Charles Rasp

  • location icon Mount Gipps Broken Hill NSW 2080

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Charles Rasp pegged the original lease, and had the good sense to retain a considerable interest in the Syndicate of Seven, thus becoming a wealthy man.

Born in Germany on October 7, 1846, he was no simple, illiterate station hand, despite working as a boundary rider at Mount Gipps station.

Charles Rasp was a man of above average education, fluent in English and French as well as his native German tongue.

Prior to migrating to Australia in 1869, he had been employed in a large chemical manufacturing firm in Hamburg. It was his background in mineral chemistry that allowed him to recognise the silver oxide outcropping which was to lead to one of the richest mines that the world has even seen.

After emigrating to Australia, Charles worked on pastoral properties in Victoria for several years before moving up the River Darling. Heading further north, he obtained employment at Mount Gipps sheep station, as role which gave him plenty of time to explore the region.

By the end of 1885, just two short years after the lease was defined, Rasp's shareholding in the Propriety mine was worth 20,000 pounds. On July 22, 1886, he married Agnes Klever-sahl, a pretty German girl employed at Gustav Kindermann's coffee shop in Rundle Street, Adelaide.

Rasp and his wife lived for a short time at Silverton, then sailed for an extended European tour. Upon their return to Australia in 1887, Rasp purchased a large dwelling at Menindie, a northern suburb of Adelaide; the mansion was named Willyama, the title of the property vested in the name of his wife.

On May 22, 1907, Charles Rasp suffered a coronary occlusion and died at his home in Adelaide at the age of 61 years. The value of his estate was sworn not to exceed 48,000 pounds but much of his wealth apparently was held in the name of his wife. Upon her death 29 years later, her estate was valued at over 120,000 pounds.

Excerpt from:Broken Hill 1883-1893 Discovery and Development. R.H.B. Kearns, Reprinted August, 1977, Broken Hill Historical Society.

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