Gartcraig brick found in Queensland, Australia

The Woolgar Goldfields Industrial Archaeology of Capitalism 1879-1939 by Victor Jean Taylor.

Chillagoe, Queensland, Australia.

The forerunner to the later established Chillagoe smelter was a piecemeal smelter
project by Moffat in 1894 to handle the copper from the nearby Boomerang mine. The
Calcifer was the only treatment plant erected by Moffat that was without a dam
presumably because the small creek running through the smelter site was only fed by an
insignificant spring (Kerr 1995: 19). In any event the lifespan of the small smelter and
the fading ore bodies of the Boomerang mine curtailed the Calcifer’s production to a
mere 6 years before the better financed and equipped Chillagoe smelter was established
nearby (Kerr 1995: 20-1). The history of Calcifer’s smelting is well documented by
Kerr (1995) and has been particularly chosen to demonstrate the marginality of frontier
mining towns. The field diary’s notation is of the opinion that the archaeology of this
small settlement is probably that of a palimpsest that includes the 1937 reworkings of
the Boomerang, Harper and Christmas Gift mines. The presumed remnants of the
smelter would seem to be an engine bed besides a concrete pad on the northern side of
the creek. The part of a boiler’s steel chimney mentioned by Kerr (1995: 21) had

disappeared by the time of the author’s short visit in 2002 armed with a copy of a
photograph of the area that was said to have been taken in 1900 (see Figure 7:14).

Figure 7—14: Calcifer Smelter and township circa 1900 (photo John Oxley Library)
Access to the site is via a well marked ‘Private’ driveway which passes the remnants of a
stone building on the way to the homestead. The archaeological features of an area near
the smelter site features what looked like four inlaid flagon stone entrances to possible
huts and a very noticeable scattering of intact torpedo-shaped glass lemonade bottles
with no traceable trademark. Bottles of that shape usually date from the late 19th to
early 20th century and seeing that the glass was unblemished indicates a post-1914
manufacture (eg. Arnold 1990: 136-38). In addition, the brick scatter seen in the area
included the occasional Gartcraig brick later found to be of Scottish origin after
conferring with Kerr (1995: 21).

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