Thomas Payne first registered his Western Australian gold lease in 1911 and it would appear most of his life consisted of a nomadic wandering from one small gold find to the next. He had earlier received a £90 reward for a discovery in the Black Range near Sandstone which he onsold to a mining consortium.
There seems to be some conjecture about who made the initial discovery at Paynes Find. Rumour suggests that a Mr Tim Dowd found and pegged a promising deposit which he named Shamrock in the Yalgoo goldfields near the present townsite. It's unclear whether Tim Dowd accidentally 'let slip' about his new find or generously shared his luck but shortly after a session in an unlicensed shanty hotel a group of prospectors landed on the patch and pegged their own claims.
Thomas Payne was elected to register the claims as he was in possession of a pair of capable horses. The mining register shows that Thomas Payne's claim was registered in 1911 with Tim Dowd's Shamrock lease only being lodged a month later. Skullduggery, treachery and murder were not uncommon on the early goldfields but whatever the circumstances were the new town was proclaimed Paynes 'New' Find before being shortened to simple Paynes Find. Perhaps the town should have been called Dowds Find.
In the 1930's about 500 residents, prospectors and their families, were trying their luck sinking shafts and dry blowing for gold at Paynes Find. It was the depression years and as tough a life as it was, for some it was the only way to make a living. World War 2 called most of the men away, most never to return, either through injury or death on the battlefield or through pursuing a different dream on their return.
The real gold at Paynes Find has always been found deep underground and 'Paynes Find Gold Limited' has acquired all the available leases in the area and continues to expand the original leases.
Today less than 80 people call Paynes Find home but it continues to be a centre for the mining and pastoral industries. The countryside is famous for it's springtime carpet of native wildflowers while the 1911 gold battery is now used as tourist attraction.
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