Day Dawn, Western Australia

Day Dawn was a significant mining town and mine in the Mid West/upper Murchison region of Western Australia in the late nineteenth century.[1] Located a short distance south-west of Cue, rich gold deposits were discovered there in 1891 by Ned Heffernan, who pegged out what became known as the 'Day Dawn Reef'.[2]

Day Dawn
Western Australia
Day Dawn in 1904.
Day Dawn
Coordinates27°28′00″S 117°52′00″E
Population0 (abandoned)
LGA(s)Shire of Cue
State electorate(s)North West
Federal Division(s)Durack

Originally the settlement was informally called Four Mile, that being its distance from the town of Cue. It was gazetted as the town of Bundawadra on 2 March 1894,[3] renamed Day Dawn on 25 May 1894 and proclaimed a municipality on 26 May 1895.[4]

The area has a semi-arid climate with hot summers and mild to cool winters, but is prone to the occasional inundation, in 1925 several buildings in the town collapsed following heavy rain and flood waters. The town received 1.56 inches (40 mm) of rain over the course of two days.[5]

The Northern Railway arrived at Cue from Mullewa, a distance of 317 kilometres (197 mi), in 1894.

In 1895 the Day Dawn Associated Gold mine, Kinsella, Trenton and the Day Dawn South mine were all operating ten head stamp mills close to the town for processing ore.[6]

An important strike was staged there for nine weeks in 1899 when local miners protested against the use of Italian immigrant contract workers and Great Fingall's attempt to reduce miners' wages by five shillings per week.[3][7][8]

Great Fingall Consolidated Gold Mining Company operated the mine from 1898 until 1918, when it was closed. By October 1921, shorings at the abandoned mine, which had been known as the 'Great Fingall mine', had collapsed and the town had disappeared altogether by the 1930s. All of the town's buildings are now in ruins with the exception of the Great Fingall Mine Office, which is on state and federal heritage registers.

Various mining companies have operated the mine from the early 1990s using the open cut method and by reprocessing the tailings from past activities at the Big Bell gold processing plant. The last owners, Harmony Mining, have recently halted production and have sold the mine to Monarch Gold along with the Big Bell Mine and the Hill 50 Gold Mine at Mount Magnet. Monarch however was never able to pay off the mine and went into administration, returning Hill 50 to Harmony.


  1. "Great Fingall Mine Office". The National Trust of Australia (WA). Archived from the original on 16 July 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
  2. History of country town names – D Archived 2009-10-26 at the Wayback Machine Landgate website, accessed: 25 January 2010
  3. Kimberly, W.B. (compiler) (1897). History of West Australia. A Narrative of her Past. Together With Biographies of Her Leading Men. Melbourne: F.W. Niven. p. 320
  4. "Great Fingall Mine Office" (PDF). Heritage Council of Western Australia. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
  5. "Heavy Rain on the Murchison". Geraldton Guardian. Western Australia: National Library of Australia. 5 March 1925. p. 3. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  6. "Batteries at the Murchison". Western Mail. Perth: National Library of Australia. 4 October 1895. p. 3. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  7. Barry Strickland (October 2005). "More tales of the Golden Age: Danger Down Below". Archived from the original on 20 August 2006. Retrieved 22 August 2007.
  8. "THE MINERS' STRIKE AT DAY DAWN". The West Australian. Perth: National Library of Australia. 28 August 1899. p. 2. Retrieved 14 April 2011.

Further reading

  • Descriptions of the town and early mines including Day Dawn Mine. The West Australian, 9 February 1893, p. 3; 21 February 1893, p. 6; 31 May 1894, p. 6; 24 August 1894, p. 3; 18 January 1895, p. 7
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