz porphyry in Balcooma Creek.



Woolgar Goldfield

The Woolgar Goldfield covers an area of 2,850 km², (129km north of Richmond). A number of gold reefs were worked with encouraging results many years ago. Following a revival in the thirties there has been subsequent intermittent small-scale mining, with local battery facilities. Most of the mines are contained within an area of 1,000 km² near the Woolgar River on the south-western edge of the Gregory Range in the southern part of the Gilberton Geological 1:250 000 Sheet area. The most comprehensive description of the field was provided by Saint-Smith.

The gold reefs are in granite and Archaean (?) metamorphics, both of which are intruded by dolerite (‘diorite’) and pegmatite dykes. Saint-Smith described the reefs as occupying ‘shrinkage lines along the margins of pegmatitic granite dykes’. Reefs also occur in shears within the dolerite (amphibolite) dykes. The reefs ranged from 3 to 210 m in length (average 60m); they were 0.6m wide and worked to an average depth of 24m, about the depth of the water table. The reefs generally dipped from 80° to 85°. Some of the gold ore contained lead, copper, and manganese minerals.

The main production was obtained from the Woolgar Goldfield between 1880 and 1887, when 567kg (15,000 oz) of gold was won, including 150kg (4,000 oz) of alluvial gold. Production  declined after this period, and up to the time of Saint-Smith’s inspection in 1922 only 113kg (3,000 oz) of gold, averaging 50 grams/tonne (1.33 oz/tonne), were produced. The main producing mines were the Perseverance-Try Again, Soapspar, and Mowbray. The Soapspar and Redjacket mines were the only mines working in 1958.

Percyville Goldfield

The Percyville Goldfield is situated on the Percy River in the northern part of the Gilberton Geological Sheet area. The gold occurs in reefs near the contact of Precambrian metamorphics with granite, both of which have been intruded by pegmatite and rhyolite dykes. Ball (1915) described the lodes as generally siliceous. The gold reefs average 0.6m in width and some are nearly 0.5km long.

Most workings do not penetrate below the oxidized zone, which is probably 30-45m deep; the deepest workings extended to 152m in the Union Mine. The gold ore contained appreciable amounts of lead, silver, zinc, and copper; one assay at the 30m level of the Homeward Bound Mines was 560 grams/tonne (15½ oz per tonne) Silver, 45 grams/tonne (1¼ oz per ton) Gold, 13% Lead, 2% Copper.

Total production from 1912 to 1917 on the Percyville Goldfield was 2,080 tonnes of ore, which yielded 150kg (3,950 oz) gold, 400kg (10,334 oz) silver, and 90 tonnes copper; 13 tonnes of lead were won in 1912. The largest production from any one mine was 105kg (2,800 oz) of gold from the Union Mine. The primary ore averaged 20 to 25 percent copper and 220 to 260 grams/tonne (6 to 7 oz per tonne) of gold, with exceptional small rich patches containing 3,700 grams/tonne (100 oz/tonne) gold.

Gold has also been mined from quartz reefs in the Proterozoic granite at Mount Hogan in the headwaters of Granite Creek in the north-east. No information is available on the size of the reefs. Jack and Etheridge recorded production of 170 kg (4,500 oz) of gold averaging 65 grams/tonne (1¾ oz per ton) from 1885 to 1890.

Gold averaging 75 to 110 grams/tonne (2 to 3 oz per ton) was mined at Mount Moran, 3km north of Ortona copper mine near the northern boundary of the Geological Sheet area. Gold was obtained from quartz veins in weathered and leached dolerite dykes between depths of 15m and 90m, below a cover of Cretaceous sediments. The Mount Moran Mine should not be confused with Mount Moran, a prominent peak in the Mount Hogan goldfield.



Gold first attracted prospectors to the district, but the deposits, though rich in some cases were not extensive and the mineable gold was soon worked out. A partial revival of gold mining took place in the depression years of the 1930's, but since that time the amount of gold produced has been negligible.

The principal centres of gold-mining were Top Camp (alluvial), south of Cloncurry, Soldier’s Cap (reef) area, south-east of Cloncurry and Gilded Rose (reef), also south-east of Cloncurry, Bower Bird / Sunday Gully area and Doughboy Creek (alluvial), south-west of Kajabbi.

Gold was also won from the (?) Upper Proterozoic Quamby Conglomerate, near Mount Quamby. This gold is probably of hydrothermal origin, but may be detrital. Alluvial gold has been won from each of the localities referred to above and also from an area 14.4km west-south-west of Cloncurry.

The prospects of finding payable gold deposits are not as favourable as for base metals. However, areas both south and east of Cloncurry are considered most favourable for further gold prospecting.

The total recorded production of gold from the Cloncurry Mineral Field to the end of 1954 is 102,043 ounces. Of this amount over 60,000 ounces was obtained from the ores of the main copper mines outside the Cloncurry Geological Sheet area. It includes 3,277 ounces of gold obtained from copper ores (average grade of recovery 0.48 dwt/ton). In the period 1931-1942 whilst approximately 3,061 ounces of gold were obtained from 3,021 tons of gold ore, other than copper-gold ore; this represents 90% of the total production from such ore for the whole of the field.

The discovery of the unusual Silver Phantom deposit near Kuridala in 1953 shows that it is  possible for new deposits to be found by careful prospecting even in areas which were thought to have been thoroughly examined. Parcels of high-grade ore consisting of native silver and cerargyrite have been obtained from the deposit.

The total recorded production of gold is less than 57kg, practically all of it as a by-product from the production of copper from the main mines. The figures for individual mines are included in the Table. Jensen has recorded gold from the Lochness area, and Rayner from Silver Ridge 64km north of Mount Cuthbert. It does not appear to be present in economic quantities or grade at either place. ‘Colours’ have been obtained from a number of places within the area of outcropping Precambrian, from both crystalline and sedimentary rocks.

May Downs

Reef gold has been worked in one area only: the May Downs deposits, near Mine Creek, north-west of Mount Isa. The total production from 242 tons was 1,003 oz.

Duchess Area

Gold has come almost entirely from copper-gold ore-bodies in this area. The few gold workings have only yielded a few tens of ounces of gold. No gold production, apart from that from the Trekelano copper mine, has been recorded for over twenty years.

Urandangi Area

A minor gold rush to the headwaters of Jayah Creek occurred when gold was reported 6 miles east of Jayah Bore, but no production appears to have been recorded.



Some alluvial gold is found in the headwaters of Yamanie Creek and Smoko Creek; in a few of the alluvial tin deposits at Broadwater Creek; and in the deep leads at Mount Fox and Black Cow Creek. Lode gold is associated with complex sulphide ore at Rocky Creek.



The recorded total production of 56,500oz of gold was obtained almost exclusively from the five goldfields shown. Alluvial deposits yielded most of the output; lode mining, though widespread, was less successful. The ore shoots in the quartz lodes were generally found to be small, irregular, widely spaced, and not very high-grade, and offer little scope for large-scale development. The deposits are located in rough terrain covered with dense rain-forest, and transport costs in the old days were so high that each group of workings relied on its own small stamp batteries rather than send its ore to some central treatment plant.

Of the goldfields the Russell River Field (later expanded to the Russell Extended) took first place with 47% of the total output, and has been the most intensively surveyed geologically. According to Broadhurst (1955-1958) these alluvial deposits form a number of narrow terraces along the slopes of the steep-sided valleys of the Coopooroo Creek - Wairambah Creek drainage system, and were buried by late-Cainozoic basalts. They have been exposed by re-incision during recent rejuvenation of the drainage. The gravel was worked by hydraulic sluicing from adits. Among the difficulties experienced were the lack of accessible water (notwithstanding the high rainfall), the rough terrain, the soft, decomposed ground which caved-in readily, and the fact that parts of the gravel are firmly cemented by iron hydroxides.

Other adverse conditions are the low grade and irregularity of the scattered deposits, and the thick overburden. Broadhurst in 1957 - 1958 with the help of an engineer, Garth, made thorough geological and economic investigations of the area, and came to the conclusion that the remaining reserves could not be profitably mined.

For a short period, auriferous quartz lodes were mined in the vicinity of Towalla, some 2½ miles south of the Russell River terraces. The originally reported grades of two to three ounces per ton were apparently not sufficient to counterbalance the high cost of transport and the inadequacy of the reserves, and the field was deserted from the year 1905. In the Jordan Creek Gold Field, many of the thin quartz leaders in which the gold is contained are manganiferous, and a little pyrite and arsenopyrite are also present. The geological map shows the workings in the Wyreema group arranged in a north-north-east belt; the north-east lodes here are apparently arranged en echelon, and may have been produced as tension cracks caused by a dextral shear couple in a north-north-east zone.

Some prospecting has been carried out on a few deep leads under the basalt covering the granite, but the gold values are not high, and tunnels need much timbering on account of the soft ground. Production from the Mount Peter Field was exclusively from about half a dozen irregular quartz lodes trending north-east and east-south-east across the regional strike of the enclosing Barron River Metamorphics. Values of 4½ oz per ton were reported from some of the sheets, though the average recovery grade of the field was 1oz 18 dwt per ton.

The Mulgrave River field is the oldest in the Innisfail Sheet area. Both alluvial gold and lode gold were won, but lode mining was never successful.

Alluvial deposits of pre-basalt age and similar to those of the Russell River Field occur at the eastern edge of the basalt-covered Atherton Tableland, 12.8km east of Peeramon. They contain at least three levels of ‘wash’ and the basalt cover is thin in places, or even stripped off locally.

