The South Cornwall Ghost

Sinking operations continued at the South Cornwall tin mine however the men struggled a little due to the hardness of the diorite. In early December 1907 the results at the Greenbushes tin field was “watched with the keenest of interest” and was considered “the one hope of the future.” Also being keenly watched at around the same time was what The Blackwood Times dubbed ‘The South Cornwall Ghost‘.

A tin mine at Spring Gully, Greenbushes circa 1903. Courtesy of the State Library of Western Australia (1176B/1).

Around the 15th and 16th December 1907 it was reported that a mysterious light appeared near the South Cornwall mine at various times during the night. Upon its appearance, men watched warily as it floated along a track leading to the mine and then disappeared.

Eye witnesses described the light as looking brighter than a hurricane lamp but with a transparent glow.

At first this light was enveloped with all the mystery of a ghostly visitation, and indeed some of the men working in the vicinity began to feel somewhat nervous on the subject.

Those with more “practical considerations” refused to believe the light was attributed to some supernatural being. Looking for a logical conclusion, they theorised that it was the work of a person who was trying to scare the men away in order to steal the mining timber.

Others had a scientific explanation that soon became the accepted reason. The South Cornwall Ghost was nothing more than a natural phosphorescent light created in a depression of the ground. It’s movement along the track and the fact that it occasionally drifted many feet off the ground was further explained as being due to the natural air currents that it followed until it eventually disappeared.

Reassured, work continued on the South Cornwall mine. Whether the mysterious Greenbushes light continued to appear during the night remains to be seen however, having explained it away, there was no other reference to it in the newspaper.

Sources:

  • Photo of a tin mine at Spring Gully, Greenbushes courtesy of the State Library of Western Australia (Call number: 1176B/1).
  • 1907 ‘Mining Notes.’, The Blackwood Times (Bunbury, WA : 1905 – 1920; 1945 – 1955), 10 December, p. 3. , viewed 07 Jul 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article210260563
  • 1907 ‘News and Notes.’, The Blackwood Times (Bunbury, WA : 1905 – 1920; 1945 – 1955), 17 December, p. 3. , viewed 07 Jul 2019, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article210260628

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