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Geraldine Lead Mine Site


Shire of Northampton

Place Number

There no heritage location found in the Google fusion table.


off Warribanno Chimney Rd Galena

Location Details

Situated on the Murchison River about 5 km downstream from the Murchison River Bridge on the North West Coastal Highway. Original workings on N bank also shafts in river. Newer workings on S side of river. Inc Kilally (Coolally) homestead and graveyard north of the mine site.

Other Name(s)

Geraldine Mine Site, Buildings and Graveyard

Local Government




Construction Date

Constructed from 1849

Demolition Year


Statutory Heritage Listings

Type Status Date Documents More information
State Register Permanent 04 Aug 1998 Register Entry
Assessment Documentation
Heritage Council

Other Heritage Listings and Surveys

Type Status Date Grading/Management More information
Category Description
Aboriginal Heritage Sites Register Interim

Heritage Council
Register of the National Estate Indicative Place

Heritage Council
Municipal Inventory Adopted 19 Apr 1996 Category 1A

Category 1A

HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT AT STATE LEVEL. Highest level of protection appropriate. Provide maximum incentives under the Town Planning Scheme with encouragement to the owner to conserve the significance of the place. Prepare a floor plan and photographically record the place prior to any redevelopment.

Child Places

Statement of Significance

The site is very significant historically and scientifically for its role in the development of the region and
the beginnings of mining in Western Australia.
Geraldine Lead Mine, an archaeological and geological site with ruins and machinery remnants, has
cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:
•the Mine was the first commercial mining venture in Western Australia;
•the Mine represents the early aspirations of the Swan River colony for economic independence;
•the place contains ruins of some of the oldest buildings in the region and as such, it has the potential to
yield invaluable information about how early settlers coped with living in an isolated environment and
how they lived during this period. The place also contains remnants of mine shafts, machinery (including
parts of an early steam traction engine), engine houses, knapping or ore-breaking floor, mine manager's
house (Collally), cemetery and ore processing remains;
•the Mine, together with early pastoral activity, was responsible for opening up the Murchison and
Victoria districts and led to the establishment of Geraldton (Champion Bay) and Port Gregory;
•the ore breaking floor and the arrangement of compounds and associated buildings have not been
found on other mining sites in Western Australia;
•the place contains vital information about early mining practices in the state of Western Australia;
•the Mine is socially important for the people of Northampton who identify the site as an important
component of their local heritage; as part of a cultural landscape, the place has aesthetic value due to its
location on the banks of the Murchison River; and,
•the place is associated with the convict period of history, convict labour and the important
archaeological site at the failed convict hiring depot at Lynton, with which it shares a common history.

Physical Description

Site and ruins of the first lead mine in the State. Ruins north of the river include the mine office and manager's
house and the Knapping floor. On the south bank are the remains of further buildings, possibly miners
accommodation. (Carter, J.D. 1987, Important Geological Localities in Western Australia.) The stone walls of a
large building (thought to be the engine room-ref Cumming, D.) associated with the mine still stand adjacent to the
stone paved ore breaking floor alongside the river. The building appears to have the remnants of mountings built
into the floor for some sort of equipment. A low stone wall provides a small fenced paddock on one side of the
building. Some industrial archaeological examination would assist in identifying various components of the site.
There are also collapsed and filled tunnels, and mine workings underground. Fifty metres to the north are the
stone ruins of the Kilally buildings, walled paddocks and a cemetery (see Site No. 8).
For the full description see the Heritage Council Register documentation.
See also Gibbs 1998.
The oldest structures on the site are located on slightly elevated ground on the western side of the Murchison
River. These comprise the Engine House and associated compound, ore breaking floor, Mine Manager's House
and compound and the cemetery. The 1960s ore processing site is located on rising ground on the eastern side of
the river.
The structures on the eastern side of the river are located in a cleared area with some re-growth of natural
vegetation, surrounded by mullock heaps. The Engine House is constructed from random rubble laterite stone
walling held together with mud mortar. The southern wall is the most intact wall and is punctuated with two window
openings either side of a centrally located door. Timber lintels are still insitu. A large portion of the eastern wall
remains and is punctuated with one window opening. There is no evidence of flooring material or roofing members,
although there is evidence of two raised sections of flooring or engine mountings at the eastern end of the building.
North of the building, are the remains of stone walls which appear to have formed an enclosed compound (with the
Engine House forming the southern boundary), together with small rooms opening into the compound. These
rooms are located along the northern and eastern walls of the compound. During the current survey no artifactual
scatters were noted, although the remains of a boiler were found abandoned in the compound. No determination
was made as to whether this was part of the steam traction engine mentioned in the documentary evidence.
On the southern side of the Engine House is the ore breaking floor. This area has been carefully levelled and laid
with stones. Portions of the floor have fallen away on the western and southern sides. Foundations were also noted
for other buildings/structures located between the knapping floor and the Engine House, on the southern edge of
the floor and also on the western side of the floor. The Mine Manager's House is located north of the Engine House
and is constructed in a similar fashion, laterite stone walls with finished joints, and lime applied to the exterior and
interior wall surfaces. The walls are in a more ruinous condition than those of the Engine House. This building also
has a large compound enclosed by a stone wall. Like the Engine House compound, small rooms appear to have
been constructed within the compound corners. A stone cairn, erected by the CWA in 1979, is located in the middle
of the compound. The cemetery is located slightly to the north of the Mine Manager's House. The historical record
indicates that other buildings, dating from the original workings (1851), were located on the eastern side of the
The ore processing remains on the eastern side of the river date from the 1960s when the mine was briefly reopened.
These remains consist of concrete aprons together with concrete foundations and steel frameworks
(Photos NR007-02 to NR007-4). Adjacent to the concrete aprons are numerous mullock heaps which appear to be
chronologically related to the concrete and steel structures.
Fifty metres to the north are the stone ruins of the Kilally buildings, walled paddocks and a cemetery (see Site No.