It appears that little systematic geological work has been done in this area, but C.W. Ball believed that the ‘wash’ forms an almost continuous sheet underneath its basalt cover. Last in the order of discovered fields, and least successful, were the Bartle Frere workings situated some 7 miles west of Babinda in Barron River Metamorphics at the foot of Mount Bartle Frere, between the Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker mountains.

Mount Mascotte

Outside the goldfield areas described, a number of scattered localities have been prospected. At Mount Mascotte, about 4km south of Yungaburra, gold was mined at times from a quartz lode in a small inlier of chiastolite schist amidst Atherton Basalt. Assay values ranged from a few pennyweights to a few ounces per ton.

Russell River

The Russell River Goldfield, also known as Russell Terraces was later expanded to: Russell River Extended in 1887 and is situated at the headwaters of the Russell River, about 10 miles east-south-east of Malanda in the Coopooroo Creek - Wairambah Creek area.

Lodes were mined at Towalla, 16km south east of Malanda in the buried alluvial deposits in late-Cainozoic terraces along sides of steep valleys, exposed by rejuvenation.

Auriferous (gold-bearing) basal gravel beds overlain by up to 20 feet of sand, silt, and clay, undercover of 40 - 100 feet of basalt. Very fine-grained gold, associated with cassiterite (tin). The workings were named: Astronomer, Marvel and Lady Olive.

Some north-west quartz reefs, were generally less than 1 foot thick, dipping steeply to vertical in decomposed Barron River Metamorphics. The gold recovery grade was 2 to 3 oz/ton, but shoots very small. This goldfield was deserted after 1905.


Low-grade quartz lodes were prospected, without success, at Mourilyan Harbour and Etty Bay. Small quantities of gold occur in some of the Tinaroo workings, a few kilometres west of Tinaroo Dam, but were not payable.

Culpa Creek

Alluvial gold was won from Culpa Creek, a tributary of the Tully River, between 1894 and 1905.

Christmas Creek

The Christmas Creek area, at the head of the West Mulgrave River, is another locality from which gold was reported.

Sandy Creek

At Sandy Creek, a tributary of the North Johnstone River, some gold was won from high-level alluvium in a saddle between two hills, which apparently represents an old river channel. Sluicing prospects were tested in the middle course of the Russell River where it enters the coastal plains; in the North Johnstone River 12.8km west of Innisfail; and in creek alluvium at Eubenangee, 11.2km north-west of Innisfail.

Jordan Creek Goldfield

The Jordan Creek Goldfield, is situated in mountainous jungle country west of Innisfail. Gold was found at Jordan Creek (or Johnstone River) in 1898. It comprises of two separate groups of workings: 

(a) the original prospects in the Jordan Creek and Henrietta Creek area, 25.5km south-east of Millaa Millaa and 1.5 to 3.2km south of the Palmerston Highway being the original area of discovery;

(b) a later group of workings in the Myee Creek area, north of the highway, 11.2km south-east of Millaa Millaa, and ¾ mile north of Palmerston Highway .

The gold is contained in small quartz veins and leaders in decomposed granite. In places there is a slightly auriferous altered zone up to 10 feet wide around the quartz veins. Assays are reported to have shown 1 to 2oz of fine gold per ton, but the average recovery grade was much less. Many of the thin leaders are manganiferous, and a little pyrite and arsenopyrite are also present.

The Jordan Creek / Henrietta Creek lodes are arranged en echelon in a north-north-east trending belt; they may have been formed in tension fissures caused by a dextral shear couple. Much of the 12,750oz of fine gold produced was won from alluvial deposits in creeks which have been worked out long ago. All recent production, amounting to several tens of ounces per year, has been derived from lodes mainly in the Myee Creek area. Some prospecting has been done on a few deep leads under the basalt covering the granite, but the gold values are not high, and the tunnels need much timbering on account of the soft ground.

Mount Peter Goldfield

Some 11,000oz of fine gold were obtained from half a dozen irregular quartz lodes discovered in 1915 on the steep northern slope of Mount Peter, 5 km west of Gordonvale and 8 km south of Edmonton.

The lodes trend north-east and east-south-east across the regional strike of the Barron River Metamorphics and contain shoots that are small and widely spaced , dipping 60º to 75º south or north, or vertical, and trending north-east and east-south-east across regional strike of schists. The shoots were small and widely spaced. The average recovery grade was 1oz 18 dwt per ton, though values of 41oz per ton were reported in some of the shoots.

The main lode was the Talisman (which was mined to a depth of 90m) contained gold as well as a little pyrite, chalcopyrite and arsenopyrite. There was little activity after 1951.

There is still scope for prospecting for new shoots in the precipitous country, both on the field and further to the west.

Potallah Creek Provisional Mining Field

In the Potallah Creek Provisional Gold Field only one reef, the Perseverance, has been recorded from this field. It has a northerly strike and occurs in fine-grained schist (phyllite) of the Holroyd Metamorphics about 1 km west of a stock of Kintore Adamellite.

Several reefs, some bearing a little gold, are recorded from the general area. The Perseverance reef was worked for a short period in the early part of the (twentieth) century; 18.26kg of gold from 593 tonnes of ore is recorded for the years 1903-1904. An attempt was made to reopen the mine in 1946 when the reef at the 33m level is reported to have been 2m wide and to have a grade of 15.6grams gold/tonne.

According to Cameron the reef trends north and is 75cm wide at a depth of 12m. The only recorded production is 18.26kg of gold from 593 tonnes of ore in 1903 - 1904.

A shaft was sunk at Potallah Creek in 1946; the reef at a depth of 33m is reported to have been 2m wide with a grade of 15.6grams of gold per tonne. Jensen recorded a small number of gold occurrences in the Potallah Creek area. Production of 0.16kg of gold is recorded from Olain Creek in 1914 (probably O’Lane Creek, 13km north-north-west of the Potallah Creek shaft).

Summary: The field produced about 2,765 oz of fine gold mainly between 1904 and 1909.

Mulgrave Goldfield

Discovered in 1879, the Mulgrave Goldfield is the oldest of the smaller gold-producing areas situated 19 to 26km south-south-west of Gordonvale along a spur at watershed between South Toohey Creek and Butcher Creek and along the Mulgrave River. Both alluvial and reef deposits were worked.

Production was mainly alluvial, whereas lode mining was never successful because most of the reefs were low grade, and crushings showed poor returns notwithstanding promising assay results. The lodes consist of narrow quartz reefs, generally ½ to 1½ feet thick, trending across and also sub-parallel to the strike of the enclosing Barron River Metamorphics. The workings, and the old mining township of Goldsborough on the west bank of the Mulgrave River were deserted after 1905.

Alluvial deposits occur under the basalts on top of the spur separating South Toohey Creek from Butcher Creek, 12.8km east of Peeramon at the edge of the basalt-covered Atherton Tableland. At least three levels of wash were recognized by W. C. Ball: the basalt cover is thin or absent in places. Little systematic geological work has been done in this area, although Ball believes that the wash forms a practically continuous sheet under the basalt similar to those of the Russell Goldfield.

Bartle Frere Workings

This was the last field to be discovered (1937), and one of the least successful,11km west of Babinda. The reefs occur in the Barron River Metamorphics at the northern foot of Mount Bartle Frere.

The gold is contained in steeply dipping quartz reefs sub-parallel with, or in places transecting, the regional strike of the sediments 1 to 5 feet thick, and dips steep to vertical.

Assay values generally ranged from 1 to 3 oz per ton, but the shoots were small, patchy, and irregular in quartz gangue, with a little pyrite, arsenopyrite, galena, sphalerite and chalcopyrite. The cost of transportation was high, hence the field was deserted after 1942, after having yielded only 520 oz of fine gold.

Russell Goldfield (from 1905: Russell Extended Goldfield)

The Russell Extended Goldfield, one of a group of small fields in the jungle-covered mountain area between Cairns and Innisfail, has been intensely surveyed geologically. The recorded production of 26,780oz of fine gold was mostly obtained from alluvial deposits in the form of narrow terraces along the slopes of the steep-sided valleys of the Coopooroo Creek and Wairambah Creek drainage systems, which were buried by late Cainozoic basalt flows. Recent rejuvenation has re-exposed some of the deposits.

The native gold is contained in gravel wash: generally a few feet thick, which is overlain by up to 20 feet of sand, silt, and clay, and 40 to 100 feet of basalt. The gravel has been worked by hydraulic sluicing and tunnelling. Development was hindered by the lack of accessible water (not withstanding the copious rainfall), the rough and densely vegetated terrain, the soft decomposed ground, and the hardness of the gravel where cemented by iron hydroxides. Other adverse conditions included the low grade of the deposits, the extremely fine grain size of the gold, the scattered nature of the deposits, and the thick overburden. Broadhurst & Garth investigated the area for Clutha Development Ltd and came to the conclusion that the remaining reserves could not be mined profitably.

For a short period, auriferous quartz lodes were mined in the vicinity of Towalla (now abandoned), some 33.5km south of the Russell terraces. Production came from small shoots in northwest-trending lodes in the Coolamon Creek area. The reported grade of 2 to 3 oz per ton was insufficient to counterbalance the high cost of transport and the inadequacy of the reserves and the lodes were abandoned in 1905.



Mareeba Gold and Mineral Field

A small field, 8km south-east from the Mareeba railway station, produced 11,846oz of fine gold, most of it from the Queen Constance lode, a north-north-west trending, rather flatly dipping quartz reef standing out as the crest of a low hill. The country rock consists of slate and phyllite of the Barron River Metamorphics. After an initial production of 1,770oz in one year, the grade fell to less than 1oz per ton, and after struggling on for another 8 or 9 years the field was abandoned. The ore also contained some pyrite, rare sphalerite and stibnite.

