- Civil and mining engineer
An engineer who had gained experience in the silver and gold mines of the Americas, Jacob Braché arrived in Melbourne in 1853 and was soon off to the goldfields. Geoffrey Blainey writes that Braché was probably the first person to attempt to systematically mine quartz for gold in Victoria, introducing both machinery and wage labour. Many diggers were hostile to this approach to mining and Braché’s early ventures–including one near Castlemaine and one at Ballarat–failed. Nevertheless, he was determined to improve mining technology and to change mining administration with a view to creating a system based on the union of capital and labour. He carved out a career as a spokesperson for mining interests, founding the Mining Institute of Victoria (1857), editing mining-related publications, and working on various government projects.