GOLDFIELDS HISTORY

Lancefield & Beria

Beria Town & the Lancefield Gold Mine 1905

A goldfields townsite near Laverton, this name was first gazetted in 1905. A later gazettal in 1936 created a townsite in the same vicinity. The true Aboriginal name of the place was 'Tinbeeringtharra' but Beria, an Aboriginal word meaning 'large open field', was suggested by surveyor J.H.Rowe as being more suitable.

Lancefield Hotel Beria, 1905
Students & Teachers at Beria School 1910

Beria Townsite

LANCEFIELD MINE

Underground Miners from the Lancefield Goldmine, 1900.

Located 8 kms north west of Laverton.

The Lancefield gold centre was discovered by John LEMON in July 1897 who named it Lancefield after his home town in Victoria.

John LEMON and his three partners found gold "floaters" on flat country about 5 miles from where the town was eventually established. There were no outcrops and no other indicators but they dug some well placed costeans (long narrow trenches) which proved a schist aad a quartz lode up to 15 feet wide. W.T. HORTON of the Mount Malcolm Proprietary Mine at Murrin Murrin was one of the earliest to realise the possibilities of the Laverton area and was very interested in LEMON's new find.

In 1898 HORTON formed a syndicate and erected a battery close to the reef. In January 1899 they started treating ore and by October 1900 after only 22 months, they had treated 16,000 tons of ore for 7,200 ounces of gold. This gave the syndicate a profit, as the whole capital put up initially was less than 1000.

With W.T.HORTON were STRAUSS and FREEMAN and they had demonstrated that this 12 dwt. mine was likely to be a very profitable undertaking.

54,909 ounces of gold was produced by 1905, making Lancefiield one of the most important mines in the district. The London based company - the Lancefield Gold Mining Company took over in July 1904 with Bewick Moreing & Co as general managers and Herbert HOOVER, later President of the USA, as one of the Directors.

In the first few months the new owners produced 6,200 ounces of gold, they then bought the new 40 head battery at Euro and reorganised the whole milling and productfon plant. No sooner had they done this than the ore they were treating changed to an ore contafning sulphides, copper and arsenic. Bewick Moreing had to stop operations and change everything again to a dry crushing and roasting plant.

To win gold from sulphide rock the ore has to be roasted in a huge furnace to "cook off the sulphur before the gold is released. Bewick Moreing came in for a lot of criticism in the region at the time, as the new process, with huge main boilers, required 2000 tons of wood a months just to treat 7000 tons of ore and would be a big drain on an already very sparsely timbered region.

By 1914 tbe mine was operated, unsuccessfully, by the Boulder Firewood Company, it was then taken over by George RIDGEWAY who for a time showed a profit. The Lancefiield (New) Company was run by J.J.FOX and George RIDGEWAY from 1933- 1940. Up to the 1950's Lancefield produced a total of 552,000 ounces of gold and 52,000 ounces of silver.

The Lancefield Stack being dropped in 1984 to make way for new mining development.