Gold was won from a number of localities, principally on the western side of the Atherton Geological Sheet area, towards the end of the 1800’s and early 1900’s. The economic depression of the 1930s revived the gold mining industry and resulted in new finds in the Mount Wandoo and Fluorspar areas. Most of the gold has been won from the Chillagoe Gold and Mineral Field; recorded production for this Field for the years 1909 to 1955 is 56,218 fine oz.

Fluorspar Locality

Gold was found at Fluorspar on Crooked Creek (16km south-east from Chillagoe). The gold was small, but commonly found as extremely rich shoots in thin leaders where these cut through greisenized gently dipping aplite veins in adamellite (a variety of granite) near its contact with the Featherbed Volcanics and is concentrated in kaolin-rich patches. These lodes have produced some 5,050oz of mixed bullion and fine gold.

Tate Goldfield

The Tate Goldfield, about 48km south-west of Chillagoe is mentioned in the Warden’s reports and Annual Reports of the Department of Mines for the first few years of the 20th century. Prospecting for alluvial gold was carried out between Mount McDevitt and the Tate River, and Geologist Skertchly has described a rich but very small quartz vein in the Precambrian rocks 3.2km west of the Tate telegraph station, from which about 600 to 700 oz of gold were recovered. The best yield from the Tate area was 2,000 oz in 1901: before and after that, the annual production was only several tens of ounces until about 1905.

Mount Wandoo

Mount Wandoo is approximately 27km west of Chillagoe on Wandoo Creek. It was mined between 1933 – 1937 when 2,100 oz of gold were obtained. The main workings are within a zone of altered Precambrian ferruginous and micaceous gneiss and schist, about 14 chains long, mineral impregnated. The mineralization is concentrated in fissure deposits and in pipes formed at intersections of joints and fissures. Fissures much splayed, and sometimes referred to as stock-works.

The maximum depth of the workings were up to 60cm. Gold is found in arsenopyrite, pyrite, chalcopyrite. Gangue: ferruginous and kaolinized country rock

Other gold occurrences

Gold has been won in small quantities, or traces of gold have been reported, from many other localities. In 1921, gold was discovered south of Six Mile Creek 6.8km southwest of Cooktown. The lodes strike west-north-west and north-south and the grade of the ore ranges from 1 to 4½oz per ton. Randalls mine, or the Freedom, is a quartz lode 12.8km south-west of Molloy. It was worked from 1939 to 1941 for a yield of about 650oz of gold and 100oz of silver from 230 tons of ore.

Three small quartz lodes have been reported from the Mitchell River area south of Curraghmore homestead. The quartz is iron-stained in places, and contains free gold, pyrite, and galena. Other small gold veins have been reported from the China Camp area (the Enterprise mine), 19km north of Daintree: from around Racecourse Mountain between Diggers Creek and the West Normanby River; and at Nolans Creek where some gold is associated with cobalt, bismuth, and arsenopyrite in low-grade pipe-like ore-bodies. Rich but small gold reefs have been reported in diorite in the Gurrumba/Ord area southwest of Emuford.

Between 1894 and 1898 attempts were made to work the low-grade quartz lodes at the Clohesy River north-east of Mareeba. One shaft was sunk below 100 feet, but as the grade averaged only ½oz per ton the prospect was abandoned. Another shaft was sunk to 135 feet at Kamerunga in 1933-1934, but the prospect was soon closed down because of the irregular grade and the abundance of mine water.

At Mount Mascotte, 12.8km east-south-east of Atherton, about 200 oz of fine gold were mined from a quartz lode in a small inlier of chiastolite schist in the Atherton Basalt. Alluvial gold was won from the Tully River and from Culpa Creek, one of its tributaries, between 1894 and 1905; and from Sandy Creek, a tributary of the North Johnstone River. Small quantities of gold have been found in most of the streams draining the granite massifs west and south west of Mossman; and in the St Georges River and its tributaries, Fine Gold Creek, and Hurricane Creek.

Sluicing prospects have been tested in the Russell River where it enters the coastal plain; in the North Johnstone River 12.8km west of Innisfail; and in creek alluvium at Eubanangee, 11.2km northwest of Innisfail. Farther south, a little alluvial gold has been found in the headwaters of Yamanie Creek and Smoko Creek, tributaries of the Herbert River, and in the tin deposits on Broadwater Creek west of Cardwell. The Herbert River Gorge, west of the area mapped, has also been prospected for gold.

Traces of gold have been reported from a creek about 3.2km south of Ninian Bay in association with native copper and silver in a thermal spring deposit on Noble Island and at White Rock south of Cairns. Much gold was obtained as a by-product from the copper mines at Cardross, 32km west-north-west of Mungana, and in much smaller amounts from other copper mines in the Chillagoe area.



Georgetown (42km by road north from Forsayth) is the centre of the northern section of Etheridge field, outside gold centres being Durham , Cumberland , Donnyville and Lighthouse. The fissure veins of the area are characterised by exceptional length. Normally the stone became heavily mineralised in depth, but there were instances where the gold occurred mainly in specimen shoots. Sulphide ore mined was forwarded to smelters elsewhere, with prior concentration on the field in a few cases. Remarks on the potentiality of the veins on this field have already been made above in conjunction with the Forsayth area. On the Green Hills goldfield, 40km to the south-west, the alluvial deposits are now practically exhausted, but further rich leaders may be found in the vicinity of Macdonaldtown and Western Creek.

It was reported that about 600,000 oz of gold was won from the Etheridge Goldfield since mining operations began in 1877, with an average grade of 1½ oz gold per ton. Today no mines are being worked on this field; in 1957 unsuccessful attempts were made to open the City of Glasgow mine. Cameron’s comprehensive descriptions of the auriferous quartz reefs on the Etheridge Goldfield have been supplemented by later mine descriptions by Reid and Cribb.

In the primary zone the gold in the reefs contains pyrite, galena, chalcopyrite, and sphalerite; the oxidized zone extends from 60 feet to 100 feet deep. Only 14 mines were worked to a depth greater than 200 feet and in general the gold content decreased below 300 feet.

The principal gold mines were the Cumberland , which produced 65,713 oz of gold from ore  averaging 1oz 18 dwt gold per ton, and the Durham near Georgetown; and the Queenslander and Nil Desperandum near Forsayth. The Union Mine, situated near the southern boundary of the Georgetown Sheet in the Percyville field contained rich pockets of ore which yielded up to 100 oz gold per ton. 2.800 oz of gold were extracted from the Union Mine. The primary ore averaged 20 to 25 percent copper and 6 to 7 oz gold per ton.  

.........    To be continued



Forsayth (229km by rail south-west from Almaden) is the railhead and centre for the southern portion of the Etheridge goldfield, including the Robertson River silver-lead lodes. Ortona copper deposits, Percyville, Mount Hogan, Mount Moran and Gilberton gold lodes and Mosquito Creek silver-lead lodes.

Near Forsayth itself a number of strong fissure lodes have been worked for gold on company scale. Rich ores characterized these deposits on the oxidized zone, but exploitation of the primary ore containing mixed base metal sulphides was restricted because of the difficulty of extracting gold there from the field.

The isolated situation has always proved a handicap to continued development but the field, together with adjoining Georgetown district, is considered to offer distinct possibilities for further development by modern capitalized methods, particularly if provision can be made for realization of the base metal content of the ores as well as the gold and silver.       

........     To be continued



Croydon (222km by road westerly from rail at Forsayth) was formerly one of the major goldfields of the State and was worked principally for gold, mainly between 1885 and 1906. At least 110 mines operated. Individual mines have been discussed by Reid Clappison and Dickinson. The Croydon Gold and Mineral Field recorded a production exceeding 15,950kg fine gold.

A large number of flatly disposed persistent fissure lodes in granite and others, more steeply dipping in volcanic rocks were worked. They were characterized by rich shoots at the surface and by failure of values to live to depths exceeding a few hundred feet. Grade of bullion was variable but on the average rather low. Considerable exploration at greater depth, including drilling, was unsuccessful. The prospect of other similar deposits beneath shallow cover in adjoining areas of overlapping sedimentary rocks provides a possible avenue for future investigation.

The goldfield was discussed in a review by Edwards on which, the next three paragraphs are based. The lodes in granite are of sheared granite and graphitic granite up to 9m wide, and are traversed by numerous quartz veins and reefs.  

Ore shoots in the lodes appear to occur: 

(a) at the intersection of the lodes with belts of graphitic granite; 

(b) on the south-west sides of the intersections of the lodes with north-west striking, west-dipping, reverse faults; and 

(c) in association with small drag-folds that affect the course of the lode. 

They also appear to develop where reefs on shears intersect one another.

Ore-bodies in the volcanics (‘felsites' ) are simple quartz reefs. Those reefs dipping from 15º to 45° E are up to 45m thick; vertical reefs do not exceed 1m. Production from the field between 1886 and 1935 was 23,675kg (761,167 fine oz) of gold and 25,008kg (804,023 fine oz) of silver, including that derived from the re-treatment of tailing by cyanidation. A little more has been won since. Gold lodes in the Esmeralda Granite are richer in silver than those in the Croydon Volcanics, and native silver has been found only in the granite areas. Gold from lodes in the granite averaged about 536 fine varying from 280 to 885; in the volcanics the average was 73, ranging from 533 to 857. Fine gold grades varied from 169 to 498grams/tonne (107 to 315 dwt/ton) in lodes in granite, and from 10.9 to 38.9 grams/tonne (6.9 to 24.6 dwt/ton) in lodes in the volcanics.

