State Library of South AustraliaState Library of South Australia

Mount Wells Tin Mine

Catalogue record

Creator: Foelsche, Paul

Object Source: B 46808

Date of creation : 1885

Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia. This image may be printed or saved for personal research or study. Use for any other purpose requires permission from the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.

Format : Photograph

Mount Wells Tin Mine

The Mount Wells tin mine was discovered in late 1881 and was worked by Chinese labourers. From August 1882 it was managed by David Daniels who had gained experience in the Queensland tin mining industry. The following year 27 tons of tin ore was shipped. This led to speculation and the pegging of adjacent claims. It would be several years before more efficient methods of extraction were installed.

In 1885 a complete ore-dressing plant was installed and from 1887 the quantities of tin ore extracted began to rise again, to levels similar to those of the first year. By 1889, 89 tons were being extracted and in 1905 new plant was installed. Mount Wells was now the leading tin mine in the Territory with 133 tons of concentrates recovered in one year alone. Mining was continued successfully during World War I but subsequently a sharp fall in the price of tin forced the mine into liquidation and it closed in 1929.

Maranboy, another tin mining district east of Katherine, was similarly affected by the falling tin prices.


Further reading

Bauer, FH Historical geography of white settlement in part of Northern Australia. Part 2. The Katherine-Darwin Region Canberra : CSIRO, 1964

Powell, Alan Far country: a short history of the Northern Territory 4th edition. Carlton South, Vic: Melbourne University Press, 2000

Tamblyn, Mary Mines, money and men: Top End mining 1895-1921 Darwin: Historical Society of the Northern Territory, 1990

Jones, Timothy G Pegging the Northern Territory: the history of mining in the Northern Territory of Australia, 1873-1946 Darwin: Northern Territory Government Printer, 1987

Jones, Timothy David and Isaac Daniel and the Mount Wells Tin Mine in Journal of Australasian Mining History vol. 4 September 2006 pp. 183-200


Mount Wells Tin Mine: a set on Flickr

Australian Bureau of Statistics: Year Book Australia 1910: Tin

Search Treasures

Use the keyword search above for a quick search, or use our advanced search.

Current highlight


James S. Pearce, Kapunda Football Club, 1879, B 7437
View the Football in SA exhibitions.

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our e-news and stay in touch with the State Library of South Australia's news and events.




About the wall