Mount Taylor is located about one kilometre north of the Kingston Railway Station, in Brisbane, 27 kilometres from the city centre. Gold was first discovered in the Kingston area in 1885. Mount Taylor is a slight elevation (less than 66 metres/ 200 feet above sea level), that has held the interest of the people of Brisbane, because of its isolation from the proclaimed gold fields, and close proximity to the city.
In the early 1900’s two separate survey reports were conducted by the Queensland Mines Department. The known gold bearing ground runs along the crest and the south-western slope of the hill, and in a south-east to north-west direction. These reports are available on line from the “Queensland Government Mining Journal, October 15 1913, and June 15 1915”.
Eade’s shaft, would eventually reach 70 foot in depth. In 1913, the Queensland Kingston Mines and Investment Company, requested help from the Mines Department in assaying the property, in the hope of securing of a large investment of cash, from investors in Melbourne.
The results of analysis, carried out by Mr. Connah and Mr. Hall, at the Government Chemical Laboratory, suggest that working the hill in its entirety was infeasible, the average gold yield being two grammes per ton. It was suggested that only the rich gold bearing ground along the crest be worked, until further exploration had been done to ascertain the extent of the ground. Sluicing the soil was proposed by the manager Mr. C. C. Smythe, and an area was marked out for sluicing, by the Government Geologist, Mr. Lionel C. Ball, covering 6 acres. Having an average depth of 2.5 ft. and gold equivalent to between 1.5-28 grammes per ton. Water would have to be lifted from Scrubby Creek, up 100 ft., to a purpose built reservoir. The nearest water is about a mile away, so allowances for pumps and piping would have to be considered.
By 1915, Eade’s Shaft had been sunk vertically to a depth of 70 ft. At the 40 ft. level a drive had been cut in a northerly direction. A granular quartzitereef 15 ft. in width was met. A second drive was cut at 68.5 ft. depth, and was worked in three different directions. The shortest tunnels ran 21 ft. west-south-west, and 67 ft. north-north-east from the shaft, and failed to encounter any ore. The longest tunnel runs 127 ft. north-north-west, and what was regarded as the lower termination of the ore body was met at 65 ft. from the shaft. The gold is distributed in a highly erratic manner in the Mount Taylor ore body, and of a very fine grade.
Mount Taylor was temporarily abandoned, during WW1, and the 20’s. In 1932, Mr. Kussman leased the area, and employed 25 men to work the site. The mine now consisted of a shaft and an open cut area. A 10-head stamp battery had been erected and an electromagnetically operated shaking screen was being installed to treat surface soil. In its first year of operation, it treated 3000 tons of ore for a return of 3.43 grammes of fine gold per ton. Over the next 5 years, a further 25,401 tonnes were crushed but the recovery of gold was poor. In 1938, South Queensland Gold Mines installed additional equipment and introduced crushing in cyanide solution, which resulted in higher recovery. In 1941, the mine operated under a tribute system, where men worked the mine and paid the owner for the right to do so. Kingston Gold Mines acquired the property in 1950, and new plant equipment was installed and brought into operation in October 1951. The first eight months of operation, ore was treated for a fairly high average cost per ton. It was expected that larger amounts of ore would reduce the cost of production. The mine closed permanently in 1954 due to uneconomic grades of ore.
Photo by David Cooper.
The open cut pit at Mount Taylor, Brisbane. The following is an interview of Stan Seers by Joan Starr. “Stan began working at the mine in 1951 and remained there until it closed on 8 May 1953.
the manager was Fred Birchall. Another chap named Bill Griffiths and I operated the 50hp double drum winch used to haul the ore to the crushing chamber.
It was an open cut mine, about 100 metres across the top and perhaps 30 metres deep when I went there.
Two powder monkeys drilled and blasted the rock which fell into the bottom of the cut. The crushing chamber was under ground at the base of the cut. It was covered with a heavy timbered grille – possibly about 3 metres square- to which the ore was dragged with the winch. This winch had an endless steel cable and a one tonne scoop. The cable ran through a large pullet which was anchored to a big tree well back from the top of the cut.
After leaving the crushing chamber, the ore was carried by an under ground conveyor belt to the stampers where it was ground to a fine powder before being processed to extract the gold.
The gold was collected fortnightly by a Brisbane stockbroker who also brought out money to pay the men. About 20 men were employed there.
The ore extended well beyond the area being mined and into a property used for growing pineapples. The mine owners offered the grower a considerable price for his land, but he demanded twice as much and when this was refused, he wouldn’t sell. Shortly after that, the mine was closed.
On one occasion, Bill Griffiths and I were allowed to handle the fortnight’s take of gold. It was the size and shape of a medium- sized pudding basin- solid gold! The broker said it would be worth about five hundred pounds at that time. What would it be worth today!”
After closing, Mount Taylor’s open cut pit was used as a refuse tip. The combination of the cyanide waste used for the gold mining and new waste including used engine oil produced a toxic site. In 1967, the area was filled and subdivided for housing.
Problems began in the 80’s when black sludge began oozing up through the ground on properties on Diamond Street. Rehabilitation began in 1991, with 47 properties being resumed, and draining the old shafts and lining them with plastic before capping them off.
Now, Mount Taylor consists of eleven hectares of rehabilitated recreational park land, that cost an approximate $10 million to clean up.
But the gold did not run out, it just was not worth taking out of the ground, at that time. It’s worth considerably more now.