History of the Blinman Mine

Blinman HeritageBlinman is an historic copper town surrounded by spectacular hilly desert countryside. Located 485 km north of Adelaide via Wilpena Pound, Blinman is a tiny, isolated settlement on the edge of the South Australian desert. It is the highest town in South Australia sitting at 614m above sea level, and you’ll find it at the end of the sealed road heading north of Wilpena.

Copper was discovered at Blinman by a shepherd, Robert Blinman (who, unsurprisingly, gave his name to the township which grew up around the mine) in 1859. Blinman, who had a wooden leg, was known as ‘Peg Leg’. It seems that the discovery occurred on land owned by a Dr Hayward. Dr Hayward’s brother, Paul Hayward, was given some wethers (sheep) to graze on the land. Bored with the work he used to sit on a rock and make sure the sheep didn’t wander too far. Eventually Paul Hayward handed the job (and his favourite rock) over to ‘Peg Leg’ Blinman who one day broke a chunk off the rock and found that it was good quality copper. Two butchers in Adelaide, Henry and Thomas Martin, contacted Blinman and by 1861 they had a mineral lease on the land.

3D Drawing of Blinman Mine

3D Drawing of Blinman Mine

Copper mining occurred in the area from around 1862 through to 1918 when the ore ran out. In total around 10,000 tonnes of copper were removed from 200,ooo tons of ore from the area, with most of it being mined in the years between 1903-1918 when the town’s population peaked at around 2,000 people. The Yudnamutana mine was hugely profitable and eventually was sold to London interests for the staggering sum of £135,000. Others also made money but when the mine closed in 1918 it had been an economic failure for the investors. One of the greatest problems, which still exists today, had been transporting the copper economically from the mine to the nearest ports.