8. BHP Chimney - 1885
This stone chimney is a relic and reminder of the beginnings of BHP and marks the site of the hut that was built in May 1885 to house the first manager of Broken Hill Mining Company (as BHP was originally known), William Jamieson. Originally a government surveyor, Jamieson saw promise in the early discoveries of silver and lead ore in the area and bought shares in the mining venture from the original syndicate of seven, before the company was incorporated. Each of the original partners had pegged a mining lease ‘on the hill’, beginning with Charles Rasp who famously first discovered a piece of mullock laced with silver and lead ore.
In January 1885, Philip Charley, a member of the syndicate, identified what he thought to be silver chloride in the tailings from Charles Rasp’s shaft. Chlorides were exactly what they had been hoping to discover since 1883. Further exploration by Jamieson and his young Aboriginal employee Harry Campbell mined specimens within a mass of kaolin and quartz between Blocks 11 and 12. The specimens assayed 18,000 ounces of silver to the ton. This discovery guaranteed the success of the Big Australian, the nickname by which BHP became known.
The hut built for Jamieson was later used as the BHP office, and now marks the origin of the Big Australian, which has helped shape the nation’s mining and industrial legacy.
Audio transcript available.