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21 November 1851 Thomas Pickett

21 November 1851                Thomas Pickett

On 21 November 1851 an inquest was held into the death of Thomas Pickett whose body was discovered, badly burnt, in his hut near Burra. Pickett was the shepherd who first discovered the copper which proved to be the monster northern lode at Burra. It is believed that he received £10 for revealing the site and possibly a further £10 from the ‘Snobs’ when they acquired the land, but subsequently all requests, from other people, for some remuneration or assistance for the ageing man were ignored. In 1851 he was working as a woodcutter and living in a small hut at Hallett’s Springs about three miles from Kooringa. The inquest found that the old man, while drunk, fell into the fire and his body was found by a young boy several days after his death. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the old Burra cemetery and a month later, after a private appeal to the directors of the mine, they agreed to pay the costs of the funeral. It was not until September 1971 that recognition of his discovery was made in the form of a plaque on a stone from the engine house of the Monster Mine which reads:

Thomas Pickett
whose discovery of copper led
to the opening of the Burra Burra Mine
–        29the September 1845 – lived opposite here
in his shepherd’s hut on Deprose Creek

Ian Auhl, The Story of the ‘Monster Mine’, Investigator Press, 1986, pp.59-61.

Tags: Burra, , Pickett Thomas