Royal Reels: Gambling


The Western Australian postcard has a ‘ONE HALF-PENCE’ printed brown ‘swan’ stamp of W.A. cancelled with a duplex COOLGARDIE/ FE 21/ 1896/WESTERN AUSTRALIA with a barred obliterator. It is addressed to Dr. A. Simon, Coolgardie (Figure 1).

The reverse is headed ‘The Coolgardie Chamber of Mines and Commerce. General Meetings of the Members of Chamber take place on the first Thursday in every Month. The Annual Meeting will be held at the Stock Exchange on Thursday the 5th day of March 1896 at 8 o’clock.

Business: Confirmation of Minutes of Previous Meeting. Correspondence. 7 early reports & balance sheet. Discussion on new proposed alteration in (Dule?) St. Election of new Committee. R. Ouseley Blake-Lane. Secretary (Figure 2).

The Western Argus (Kalgoorlie. W.A.), Tuesday, 7 June, 1927, page 4 had a column headed MINING: News and Notes. The death is announced of Dr. A.C. Simon Ph.D., the eminent metallurgist. Dr. Simon graduated in Zurich in 1883 and after several years’ work at various laboratories in Europe joined in 1889 the staff of Messrs, H. Eckstein and Co. in Johannesburg. In that position he had much to do with the practical work of perfecting the use of the cyanide process, the success of which directly led to the famous Kaffir boom of 1895.

In that year Dr. Simon came to Western Australia as a representative of a wealthy French mining syndicate. He at once proceeded to Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie and Kanowna and subsequently visited Yalgoo, Mt. Magnet, Cue and Day Dawn [all in W.A.]. The outcome of his report on thes fields was the formation of the New Austral Company, with a capital of £400,000, to acquire properties in Western Australia. Dr. Simon was entrusted with the task of investing part of this money in mining properties and he secured the Norseman Hill End, New Victoria and Australasian goldmines. He left Western Australia in 1897. Since 1898, Dr. Simon had practised as a consulting engineer in London and made reports on properties all over the world.

The Sydney Morning Herald on Friday 17 May 1895, page 4 stated that Dr. Simon had purchased the mine at Norseman for flotation in Paris, the price paid was about £10,000, and the property was an exceedingly rich one. A battery has been built in Gawler South Australia an it will enable trial crushings to be put through. Dr. Simon was highly esteemed in his field, and it is evident that he was a valued member of The Coolgardie Chamber of Mines and Commerce.

Harry Ouseley Blake Lane (with and without a hyphen for his surname) was born in Naas, County Kildare, Ireland on 26 April 1846. He enlisted at Rikers Island, New York City in January 1864 and the following month he was assigned as a private to ‘B’ Company, 25 th New York Cavalry. His horse fell on him while charging the enemy in the American Civil War.

He was promoted to sergeant in May 1865, but his war service ended with that of the unit at Harts Island, New York Harbour the following month. Described as “6’2′ tall, grey eyes, brown hair and ruddy complexion”, after the war, he lived for a period in Great Britain and Ireland, before migrating to Australia spending a time in Western Australia and Victoria where he settled, residing for a time at Brighton Beach, Melbourne. He died from cancer of the stomach and heart failure on 5 December 1913 while residing at the Prince of Wales Hotel in St. Kilda and is one of approximately 35 Civil War veterans interred in Victoria. In 1882 he married Blanche née Crisp but later they separated, and they had two children.

Acknowledgment: Part of this paper was extracted from research compiled by the American Civil War Round Table (Bob Simpson of Beechworth).

Categories: Mining, Postcards