A list of Wills' that worked as gold miners
in Central Victoria.

Shallow And Deep Shaft Mining

Maryborough - Timor - Chinamans Flat Area
From 1854 - 1920


 

This site was researched by Ian Wills and completed in 2003. All information, facts and figures taken from a number of mining books covering the Maryborough area. The index of Wills miners was taken from several mining record books at Maryborough Library and were printed in 1922. Unfortunately no second initials were given or parents names of the miners. Many worked for several different mining companies and their names were repeated. This has been sorted out into alphabetical order. Total of 43 found on record.
Return to The Wills Family Library


The area between Maryborough and Timor was known as Chinamans Flat because of hundreds of chinese diggers that set up camp and dug for gold in the early 1850s. Within the next 15 years it was the area that employed the most miners. Due to it's location and popularity this area had 38 hotels and many stores large and small and one police station and lockup during the peak period of the 1880s. It was a thriving township. Gold in Ballarat was first discovered at Golden Point in August 1851. Some 20,000 diggers swarmed the area within a short time and an armed escort service had been established to transport gold to Melbourne.

Within weeks of the Ballarat discovery gold was then discovered also in Bendigo in November 1851. Thousands moved into the Bendigo area to start digging and hoping to make their fortune. The Central Deborah Gold Mine in Bendigo ceased production in 1954 and contributed greatly to the 595 million grams of gold taken in the area. All other mines in the area had closed by 1920.

Gold was also discovered in nearby Castlemaine in December 1851. This town was first called Mt. Alexander and later named after Viscount Castlemaine. From 1851-1861 an average 7,000 oz of gold was taken to Melbourne weekly. In late December 1851 Chewton was invaded by diggers after a nugget was dug up. In 1852 gold was being discovered around the outer Melbourne area and many other parts of Victoria.

In 1854 a digger named Mcmillan first discovered gold at Chinamans flat. There were 500 at the rush when the news was spread. Six months later there were 33,000 hoping to become rich. The area was a total buzz. By the early 1860s mining companies were operating for miles around this area. In 1865 a working day for a miner was a hard and long 10 hours with a return of 30 shillings per week. This wasn't much considering that a pair of boots cost 18 shillings at the time. Several miners at one company refused to work because of low pay. They soon found out that the pay was the same elsewhere so they returned to work.

The "Band of Hope Company" in 1868 recorded the record for the greatest gold yield in one day of 2,832 oz, worth $23,000 then. It was considered that a return of more that 1,500 oz was a rewarding days work for all. In the areas of Maryborough, Timor, Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine and Chewton some 75 companies in total were in operation during the 1880-1890 period and employed some 35,000 men and some women that were forced to work. By this time a days work was 12 long, hard hours for 6 days per week. Sunday was a day for recovering and catching up with the family. Many of the locals took a dislike to the hundreds of chinese that set up camp in the 1850s and took over about half a square mile of Timor. Many had also set up camp along the banks of the Bet Bet Creek. They built shacks , grew vegetables and dug for gold. In the early 1870s there were many reports of torture and robbing them of their gold. The chinese from that point of time were forced out of the area. A great many of them moved on down to Chewton, Gisborne and Melbourne for a new life.

This period of time was an absolute boomer as most companies were returning excellent yields. The largest nugget ever found in Timor was in 1873 and was just over 100 oz. Several others around 50 oz were found in several other places in the area. Bendigo and Ballarat had several nuggets of around 140 oz. Clunes, Maldon and Warrandyte near Melbourne also had some fine nuggets of over 120 oz dug up.

For many workers mining was the only thing for them. Some were lucky while many others suffered. From the early 1860s up until 1920 approximately 900 people lost their lives due to the many accidents of various kinds and also through lung related illnesses caused by breathing in dust. By 1920 all mines were closed. The buildings were torn down and the workers had left what was now a ghost town. Very few live in Timor today.

All that remains today to remind us of those great days are the Grand Duke and North Duke arches and the hundreds of mine heaps which will probably be around for ever.

