Copper was discovered in 1859 on Walter Watson Hughes' sheep run at 'Wallaroo' by James Boor, one of his shepherds. Hughes established smelting works on the nearby coast. The mines developed quickly and, with copper selling for £115 per ton, was prosperous. The town and port of Wallaroo was proclaimed in 1861. In 1889, the value of the ores sold from the Wallaroo Mines was nearly £2.25 million. In the same year Wallaroo and Moonta Mines merged to form the Wallaroo and Moonta Mining and Smelting Company. The mines closed in 1923, but the town and port of Wallaroo continued to operate, with diverging industries and exports.