Mr Walcott, a member of the Gregory exploration party of 1848, found some specimens of galena (lead ore) in the
bed of the Murchison River. Further investigation revealed that the lead existed in abundant quantities. Following
an examination of the site by the Governor, His Excellency Charles Fitzgerald, he enthusiastically encouraged the
exploitation of the lead finds. As a result the Geraldine Lead Mine, under the control of Mr Lockier C. Burges,
began operations in 1849. The Geraldine Mining Company arranged for F. Pearson to build a smelting works
nearby, the chimney of which still stands. (Site No. 9). Mine Captains at the Geraldine included L.C. Burges in
1849, Capt. James in 1850, Martin Hosken in 1853 and Samuel Mitchell between 1867 and 1875. The flooding of
the Murchison River on several occasions, the hazards of Port Gregory for shipping and the fluctuations of the
world mineral market resulted in the mine enjoying mixed fortunes. Abandoned in 1875, the Geraldine was
reopened in 1910 and over the following 12 years, yielded 774 tons of ore containing 275 tons of lead worth 5739
For the full history see the Heritage Council Register documentation. See also Gibbs 1998.
The place is composed of a number of structures, some of which are not fully documented at present. To date,
structures identified on the site include: the Engine House (c.1851), Mine Manager's House (c.1851), Ore breaking
floor (c.1851), Cemetery (c.1854), Mine Shafts (1849), and the Ore processing site (c.1960s).
In 1846, Augustus Gregory, then a member of the Colonial Government's Survey Department, had discovered
brown coal along the Irwin River in the previously unexplored mid-west region of Western Australia. In 1848,
Gregory, together with his brother Charles and a group of settlers including pastoralist Lockier Burges, made a
second expedition northward, discovering galena (lead sulphide) in the bed of the Murchison River, as well as
viable pastoral land along the Bowes River.
After several months during which the land failed to sell, an auction was held and 640 acres acquired by the newly
founded Geraldine Mining Company, the first of several companies to bear the name. As the mine site was far
removed from the relative safety of Perth, the government initially provided the enterprise with a detachment of 25
soldiers and a promise to establish a boat harbour (Champion Bay) to facilitate the shipment of the ore. Under the
direction of Lockier Burges, operations commenced at the mine in December 1849 and the first shipment of 5 tons
of ore was brought back to Champion Bay on the 22 December.
Lockier Burges, who was unhappy with the location of the mine shaft in the river bed, left as mine manager in 1850
and was replaced by Captain James. It was soon realised that it would be more efficient to transport smelted lead
for shipment and in 1851, Francis Pearson, an experienced smelter from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, arrived from
England with his family. He immediately set about constructing a temporary trial smelter at Geraldine Lead Mine.
In 1853, yet another mine manager was appointed, Martin Hoskin. He complained that the mine was not as
productive as it might have been due to years of mis-management and inadequate equipment. Over the years the
Blue Books record the amount of lead extracted from the mine which appears to have been quite productive,
although due to the unusual location of the mine in the bed of the Murchison River, operations were often
interrupted when the river flooded. Progress over the following years can be traced through the annual Blue Book
reports, which indicate a fluctuating production between 1853 and 1860, varying from 55 to 134 tons per annum.
Although there is information about the lead yields from Geraldine Lead Mine, there is little documentary evidence
relating to the actual structures built on the site or the numbers of men employed there or their living conditions.
However, the number of convicts and ticket-of-leave men employed on the site is recorded. The mining company
managed to obtain 60 men from Cornwall and the North Country who were experienced miners. In 1856, Geraldine
Lead Mine was offered for sale and the prospectus that was prepared for this sale offers tantalising information
about the site. Pumps and machinery are put up, but a small engine will be necessary, in order to do away with the
costly horse-power at present employed Good cottages, stores, smithy, and all necessary buildings connected
with the mine, are erected
Between 1860 and 1863, the Blue Books list Geraldine Lead Mine as 'not working'. Under the ownership of Robert
Habgood, mining recommenced in 1864/65 and in 1866 Habgood brought out Cornishman Samuel Mitchell, an
experienced mine manager. This was Geraldine Lead Mine's most productive phase which lasted until 1878, when
Habgood died, leaving the estate entailed. Geraldine Lead Mine did not open again until 1917. During 1917-1918
the Geraldine was briefly worked by Harry Gallagher, and during the 1960s the Mine was purchased by Joe
Plaistow; however, the shafts were not extensively worked. During this brief period of occupancy, a lead ore
processing site was constructed on the eastern side of the Murchison River. Geraldine Lead Mine has effectively
lain idle since this time. During the early occupancy of the place, a cemetery was established which contains four
headstones dating from 1854 to 1870.

