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Lottah and the Anchor

This is the third book on the history of the Portland Municipality in North East Tasmania. The Portland Municipality is now, since amalgamation a number of years ago with the Fingal Municipality, part of the Break O'Day Municipality.
The township of Lottah and its neighbour, the Anchor tin mine, are on the southern slopes of the Blue Tier. They were not included in the first book in the series 'Tin Mountain' because of the amount of available material and to add them to 'Tin Mountain' would not have done them justice. Lottah was settled in the very early days of tin production as it was at the junction of the roads to the Blue Tier and Weldborough from St Helens. Lottah stayed a small community until the discovery of, first alluvial, and then lode tin at what later became the Anchor tin mine. From the time that the Anchor management decided to mine the lodes the township also began to grow, as lode mining generally required a larger workforce than alluvial mining, and from that time on the fortunes of both were inextricably tied. Because Lottah had the largest population of any town in the new Portland Municipality when it was established in 1908 the Councillors in their wisdom decided to have the Council office at Lottah. The Council office stayed at Lottah until January 1923 when it moved to Goulds Country, as the last surviving hotel was being moved to Herrick, and the Councillors needed a hotel in which to hold their meetings as the office was not large enough, that was their excuse anyway.
The fortunes of the various Anchor tin mining companies were generally tied to two things that affected all the tin mines in the North East of Tasmania, the price of tin and the availability of water. To a lesser extent the availability of manpower also had an effect. When the price of tin was high and there was enough water to run the stamper batteries and other appliances the mine employed up to 150 men, but when one or the other failed the men were stood down. If the stand downs were only for a few days the men generally stayed in the district and waited until they were required again but for longer periods they had to move away to find work. When this occurred and the mine restarted there was a shortage of men. Water, or lack thereof, was generally the biggest influence on the working of the mine. Even when the large Anchor race was built from the North George River to 'drought proof' the mine there were still periods of dry weather that caused production to cease.
When the Anchor mine stopped production for any reason, lack of water, breakdowns etc. the men received no pay and this directly affected the businesses in the town, at one stage several going bankrupt. As the numbers employed at the mine diminished from the heady days of the early 1900s so the numbers of businesses in the town declined to the stage that when the mine shut its doors in 1950 there was only one business left and the owners shut the shop and moved their house to St Helens.
Apart from the early years of alluvial mining and a short period in the 1930s the Anchor mine never paid dividends to the shareholders of the companies involved. It can be said that the shareholders from around Tasmania and particularly those in England during the late 1800s and early 1900s subsidised the development of the Portland Municipality.
For the majority of the period covered by this book there was no sick pay or workers compensation paid to the miners if they were off work. To allay this situation two 'Friendly Societies', The Portland Accident Society and the Druid's Lodge of Stonehenge, were formed to look after members. Both Societies are covered in this book, the Druids in the Lottah section and the Portland Accident Society in the Anchor. They were both extremely important for the area and ploughed thousands of pounds back into the community.