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History of West Australia/William Harvey Chapman Lovely


THE reflection of a man's brightness of intellect invariably shines in his countenance. Mr. Rhodes, the South African hero, was wont to say in reply to youthful and ambitious spirits courting influence or requesting assistance in obtaining appointments, "send me your photograph, and I shall thereby read your worth."

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Mr. W. H. C. Lovely's name, on the Western Australian goldfields, is known to all who profess the slightest acquaintance with the doings of our mining world. He is a son of Colonel Lovely, and was born in Adelaide, and educated at St. Peter's and Prince Alfred Colleges. While at these two educational institutions he conceived a love for science which led him to the gates of the Adelaide University. Partly here, and partly in the School of Mines, he pursued a vigorous course of scientific study and research, and specialised in the Department of Mining. He attended lectures on metallurgy, assaying, mine surveying, and all sciences utilised theoretically and practically in mining. Experiments in the laboratory, careful and wearisome digestion of text-books and manuals, made his student life one of laborious study. His three years' curriculum in the science faculty soon fled, and with a record to compensate for his studious gifts he graduated, and bade farewell to his Alma Mater.

His first appointment was that of assayer in the Kohinoor mine at Captain's Flat, New South Wales. For some time he acted as its chief assayer, and combined with this post the equally important position of mining surveyor on the Lake George, in the same district. After assaying in New South Wales for two or three years he took the management of the MacKinlay Mount Wells Silver and Tin Mines. He vacated this appointment after a years' service in order to fulfil a mission to Singapore entrusted to his charge. His object was to arrange a market in Singapore in connection with the disposal of Australian tin. It is not superfluous to add, though it is generally known, that half of the tin in the world is smelted in Singapore, and that more than half of the same mineral is exported from the same city,

Having accomplished satisfactorily the object of his expedition he returned. He did not remain long in the eastern colonies, for early in 1894, he left for Coolgardie, where be at once established his headquarters. With that energy and enthusiasm which are his rights, he strove to win a reputation for himself proportionate to his merits. He started first as consulting engineer, and in that position laurels were not long withheld. But other accessories paved the way to influential authority. Before leaving the sister colonies he had been appointed representative for several capitalists, and curator of the interests of many influential friends, and successful treatment of these entrusted commissions increased his sphere of influence. The number of mines acquired by his sole agency, and floated at his recommendation, may perhaps convince the reader of his vigour and financial knowledge. In quick succession the Kalgurli Gold Mines were floated, with a capital of £100,000, by John Howell and David Lindsay; North Kalgurli Gold Mines, Limited, with a capital of £100,000; South Kalgurli, for £60,000, by John Mortey; the Consuella Gold Mines, Limited, at the Ninety Mile, for £90,000, and the Bunyip Gold Mine, between Broad Arrow and the Forty-Five Mile, was floated by Mr. Lovely himself, in London, quite recently, for £150,000. To his source are traced many other rich streams of capital and flotation.

At present (1896) he has a large scheme in project for the acquisition of properties in the Northern Territory of South Australia. A company is in process of formation, with capital of £500,000, of which £100,000 is set apart as working capital, to take over 11,850,000 acres of pastoral and mineral rights, and a second property comprising 65,000 acres of the same. Let us hope that when once the affairs of this company are fully developed the rewards will be in keeping with the magnitude of the scheme.

In September, 1896, Mr. Lovely visited Mount Malcolm, and was fortunate in discovering a mine which is now known as Lovely's Find. He came upon a rich outcrop of gold, and, having inspected and surveyed it, he pegged out a lease. Some of his purchases have proved conclusively that a judgment, unerring and discriminative, was brought to grapple with what always are admitted to be speculative difficulties. He holds many leases in a process of development, and many others from various considerations undeveloped. The Bunyip Mine, which he personally floated in London, turns out 3 ozs. to the ton. His belief in the goldfields is not confined to barren words, He has invested large sums of money in land in Kalgoorlie, Menzies, and other centres, for building sites. He acts as consulting engineer for many mines, and employs over 200 men. He retains large interests in all the mines mentioned in this biography.

When one reflects that these many issues took place within the narrow time-radius of two and a half years we can appreciate his achievements. In the midst of comparative youth, ungifted with the time-honoured experience of his confrères, he has effected consequences the extent and dimensions of which are not easily appraised. Beginnings such as his cannot but lead us to augur for him more prosperous results in the future.