Chronology Entries
1848 An exploration party lead by A. C. Gregory found lead ore on the banks of the Murchison River and good
pastoral country in the hinterland of Champion Bay, at the Hutt and Bowes Rivers.
1849 The Murchison River was classified as mineral land and the Geraldine Mining Company was founded with
Lockier Burges as the Mine Manager. The Geraldine Mine is believed to have been one of the first mines
in Australia. The first lead was exported from the Geraldine Mine.
Source Pages
Ancient Landmarks, Bain, M. A., UWA Press, Perth, 1975 ISBN:0 85564 090 1 34
1851 Francis Pearson, a smelter tradesman, his wife Mary Anne and their family settled near the Geraldine
Mine area. For the next five years, the Pearsons were the only European family living in the locality.
Pearson built the smelters to service the Geraldine Mine. The Warribanno Chimney was completed.
1851 Governor Hampton offered the people of the Geraldine mine a wooden house and the protection oi 25
1851 22 ticket-of-leave men were working at the Geraldine Mine and with Government Surveyors in the district.
20/11/1854 Surveyor Robert Austin and party arrived at the Geraldine Mine after an exploratory trip to tine north and
east of the settled districts.
1866 E. T. Hooley trekked from Champion Bay to Pt Walcott seeking a stock route.
Source Pages
E. T. Hooley, Pioneer Bushman, Sharp, E. I.„ 1985 ISBN:0 9588829 0 8
1867 Captain Samuel Mitchell arrived from Cornwall to manage the Geraldine Mine.


Integrity: Low
Modifications: Dismantled Mine




Ref ID No Ref Name Ref Source Ref Date
Bain, M.A; "Ancient Landmarks". UWA Press 1975
Gibbs, M; "A preliminary archaeological survey of the Geraldine Lead Mine, Ajana Western Australia. Northampton Archaeological Survey". Dr Martin Gibbs and the Archaeological Society of Western Australia, unpublished 1997-98
Clydesdale, J; "Fuel tank clue to Australia's first roadtrain". Sunday Times 13/9/1995
Lowrie, J; "Notes for C.W.A. Radio Sessions on 6GE". Unpublished 1979
Considine & Griffiths; "Warribanno Lead Smelter Complex; Conservation Plan". Considine & Griffiths
Kelly, G. J; "History of Mining in the Geraldton District' in Early Days". Vol. 8, Pt 1, 1962
Considine & Griffiths; "Lynton Heritage Conservation Plan". Considine & Griffiths
Carter, J.D; "Important Geological Localities in Western Australia." 1987
Cumming, D; "Preliminary Notes on the Northampton Mineral Field". 1994
Considine & Griffiths; "Warribanno Lead Smelter Complex'". Considine & Griffiths 1995
Galena Management Plan Steering Committee; "Galena Mining Heritage Area Management Plan". Shire of Northampton.
Lowth, S; "A History of the Geraldine Lead Mine' Australian Studies III". Unpublished
Kelly, G. J; "History of Mining in the Geraldton District' in Early Days". Vol. 6, Pt 1, 1962

State Heritage Office library entries

Library Id Title Medium Year Of Publication
6322 The technology of colonial ore processing in Western Australia : the Warribanno Lead Smelter. Journal article 1997
9051 Galena mine field archaeological report. Heritage Study {Other} 2008
11569 Landscapes of Redemption: Tracing the path of a Convict Miner in Western Australia Heritage Study {Other} 2010
2398 National Estate Program : documentation of geological sites and monuments; Nomination of geological monument for the register of the National Estate: Dingo Gap, Bugle Gap, Bringo Railway cutting, Molecap Hill, Veevers Crater, Dalgaranga Crater, North Pole, Report 1989
3845 Galena Mining Heritage : conservation plan. Heritage Study {Cons'n Plan} 1998

Place Type

Other Built Type


Epoch General Specific
Original Use MINING Other
Present Use VACANT\UNUSED Vacant\Unused

Architectural Styles

Other Style

Historic Themes

General Specific
DEMOGRAPHIC SETTLEMENT & MOBILITY Resource exploitation & depletion
OCCUPATIONS Mining {incl. mineral processing}

Creation Date

22 Mar 1994

Publish place record online (inHerit):


Last Update

31 Dec 2016


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