Pine Creek:The first actual discovery of gold in the Northern Territory was made by H.F. Litchfield on the south side of the Finniss River in 1865. Four years later, members of Goyder's survey party found more gold at Tumbling Waters. In December 1870 a work party drilling holes for the Overland Telegraph Line discovered alluvial gold near Yam Creek. When the line was completed, it meant very little to the few locals, but the possibility of finding gold attracted thousands of prospectors, both from the southern colonies and China. Attention then turned to Pine Creek and although conditions were harsh and primitive, miners were flocking to the area, and within a short period it became the site of one of the Territory's most frantic goldrushes
The gold mining industry at Pine Creek was slow to develop, even though good alluvial gold had been located at Yam Creek, Cullen River and Gandy's Gully as early as 1871. The first major reef was discovered in 1872 and named the Priscilla. Since that time many small workings were developed, mostly by Chinese workers under tribute to European owners. The Eleanor Gold Reef was opened in late 1872 and the following year the Union Gold Reef established the area as a major goldfield.
The town grew rapidly. In 1873 both the Pine Creek Repeater Station and the Police Camp were established. The following year the Royal Mail Hotel, the town's first, was opened and a year later it had competition from The Standard.
The surface gold disappeared rapidly but the goldfields were kept active by Chinese miners who entered the area in considerable numbers and by the mid-1880s there were over 2000 Chinese in Pine Creek. Gold production declined during the 1890s but there were still twenty-seven stamp batteries at fifteen mines in the area Pine Creek was, until the turn of the century, one of the major centres of the Territory's mining industry. Consequently the history of the town is largely the history of the Territory's goldmining industry.
Tennant CreekIn 1872 a temporary building for a telegraph repeater station was erected near the watercourse for Tennant Creek and, in 1874, the occupants of the Overland Telegraph Station completed the stone buildings, which remain today. After the completion of the Telegraph Station it remained an isolated group of buildings in the middle of nowhere. Later in 1901 gold was discovered in the area by Alan Davidson however the town of Tennant Creek did not eventuate until the discovery of large gold deposits in the 1930s which gave rise to Australia's last major gold rush. During 1935 the operations at the Telegraph Station were transferred to the new township.
In 1926 a miner named Charlie Windley made a claim on the site of the Great Northern Mine. He was working in weathered rock and made enough to justify his efforts but the original source of the gold still lay undiscovered In 1933 payable gold was found by the Peter Pan Gold Mining Company. The Great Northern Mine, owned by H.J. Udall produced 625 grams of gold from eight tons of ore treated at the Peterborough Government crushers in South Australia. There were about a hundred men on the field. Constable Muldoon of Barrow Creek was appointed Warden of Goldfields and arrived in September 1933. A year later, other discoveries were made resulting in as many as three hundred men working the fields.
Despite warnings placed in major newspapers by the federal government, concerning the harsh conditions and the lack of facilities, supplies, food and water, 600 men soon flecked the hills of the district. By 1934 the numbers prompted the government to gazette a new township, to be called Tennant Creek.
One of the most famous gold finds was made by Joe Kaczinski and Bill Bohning who named their claim after Kaczinski's dog, Peko. Peko Mines was established in 1949 and, during its forty-year history, it made a major contribution to the development of Tennant Creek. Another successful (and earlier) venture was the Eldorado Mine, which opened in 1932 and closed in 1958, producing nearly 175 000 grams of gold. As a significant producer of copper, it was the only mine in the field to continue production throughout World War II.
The Nobles Nob Mine, which started as a shaft mine became an open-cut operation in 1967 after the main shaft collapsed. Nobles Nob produced assays which regularly exceeded 100 oz (3.2 kg) of gold per metric ton. One particularly rich area within the ore body produced over 300 oz per ton. During its existence, Nobles Nob produced over a million ounces (32 tons) of gold. After the visible surface gold was removed attention shifted, in the 1950s and 1960s, to the portion of those same lodes which extended underground. There were still over 200 mines operating in the Tennant Creek region and modern technology has located further deposits with no visible outcrop on the surface
Map of The Northern Territory
Photo of the Union Goldfields 1879
The following listing is of some of the areas where gold has been found in the years gone by, including many where gold may still be found to this day by using modern prospecting equipment and methods.
Search Further Information:To access further information of any individual gold field shown below simply highlight the name of the required gold field and then copy (Control C) and paste (Control V) into one of the search boxes provided
Brock's Creek Goldfields
Cullen River Goldfields
Daly River District Goldfields
Eleanor Reef Goldfields
Finniss River Goldfields
Gandy's Gully Goldfields
Macdonnell Ranges Goldfields
Maude Creek Goldfields
Nobles Nob Goldfields
Pine Creek Goldfields
Priscilla Reef Goldfields
Tanami District Goldfields
Tennant Creek Goldfields
Tumbling Waters Goldfields
Union Reef Goldfields
Yam Creek Goldfields