Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Bulburin National Park and Mt Jacob Mine

Around 1879, Jacob Spier/Speers an eccentric German prospector, despite being crippled with rheumatism and forced to walk with a stick and suffering an internal complaint, discovered a rich alluvial gully of gold near Mount Larcom which was called Jacob's Gully. He abandoned the claim once other miners moved in.

On discovering Mount Jacob, he secretly worked it for two years before being followed to his find by Bob Knight.
To extract the gold, Jacob roasted the ore in a wood fire, he extracted the gold by rolling a large round boulder over a large concave granite stone. The contraption is in the Brisbane Museum.
The gold bearing reef (Garden Reef) was taken over by the Mount Jacob Mining Company which gave Jacob an acre of land for a home close to the reef.

After the claim was abandoned, Messrs. McLachlan recovered about £600 worth of gold within 6 feet of ground. Mr. John Theodore and his brother also worked a reef called the Standby, and found a lot of gold.

In 1894, Old Jacob unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide with a revolver but a cushion of air forced the bullet to flatten against his forehead. He later successfully blew himself up while in bed. About 50 oz. of gold was found in his camp after his death and it is rumoured that there was more.

Jacob claimed he had traced gold all the way up the Boyne River and the further he went up, the richer the gold became but his fear of the large number of Red-bellied black snakes stopped him.


We met up with Margaret and John just past the Mount Morgan turnoff, and, just after we drove off, I was pulled over by the police for the second time within a week and more than

forty years of driving. This time it was by a very apologetic officer who mistook our vehicle for another ute that had just passed us.

We stopped under a shady tree for morning tea at Flutter Creek, before heading up to Bulburin National Park to set up camp in the Forestry Camping Area. Us with our new $99, 4-person domed tent, and John and Margaret in their camper trailer.




John and I soon departed to find a quick way to the waterfall, on Deep Creek, that I was taken to a few years earlier on a Combined Club Walk. With a GPS point it did not take long to find, but we had to find a safe way down through the slowly all-consuming spreading lantana. The area had not received any rain for months but there was still a trickle of water flowing over the rockface providing moisture to the mosses and the pool below. After taking a few photos, we headed back out via a small steep dry creek and spur, back up the 80m to the top of the ridge and back to the campsite and happy hour.





I was keen to try out my recently built fireplace, and after using it to help cook dinner, we kept the fire going to heat the mulled wine and provide some warmth while we chatted.



The next morning, John and I left early to return to Mount Jacob Mine where I had led a through-walk years earlier with the bushwalkers. Like every other time in this area, our paths crossed that of a dreaded red-belly black snake (much like those which kept Jacob Spier from his explorations).This time, with the aid of the map on John's GPS, it took us less than 2 hours to find the abandoned combination boiler and steam engine, stamper, stirrer, and settling tank which are now hidden under fallen tree and vines. I removed some of the fallen branches and vines before looking for the mines that were easy to find near their mullock heaps. We found about 4 mine-shafts before resting for lunch.



















With the day hotting up, it took about an hour and 45 minutes to walk back down the Boyne River to the car. After having a wash, changing clothes, lunch and a rest, in the cooler part of the day, I walked down one of the bush tracks to meet up with John who had gone on an exploration walk along the forestry roads.

That night we cooked our steak dinner on the home-made fireplace, and again used it to make mulled wine while spending an enjoyable night sitting around chatting. There were a few ticks around, but none made it onto anyone.



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