August. Shepherds William Streair and Thomas Pickett discover outcrops of copper close to the Burra Burra Creek. Special Survey of 20,000 acres undertaken and divided between South Australian Mining Association and Princess Royal Mining Association
September 29 - South Australian Mining Association (SAMA) begins mining operations at the Burra Burra Mine.
Samuel Stocks jnr. Appointed Resident Director.
Dr Ferdinand Von Sommer and then Captain Ey act as Superintendents.
Governor Robe visits and goes underground.
Bon Accord Mining Company begins mining operations adjoining the Burra Burra Mine.
January. Captain Henry Roach of Cornwall appointed Superintendent of the Burra Burra Mine.
First smelting operations fail. [more]
Powder Magazine constructed. (now the oldest surviving mine building in Australia)
Mine employs 567
Miners strike for a week and then later stage an unsuccessful strike over wages from November to January
Mine pays a dividend of 600%
Foundation stone of Patent Copper Co. Smelters laid in December
The Gulf Road [more] initiated to Port Wakefield.
The Gulf Road as it was known, connected a series of waterholes found at Gum Creek, Kadlunga, Skillogalee Creek, near Clare, Hoyleton, and Dunn’s Bridge at Balaklava for the bullock teams that hauled coal, copper and other materials between Burra and Port Wakefield at the head of the St. Vincent's Gulf.
Apoinga Smelter takes Burra ore
Patent Copper Company (later called the English & Australian Copper Company) begins smelting ore at Burra using Newcastle coal.
Roach's Engine House completed and pumping begins in October.
Dividends affected by 1848-49 strike: 2 of 100%.
Dividends paid reached a staggering 800%.
Workforce at the mine exceeds 1,000 with 378 at the smelting works and other off-site employees of the smelting works brings their total to about 1,000 also.
Peacock's Engine House built.
Discovery of gold in eastern states.
Patent Copper Co. reorganised as English and Australian Copper Co.
Miners etc. desert the district for Victoria.
Schneider's Engine transported to Burra and installed
Employees drop to under 100.
Mining company secretary Henry Ayers keeps his officers by substantially raising salaries.
Pumping ceases in October: mine flooded.
Mine virtually at a standstill
Roach's Engine House dismantled
English and Australian Copper Company import mules from South America.
Men slowly return but by April work force still only 191 and only 30 underground.
Decision to restart the mine in December.
Schneider's Engine begins to pump out the mine in January.
South Australian Mining Association establishes a candle factory near the slaughterhouse to satisfy its need for 53 tons of candles per year.
Schneider's pump proves inadequate.
Railway reaches Gawler.
The Gulf Road closes.
Morphett's Engine House built.
William Woollacott leaves Adelaide with the engine for Morphett's Engine House.
This was the peak year for employment with 1208 men and boys at work. The mine paid £178,900 in wages and expenses, but the costs were rising as the mine deepened. At the same time the price of copper was falling. Having peaked at £126 per ton in 1858, it was £112 per ton in 1859 and by 1861 had fallen to £87 per ton in Adelaide. Even more significantly the 1858 profit per ton of £4-8-3 was a mere £1-14-8 the following year.
William Woollacott arrives with the new engine.
Installation of Morphett’s Engine runs all through the year.
The wage bill peaks at £178,900.
Employment at the mine exceeds 1,200
Profits per ton begin to fall
Miners begin to move to the new Yorke Peninsula fields of Wallaroo and Moonta Mines.
Morphett's engine begins pumping on 1 March
Fire in the mine kills two miners
Migration to Wallaroo and Moonta continues and others also head to mines in Queensland and NSW as well as to smaller mines north of Burra in the Flinders Ranges etc.
Port Adelaide Smelting Works begin.
Burra Smelting confined to summer months.
Schneider's Engine is stopped.
Workforce at the mine is cut to 631 and the wages bill is almost halved.
Exodus of miners continues
The Burra ore was still averaging 23% copper compared with Moonta's 18%, but getting it was costing £10-2-1 per ton against £7-15-7 for the latter's.
SAMA was pulling down cottages when their tenants departed.
Kooringa was still all leasehold and there were few businesses in substantial premises.
Trouble looms as Burra ore now cost £10-2-1 per ton to raise compared with £4-15-7 a ton at Moonta.
For a while copper rose to £110 per ton and a major strike at the Yorke Peninsula mines saw some miners return to Burra.
Smelting at Burra further reduced.
The dividend of 300% proves to be the last regular dividend paid.
By July SAMA was losing £800-£I,000 per month. The population of the combined towns was still about 4,000, by which time Moonta had reached 4,000 and the three Yorke Peninsula towns had about 10,000 people in all.
Yorke Peninsula mines continue to grow and outflow of Burra's population continues.
The copper price slumps by £8 per ton. On 19 February Ayers informs Captain Roach that all operations would cease and a letter dismisses all officers from the end of March.
1867 became a year of desperation with mass unemployment in Burra and Adelaide. There was no unemployment relief except for a meager ration for families without an able bodied man in residence. Though wages had been cut to a low 6/- a day, Ayers thought 4/- a day would be adequate. In Burra people left, cottages were demolished and shops and businesses were abandoned. To make matters worse the wool producers were in the grip of a drought, which extended from 1864 to September 1869 on the eastern plains.
In fact, bad as it was, the situation was not quite as bad as the original notice had suggested. By the middle of the year the mine was still employing about 200 to dress low-grade ore previously discarded, but Captain Roach had returned to Adelaide and the accountant Mr. Challoner was running the mine on orders from Ayers. The mine was maintained on standby with the pump at Morphett's Shaft still keeping the mine free of water. Grave's Engine House was under construction with a new pump ordered from Cornwall.
Graves Shaft Burra Mine still employing over 600 and population of town almost 4000.
Underground mining suspended in February with the loss of over 500 jobs.
Captain Roach, William Challoner (Mine Accountant) and William Elphick (Mine assayer) given 1 month's notice.
Parliament approves extension of railway to Burra.
John Darlington, a mining engineer with extensive experience of the then new open-cut mining system, arrived in Adelaide in June and the following month went to Burra to assess its open-cut prospects. He found a mine in soft clayey ground that needed extensive and costly timbering. In September he recommended trying open-cut mining as an economic alternative. Ayers and three directors: G.S. Kingston, John Beck and Archibald Jaffery, went to Burra and accepted the recommendation.
Grave's engine House completed but the engine order was cancelled. The building was never used.
The decision was made to convert to open cut.