1896 New Chum Flood

17/03/1896 - New Chum Gold Mine



A great shock was given to our community last night when it became known that the New Chum mine was flooded, and that several miners had lost their lives. Drizzling rain commenced to fall early on Sunday night and Monday morning broke with a fairly clear atmosphere, The mail coach arrived a little late owing to heavv rain between Chain Pump and Yoweragabbie, but there were no indications of a further downpour. Just about four o’clock, however, heavy clouds that had drifted up from the west of Mount Magnet broke over the town and a perfect deluge ensued. The country for miles was quickly inundated.

The New Chum Mine, known as one of our best and most consistent gold-producers on the Murchison, was flooded by a sudden inrush of water. The water poured down a gully in a torrent and quickly filled the lower workings. Six men at work hastily scrambled up the ladder, but three of them were washed back, while a fourth reached the top more dead than alive. The water poured into the shaft from tho northwest, and spread all over the lease like a turbulent sea, rising 100ft. in the shaf. The boiler fires were extingushed and rescue work was practically out of the question. The three victims were—

WIlliam CAMPBELL (single) Age 23 from Mittagong NSW
Roger COOK (married)  aged 34 from Durham, Northumberland ENGLAND
Arthur Henry DANIELS (single,)  from Linton, Ballarat Victoria

George Henderson (from Mittagong NSW), one of the other miners at work, had a narrow escape. He was almost overcome by the terrific rush of water and had the utmost difficulty in retaining a foothold. He got on the surface eventually and was welcomed back as one from the dead. Henderson was working in the lowest level, he climbed up to the No. 2 level and was extremely exhausted, but his mate, Campbell, failed in the attempt, and fell into the rapidly rising water. Daniels and Cook rushed into the shaft from a drive, imagining the cage was there, and, falling to the No. 3 level, were drowned. It is alleged that there were no ladders between No. 2 and No. 3 levels. Mr. Williams, the manager, is very reticent, and will not volunteer any statement.
None of the bodies have yet been recovered. The official telegram which Warden Lowley has courteously placed at our disposal, is as follows:—”At 8:80  last evening phenomenal rainfall occurred here, surface water flooding shaft,. All men rescued but three, whom we have no hopes of. Everything  being done to clear mine of water! At present 100ft. of shaft full. Battery fires extinguished. Tailings dam carried away. —”

This accident claimed the lives of 3 people, these were: Arthur Daniels, Roger Cook, William Campbell