Lodes could not be worked economically below 90m in the volcanics and 150m in the granite. Many lodes had petered out altogether at these depths; others terminated against west-dipping faults. To encourage prospecting the Queensland Department of Mines (1959) drilled 16 holes totalling 2,234m between 1936 and 1939; no commercial mineralization was encountered. Geophysical surveys in some reef areas by Rayner & Nye and Richardson & Rayner indicated targets for further exploration. The goldfield has been virtually unworked since World War II, although leases have been taken out from time to time. A little alluvial gold was won in the early days of the field.

Emeralda (97km southerly from Croydon) was the centre for gold mining on a limited scale in the southern section of the field.


The only relatively important gold prospects were at the Clohesy River and at Kamerunga, eight miles north-west of Cairns .

Between 1894 and 1898 attempts were made to mine low-grade quartz lodes at the Clohesy River, and a battery was set up. One shaft was sunk below 100 feet, but ore averaged only ½oz per ton, and the prospect was abandoned. Similarly, at Kamerunga in 1933 and 1934 a shaft was sunk to 135 feet, with a 50-foot drive at the 100-foot level, in a persistent 4-5 foot quartz reef. Values ranged from less than 1dwt to 2oz, but water in the shaft was always a problem, and the mine was soon abandoned.

A little gold, manganese, wolfram, and tin have been found at White Rock, south of Cairns, and in the hills south-west of it.



Extract from Bureau of Mineral Resources Bulletin No. 135:

Igneous and metamorphic rocks of Cape York Peninsula and Torres Strait .


Gold, the most important mineral produced in Cape York Peninsula and Torres Strait, was discovered in the Palmer River in 1872, and later at Coen in 1876, Torres Strait in 1894, near Wenlock in 1892, at Ebagoola in 1900, and finally in the Claudie River in 1933.

Much of the information on the mines and prospects has been obtained from the Queensland

Government Mining Journal and the Annual Reports of the Queensland Department of Mines.

The production figures were also obtained from the Annual Reports of the Department of Mines.

Geology & Controls of Mineralization:

The iron and manganese deposits in the Iron Range area occur in regionally metamorphosed iron-rich sediments, which form relatively thin bands in the steeply dipping Sefton Metamorphics. Most of the gold is associated with quartz lodes and acid dykes related to the granitic rocks of Cape York Peninsula Batholith. Gold and traces of stibnite, arsenopyrite, pyrite, and galena are the only mineralization associated with these granites. A little tin, tungsten, gold, molybdenum, lead, and copper occur in association with the upper Palaeozoic plutonic rocks.

The discontinuous mineralized zone or hydrothermally altered volcanic and intrusive rocks in the southern part of Torres Strait was probably formed immediately after the intrusion of the Upper Carboniferous Badu Granite and porphyritic microgranite. Cassiterite, pyrite, and chalcopyrite occur at Cape York ; gold, galena, chalcopyrite, sphalerite, and pyrite on Horn and Possession Islands .

Most of the gold was produced before World War I. Both alluvial and lode gold have been mined. Although some of the reefs were rich, most were small and few sustained mining operations for long. Most of the reefs occur in the granitic rocks or adjacent country rocks, but a few are associated with shear zones. Excluding the Palmer Gold and Mineral Field, the recorded production is about 6,843kg of gold. The gold and mineral fields are described in order from south to north; the fields and main mining centres in Cape York Peninsula are shown.

In the Palmer Gold and Mineral Field alluvial gold was first reported from the Palmer River below Palmerville in 1872. The gold-bearing sands in the river and its tributaries were reported to be payable by Mulligan in 1873 and the rush to the field began soon afterwards. The alluvial gold was virtually exhausted by the end of the decade. A recorded production of 41,488.74 kg is given in Amos & de Keyser (1964), but the true figure was probably about twice as much. Some reef mining was carried out east of the Palmerville Fault, but none is recorded to the west of the fault. Between 1926 and 1936 dredging at Strathleven, Glenroy, and Bonanza west of Palmerville produced 105.75kg of gold, but operations ceased when the recovery grade fell to 4.8 grams per m³. The gold in the Palmer River was probably derived from mineralized reefs in the Hodgkinson Formation.



Overview - Geology of the Hodgkinson and Laura Basins , North Queensland .

The following information includes part of an extract from Bulletin Number 84 published by the Bureau of Mineral Resources, Canberra .

The mineralized areas of the Hodgkinson and Laura Basins , have been grouped into several Gold and Mineral Fields to facilitate administration. When new finds were made, the mineral fields were rearranged or subdivided. The old Walsh and Tinaroo Mineral Field, for example, proclaimed in 1882, was divided into the Herberton Gold and Mineral Field and the Chillagoe Gold and Mineral Field in 1909, and the Mareeba Gold and Mineral Field was detached from the Chillagoe Field in 1949.

The goldfields, in decreasing order of importance are the Palmer, Hodgkinson, Hamilton, Russell River, Starcke, Jordan Creek, Mareeba, and Mount Peter Goldfields, and a multitude of smaller production centres. Together they have yielded approximately 1,780,000oz of fine gold, valued at about £7,565,000 of which 75% came from the Palmer and 17% from the Hodgkinson field.



Palmer River Goldfield

Gold was first found in the Palmer River by Hann’s 1872 expedition, and the first payable quantities were found near the future site of Maytown by Mulligan’s expedition of the following year, 1874. The two main gold-mining districts were the Palmer River Gold Field (including the Limestone District) and the Hodgkinson Gold Field. Both lode and alluvial gold also occurred in small amounts at numerous other localities, but production from these was negligible.

Most of the alluvial gold and all of the reef gold-quartz lodes found in the host rocks are the sediments of the Hodgkinson Formation produced from this field in the latter part of the 1800's was won from the Mossman and Cooktown Geological Sheet areas to the east of the Palmer. In the Hann River Geological Sheet area, the alluvials in the Palmer River have been prospected at various times in the 20th century with little success.

The recorded total yield of gold was 1,333,893 fine ounces, but the true figure was undoubtedly higher than this. More than 90% of the production was from alluvial sources along the banks and the bed of the Palmer River and its tributaries, mainly between its junction with Fish Creek being 5 miles east of Palmerville, (and within the Cooktown Geological Sheet area) and upstream to Byerstown which was located approximately 45 miles east of Palmerville to Campbell Creek.

Gold was also recovered from the streams upstream from Strathleven homestead west of Palmerville. Between 1926 and 1936 dredging by the Palmer River Gold Dredging Company was formed to work the Strathleven, Glenroy, and Bonanza areas downstream west of Palmerville (outside the Mossman Geological Sheet area). Although the reported values of about 13d per cubic yard were not very encouraging work ceased in 1935 when the recovery grade declined to 4.8 grams/m³ or about 4d (pence) per cubic yard owing to the extreme minuteness of the gold and the abundance of heavy minerals which packed the riffles. Four years of dredging yielded 3,600oz (105.75 kg) of gold.

The source of the alluvial gold in the upper parts of the Palmer River , near the former sites of Uhrstown and Byerstown, is uncertain. No lodes have been found here, but there is a multitude of thin quartz leaders from which the gold may have been derived. It is possible, but less likely, that the metal was shed from the three granite tablelands to the south of the Palmer River .

The basal conglomerate and sandstone of the Mesozoic Dalrymple Sandstone, overlies the Hodgkinson Formation in the headwaters of the Mossman River and Cradle Creek, also contain detrital gold. Robert Logan Jack in 1896, reported the largest areas of auriferous leads above the unconformity along Chinky Creek, a tributary of the Mossman River . He thought that the basal Mesozoic sediments may be the major intermediate source of the Palmer River alluvial gold. Clappison reported that testing of the conglomerate from 1936 to 1938 yielded values up to 5dwt per ton.

The auriferous (gold-bearing) basal conglomerate is up to 4 or 5 feet thick, the values are erratic, and the leads are difficult to follow northwards down the old stream beds running north on the pre-Mesozoic surface of erosion. The gold, where present, is concentrated near the bottom of the conglomerate. It is water-worn, and of high fineness. No production is known to have taken place, but a considerable amount of development work was done locally. The deposits were tested again in 1936 - 1938, when diesel engines, a five-head stamp battery, and other machinery were available.

Normal sampling showed traces of gold only, and the best grades found by test mining ranged from 2½ to 5 dwt per ton. These values are considered unsatisfactory as the leads can be exploited only by hard-rock mining methods, the volume of ore is small, the gold content erratic, and many of the leads ill-defined. The conglomerate is probably the source of the small quantities of alluvial gold won by prospectors in Shepherd Creek and the headwaters of the Mossman River .

It is generally considered that the alluvial deposits and most of the known reefs on the Palmer Goldfield can be considered to be exhausted, and the geomorphological history of the area indicates that there is little prospect of finding new alluvial deposits west of Palmerville: it is thought that the gold derived from erosion of the lodes on the pre-Mesozoic erosion surface was plainly dispersed towards the north originally, and that upwarp or tilling caused a change in the direction of drainage from north to west.

The alluvial production reached a maximum of more than 250,000 oz. in 1875, and thereafter decreased rapidly. Gold rushes following the discovery of payable deposits on the Palmer River soon brought up to 50,000 people to the field. Palmerville, Maytown, Uhrstown, Byerstown, and Groganville became booming though short-lived settlements that are now deserted or have disappeared completely. The total gold output was undoubtedly higher than the estimated 1,334,500oz because large numbers of Chinese miners are reputed to have commonly evaded the official channels for the sale of gold.

Between 1934 and 1938 hydraulic sluicing was unsuccessfully applied to a small area 9.6km upstream from Palmerville by the Commonwealth Preliminary Mining Syndicate.

