Beria, Western Australia
Lancefield gold mine locos, 1902.
|Elevation||460 m (1,509 ft)|
|LGA(s)||Shire of Leonora|
The name of the town was initially gazetted in 1905, but later in 1936 a townsite was gazetted in the immediate area. The Indigenous Australian word for the area is Tinbeeringtharra but the name Beria, another Indigenous Australian word meaning large open field was suggested by the surveyor John Rowe as a more suitable alternative.
Gold was discovered in the area just south of town by a prospector, John Lemon, in 1897. He named his mine Lancefield after his hometown in Victoria. The manager of the Mount Malcolm mine at Murrin Murrin, W.T. Horton, became interested in the find and formed a syndicate in 1898. A battery was erected close to the reef and production began in January 1899. In less than two years, the battery treated 16,000 tonnes of ore and recovered 7,200 ounces of gold. The Lancefield Gold mining Company, based in London, took over the mine in 1904 with Herbert Hoover as one of the directors. By 1905 the mine had produced 54,909 ounces of gold.
The mine then experienced problems when sulphide ores containing arsenic and copper were found and the entire plant had to be shut down and reorganised to a dry crushing and roasting plant. Huge boilers were installed to roast the ores that each required 2000 tonnes of wood to roast 7000 tonnes of ore.
A tramway was constructed between the mine and Laverton by the Kalgoorlie and Boulder Firewood company in 1908. The purpose was to deliver wood for the boilers from surrounding areas to feed the boilers.
The plant was in liquidation by 1913 and was eventually bought in 1914 by the Kalgoorlie and Boulder Firewood company, who changed the name to the Beria Consuls Mines. The mine changed ownership again in 1915 to the Lancefield company, run by George Ridgeway. The tramway was no longer operating and was removed by 1916. The Lancefield company operated the mine until 1940. By the 1950s the mine had produced over 552,000 ounces of gold and 52,000 ounces of silver.
The main stack of the mine was demolished in 1984.
- Western Australian Government Gazette, file 3797/05, 21 December 1936, p.2073
- Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of country town names – B". Retrieved 15 November 2010.
- "JY Stamps - Goldfields History - Beria and Lancefield". 1995. Retrieved 15 February 2011.
- "Morowa istrict Historical Society - Ghost Towns in WA" (PDF). 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2011.
Media related to Beria, Western Australia at Wikimedia Commons