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Title: The Monster Mine
Author: Anonymous (P.G. M)
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0600901.txt
Edition: 1
Language: English
Character set encoding: Latin-1(ISO-8859-1)--8 bit
Date first posted: May 2006
Date most recently updated: May 2006

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The Monster Mine
P.G. M (1845)

(This story first appeared in The South Australian Odd Fellows' Magazine August, 1845)

Hope Lodge
Hayloft Hotel
August 16th, 1945

This day is memorable in the annals of the principality as the
centenary of the purchase by a Company of the Great Copper Mine on the
Burra, and will be celebrated by a grand festival.

One hundred years ago a few individuals of limited means subscribed
together, with much difficulty, the (at that time large) sum of
20,000. With this they purchased, of the Local Government of that
period, twenty thousand acres of mineral land; and the spot fixed on
is that immense tract of country now occupied by the seven great and
flourishing cities--Featherstonhaugh, Stockton-on-Burra, Aston,
Buncely, Grahamstown, Bagota, and Snobsgain.

At that time the district was approached with great difficulty, the
roads over hill and dale being infested with wild dogs (wolves) and
natives (ourang-outangs), and almost impassable to other than
travellers on horseback, the few wheeled vehicles which existed being
clumsy conveyances called drays, and drawn by bullocks; for so great
was the demand for, and scarcity of, horses at that time, that
bullocks, goats, and even dogs were employed in drawing the valuable
ore to the port of shipment, which was the now inconsiderable port of
Adelaide. The splendid harbour of Boston Bay was then either unknown
or treated with a neglect almost inconceivable to those who now know
it as the most important resort for shipping in the known world.
Atmospheric railways and aerial machines were, it is true, talked of,
but the matter-of-fact men of the day considered them theoretical,
visionary, and impracticable; and when we consider that the vessels of
the period occupied a space of four months in transferring the ore
(for no means for smelting were then established) to England, then the
only market for it, we shall cease to wonder that, for a length of
time, it was doubtful whether the scheme would prove successful or

To those who are acquainted with the immense wealth of the proprietors
of this property--the Princes of the soil; to those who look at their
palaces, their castles, and their villas, it is almost Incredible
that, so short a time back as one century, their ancestors were at
immense trouble to raise the paltry amount referred to, which each of
the one thousand proprietors could now readily pay ten times over;
that, in fact, two great political parties, called the Nobs and Snobs,
(supposed to be the same as the Whig and Tory of a still earlier
period), actually coalesced to attain this object, notwithstanding the
almost frantic opposition offered by two gentlemen of the name of
Manager, who apparently held very influential positions in the
principality, or rather, as it was called at that time, the colony.

The City of Adelaide, then, as now, the seat of Government, boasted
few of the splendid buildings which now embellish it. The ancient
monument in the midst of Light-square was scarcely completed. A
monument erected by the Odd Fellows, to the memory of a deceased
brother, was only then in the course of erection.

A few of the oldest Churches and Chapels that are dotted over our vast
city were certainly in existence, and one Catholic Bishop had lately
arrived in the place.

No splendid Cathedral, either Protestant or Catholic, reared its proud
head in this our embryo city. The Prince's palace, the palaces of the
Archbishops and Bishops, were not thought of. The great man of the
place, who, from his advanced years, was known by the soubriquet of
the Grey Governor, resided in a portion of the Prince's palace, which
those curious in antiquarian researches may still find occupied as
apartments and offices by the Lord Steward's clerks; and one
unpretending Chapel, in the Monastery of St Murphy, is still pointed
out by the venerable father O'Recollect as the nucleus of that great

No Colleges actually existed, except in the legends of the oldest
inhabitants, who spoke (without, however, anything like confidence) of
a College which had existed in air (Quere in Eyre?) in earlier days.

The great-grandfather of our present beloved Prince was then but an
infant in the cradle; and the land was governed by nominees of our
great ally, England, with whom friendly relations have been maintained
from that time to the present; indeed, as our readers must be aware,
this ancestor of our beloved Prince was afterwards the renowned Albert
Edward the First of England.

Records have, however, been handed down of a visit to this clime paid
by King John, who died eight hundred years ago; after which a long
blank of seven hundred years occurs in the documents in the hands of
the Lord Keeper of Records.

We are afraid we are occupying too much space in the oldest
established journal of the principality, but cannot resist one more
circumstance, which is amusing to those who consider the rude state in
which our ancestors carried on their commercial arrangements. It is a
well-recorded fact that the great monetary medium was a simple paper
document, signed chiefly by one of the Mr Managers before alluded to,
which was taken currently as cash, the knowledge of electricity being
so confined at that time that our present excellent monetary system
was unthought of, and he who had proposed such a scheme would have
been looked upon as a madman.

One fact more. It is said that wheat-seed was sown months before it
was reaped, and the fructification was left entirely to nature. Much
doubt has arisen in the minds of many scientific men as to the
possibility of growing wheat without electricity; and we have the
satisfaction of informing our readers that a series of experiments are
now being carried on by Professor Oldenough to ascertain the fact.

But the ringing of bells and the firing of the great steam cannon at
Fort Boston announce the fact that the festivities of the day have now
commenced, and as our Lodge takes a prominent part in them, I must
resign my seat in the electro-phonotypographical chair to some one
more worthy to fill it.


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