Many auriferous (gold-bearing) quartz reefs were discovered soon after the discovery of the alluvial deposits, and although their total yield was small compared with the output from the alluvials. These were located chiefly north and east of Maytown, and in the Limestone Creek district, being a tributary of the Mitchell River 37km south of Maytown. The reefs were generally thin, lenticular, quartz-filled fissure veins within cleaved shale and greywacke of the Hodgkinson Formation. The widths of the veins range from a few inches up to 1.8m, but average of 30cm or less. They strike north-west or north-north-west, and dip steeply south-west in the Maytown area; in the Limestone District their orientation is more irregular. The quartz contains native gold, some pyrite and arsenopyrite, and a little stibnite.

The most productive mine was the Anglo-Saxon in the Limestone District; its total yield was 30,892 oz (bullion), nearly one third of the production of all the Maytown reefs. The total yield, counting the Maytown and Limestone Reefs together, is estimated at 137,000 oz (bullion) from 80,000 tons of ore.

Production from these reefs reached maximum in about 1889, then declined steadily and by 1893 most of the mines had closed down. The biggest and most productive mine was the Anglo-Saxon, discovered in 1886 in the Limestone (Creek) District which yielded 30,892oz of (bullion) fine gold. or about a third of the total output from the reefs. This lode was worked to a depth of about 183m, had seven levels, and was sunk on a north-east-trending fissure vein with a maximum width of 1.83m. The ore-shoot was 90 to 120m long, but the ore became arsenical in the lower levels. The grade averaged 1.64 oz of gold per ton with rich patches up to 78 oz per ton.

Maytown gold reefs

Renewed movement along the Palmerville Fault resulted in rejuvenation of the topography of the Maytown block, and excellent traps were formed for the redistributed gold and for fresh supplies of gold from the rapidly eroding reefs and leaders. West of Palmerville, however, the topography remained old and flat, and there would be little concentration of the gold. The fine grain-size of the gold downstream from Palmerville indicates that it has been carried a long way from its source.

The Maytown reefs include several groups the largest of which were the Ida, Comet, Louisa, Queen, and Alexander groups. The first crushings were made in 1876, and when the mines closed down some 137,000 oz of fine gold had been obtained from 80,000 tons of ore, including the production from the Limestone (Creek) group. The grade ranged from 1 to 2 oz per ton. Most of the mines closed down after 1893 during a financial crisis and were not reopened. An effort to revive the Louisa mine in 1939-40 was unsuccessful because of the troublesome quantities of mine water, and the large amounts of pyrite and arsenopyrite in the ore which made treatment difficult.

The mining operations on the Maytown lodes met with many difficulties. Timber was scarce and of poor quality, transport was very expensive, and the cost of living exorbitantly high. Mining was concentrated on the richest portions of the lodes, and little attention was paid to development work. The reefs were small, and though very rich on top were generally impoverished in depth: Water in the workings was difficult to cope with. Jackson, contrary to most other opinions then current, concluded that most of the payable ore had been exhausted and that reopening of the mines was unwarranted, but that if the mines were reopened, more reefs should be mined simultaneously, using modern equipment, electric power, and cheap oil fuel.

The auriferous reefs here are thin lenticular quartz-filled fissure veins within a belt of sheared dark phyllite and greywacke. The thickness ranged from a few inches to about 60cm. In addition to the reefs mined, many thin unpayable leaders exist in the country rock. The reefs strike north-west or north-north-west, and dip steeply to the south-west. They are composed of milky vein quartz containing native gold, some pyrite, arsenopyrite, and a little stibnite. It is alleged that there were generally less base-metal sulphides in the Palmer reefs than in the lodes on the Hodgkinson Goldfield.

Robert Logan Jack and others have noted that bends in the reefs were favourable loci for ore enrichment. It appears that the grade rapidly decreased in depth, especially in some of the Queen lodes, but it is uncertain whether the higher surface values were due to secondary enrichment.

Hodgkinson Goldfield

Alluvial mining started here in 1876, and lode mining in 1877. Between 12,000 and 40,000oz were won from alluvial deposits, mostly in 1876. The total yield from both alluvial and lode deposits up to 1951 is estimated at 278,850 fine oz. The peak year was 1878, when the yield was 35,500 fine oz. From then on output declined rapidly to 540 fine oz. in 1891, the year when most of the mines were closed. Since then a fairly constant annual production of between 1,000 and 4,000oz was maintained.  Only a handful of mines remained in production intermittently until all activities stopped during World War I. In the post-war years there was some sporadic development work, but production was insignificant until the outbreak of World War II, when production virtually ceased.

The Hodgkinson district, though a smaller gold-producing field than the Palmer Goldfield, was a richer lode-mining district. In 1878, one year after the first lodes were opened up, there were 492 mines on 330 claims, and 12 crushing plants with a total of 121 stamp heads. The main settlements were Kingsborough and Thornborough; others included Beaconsfield, Woodville, Stewartstown, and Wellesley .

Before 1905 the Flying Pig was the most important producer yielding 14,930 oz from 8099 tons of ore.

The two main lode systems in the area, the Tyrconnel and General Grant Groups, have together yielded more than one third of the total lode production of the field. The average grade was about 17 to 18dwt per ton from the General Grant, and 21.7dwt from the Tyrconnel. The Tyrconnel was the largest lode in the district, and was in almost continuous production until 1924. Its bottom level was at 131m, where the grade became uneconomic. From 1933 to 1937 attempts were made to extract about 14,000 tons of available ore but work was suspended as the grade of 4.17dwt per ton turned out to be below expectation. . It produced more than 49,000 oz bullion.

The General Grant was worked until 1910 for 23,120oz of bullion. At a depth of 150m the ore-body is 183m long and sampling in 1934-1937 indicated reserves of 8,000 tons averaging 8 dwt per ton. The grade was not considered to be economic, although there was slight improvement in the bottom level. The deepest workings were 218m below surface.

Jack noted two main groups of lodes in the Hodgkinson District: 

(a) Those parallel to the strike of the bedding / sediments, but cutting across the dip; and 

(b) Those lodes (mainly north-south) across the strike, and dipping to the west. The lodes, especially the first group, should not be confused with the conspicuous chert ridges which were commonly considered to be siliceous dykes or barren gold veins.

The lodes consist of quartz stringers in cleaved sediments of the Hodgkinson Formation, or quartz veins from a few inches to several feet wide. The best gold values seem to occur in white platy quartz with dark slaty seams, as in the Tyrconnel mine (and also found in the Maytown lodes of the Palmer field). The massive rubbly or blocky quartz appears to contain relatively little gold.

The veins contain native gold, varying amounts of stibnite, some pyrite, arsenopyrite, and minor quantities of chalcopyrite, sphalerite, and galena. The stibnite appears to belong to a younger phase of hydrothermal activity. In some shoots both gold and antimony were mined, and in later years some of the mines changed production from gold to antimony, depending on market conditions. Galena and sphalerite were common in the Leviathan mine.

Scheelite occurred in some mines, such as the Tyrconnel and the Southern Cross, and in the latter from below the 90-foot level it was a persistent constituent of the quartz gangue, especially in the gold-rich portions to such an extent that the mine was on occasions worked chiefly for scheelite.

Rare molybdenite is found in the Southern Cross, and barytes occurs in the gangue of the Minnie Moxham mine. Appreciable amounts of tourmaline are present in the Southern Cross lode. There is little evidence of structural or stratigraphic control of the ore shoots. Jensen noted that the Tyrconnel shoot is located in a strong bend of the lode; occasionally a carbonaceous slate forms the favourable host rock, as in the Flying Pig workings, where the ore shoot pitches parallel to the lineation formed by the intersection of the lode with certain kaolinized or carbonaceous slates.

In places there is little surface indication of the presence of a reef. At the Tyrconnel, for example, the black shale contains thin quartz stringers which widen from a few inches at the surface to several feet in depth. The available records indicate that the reefs have probably been worked out. The lodes are small and broken, the ore shoots commonly deeper than long, and the grade of the remaining ore at depth is apparently too low to be mined economically.

One of the few persistent mines was the Minnie Moxham, later known as the New Minnie Moxham. It was the only producing mine after World War II, and yielded about 450oz of fine gold in 1947-1950.

Other gold occurrences

Minor occurrences of lode and alluvial gold were found outside the Palmer and Hodgkinson areas, but they are of little importance. Auriferous lodes have been worked at the following mines: Randalls (Freedom), Heroic, Golden Drop, Golden Crest, Enterprise , and Beaverbrook. Alluvial gold has been found in the St George River and many streams draining east from the Dividing Range . A few hundred ounces of gold were obtained as a by-product from the OK copper mines.

Summary:  Production on the Hodgkinson field was mainly from lodes, and there was little alluvial gold compared with the Palmer district. The Hodgkinson lodes may represent the upper zone of a mineralized vein system which has not been eroded sufficiently to provide a copious supply of free gold. The lack of surface indications supports this hypothesis.



Coen Gold and Mineral Field

Alluvial gold was discovered at Coen in 1876 and in 1878 there was a small rush from the Palmer River, but few miners stayed more than two weeks and the workings were abandoned in the same year. In 1880, Chinese miners attempted to work the alluvium without success. In 1885 land was taken up for lode mining silver, and machinery was erected in 1886, but productive reef mining did not start until 1892. The Coen Gold and Mineral Field was proclaimed over an area of 95km² in 1892 and enlarged to 480km² in 1898. Between 1893 and 1899, 16,689 tonnes of ore crushed at Coen yielded 888.1kg of gold.

Mining began early in the 1890s on four (4) main reefs. Total recorded production from these reefs was about 31kg of gold up to 1901, when the area was abandoned in favour of the new discoveries in the Hamilton goldfield. However, gold continued to be won at Coen for many years, mainly from the Great Northern and from the treatment of tailings with cyanide.

