Since September 2003 the AMHA has published the Journal of Australasian Mining History which embraces all aspects of mining history, mining archaeology and heritage.



Journal of Australasian Mining History


Volume 14 October 2016                                                                                                                                                   TABLE OF CONTENTS


LOUISE BLAKE                                                                                                                                                                               1-20
Women on the Woods Point goldfield: a case study in microhistory

PETER DAVIES, SUSAN LAWRENCE, JODI TURNBULL                                                                                                                      21-36
The River Loddon & Tributaries Water Supply Company

ALWYN EVANS                                                                                                                                                                               37-60
Hall, Hooper, Hoover and the Sons of Gwalia

NIC HAYGARTH                                                                                                                                                                              61-76
The “Tin Man”: George Renison Bell, Tasmanian mineral prospector

KEN McQUEEN                                                                                                                                                                               77-98
“Tackaringa”: First step to Broken Hill

Too much haste, not enough prospecting: Mt Garnet Mine and Smelters, North Queensland                                                      99-115

Lead Poisoning and Disease at Broken Hill, New South Wales                                                                                                    116-127

ROSS A. BOTH & WARREN FAHEY                                                                                                                                                  128-149
Songs from the Australian Goldfields, Part 2: Life on the Goldfields

KEITH PRESTON                                                                                                                                                                           150-169
Tailings disposal at the Arba Mine: A legislative nightmare

DAVID ROGERS                                                                                                                                                                            170-181
Herbert Hoover: From Australia to Burma

Lloyd Carpenter & Lyndon Fraser (eds), Money Pits: Rushing for Gold: Life and Commerce on the Goldfields                                                     of New Zealand and Australia                                                                                                                                                     182-184
Reviewer: Philip Hart

Alwyn Evans, From Wales to Gwalia: A Swansea Editor and his Australian Goldmine                                                                 185-187
Reviewer: Peter Bell

Criena Fitzgerald: Turning Men into Stone: A Social and Medical History of Silicosis in Western                                                 187-190
Australia 1890-1970
Reviewer: Sandra Kippen

John P. Hamilton, Adjudication on the Gold Fields in New South Wales and Victoria in the 19th
Century                                                                                                                                                                                       190-192
Reviewer: Ruth Kerr

Rebecca Macfie, Tragedy at Pike River Mine: How and why 29 men died 193-194

John Melville-Jones (ed.), with contributions by Nicola Cousen, Steve Mullins, Stefan
Petrow and Marie and John Ramsland, Ludovic De Beauvoir’s Visit to Australia,                                                                        194-195
Reviewer: Mel Davies

Garry Richardson, Lottah and the Anchor: The History of a Tin Mine and a Dependent Town
North East Tasmania,                                                                                                                                                                 196-197
Reviewer: Nic Haygarth

Clive Beauchamp: <>
Lead Poisoning and Disease at Broken Hill, New South Wales.
Clive Beauchamp is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Charles Sturt University-Bathurst and has published on various aspects of Australian Mining History. The paper focuses on the background to the passage of the NSW Lead Poisoning Act 1895. It considers the gradual recognition of the problem of lead poisoning at Broken Hill and the efforts made to identify and treat the disease.
The effects of the disease on miners’ health and the towns’ people (including children) are outlined. The basic symptoms are identified together with the contributory factors including the contaminated water supply, drought conditions, smoke emissions, dust pollution as well as toxic work conditions. Consideration is given to the major role of local state parliamentarians especially that of John H. Cann (MLA-Sturt) in mobilising support both in and out of Parliament for a governmental inquiry. The contribution of the Boards’ chairman Dr Archburton Thompson and the valuable evidence provided by local general practitioners and hospital doctors are highlighted.
Additionally, the part played by the local Miners’ Association and the Barrier Miner newspaper in pressing for an investigation and for publicising the lead poisoning problem is recognised. They both attempted to keep the issue on the political agenda. The proceedings and recommendations of the Inquiry’s report (and their incorporation into the 1895 statute are covered.
There is also brief consideration of the findings of the 1919-1920 New South Wales Technical Commission’s inquiry into various diseases in the Broken Hill mining district.

