Talking History – Reinterpretation of the discovery of Captain Bagot’s Mine, Kapunda

Greg Drew presents the next Talking History lecture – Reinterpretation of the Discovery of Captain Bagot’s Mine, Kapunda

The Kapunda Mine, about 80 km north of Adelaide, commenced operations in January 1844, just seven years after the British colony of South Australia was founded. It was to be the first successful mine in Australia, predating the much larger Burra Mine by almost two years. Its principal owner was Captain Charles Bagot, formerly of the Royal Irish Fusiliers, who had immigrated to South Australia, due to social unrest in Ireland in the 1830s. His intention had been to become a sheep farmer, but within three years of arrival he was a well-known mine owner and manager.

Bagot took possession of his survey in 1841 and began establishing a pastoral property, but in in late 1842, his youngest son made a chance discovery nearby of brightly coloured copper carbonate mineralisation. He had the land surveyed and subsequently purchased the property at auction, which gave him the mineral rights. The mine was rich from the outset, and was the first copper ore from Australia to be seen on the ore floors at Swansea, along with similar ores from Chile and Cuba.

Greg’s book Captain Bagot’s Mine: Kapunda Mine 1844-1916, will be available for purchase on the night.


This free public lecture is part of History Trust of South Australia’s Talking History series. Book online here

5.15pm for a 5.30pm start. Parking available on Torrens Parade Ground, off Victoria Drive. Refreshments will be provided. Wine sponsor – O’Leary Walker Wines.



Greg Drew is a leading historian of South Australia’s mining history, a widely respected mining expert and experienced author. He was formerly Senior Geologist in the State Government’s former Department of Mines and Energy, and in that role, was responsible for much of the interpretation at historic mining sites throughout South Australia and at Broken Hill. He has published widely on mining history, including his definitive Cornish Beam Engines in South Australia. He is the convener and webmaster of the South Australian Mining History Group and a former member of the Board of the Mining History Association of America.