The field was active until the First World War when the total recorded production from the Coen area (1892 to 1916) was about 2,333 kg of gold from 28,985 tonnes of ore. Ball referred to the poor quality of the gold which had a high silver content.

Ball visited the field in 1900 and recorded mining activity at Coen town, at The Springs (near the Kennedy Road crossing of Station Creek) 15km to the south-east. Mining was carried out here from the early 1890s to about 1901. The workings at The Springs (and at Coen) occur within or adjacent to a major shear zone, the Coen Shear Zone. The reefs trend north-westerly, and occur in sheared granitic rocks of the Cape York Peninsula Batholith. Numerous large quartz reefs are exposed in the area, though most are unmineralized. The main reefs were the Westralia, where 455 tonnes of ore were crushed for 19.56kg of gold in 1901.

The reefs at Coen, and at The Springs locality in the Ebagoola Geological Sheet area to the south-east of Coen, occur within and are parallel to the Coen Shear Zone. Reefs up to 5km long and 90m wide occur to the south-east of Coen but most are unmineralized. Most reefs occur in altered and sheared Lankelly Adamellite which commonly contains accessory pyrite and arsenopyrite. The lode at the Great Northern mine appears to be a breccia composed of fragments of silicified granitic rock in a matrix of white quartz.

Other reefs near Coen which produced gold, mainly before 1900, are the Daisy, Hanging Rock, Homeward Bound, Lankelly, Long Tunnel, Trafalgar, and Wilson reefs. The Great Northern mine produced 1,760kg of gold from 26,234 tonnes of ore, and 412.4kg of gold from the treatment of 20,000 tonnes of tailings and mullock in the period before 1916. The mine was reported to have been worked to a depth of 152m in a reef up to 1m thick. Several attempts have been made to reopen the mine since the First World War, one as late as in 1949.

The most successful mine was the Great Northern about 1.6 km south-east of Coen township; it has produced about three-quarters of the gold won from the field. Between 1894 and 1899 the Great Northern mine yielded 230.85kg of gold with a high silver content from 4,394 tonnes of ore.

Lochinvar Mining Field

The small Lochinvar Provisional Goldfield on Tadpole Creek, about 18km west-south-west of Coen, is situated in Kintore Adamellite. The only recorded production is 2.2kg of gold from 50 tonnes of ore in 1904.

Further exploration of this area was conducted in 1979 but information was ever recorded.


Gold was also found at Klondyke 13km north east of The Springs. The Springfield reef yielded about 40kg of gold from 366 tonnes of ore between 1898 and 1902. The Klondyke lodes trend roughly north and occur in schist and gneiss of the Coen Metamorphics near their contact with the Lankelly Adamellite. The workings at Coen and The Springs lie within or adjacent to the Coen Shear Zone. The zone extends for about 27km south-east of Coen and lies largely within the Lankelly Adamellite and along its southwest margin. The schistose sheared adamellite contains a little pyrite and arsenopyrite. Quartz reefs are common along the shear zones, and in the south they are up to 5km long and 100m wide. Most of the mullock dump at the Great Northern mine, which lies in the shear zone, consists of a breccia composed of fragments of silicified granite set in a matrix of white quartz; the country rock is sheared Lankelly Adamellite. The quartz and gold were probably deposited from hydrothermal fluids introduced after the rocks were sheared.

According to Ball the reefs are from several centimetres to 1.5m thick, and generally trend north-west to north, with a steep dip. Most of them are fissure veins composed of quartz, but a few consist of siliceous slate; some of the poorer reefs contain pyrite or arsenopyrite.

The total recorded production of reef gold at Coen from 1892 to 1916 was about 2,333kg, of which 2,172.86kg came from the Great Northern mine, including 412.4kg from the treatment of 20,000 tonnes of tailings and mullock. The total amount of ore recorded between 1812 and 1916 was 28,185 tonnes, of which 26,234 tonnes came from the Great Northern mine. After 1910 production fell off rapidly, and in 1914 only 7 tonnes of ore was mined. The Great Northern mine was reported to have been worked to a depth of 150m, but little work was done at that depth. The north end of the No.4 level, somewhere below 54m, was reported in 1909 to be 78m from the shaft. The reefs in the lower levels ranged in width from 75cm to 1.2m.

After 1909 production came from small rich leaders in the hanging wall and footwall above the No.3 level possibly at 54m. Little is known of the mine after 1914, but attempts were made to reopen it as late as 1949.

Rocky River Gold and Mineral Field

Alluvial gold was discovered in the Rocky River in 1893, and reef mining began in the area in 1896. A production of 8.8kg of gold from 57 tonnes or ore is recorded for the year 1911. Little information is available on the field, and no mines have been located.

Alluvial gold was discovered in the Rocky River, 32km north-east of Coen, in 1893 by Lakeland. Reef mining began on Neville Creek (location unknown) in 1896 and the field was proclaimed in 1897. Gold totalling 142.6kg was won from 951 tonnes of ore until 1901, when the field was abandoned following the discovery of the Hamilton goldfield, but it revived for a short time in 1910 and 1911 when 57 tonnes of ore yielded 8.77kg of gold. Jack noted that only four people lived on the field in 1914, and there were no returns that year. No mines were located in 1967.

Hayes Creek Provisional Mining Field

Government Geologist, Robert Logan Jack recorded traces of gold in Hayes Creek, 60km north-east of Coen, during his 1880 expedition. The area was later visited by Dickie and Campbell during a prospecting journey to Lloyd Bay in 1907 when alluvial gold was first worked in the field. Reef, mining began in 1909 but ceased in 1915, and has been only sporadic since.

The total recorded yield from the field has been only about 19kg of gold. Most of the reefs are located near Buthen Buthen and are small. They carry accessory pyrite and arsenopyrite. The mineralization occurs in what may be a major north-trending shear zone in Kiltore Adamellite.

The valley of the Nesbit River which drains south from the goldfield was unsuccessfully tested as an alluvial gold prospect in 1964.

Shepherd records that the Hayes Creek field was discovered in 1909, but this probably refers to the start of reef mining on the Golden Gate claim. Production has been small and spasmodic.

In 1909 production from the Golden Gate claim was 37 tonnes of ore which yielded 6.81 kg of gold and a further 1.71 kg on cyanidation. In 1911 production from the field was 3.18 kg of gold from 21 tonnes of ore. Production in 1914 was 1.14kg of reef gold and 0.37kg of alluvial gold. The field was deserted in 1915. Some prospecting continued until 1938, and between 1938 and 1942 some 150 tonnes of ore were crushed for a yield of about 6kg of gold. In the early 1950s small parcels of ore are reported to have yielded between 80 and 120 grams of gold to the tonne, and one 4-tonne crushing returned 0.2kg of 850-fine gold.

The reefs in the Hayes Creek field are situated in a northerly trending shear zone in Kintore Adamellite; the valleys of the Lockhart and Nesbit Rivers follow this zone. In 1964 the valley of the Nesbit River between Buthen Buthen and Kampanjinbano (Companimano?) Creek was investigated as an alluvial gold prospect, and an almost enclosed basin on Leo Creek, 8km south-west of its junction with the Nesbit River, was also tested, but little gold was found.

Shepherd noted four sets of workings at the main centre at Buthen Buthen. At the Theodore lease a quartz reef between 30 and 35cm wide was exposed for 65m, with a strike of 140 and dip of 47 to the south-west; the reef contained a little pyrite and arsenopyrite. The 20cm reef on the Diana Lease contained pyrite and a little free gold; on the Campbell and Buthen Buthen leases Shepherd saw only shallow trenches and small shafts. At Companimano Creek, 6km south-south-west of Buthen Buthen, a quartz reef 90cm to 1.2m wide contained gold, galena, pyrite, and arsenopyrite.

Blue Mountains area

The Blue Mountains area, 40km north of Coen, is not included in the Coen Mining Field, but some mining was carried out there from sometime before 1934 unti1 1951. The gold occurs in narrow quartz veins in granite. The total recorded production for the area (1935, 1938-1946, 1948-1951) is 33.5kg of gold from 950 tonnes of ore; of this, 17.5kg from 593 tonnes came from mines operated by Blue Mountains Gold N.L., principally the Golden Ladder and the Convict.

A small number of leases have been held in recent years in the Leo Creek area, 32km north east of Coen, and in the Nullumbidgee area a few kilometres to the north. No production is recorded from the former area but 3.5 tonnes or ore from the latter area have yielded 400 g of gold.

Other gold occurrences

Gold was discovered south of Six Mile Creek, 7.2km south-west of Cooktown, in 1921. The lodes strike west-north-west and north-south, and dip moderately steeply. The ore contained 1oz to 41oz of gold per ton, a little silver, and some base-metal sulphides. In spite of the high values and fair continuity of the lodes, mining ceased in 1923 because of the high cut-off grade, but some work was done from 1940 to 1953. Saint-Smith recorded trace amounts of gold as a by-product of tin-washing in the Annan River Tinfield, and concluded that it probably originated from small quartz veins in the folded sediments.

Wenlock Gold and Mineral Field.

Gold was discovered in 1892 at Retreat Creek (Bairdville), a tributary of the Batavia (Wenlock) River. Further prospecting, mainly between 1905 and 1911, disclosed several small alluvial deposits at Downs Gully, Choc-a-block Creek, and other nearby sites. The amount of gold produced up to 1910 has been estimated at 93 kg.

The main alluvial gold deposits near Wenlock were located in 1910 by an aboriginal prospector named Pluto who located a large lead at the base of the Mesozoic sediments overlying the Kintore Adamellite; the locality became known as Plutoville and was rushed by miners from Coen and Ebagoola.

