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Mount Clara Smelter

  • 600640
  • Rossmore Road, Kilkivan


State Heritage
Register status
Date entered
21 October 1992
Mining and mineral processing: Refinery
2.2 Exploiting, utilising and transforming the land: Exploiting natural resources
Construction period
1873, Mount Clara Smelter (1873 - 1873)
Historical period
1870s–1890s Late 19th century


Rossmore Road, Kilkivan
Gympie Regional Council
-26.17764305, 152.27252472


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Criterion AThe place is important in demonstrating the evolution or pattern of Queensland’s history.

Together with the small number of well-preserved 1870s smelters (Flanagans, Adolphus William) the Mount Clara smelter is important in demonstrating the evolution of base metal mining in Queensland.

Criterion BThe place demonstrates rare, uncommon or endangered aspects of Queensland’s cultural heritage.

Smelters of this age and good state of preservation are rare aspects of Queensland's history. The smelter chimney is perhaps the oldest surviving mining industry chimney in Queensland.

Criterion CThe place has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Queensland’s history.

The site may also contain evidence that provides information contributing to the understanding of that period and of early mining in the Maryborough district.


Mining probably commenced in the Mount Clara - Mount Coora area in 1872. The Mount Clara smelter was built in 1873 but only operated until 1875 when it was closed and the Mount Clara copper ore was subsequently carted to the Mount Coora smelter for treatment, following the purchase of the Mount Clara holdings by the Mount Coora Copper Mining Company in 1874. This may have been due to the fact that Mount Clara mine was two miles from the smelter, and ore had to be carted a considerable distance anyway. Mount Coora later had an ore roasting furnace built as well.

The eventual closure of the mines was attributed by Rands (in 1886) to the high cost of fuel for the smelters.

The Mount Clara smelter was among the earliest built in Queensland, being built after Peak Downs, Mount Perry and Flanagans smelters, but a year before those at Mount Coora, Blackall Mine and the Adolphus William.


The Smelter remains which were renovated by Kilkivan Shire Council in 1978, are exposed to ground level. The smelter is made of brick and stone, the walls standing to a height of 170cm at the fire-box end, and to 120cm height at the opposite end of the smelter. These heights seem to correlate with the spring-level of the now collapsed arched roof. The internal ovoid form of the reverberatory smelter can be readily seen. The fire-box is particularly well preserved and has a deep below-ground access. Iron staples are inserted into the base plinth of the smelter at regular intervals and seem to be the support points for the rail reinforcing bars which would have originally bound the smelter.

The 13.8m high chimney stands close to the smelter and the entry point of the smelter flue, now collapsed, can be clearly seen at about 180cm up the western face of the chimney.

The slag heap is small (22m x 11m) and contains large square sand mould slag blocks, each about 80 x 40 x 15cm.

West of the smelter is an area of brick rubble and vitrified brick. This seems to be the dump spot where rubble removed from the smelter in 1978 was tipped. A chain wire fence was placed around the smelter and chimney in 1978 which prevents close access to the remains.

Image gallery


Location of Mount Clara Smelter within Queensland
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
Last updated
20 January 2016
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