Remains of the Coolgarra Battery, Silver Valley
The Wild River forms the western boundary of the locality. The Kennedy Highway passes from west to east through the southern edge of the locality. The locality is mountainous, rising from an elevation of 650m in Bulldog Gully in the south of the locality through to numerous unnamed peaks of up to 1050m. The land is relatively undeveloped apart from some areas now laid bare as the result of mining.
James Venture Mulligan is credited with the first discovery of silver at Silver Valley in 1880. By 1883, outcrops of silver, lead and galena had been found in the area and it was named Silver Valley and mining commenced. It was also known as Newellton after a pioneer family. However, while the silver mines were initially productive (one yielding up to 150 ounces of metal per ton), after a few years the silver lode was exhausted and the mines abandoned. However, in 1895, three prospector George Harrod discovered two rich lodes of tin and, with Hammond and White, established the Lancelot mine and, with Hammond, White and Daniels, established the Hadleigh Castle mine. In 1899 a German company (the German Lancelot Tin Mining Company) purchased the Lancelot Mine and proposed naming the area Lancelot after the mine and later proposed to establish a new town called New Frankfurt (although there is no evidence that this occurred). However, the German company did build a dam and a 5-head battery. However, by 1910 the lodes were exhausted and diamond drills were used to search for new lodes, but without success. In 1911 the mines were sold to John Moffat. However, the popular story is that the Germans operated the mine up until the start of World War I whereupon they suddenly disappeared overnight, but this story reflects the anti-German sentiment prevalent since World War I rather than actual events.
Despite the apparent cessation of mining in the area, Silver Valley was described in 1912 as being "rich in minerals" with "beautiful scenery, fishing and shooting". The Silver Valley Hotel (licensee James Ramsay) could provide accommodation for 20 people for 6/- per day or 30/- per week.
Like most old mines, there were occasional flurries of renewed activity whenever there were prospects of poorer ore lodes being profitably mined, usually in response to rising metal prices or more efficient extraction technologies, but generally such mining is short-lived as it is extremely price-sensitive.
Silver Valley has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- "Silver Valley (entry 48868)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
- "Queensland Globe". State of Queensland. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
- "Pre-Settlement History". Eacham Historical Society. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
- "James Venture Mulligan". Monument Australia. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
- "1880". Cairns Post (14, 398). Queensland. 28 April 1948. p. 5. Retrieved 3 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "SILVER VALLEY". The Worker. 58 (3139). Brisbane. 15 September 1947. p. 13. Retrieved 3 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- Rimmer, Michael Albert (2008), Up the Palmerston : a history of the Cairns hinterland up to 1920. Volume 2 (PDF), Mike Rimmer, p. 174, ISBN 978-0-646-50093-5
- "The Metal Market". The North Queensland Register. 1 February 1893. p. 36. Retrieved 3 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "German Launcelot Tin Mining Co". Morning Post. 10 (7). Cairns, Queensland. 22 August 1900. p. 2. Retrieved 3 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Lancelot Mine". Tablelands Regional Council. 20 April 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
- Hotel & boarding house directory of the principal cities, towns, and tourist resorts in Queensland (2nd ed.), Queensland Government Intelligence and Tourist Bureau, 1912, retrieved 3 January 2017
- "MINING". The Northern Herald. XXXIII (419). Queensland, Australia. 13 April 1921. p. 28. Retrieved 3 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "HERBERTON MINING". The Northern Herald. XLV (584). Queensland, Australia. 11 June 1924. p. 50. Retrieved 3 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Coolgarra Battery (entry 601791)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
- Stirling, James (1900). Monograph on the geology and mining features of Silver Valley, Herberton, North Queensland, Australia. Lancelot Freehold Tin & Copper Mines.
Media related to Silver Valley, Queensland at Wikimedia Commons