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The author made a visit to this gold mine in July 2011 as part of research for the story of William. This page gives some information obtained from that visit that might be of interest.

The Gilded Rose is located some 16 km southeast of Cloncurry on what used to be the main track from the east and south to Cloncurry in the 1880’s. It was a gold mine for which William held the mining lease for from 1877 until 1883, or perhaps longer. Click on the Main Shaft picture to see a Google Earth image showing Cloncurry and the Mine.

The mine began operation in 1873 near the beginning of the Rush to Cloncurry but ceased operating, due it was said, to lack of application by the lease owners, as reported by Uhr the Warden of the time. This mine was eventually very profitable when it was operated by William from 1877 and much of his reputation in Queensland was built on this record of his ownership. The mine appeared regularly in the Mining Warden reports during this period and in the newspapers, whence came his ‘moniker’ Bibby of Cloncurry.

During William’s time the main shaft was sank  to a depth of some 200 ft from the 75 ft when he took over, crushed some 2,260 tons of ore which yielded some 2,922 oz of gold. He employed up to 20 men in mining and processing, and brought a 10 head stamp battery from Melbourne to crush the ore. The battery would have been shipped to the port of Normanton and then transported by bullock cart 300 miles to Cloncurry, an impossible journey in the wet.

There has been an enduring interest in the Gilded Rose since William’s time. It was worked until as late as 1933 and more recently by another Company in the 1980-90’s. Their plant used a Ball Mill and Carbon Leach process to extract the gold and still remains in situ but is not in operation. The mine is currently under an active lease by a later Queensland Company looking to extract further gold.

Few artefacts remaining from William’s time could be identified and I put this down to the almost constant human occupation of this site since he operated. Some items have been provisionally identified as possible mining machinery parts of his period are shown below.

The original track still passes by the shaft and the description by a newspaper correspondent in 1883, click on the hyperlink to see an extract, still applies today as one approaches the mine from the east walking down that same track. It is likely that William was the proprietor of the mine when this newspaper article was written but it is also likely he was preparing to divest himself of his interest in this mine as he is also recorded as being back in Castlemaine in 1883 and didn’t come back to Cloncurry to wind up his business there until 1885. He then went on to the further gold field of Croydon, to the north, following that Rush to begin anew. He seems to have possessed boundless energy and enterprise, somewhat inadequate words to describe one who had began to become a mining legend of his day perhaps.

William’s Gilded Rose Main Shaft with modern Poppet Head Dawn 16 July 2011

Typical Ten Head Stamp William could have used at the Gilded Rose

Gilded Rose Mine Location.pdf

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