|The first station was built in 1856|
Below is one newspaper article that they may have read before they left the home country.
The West Briton & Cornwall Advertiser
MINING &c. IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA.
A letter has been forwarded to us, which has been lately received from a gentleman, formerly of Cornwall, who emigrated to South Australia. It is dated "Adelaide, 20th July, 1850," and contains some particulars of interest in regard to the mines of Australia, the climate and productions of the country, the social condition of the people, &c. We have made the following extracts.The writer remarks:-
"Mining is certainly going ahead here, but I am convinced parties will burn their fingers with smelting, at least at present prices of fuel and labour; but in almost all the mines the want of capital is felt, and the gambling in shares by no means tends to their benefit, for parties after giving a high premium for shares by no means like to launch out money to work the mines, and hence the results that attend one half that are started, they are either stopped for want of funds, or merely worked in a manner (to use a Cornish expression) to pick the eyes out.
I have scarcely seen a mine yet that will not want for two or ten thousand pounds expended, and this, with proper machinery, I am satisfied will make many produce profits fully equal to those now realising by the far famed Burra Mine. I have, since my last, been sent into the interior to visit and report on different mines, and my opinion has, in more than one instance, been of practical use. I have had to oppose the system pursued by agents calling themselves Cornish captains, and the results have proved that I was in the right.
In reality there is a great amount of ignorance in mining matters amongst most of those at present engaged in them; to make money in the traffic of shares seems the chief aim. This by and bye will make its own cure, and the really good mines will fall into the hands of those who will expend capital in judiciously opening and working them. The Wheal Margaret silver lead mine is likely to turn out a splendid affair. We have a course of ore now standing. In our 13 fathom level from the surface, fourteen feet high and fifteen and a half feet wide, and how much deeper it goes we cannot of course tell, but there can be little doubt that it will hold down to a great depth. The assay of this ore averages 60 ounces silver to the ton, and forty-five percent lead. I have some beautiful specimens of gold and gold ore to send you in my next box, such as I think will astonish you, but we have not yet found enough to make it pay for working.
Colonial speculators have not patience to follow anything out fully; it must be done immediately or in a hurry, otherwise, the matter is abandoned, and mining concerns will well repay the perseverance of the more steady seekers of wealth, that are now abandoned by the colonists. You will be surprised in England at the result of the last Government land sale here - some lots of eighty-acre sections fetched enormous prices. One sold for £10,500 1s. 0d; another £7,000; another £6,000, merely from their mineral indications. This is not amiss for a young colony. And here I might as well state that no importation of Cornish miners would be too great; they are greatly wanted, and if you know any that cannot get out here, if you send me their names, ages and residence, and that of their families, I will send home orders for a free passage for them; every purchased of land here being intitled to nominate persons under forty years of age.
I would not induce any parties to come out here whom I was not quite sure would be benefited; but miners are much wanted, and would meet with instant employment, and liberal wages, and from six to ten experienced mining captains would get immediate situations at £3 3s. to £4 4s. per week. I think you might make the above public. But too much cannot be said of the insane attempt, the effect of morbid philanthropy of Mr. SIDNEY HERBERT and others to raise subscriptions to send out governesses, clerks, &c., whom distress at home prevents their getting a livelihood. The result must inevitably be their ruin here. They are not wanted in the avocations they are only fitted for; hard labour, and farm and household work would be much too hard, and what then? As for men, look at our road sides and scavengers, and stone-breakers - they are young doctors, lawyers' clerks, and that class, who are unfit even for the very work necessity has driven them to; first having tried the semi-barbarous life of bushmen and the monotony of hut-keeping, they are glad to take the Government work to save themselves from starving.
Five hundred clerks are all that can be employed here, and not only is every ship that comes crowded with them, but men who ought to know better than lure them to destruction, or holding out in England false hopes, and actually raising money to assist in sending them. As an act of mercy and charity this should be exposed and prevented, and every publicity given to the folly and madness of sending to certain ruin and misery, as many who never otherwise have thought of taking such a step".The writer goes on to speak highly of the colonists, stating that every cause or object having in view either the temporal or spiritual interests of the people, is liberally supported. Respecting the country he says he has lately been to some beautiful parts, looking beautifully green, though the scenery is monotonous, either wide plains, or miles of scrub or high trees.
"Animals, excepting bullocks and sheep, are very rare, I mean the kangaroo, opossum, wild dog, &c.; the progress of civilization is fast driving them from their haunts. There are parrots and cockatoos in great abundance - I have seen a newly-sown field covered with them like a large sheet spread over the field."
He states that his garden is looking beautiful, with all our English vegetables and flowers growing in it most luxuriantly; that he is planting vines, but can buy a bunch of grapes weighing six pounds for a shilling, and get peaches large and ripe at from 1d. to 6d. each; figs also, he observed, grow very fine in that country.I wonder what was going through John Ebbott's mind when he arrived and what he was expecting?