According to Fisher the early workings covered an area of about 340m², and consisted of shallow alluvium and small reefs, which were worked to a maximum depth of 4.5 metres.

Morton mentioned a shallow lead of cemented wash with rich gutters at the workings. Total recorded production from Plutoville is estimated at 187kg of gold. The Main Leader about 5km north-east of Plutoville was discovered in 1922 It consists of a narrow quartz reef with payable gold for over 300m along strike.

The discovery of Lower Camp and later was known as Wenlock. Fisher described the Main Leader as a north-westerly trending fissure reef, with a few cymoid loops, which dips at 60º to the south in the north and 35º in the south. In the south, it is cut by the Main Reef, a quartz reef over 6m wide. The average width of the Main Leader is 20cm, and its walls are slicken-sided. It contains free gold to a depth of at least 100m, or about 30m below the water table.

Connah stated that the Main Leader is composed of quartz with a distinctive white and blue banding, and ranges in thickness from 2 to 45cm. Short rich shoots with a northerly pitch are common, and coarse particles of gold are evenly distributed in the reef, with a few rich local concentrations. Fisher estimated the average grade at about 50grams of gold per tonne.

The Main Leader occurs in Kintore Adamellite and is overlain by Mesozoic sediments and alluvium. The deep leads at the base of the Mesozoic sediments on the west side of the Main Leader also contain gold. Connah found that the main deep lead was a narrow rich gutter which spread out into a wide drainage channel trending west-south-west. He has suggested that the extension of the channel beyond the workings is down thrown by a fault trending south-east. This may be the continuation of a post-Cretaceous south-easterly trending fault, downthrown to the west, which was mapped in 1967, 13km south-east of Wenlock. The total gold production from Lower Camp is estimated at 1,089kg.

Another report details other information as follows:

The main quartz reef - the Main Leader - was discovered in 1922, about 5km north-west of Plutoville at the Lower Camp (or Wenlock). It contained gold for over 300m along its north-westerly strike. The Main Leader dips moderately to steeply to the south-west, and was cut at the south end by another reef, the Main Reef. The Main Leader averages 20 cm width and was mined at varying depths to 90m. Fisher estimated that the average grade of the reef was about 46grams of gold to the tonne. The total production of gold from the Lower Camp has been estimated at 189kg.

The reefs occur in Kintore Adamellite, which is overlain by the Gilbert River Formation and thin alluvium. Most of the alluvial gold was obtained from deep leads in gutters at the base of the Gilbert River Formation. The field was closed during the Second World War; it reopened for a short period after the war, but no production is recorded for this period. Prospectors have continued to be active around the field in recent years.

The Wenlock field was deserted during World War II. The claims along the Main Leader were amalgamated in 1946, but operations ceased again in 1952, partly as a result of flooding in 1950. Prospectors have continued to be active around the field, and in the period 1964 to 1965 it is reported that 87.09 kg of gold were obtained from 2 tonnes of picked specimen stone.


EBAGOOLA AREA / Hamilton Mining Field


A minor gold rush followed the discovery of gold by Dickie at Ebagoola early in 1900. Mining at Ebagoola was centred about the old townsite and developed as the main production centre. It was the most important of the small gold-producing centres discovered in the course of the intensified prospecting that followed the establishment of the rich Palmer and Hodgkinson fields. Gold workings extended as far as Potallah Creek, 96km to the south-southwest beyond the Ebagoola Geological map area.

Alluvial mining was mainly restricted to the Ebagoola area and most of the production was before 1910. In the Ebagoola area quartz occurs as leaders, veins, or compound reefs. The leaders are up to 15cm wide and occur mainly in shrinkage cracks in the granite. Although they are of limited length or depth, and are seldom rich in gold, most of the alluvial deposits were probably derived from them.

The most productive reef workings in the Ebagoola area were the Caledonia (Gold production from 1902 to 1912 was 102.40 kg of gold from 3,438 tonnes of reef ore), Hamilton King (113.9kg of gold);  May Queen, (80.7 kg of gold); Hit or Miss (67.1kg of gold), Violet, Hidden Treasure, All Nations, and Golden Treasure.

Mining virtually ceased during the First World War and has been only sporadic since. Total production for the field (1900 to 1951) has been 2,291.6kg of gold, made up of 1,371.6kg of reef gold from 34,196 tonnes of ore, 682.5kg of alluvial gold, and 237.5kg of gold from the treatment of 19,256 tonnes of tailings.

The gold was coarse, and was derived mainly from eluvial deposits shed from nearby reefs and in quartz leaders, or fissures or compound reefs in either adamellite granite or schist at / or near the contact of the Kintore Adamellite (the older granite) and the Coen Metamorphics.

True fissure reefs, such as the Caledonia and All Nations reefs, occupy shears along the contact between the metamorphic and granitic rocks. The compound fissure veins are associated with acid dykes, or with beds of quartzite, such as the May Queen reef.

The water-table is generally at a depth of less than 20m in the dry season, and consequently sulphides such as pyrite, arsenopyrite, galena, and stibnite are found almost at the surface. Mining was generally not profitable at grades below 47g of gold per tonne.


The Yarraden mining area, about 16km south-south-east of Ebagoola, extends for 8km from the Lukin River southwards to Spion Kop; it does not include Yarraden homestead.

Gold occurs principally in numerous quartz reefs. Ball reported that the reefs in the Ebagoola area trend roughly north along the contact between the ‘older’ granite (Kintore Adamellite), which he considered to be metamorphosed, and the schist and gneiss to the east (Coen Metamorphics). He believed that the reefs were related to the ‘younger’ granite (Flyspeck Granodiorite); in the Yarraden area the reefs occur within the Flyspeck Granodiorite.

The country rocks consist of Precambrian schist intruded by small irregular bodies and dykes of granite and some diorite. Quartz reefs are common, but the auriferous shoots are concentrated near the boundaries of the intrusions, both in the granite and schist. Most of the reefs strike north-south or north-north-west.

In the Yarraden area the two most important reefs were the Golden King reef and the Savannah reef.

The Golden King reef trends roughly north, dips vertically, and ranges from 15 to 40cm wide; it was worked over a length in excess of 300m to a maximum depth of 65m. Mining was almost continuous between 1901 and 1915, and was resumed in 1917 and 1921. Recorded production is 239.84kg of gold from 7699 tonnes of ore producing 239.8kg of gold from 7,689 tonnes of ore between 1901 and 1921

The Savannah reef lies about 500m east of the Golden King reef and dips steeply west. It is more than 30m long with a steep southerly plunge. Mining was carried out to a depth of at least 38m. Between 1901 and 1907 and in 1912 a total of 2761 tonnes of ore yielded 156.51kg of gold. Attempts to reopen the mine in 1939-40 were unsuccessful.

The above gold-bearing reefs occur in Flyspeck Granodiorite (the younger granite). The gold was fairly coarse and was largely eluvial in origin. Sulphides (pyrite with minor arsenopyrite, galena, and stibnite) are common in the reefs at a shallow depth owing to the shallow water-table. This was at about 21m in the dry season, so a certain amount of trouble with water occurred in mining. Mining as a whole was generally not profitable at grades below 46grams of gold per tonne.

Production, which climbed to 8,300oz of fine gold in 1900, tapered off to less than 1,000oz per year after 1910, and the field was abandoned in 1941. A total output of 47,478oz of fine gold has been recorded, mostly from lode mining; there was little alluvial or colluvial gold. Pyrite, arsenopyrite, galena, and copper carbonates were present in some of the lodes.

Other reefs of importance in the Yarraden area were; the Lukin King with a total production between 1901 and 1926 of 63.73kg of gold from 1631 tonnes of ore, the Gold Mount which yielded 2.99kg of gold from 781 tonnes of ore between 1901 and 1921, and the Hiaki (or Haikai) which produced 39.22kg of gold from 1,622 tonnes of ore between 1909 and 1918.


CAPE MELVILLE AREA  -   Starcke Gold Field

Starcke No. 1 and No. 2 Goldfields

This goldfield can be found on the Cape Melville 1:250 000 Geological Map/Sheet. In 1890 alluvial gold was discovered in Diggings Creek (or Diggills Creek also known as ‘Old Starcke’ gold diggings, Starcke goldfield No.2 being approximately 72km north-north-west of Cooktown), a branch of the Starcke River, 40km north-west of Cape Flattery. From the time when this field was discovered until 1895 approximately 2,300oz of gold was recovered.

A smaller alluvial deposit was found in 1896 at Munburra, farther downstream, and this led to the discovery of the auriferous quartz reefs immediately to the north. This second find led to the discovery of the auriferous quartz sheets immediately to the north.  The gold is commonly fairly coarse and yellow, but its distribution is patchy. Sheets are generally pipe-like, and pitch westwards. Values generally are inversely proportional to the width of the reef and reach 10oz per ton, or even 100oz per ton in places. Silver attains values of 5dwt per ton.

Between 1898 and 1908 the reefs yielded 9,190oz of fine gold from 4,858 tons of ore. The total production from this goldfield is not much more than 12,128 oz, because it was almost abandoned in 1909, as a result of poor management, high costs, poor battery recovery, and other difficulties. Few mines were worked below the water-table (50 to 100 feet) and the deepest workings were about 150 feet. Only high-grade ore (over 1 or 2oz per ton) could be treated economically, and it seems probable that fairly large bodies carrying ½ to 1oz gold per ton may remain.

The auriferous reefs are white quartz veins, commonly about a foot wide and occur in the steeply dipping, north-striking greywacke and slate of the Hodgkinson Formation. They are generally closely associated with grey quartz porphyry dykes (silicified spherulitic quartz porphyry), which post-date the cleavages of the Hodgkinson Formation. The slates near the reefs are more slicken-sided, and the country rocks near the lodes contain more disseminated pyrite than usual. The veins are fissure-fillings and replacement veins with fragments and screens of brecciated country rock which have been partly or wholly replaced by a fine mosaic of quartz.

