Day Dream Silver Mine

The Day Dream Mine, one of the principle mines on the field is situated about 16km's in a Northerly direction from Silverton. Years before the prospectors ventured into the Barrier, the lonely shepherds on the out-stations of the Mundi Mundi Run wandered over the spot. Here and there cairns of stone have been thrown together as landmarks, but flock tenders had little knowledge of the treasures at their feet.
Two of the old pioneers of Thackaringa, W. Sinclair and Joe Meech pushed out north into the ranges in the hope of finding another Gypsy Girl or Umberumberka. Days were passed on short supplies of food and often only a pint of water a day, until their perseverance was rewarded by by finding what is now known as the Appollyon Mine (December 1875).
Day Dream Silver Mine Day Dream Silver Mine Day Dream Silver Mine Day Dream Silver Mine
A camp was pitched in the neighbourhood and a further search made for lodes which the surface indicated in almost every direction. Sinclair's version of the discovery is that a tacit understanding existed between the two partners that they should choose opposite directions and report findings to each other in the evening camp.
Joe Meech found the Day Dream or Meech's Blow as it was originally known by, pegged it out and registered it in another name and claimed the hole. A law-suit resulted between the two partners in 1881-1882 which was carried out in Sydney. Meech sold one-third of his interest for one thousand pounds and gave another to some Melbourne speculator to carry out the law proceedings. In the meantime Barrier Ranges Mining Association stepped in and purchased a portion of the mine and terminated what gave every promise of protected litigation.
Day Dream Silver Mine Day Dream Silver Mine Day Dream Silver Mine Day Dream Silver Mine

The Association acquired eight-tenths of the claim in August 1884, the two other tenths being held by Messers Bagot and Co. of Adelaide. The dual proprietors decided upon floating it as a company. The change was made for the more effective working of the Property. The capital of the company was fixed at ninety thousand pounds in 72,000 shares of one pound-five shillings each. They were issued at one pound and paid up 64,000 to the Barrier Ranges Association, being share for the share on the stock of that proprietary and 8,000 to Bagot and Co.
A small township has sprung up since the discovery. The main street is composed of one Hotel, a few boarding houses and residences built of corrugated iron (Hot in Summer, cold in Winter) and all round the hill, tents, dugouts and mia-mias, peep outs of the small clusters of Mulga'.
In 1884 is was estimated that 500 people were living in and around the township of 'Wilson', which was commonly known as Day Dream.
Day Dream Silver Mine Day Dream Silver Mine Day Dream Silver Mine Day Dream Silver Mine

Travel was by bullock wagon and the road from Silverton was frequently travelled. Water for the township was carted by wagons from the Day Dream Dam about three miles east of the mine. Water for the smelters was carted from the Appollyon and Bobby Burns mines about two miles distance and coke carted from Adelaide and the necessary fluxes are obtained from the Gypsy Girl Mine and Silverton.
A miner's life consisted of twelve hour days, six days a week. Miners worked by Candle light which were held in holders known as spiders. Miners bought their own candles, picks and shovels. Mining method was mostly by hammer and tapping holes, then firing them. Miners did not leave the workings for firings. Pickey boys (Lads of 14-15 years old) would hand pick the ore after a firing, and bag it. Waste rock was carried back into the opening for back-fill. A miners living conditions were poor with the average life span only 40 years. Most miners suffered failing eyesight and respiratory diseases.

The first production from the Broken Hill Mine, some 1,500 tons was brought by bullock wagon to the Hen & Chicken lease and smeltered at the Day Dream Smelters. This smelter was the first in the district commencing operations on the 13th August 1885. Teams laden with ore regularly left for Terowie.