History of West Australia/John Fairbourne Moore


IN Coolgardie the name of this prominent citizen dates back almost to its inception. Residents of the goldfield centres generally freely express their appreciation of those men who have by individual and co-operative endeavours sought to bring them credit and fame. Such a manifestation is only fitting when they consider the circumstances surrounding their growth. The individual must in these cases be selfish before he becomes utilitarian.

John Fairbourne Moore HOFWA.jpg
Photo by
Hemus & Hall.

Councillor Moore was born in Ballarat in 1857. For some time after leaving school he worked on his mother's farm at Durham Lead. Growing somewhat impatient of the monotonous tendencies of agriculture, he gladly exchanged its routine for that of mining. In the Majorca mines he worked with laborious effort for two years. Then he departed to Gippsland with some amount of mining experience, collected at Majorca.

In Gippsland he joined the survey camp of the Lands Department, and was connected therewith for eight years. This period of surveying operations was invaluable to him on the score of experience. The party went far and wide over auriferous tracts, and analysed the geological appearances and conditions of the rocks and country. Such empirical knowledge proved of indispensable utility to Mr. Moore in his subsequent enterprises. He severed his connection with this branch of the Government service, only, however, to enlist his growing efforts in a kindred sphere—that of the Railway Survey Department. He remained in this employ for twelve and a half years. When the bright news of Coolgardie's auriferous wealth reached his ears, he resolved to seek Westralia's shores. He arrived in Coolgardie in September, 1893, the field being at that time about twelve months old. He started prospecting around Coolgardie, and was fortunate in making a rich discovery within ten days. He pegged out the New Victoria Mine at Mount Burges, which was afterwards sold to Dr. Simon for £40,000 cash. After this enviable acquisition he started sharebroking in Coolgardie, in which up to the present he has had increasing success. His business connection is extensive.

In November, 1895, Mr. Moore identified himself with the formation of the Coolgardie Brewing and Ice Company, which was floated with the handsome capital of £30,000. He was appointed chairman of directors in recognition of his energetic endeavours to accomplish the formation, and in consideration of his administrative and financial capabilities. In the conduct of the general affairs of the company he has taken a hearty and lively interest. The company spent £7,000 in superior plant and machinery, and the result has begot the splendid dividend of £4,500 within twelve months.

He was elected to the Municipal Council of Coolgardie in the beginning of 1896, and still retains his seat. His period of public service has been one of sedulous attention to the general interests of the town. He has displayed unusual diligence in capably discharging the duties of the office entrusted to him by the electors. In the council room, in open discussion and debate he urges the need for amelioration and improvement. The zeal and zest of the energetic endeavours of her councillors have rendered Coolgardie worthy of the great reputation she bears throughout the world. This fitting tribute of appreciation is but the reflection of the general feeling toward their ability and public services.

Coolgardie is an enthusiastic sporting field. Young and old, rich and poor, assemble either to participate in its enjoyments by direct contact or else to witness with excited feelings the progress of the game. Councillor Moore, both of his own love for sport and in consideration of the social spirit of "camaraderie" which sport engenders, willingly supports various clubs by liberal disbursements and active assistance. He is a member of the Coolgardie Racing Club committee, and acts as vice-president of the Coolgardie Bicycle Club. He was elected to the honorary position of president of the Toorak Cricket Club. In all these clubs where he holds official positions he is very popular. His cordial spirit and generosity make his company bright and enjoyable.

In the growing institutions of the commercial world he takes a keen interest, especially in the Chamber of Mines and Commerce, of which he is a member. Councillor Moore's reputation and popularity are meritoriously deserved. By his earnest endeavours he has become a stout link in the chain of individual services to the common weal of Coolgardie.