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.
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.
that employed them
|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|