Frank Long

Frank Long (AOT, PH30/1/1873)

Frank Long (1844?1908), prospector and track-cutter, discovered the Zeehan-Dundas silver-lead field in 1882. Born in Launceston, the son of ex-convicts, he grew up at Campbell Town. Red-headed, freckled, Long was one of Tasmania's hardiest bushmen until rheumatism and alcoholism set in. As a youth he dug for gold at Castlemaine and in New Zealand. In 1876 he joined Charles Sprent's Mount Heemskirk expedition, which cleaved the west coast open to prospectors. Rewarded with shares for his Zeehan find, Long sold them for £600 and probably drank the money away. In his declining years the state government awarded him an annuity. The lasting significance of his discovery was Tasmania's economic stimulus when the Broken Hill Proprietary Limited 'brains trust', arriving to inspect Zeehan, developed the far more valuable Mount Lyell copper mine instead.

Further reading: G Blainey, The peaks of Lyell, Melbourne, 1954.

Nic Haygarth