Some Important Historical Influences on the Charters Towers Goldfield

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1986
It is generally known that Charters Towers was discovered by Mosman, Clarke and Fraser in 1871. However, the time was ripe, and these three were barely in front of others. There is one account that prospectors from Ravenswood visited the area months before but decided it was too far from water, and that one of them had told Mosman and party of the find. There is another account that Joe Larkins found the discoverers before they had registered any ground - this may explain Mosman's quick departure for Ravenswood.When the news spread, the rush was rapid, and there was soon a sizeable population: probably too many, as within twelve months the infant settlement was under considerable stress. First, the presiding Gold Commissioners had adopted "unusual and arbitary" interpretations of the Regulations, and many of the miners were aggrieved; Charters, the senior Commissioner, was accused of favouring moneyed interests, and of retiring ill whenever a brawl or confrontation occured. As a result, the law of the field soon became "the survival of the strong". Second, the settlers were, divided on where the main town should be: Millchester, near the water, or Charters Towers near the mines. Third, the discovery of gold at the Millchester Deep Lead in August, 1872 was followed by highly exaggerated accoants in_' the southern papers, apparently fabricated by local business speculators. The resulting rush resulted in hundreds of unlucky prospectors having to return or seek other fields. In that period two men were killed in squabbles over ground. To make matters worse, by October 1872 a drought had set in, water cost three pence a bucket, fodder was scarce, cartage expensive, and the price of crushing ore rose to thirty shillings per ton.
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