Other gangue minerals are arsenopyrite, pyrite, and sheets of calcite. Stibnite and cervantite were probably fairly common in the gold lodes, though they have not often been reported. However, stibnite has been reported from the field, and an attempt was made to re-open one of the mines as a gold and antimony producer.

The auriferous stibnite-quartz veins in greywackes and slates of the Hodgkinson Formation near Cocoa Creek (48km north-west of Cooktown) a tributary of the McIvor River, yielded 1,108 oz. of gold bullion from 1,139 tons of ore between the discovery of gold in 1892 and cessation of mining in 1896.

Alice River (Philp) Goldfield

Gold was discovered in the upper reaches of the Alice River in 1903 by the prospector Dickie. The reefs in the very short-lived. This goldfield, roughly 190km to 210km miles west of Cooktown.

From 1904 to 1909 mining was virtually confined to the Alice Queen and Peninsula King reefs. These form two main north-south lines about .8 of a kilometre apart. They may be aligned along a fault zone.

Since 1917 the field has received little attention. The total recorded production from 1903 to 1917 is 3.3kg of gold from about 2,800 tonnes of ore, together with 14kg of alluvial gold. Between 1904 and 1909 the Alice Queen reef produced about 37kg of gold from 1,570 tonnes of ore, and the Peninsula King reef about 31.1kg of gold from 632 tonnes of ore. The Peninsula King reef is 0.5m to 1m wide. In 1906 several shallow shafts had been sunk along the line of the reef.

The two reefs lie within 1.5km of each other on a north-north-westerly line. The Alice Queen mine in the north is in a vertical quartz reef between 1 and 2m wide and over 100m long (Cameron, 1906). Of the two shafts, the southerly was 34m deep in 1906. The quartz from the mullock dump contains small grains of pyrite and stibnite. Felsite dykes trending south southeast cut the altered Kintore Adamellite to the west of the workings.

Other gold locations

A little coarse alluvial gold (less than 20oz in all) was recovered from the headwaters of the Jack River, about 9.6km south-south-west of Munburra.

Traces of gold were found about 3.2km inland from Ninian Bay by an early prospecting expedition.

A trace of gold is also reported in association with native copper and silver in a thermal spring deposit at Noble Island .



Claudie River Gold & Mineral Field

Gold was first produced from the Claudie River Gold and Mineral Field in 1933, the field was proclaimed in 1936. The gold was mined at Iron Range , Scrubby Creek, and Packer’s Creek. Shepherd (1939) gives the total production from 1935 to June 1938 as 17.331kg of gold from 6,104 tonnes of ore and 1,067 tonnes of tailings. Iron Range produced 13.421kg of gold from 3,753 tonnes of ore, Scrubby Creek 33.65kg of gold from 1,984 tonnes of ore and 1,067 tonnes of tailings, and Packers Creek 5.44kg of gold from 376 tonnes of ore.

The largest reef, Gordon's Iron Range, yielded 1,084kg of gold from 2,568 tonnes of ore. The average yield from the rest of the field was 162g per tonne. The field closed in 1942 for the duration of the war. A little mining was carried out after 1945, and between 1950 and 1953 the Cape York Development Co. attempted without success to develop a few of the mines at Iron Range. Total recorded production from the field between 1934 and 1942 is 333.12kg of gold from 17,100 tonnes of ore and 3,221 tonnes of tailings.

Little mining was carried out after 1945, and between 1950 and 1953 the Cape York Development Company attempted to develop a few of the mines without success. A small quantity of gold was still being obtained from a mine at Packers Creek in 1967.

At Gordon's Iron Range the gold occurs in quartz veins and lodes in schist of the Sefton Metamorphics, while at Scrubby Creek and Packer’s Creek the gold-bearing lodes and veins are in the Weymouth Granite. At Iron Range, the deposits are large but low grade in the iron-bearing schist, but small and rich in the adjacent iron-free schist ... eg. the Iron Range reef ; the reefs occur along fault lines in the schists.

South-east of Iron Range some of the reefs are parallel to the schistosity and others have components both along and across the schistosity; short ore shoots occur where the reefs intersect. North of Iron Range the lodes, such as the Peninsula Hope and Northern Queen, are composed of crushed sericite schist with quartz stringers. Broadhurst & Rayner suggested that in the primary zone the ore shoots will prove to be lenses of silicified schist impregnated with sulphides, chiefly arsenopyrite.

Rayner noted the discovery of a wide body of sulphide ore on the Peninsula Hope Lease at Iron Range, and a CSIRO report on the treatment of arsenical gold ore from the Peninsula Hope mine gave the head assay of the ore as 18.2g of gold, 1.8g of silver, 4.4% arsenic, 20.7% iron, 9.79% sulphur, and less than 0.05% copper. The sulphides are arsenopyrite and pyrite, with some altered pyrrhotite and traces of chalcopyrite, sphalerite, and gold.

The gold and sulphide minerals at Iron Range may have been introduced by the Kintore Adamellite, as elsewhere in Cape York Peninsula , or by the Weymouth Granite.



Alluvial gold was discovered in the eastern part of Horn Island in 1894 and reef mining began the following year. In 1896 gold was also discovered on Possession Island. The Horn Island mines are in altered and silicified porphyritic microgranite; most of the gold-bearing reefs are closely spaced quartz veins in altered country rocks. Pyrite, galena, sphalerite, and chalcopyrite occurred in most of the reefs only 3 metres below the surface; the difficulty in treating the ore resulted in the decline of the field.

The recorded production from the field is 28kg of alluvial gold between 1894 and 1896, and 161kg of reef gold from 1896 to 1900. The recovery of gold declined sharply in 1900 and in the next year the field was almost deserted. Sporadic production of gold continued until 1919, and intermittent prospecting until 1966.

Elsewhere in Torres Strait, minor amounts of gold are reported to have been produced from Hammond Island between 1907 and 1909, and possibly until 1919, and from Thursday Island in the 1930s.

Possession Island

Gold was discovered in the Possession Island Gold and Mineral Field in Torres Strait in 1896, and production began in 1897; Jackson described the mines he visited in 1901. All the workings are near the north-west coast, east and north-east of the monument to Captain Cook. Mining was carried on until 1906 when the leases were abandoned. Attempts were made to reopen the workings in 1919, and again in 1934 - 1935, but without success.

Recorded production between 1897 and 1905 is 155.42kg of gold from 7,245 tonnes of ore, including some returns for the Horn Island Gold and Mineral Field. Four tonnes of ore yielded 0.09kg of gold in 1919.

Jackson in 1902, noted that the main workings were located on two almost vertical reefs about 230m apart, which trend south-south-east. The reefs consist of quartz veins, up to several centimetres thick, in a matrix of fractured and altered welded tuft of the Endeavour Strait Ignimbrite. The veins contain small amounts of sulphide minerals. Jackson also noted severa1 shafts and small cuts, and records that a sample of ore, composed of vein quartz with galena and pyrite, assayed 57.95 g of gold and 33.9g of silver to the tonne.

Copper-staining associated with limonite has been noted in the chloritized and silicified welded tuff (Ignimbrite) north-east and south-west of the abandoned workings. North-east of the workings some galena and pyrite have been observed in joints.

Mining virtually ceased after 1906; attempts were made to reopen the workings in 1919 and 1934 - 1935, but without success.

Horn, Hammond & Thursday Islands

Alluvial gold was first discovered in the eastern part of Horn Island in 1894 and the Horn Island Gold and Mineral Field was proclaimed the same year. Reef mining began in 1895 or 1896 in an area of about 0.5km², 1km inland from the east coast. The mines are situated in altered and silicified porphyritic microgranite to the south of a stretch of sandy alluvium.

Recorded production is 31.07kg of alluvial gold between 1894 and 1896, and 176.67kg of gold from 16,904 tonnes of ore between 1896 and 1900. The recovery of gold declined sharply in 1900, and by 1901 the field was almost deserted.

Most of the reefs are steeply dipping and trend east-southeast or southeast. They consist of closely spaced quartz veins in altered microgranite. Sulphide minerals were found in many of the reefs only 3 metres below the surface. Pyrite and galena are the most common sulphides, but some of the reefs also contain sphalerite and two contain chalcopyrite. The average yield decreased from 30 grams per tonne in 1896 to 20 grams per tonne in 1900. Sporadic production continued on a small scale until 1919, and prospecting went on at intervals until 1966.

Australian Selection Pty Ltd drilled three holes to depths of about 75m in 1963, but did not consider the prospect payable; an ore concentrate assayed in 1961 yielded 750 grams of gold and 440grams of silver per tonne. In 1965 overburden was removed and 120m³ of alluvium were taken for sampling but the results are not known.

A visit to the mines in 1968 revealed a large open cut, probably on the Welcome reef, about 100m long by 50m across, and a smaller open cut, in the vicinity of the Dead Cat claim, with a timbered shaft in the bottom. In the smaller open cut the porphyritic microgranite is yellowish green and intensely altered; it is cut and silicified by numerous quartz veins. The altered rock contains small patches of sulphide minerals. In the larger pit the microgranite is less altered and contains fewer quartz veins; the sulphide minerals occur in small veins. Pyrite and galena are common, and chalcopyrite and a little wolfram (?) were also observed. Elsewhere, minor amounts of gold are reported to have been won on Hammond Island between 1907 and 1909, and possibly until 1919, and on Thursday Island in the 1930s.



  Extra information is always being added to this page !