The Tyrconnell Gold Mine

By Ken Ellis

During the course of our caravanning safari through Central Australia and Queensland we happened to be fuelling up at Mareeba when another traveller spotted our Victorian registration and we got into a conversation about mining interests. When I said we were going to Chillagoe he suggested that since I had been there several times before, why not visit the historic Tyrconnell Gold Mine instead.

On the road again, we decided to change our plans and see some new territory and the prospect of visiting a gold mine would be a change from digging gemstones.Most of the countryside on the way to Dimbulah was cleared by Italian migrants early last century and is now covered in sugar cane plantations. On passing the Mareeba cemetery, you can’t miss the huge Italian section with hundreds of elaborate and well kept graves.

On reaching Dimbulah, Julie spotted a sign saying Historic Gold Mine, so we assumed that it would be the Tyrconnell and we headed north on a good bitumen road.The bitumen soon gave way to gravel and about 20km out we turned off into the hills and soon found ourselves in open country.

A faded sign informed us that we were in the middle of what used to be the township of Thornborough but apart from a private home nestled amongst some trees at the bottom of the paddocks, there were no other signs of past occupation.Later we learned that this peaceful bit of barren ground supported a population of some 1,500 people in the 1880s and at one time was considered the equal of Maytown on the Palmer River.

The full article can be found in the September 2010 issue of Gold Gem and Treasure. Subscribe now.

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