NameAgeAddressMining Company
that employed them
Location of
Mining Company
Year
Alfred Wills 26 Timor The United Gold Mining Co. Maryborough 1865
Albert Wills 43 Bendigo Count Bismark Mining Co. Bendigo 1870
Albert Wills 57 Ballarat Gladstone Mining Co. Chinamans Flat-Timor 1871
Albert Wills 39 Chewton The Band Of Hope Mining Co. Chinamans Flat-Timor 1868
Angus Wills 27 Ballarat The North Duke Mining Co. Chinamans Flat-Timor 1895
Chad Wills 18 Chewton Madame Garfield Gold Mining Co. Chewton 1877
Charles Wills 21 Chewton Madame Garfield Gold Mining Co. Chewton 1878
Cecil Wills 23 Chewton Madame Garfield Gold Mining Co. Chewton 1878
Cliff Wills 37 Maryborough Hit Or Miss Gold Mining Co. Maryborough 1862
Charles 30 Ballarat The North Duke Mining Co. Chinamans Flat-Timor 1884
Claude 20 Maryborough The Good Hope Mining Co. Bet Bet - Timor 1868
Clive Wills 22 Timor Magnum Bonum Co. Timor 1870
David Wills 37 Dunolly O'Briens Gold Mining Co. Peg Leg- Talbot 1868
David Wills 22 Elphingstone The Humbug Co. Bet Bet - Timor 1885
Edward Wills 30 Ballarat Timor Extended Chinamans Flat -Timor 1888
Edward Wills 24 Majorca Duke Consols Co. Maryborough 1869
Frank Wills 57 Ballarat Seaham Co. Ballarat 1872
Frederick Wills 21 Maryborough Black Ball Co. Maryborough 1880
Frederick Wills 40 Timor The Duke And Timor Gold Mining Co. Timor 1869
Frederick Wills 33 Ballarat Bet Bet Gold Mining Co. Bet Bet - Timor 1870
Frederick Wills 28 Bendigo John Bright Co. Bendigo 1872
Frederick Wills 56 Dunolly Duke United Co. Chinamans Flat - Timor 1894
Frederick Wills 57 Dunolly Timor Extended Chinamans Flat - Timor 1895
Henry Wills 46 Majorca North Arm Mining Co. Majorca 1863
Henry Wills 33 Chewton Golden Gate Co. Chinamans Flat - Timor 1867
Herbert Wills 19 Bendigo The Humbug Co. Bet Bet - Timor 1886
Horace Wills 20 Maldon Madame Garfield Gold mining Co. Chewton 1879
John Wills 59 Bendigo John Bright Co. Bendigo 1894
John Wills 57 Maryborough Black Ball Co. Maryborough 1890
Michael Wills 27 Clunes Baltimore Mining Co. Bendigo 1867
Nicholas Wills 18 Chewton Madame Garfield Gold Mining Co. Chewton 1880
Nicholas Wills 22 Bendigo Central Neil Gwynne Mining Co. Bendigo 1870
Nicholas Wills 60 Bendigo Iron bark Gold mining Co. Bendigo 1868
Nicholas Wills 44 Maryborough Timor Extended Chinamans Flat - Timor 1889
Patrick Wills 26 Geelong John Bright Co. Bendigo 1867
Richard Wills 19 Ballarat The Duke Co. Chinamans Flat - Timor 1879
Richard Wills 33 Gisborne Golden Gate Co. Chinamans Flat - Timor 1893
Thomas Wills 27 Ballarat Seaham Co. Ballarat 1868
William Wills 32 Kyneton Madame Garfield Gold Mining Co. Chewton 1867
William Wills 19 Ballarat The White Star Co. Ballarat 1871
William Wills 53 Ballarat Seaham Co. Ballarat 1868
William Wills 47 Beaufort Seaham Co. Ballarat 1868
William Wills 55 Maryborough Black Ball Co. Maryborough 1885
Created 16 April 2003 by Tom Wills