Chance of a lifetime
On September 5, 1883, Charles Rasp, a boundary rider at the remote Mount Gipps sheep station pegged out a 40 acre mineral lease with the help of two dam-sinking contractors, David James and James Poole. Charles Rasp was sure that the hilly ground contained black oxide of tin and told the station manager George McCulloch that he wanted to quit his boundary rider's job to prospect the claim.
Confronted with the possibility of prospectors roaming about his property, George McCulloch suggested that a syndicate of seven station employees be formed to develop the claim and an additional six leases to be pegged and registered - the seven agreed and the syndicate was formed.
Little did they realise that under their feet, beneath the rugged outcrop of 'broken hill' as it was known lay one of the most valuable mineral deposits in the world. Neither could have known that out of their venture would develop the largest public company in Australia - BHP.
Seven men had the opportunity to become wealthy beyond their wildest dreams - the value of each of their original shares today would be in excess of a billion dollars!
Unfortunately for some, fame and fortune did not follow.
A gruff Scotsman and manager of Mount Gipps station held onto his share, became rich and moved to Melbourne. In 1893 he retired to London where he became a major patron of British art. When he died in 1907 his estate was worth 375,000 pounds.
An 18 year old jackeroo at Mount Gipps station sold half his interest for 100 pounds. However, the remaining interest made him rich, a world tour followed, a palatial home was purchased near Sydney. Philip Charley became a minor patron of the arts, a mining speculator and one of the most successful breeders of draught animals in the country.