Alexandra Times at KellyGang 11/11/1876 (2)

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As you approach the mine, which is about 100ft above high water, and overlooks the ocean, you see the first tunnel put in, front which the company raised 2000 tons. For fifteen months it has been lying idle - some say for want of the needful; others (the spiteful portion) say they were afraid of getting to the last of the coal. I agree with neither. I think it must have been owing the a dispute amongst the shareholders as to where they would sink a permanent shift and erect machinery on the high ground. Every piece of coal taken from the first workings before it reached the jetty at Griffith's Point was shifted six times. Lately the company have commenced afresh, and erected a very good engine for the power it possesses, and miners are arriving each week, mostly from Tasmania. The coal has varied in thickness from 3ft down, with many faults, and dips inland, which causes more expense to be incurred, through looking better for its permanency. The miners get 8s per ton for raising; carriers for taking the coal down in trucks (the company finding trucks), 4s 6d; freight to Melbourne, 6s. Then there is a legal manager, gaffers and gangers, black smiths, timber, &c, to be paid for. The expenses, therefore, would stand thus per ton:

Raising coal £0 8 0
Trucking on tramway 0 4 6
Do           on jetty 0 1 0
Freight to Melbourne. 0 6 0
Extra labor on tramway 0 1 0
Men on surface 0 4 0
Management, &C 0 4 0
Wear and tear 0 2 0

By one ton of coal delivered in Melbourne I 8 0

 £0 3 0

By these figures there is a loss of 3s per ton, and indeed I think that unless they send more coal to Melbourne than at present, 10s per ton would be nearer. What signifies seven trucks each day of two tons each?  No one is more disposed to think well of the Kilcunda coal-mine than myself, yet I cannot shut; my eyes to the fact that the company must show something better before it is likely to succeed. On or near the shaft stand some splendid huts and cottages for the workmen, good stables, and Mr Watson's private house and offices, which denote a good and indulgent master. Opposite stands Mr Carew's hotel, the only one licensed at the mines, and indeed quite enough for the numbers engaged. A few people are beginning to peg out land in this quarter, in hope that the restrictions will be taken off, as the 20-acre system has been in force heretofore, and the land is of but poor quality for some distance beyond this. If this should turn out a payable coal-field it will be a feather in the cap of the Kilcunda Company, for no one in this quarter, from the oldest inhabitant to the smallest boy, has any faith in it, and it has been so systematically run down by the Government officials, and even by our M L A, it is astonishing that they should have persevered as they did. The only favor the Government showed them was to give them some old condemned iron rails lying at Williamstown. These they had to beg, and I believe it took some hard persuasion to find an M L A to take charge of the company's Bill on its passage through the Lower House. As to Mr Carew, it was some nine years before he got settled with the Government, and then only through Mr Mackay, while Minster of mines. Should a reward ever be paid this find of coal, he alone is the man that deserves it.


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