David D. Rosewarne

David D. Rosewarne

David Rosewarne, South Australia’s first Inspector of Mines was appointed on 18 February 1889 and nine months later Warden of Goldfields. Rosewarne visited the Lady Alice in February 1890. This hardworking Cornishman, had started mining in 1870 in the iron mines of Pennsylvania and since that time worked at Nevada, Utah, California, Arizona, Northern Mexico, New Zealand and New South Wales. He had also been a reporter for one of the Broken Hill newspapers, had already inspected 190 mines and reported on almost a hundred since his appointment.

A few weeks after his visiting the Lady Alice a little gold was found in a new drive he had suggested. Two months later the government, acting on Rosewarne’s advice granted the company an additional £500 subsidy. After all, it said, as the pioneer mine of the district, the future of the field to a large extent depends upon its successful development. With the subsidy and a little help of some shareholders’ money, nearly four thousand shares were forfeited; major work was undertaken above ground and new machinery ordered from Newcastle.

Most people, companies and newspapers were pleased with Rosewarne’s appointment. One paper hailed it as a new era for the gold mining industry of South Australia. It hoped that his reports, which he regularly submitted to the government, would direct the attention of capitalists in other colonies and also in England to the valuable properties, which only required a moderate expenditure to return handsome dividends.

With the upcoming International Exhibition in London during the northern summer of 1890, T.A. Masey, director of the Blinman copper mine, advised the government to prepare large maps and a good readable give away handbook. He also suggested that steps should be taken to find out anything and everything about the latest knowledge of ore reduction and gold extracting processes. South Australia would be represented in London by no other than David Rosewarne.

Rosewarne left on the P & O steamer Britannia on 16 April 1890 for the Exhibition and took thousands of specimens from South Australia and the Northern Territory with him for display. Among these were naturally numerous samples from South Australian gold mines including some from the New Alma and Victoria United, Alma Extended, the Ridge, Mount Torrens, Reedy Creek, New Mingary, Queen Bee, Durdan, Eureka, Bird in Hand, New Lady Alice, South Australian Pyrite and Gold Mine, Birthday Reef, Westward Ho, Kohinoor, Jubilee Reef, German Reef and from fields such as Teetulpa, Neales River, Mount Ogilvie, Wadnaminga, Rischbieth Well and Forest Range.

At the Exhibition Diplomas were awarded for exhibits from the Alma and Victoria, Mount Torrens and Forest Range Gold Mining Companies. Diplomas for best private collections went to J.C.F. Johnson, Vinrace Lawrance and Mr Hall of Echunga. As South Australia’s official representative Rosewarne was accorded much importance in the pomp, ceremony and speeches of the official opening. While in London he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Geological Society. Regardless of his very busy schedule he made efforts to have some of the Lady Alice ore samples treated with the latest technology available in ore reduction methods in England.

In between these and many other jobs and engagements he still found time to lecture on the mineral resources of South Australia and also reported on the MacArthur-Forrest invention. His knowledge, drive and enthusiasm for all things concerning the mining industry impressed everyone and did not fail to attract notice from mine owners investors and capitalists. When the South Australian government refused Rosewarne his promised salary increase he cabled his resignation from the department as from 1 February 1891.

Whereas the Exhibition may not have been a success for South Australia, it most certainly was for Rosewarne ‘who found it a stepping stone to a billet worth more than double his late inspectorship’. Even before the Exhibition was finished he had secured a manager’s position at £1,000 a year with the Kangarilla Mining Company, which operated the Aclare silver mine. While Rosewarne was still in London, the Kangarilla Mining Company used every possible title it could tack on to his name in its advertising and correspondence and referred to him as D.D. Rosewarne FGS, MAME, Inspector of Mines and Warden of Goldfields to the SA Government and Executive Commissioner on behalf of that Government at the Mining Exhibition.

On his return to South Australia in December 1890 he found that Francis Hylton Molesworth of the South Australian School of Mines and Industries had designed a plant far better than he had seen anywhere in England. This latest South Australian invention made it possible to successfully rework tailings which had previously been discarded as useless.

Local newspapers wrote complimentary reviews about Rosewarne and his activities in London where he had directed attention to the prospect of South Australia’s mining industry and gave him the credit for getting the Aclare, Bird in Hand and Westward Ho started again. Although this would result in most profits going overseas, it would still make a noticeable improvement in the business and employment of labour, which could only have beneficial effects in more ways than one.

Later appointments secured by Rosewarne included a trip to South Africa to inspect the gold mines and raise money for their operation in England. After an absence of 14 months he was back in South Australia where he hoped to remain for some time. Later that year, while residing in the northern Flinders Ranges, he was appointed to the Board of Advice for Schools of the Blinman District.

If you would like to find out more,
please go to HOME PAGE for more information.
Thank you for visiting Flinders Ranges Research,
We hope you enjoy your stay and find the information useful.
This site has been designed and is maintained by FRR.