Reviews of books related to Australian mining history and heritage are added by members. The Webmaster welcomes relevant new book releases and reviews from members and others interested in mining history. Active items may remain indefinitely. They are arranged in date order.
GOLDEN RAUB - William’s Story: The Life and times of William Bibby, Australian Goldminer, Engineer and Pioneer. Sid Harta Publishers, Melbourne, Biographical, 550 pp., approx, paperback B5 $29.95. To order contact Sid Harta or Victor Bibby.
Unmarked and forgotten graves, an old pickle jar, a stamp shoe worn to a slipper, abandoned mines in Victoria and remotest Queensland, floods and rebellion. All are stops and clues along the way as Victor Bibby treads in the footsteps of a gold mining pioneer to discover long-lost relatives and the truths about his own family. Bringing alive an historical account of life on the goldfields and events that made colonial history. A fascinating tale of a toolmaker from industrial England who created a new life in Australia as an engineer, innovator and gold miner before struggling against the odds to find fame and fortune as a mining pioneer in the Malayan jungle.
The World turned Upside-down: The Australian goldrush as told though song, story and reminiscence Warren Fahey, 2013. Available as an e-book for $20 from the Apple iBookstore (free sample chapter available) or as a PDF that can be read on any computer. For the downloadable PDF, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Fahey is a well-known folklorist and performer of traditional Australian folk songs. The book has wonderful stories about the chaos of the first rushes, emigration, life on the goldfields, authority, bushranging and the later company mines. Over 135 songs, many newly discovered by Fahey, plus many great images from the archives. The e-book has bonus audio tracks, including some from Fahey’s early collecting period. AMHA members purchasing the PDF will also receive some bonus audio tracks.
Lines, Mines, People and Places
Barry Sykes, 2012. Barry Sykes, Traralgon, 895 pp., approx. 2000 ill., maps, photos, A4, $80 plus postage.
To order contact Barry Sykes or the Victorian Government Bookshop.
This large and well-presented publication provides an encyclopaedic history of the South Gippsland area. The first half covers the exploration of the area, and its social history, whilst the second half contains a detailed study of the coal mines and the railways that served them. It has no index, but instead has a greatly amplified Table of Contents which extends to over 10 pages for easier reference, and all footnotes are incorporated into the text. It contains an extensive Bibliography; and all sources of images are provided where known.
Black Gold: Aboriginal People on the Goldfields of Victoria, 1850-1870
Fred Cahir, 2012. ANU E Press and Aboriginal History Incorporated, 152 pp. 15 ill., print version $24.95.
Order a print on demand copy. Also available as a FREE DOWNLOAD.
The first history of Aboriginal - white interaction on the Victorian goldfields, Black Gold offers new insights on one of the great epochs in Australian and world history-the gold story. In vivid detail it describes how Aboriginal people often figured significantly in the search for gold and documents the devastating social impact of gold mining on Victorian Aboriginal communities. It reveals the complexity of their involvement from passive presence, to active discovery, to shunning the goldfields. Running through this book are themes of Aboriginal empowerment, identity, integration, resistance, social disruption and communication.
Mining Towns: Making a Living, making a life
Erik Eklund, 2012. University of NSW Press, 23.4×15.3mm, 400 pp. p/back, $49.99. To order.
At any given moment in our history Australia has been in the middle of a mining boom. This timely book is a history of the iconic Australian towns that arose with these booms over a century: Broken Hill, Mount Isa, Queenstown, Mount Morgan, Port Pirie and Kambalda. Mining Towns shows the rich cultural and historical legacy these towns helped create as townspeople - those working below the ground and those above - sought to make their lives in them. Review
110 degrees in the waterbag : a history of life, work and leisure in Leonora, Gwalia and the northern goldfields
Editors Lenore Layman and Criena Fitzgerald, 2012. Western Australian Museum, 24cm, 461 pp. ill., maps, photos, p/back, $39.95. To order
This is the first history of the richest and most sustained area of goldmining in Western Australia outside the Golden Mile. Illuminated by fascinating life stories, it explores work, life and leisure in Leonora, Gwalia and the Northern Goldfields. It is a history of mineral riches and the people who came to mine them, prospectors, mineworkers and mining companies, migrants and their families, Aboriginal inhabitants, pastoralists and townspeople, woodcutters and Afghan traders. Review
Regional Australia and the Great War. “The boys from Old Kio”
Philip Payton, 2012. University of Exeter Press, 24cm, 272 pp, 79 ill., $44.95 p/back, $135 h/cover. Available from Footprint Books
Philip Payton provides a vivid insight into the experiences of regional Australia during the Great War of 1914-18. Alighting upon ‘old Kio’, the copper-mining communities of South Australia’s northern Yorke Peninsula, he describes the relationship between the ‘homefront’ and the ‘battlefront’ half-a-world away. He draws an intimate portrait of Australia at war, from the lives (and deaths) of local soldiers - all volunteers - in the trenches far from home to the myriad reactions and activities of those in a community struggling to grasp the enormity of the situation in which it found itself. Review
Cornish Beam Engines in South Australian mines
Greg Drew and Jack Connell, 2nd Edition, 2012. Dept for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy, A4, 196 pp, 159 photos, 105 ill., p/back, $30 plus postage. To order
Cornish miners and engineers played a central role in the early development of the South Australia’s mining industry and it was therefore natural that Cornish machinery and mining methods were adopted. The successful mining of copper would not have been possible without Cornish beam engines, which drained mines, raised ore, and powered crushing and concentrating machinery. This revised and
updated publication presents a thoroughly researched historical review from a SA perspective that includes engineering aspects and practices of a mining era that had such a profound impact on the State’s development. Review
The Hope Factor - Mineral Discoveries Australia Papua New Guinea and the Phillipines
Anthony Hope, 2011. Anthony R. Hope, Rivervale, NSW, i-xiii, 536 pp., $69.95 (students $59.50). Order a copy
Spanning fifty years of exploration and extraction, The Hope Factor is a testament to the most significant mineral discoveries in our recent history. From Mount Morgan and Browns Creek in Australia’s East, to Filmag in the Philippines, to Bougainville and Ok Tedi in Papua New Guinea, this history pays tribute to the processes, pitfalls and people behind these projects. This beautifully presented hardcover volume spans half a century of Australian mining, with content both accessible and full of facts. The wide-ranging experience and story telling abilities of the author makes for an entertaining and educational account of a crucial period in Australia’s history. Review
Riches Beneath The Flat: A History of the Lake George Mine at Captain’s Flat
Ross Mainwaring, 2011. Light Railway Research Society of Australia, Melbourne, pp. i-v, 104, with illustrations, A4, $30. Order a copy
Ross Mainwaring provides a detailed account of the history of of the Lake George Mine at Captains Flat New South Wales with its gold and base metal production that went on from the 1880s to its final closure in 1963. Review
Women of gold: the unsung heroines of the goldfields
Kevin Kokoschke, 2011. Eureka Printing, 25cm, 180 pp, ill., facsims., maps, $35 (plus postage). To order email
This book is a blend of historical facts with a dash of humour. The stories are of the NE Goldfields of South Australia including Teetulpa and Waukaringa during the late 1800s and 1930s depressions. Cases of the hardships experienced by some women on the goldfields, is injected into the mining narrative, to both humanise and personalise, what is generally accepted as a man’s realm. The role of women, how they coped in the harsh desert conditions, of personal tragedies, love, marriage, birth and death.