John and Kym Cramp own and operate Mount Gipps Station, an 85,000 acre working sheep station and farmstay. They are descendants of the areas pioneers and have general knowledge of the district’s history.
Mount Gipps was amongst the first properties settled west of the Darling in the 1860’s. In 1877 it was 540,000 acres and was then considered capable of carrying 71,000 sheep. George McCulloch managed the property for McCulloch Sellar and Company of Melbourne. The ‘broken hill’ under which the world famous silver-lead-zinc ore-body lay was situated on the boundary of Mount Gipps and Kinchega Station.
In 1883, Charles Rasp, a boundary rider on Mount Gipps station collected rock specimens from the hill and pegged out a mining lease along with fellow employees David James and James Poole - dam sinkers, George McCulloch - manager, George Lind – bookkeeper and storekeeper, George Urquhart - overseer, and Phillip Charley - jackaroo. Together, they formed the ‘Syndicate of Seven’. They pegged out 6 additional leases and carried out prospecting. In 1885 they formed the Broken Hill Proprietary Company.
Mount Gipps Station is divided by the Barrier Ranges and has a geological history spanning from 750 million years to 1.7 billion years. The rock formations are fascinating. There are many mines across Mount Gipps and they include tin, silver, lead and zinc. The Allendale mine on Mount Gipps was first mined in 1884 until 1922 and there is evidence of those early days to be seen today. There is also Freyers Wolfram mine and Hores Scheelite mine.
In 1891 the railway line to Tarrawingee limestone quarries was built. This was built at a cost of £2000 per mile and in a record time of 6 months. It stretched from Broken Hill to Tarrawingee and stretched a distance of 40 miles. Stops along the way included Stephens Creek, Yanco Glen, Thompson’s Siding, Poolamacca Siding and then Tarrawingee. The remains can be seen today at the station and the ruins of Thompsons Siding is situated next to the Shearer’s Huts at Mount Gipps.