Louise Blake: <>
Women on the Woods Point goldfield: a case study in microhistory.
Louise Blake is a consulting historian with an interest in women’s history, family history, and biography. She is currently undertaking a PhD at Monash University investigating the experiences and activities of women who lived on the Victorian goldfields between Jamieson and Woods Point, in the nineteenth century.
Mining history has acknowledged the rise and fall of townships like Woods Point to illustrate the fluctuations of the Australian mining industry, and the importance of gold to the economic, political, and social development of Australia. Nonetheless, there is still much to be learnt about the interaction between the mining industry and community development, particularly the experiences and activities of women in mining townships. Recent scholarship on mining communities that draws on the historiographical approach of microhistory offers another perspective that can be utilised to show how mining shaped the lives of women in goldfield towns like Woods Point, and how their activities contributed to community development.
This article draws on my ongoing doctoral research to provide a preliminary analysis of the perspective that microhistory can bring to the study of goldfield townships like Woods Point. Using a sample of women known to have arrived in Woods Point in the 1860s, the article outlines Woods Point’s development from a number of transient diggings to a permanent township with an infrastructure that aimed to support the economic, social, and civic needs of the community. The mining industry, particularly the development of quartz reef mining provided the employment that brought many women and families to the region; however, as microhistory demonstrates a ‘close-up and small scale’ analysis using a range of primary sources reveals that the activities of women were also important to community development.
Ross Both: and Warren Fahey Songs from the Australian Goldfields, Part 2, Life on the Goldfields.
Ross Both is a retired geologist with wide interests in mining history; his previous publications have been concerned with the history of early mines in the Adelaide Hills. His enjoyment of traditional Australian folk music led to an interest in songs from Australia’s mining fields and to the collaboration with Warren Fahey in this paper.
Warren Fahey AM is a cultural historian, author, broadcaster and performer. When he founded the Larrikin Record label in 1974 his first release was Man of the Earth - a collection of songs about mining in Australia. He has maintained his interest in mining and in 2013 published an e-book and CD album, The World Turned Upside Down.
Songs found in newspapers, broadsides and entertainers’ songbooks provide a vivid picture of life on the Australian goldfields in the 19th century. The songs offered a different perspective of mining - the emotional history through songs of remorse, frustration and, sometimes, anger. Many were written for performance and, had they not been written down by the likes of Thatcher and Small in their songbooks, or published in newspapers, would have disappeared. The anti-authoritarian character of the diggers is reflected in these songs, which also had a role in camaraderie and early development of the mateship ethos. Unlike shearing, droving and bushranging songs, few mining songs entered the popular oral tradition.

Peter Davies, <> Susan Lawrence, <> Jodi Turnbull, <>
The River Loddon & Tributaries Water Supply Company.>
Peter Davies is a research associate in Archaeology at La Trobe University. He is the author of several books, including An Archaeology of Institutional Confinement: The Hyde Park Barracks 1848-1886 (Sydney University Press, with Penny Crook and Tim Murray, 2013). He also co-edits Australasian Historical Archaeology.
Susan Lawrence teaches historical archaeology at La Trobe University. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Society of Antiquaries of London, and the author of several books, including most recently (co-authored with Peter Davies) An Archaeology of Australia Since 1788 (Springer 2011).
Jodi Turnbull is a senior research assistant in Archaeology at La Trobe University. She also manages Geographic Information Systems at a Melbourne heritage consultancy.
The River Loddon & Tributaries Water Supply Company was established in central Victoria in the late 1860s and operated for almost 100 years. The company’s mining water system dominated supply for sluicing operations around Fryerstown and was linked to the government’s Coliban System of Waterworks. The Loddon Company provides an important case study in the costs and complexities of managing water on the goldfields and the often-difficult relations between private suppliers and public water authorities.

Alwyn Evans: <>
Hall, Hooper, Hoover and the Sons of Gwalia
Alwyn Evans is a retired Education Officer from Cardiff, Wales. His interest in Australian gold-mining history came through completing a Cardiff University M. Phil. in Welsh History, focusing on Welsh emigrants to Western Australia.
The populist view is that Herbert Hoover, later president of the United States, was responsible for the ‘discovery’ of the Sons of Gwalia. This paper gives a revisionist perspective on the early days of this goldmine and examines the relative roles of a number of individuals, notably George William Hall, in the process of bringing it into successful production, flotation and development

Nic Haygarth: <>
The “Tin Man”: George Renison Bell, Tasmanian mineral prospector.
Nic Haygarth is a professional historian, freelance writer and Voluntary Associate of the University of Tasmania, which awarded him a PhD in history. While passionate about wild places high country and those who populate them, he is very interested in mining wherever it occurs.
While the Renison tin mine, Australia’s biggest tin operation, is a unequivocal success, its founder, George Renison Bell (1840‒1915), is an enigmatic figure. Bell’s career was a mix of achievement, bad luck and bad management. By sparking a rich mining field, his tin finds in north-eastern Tasmania in 1874 stimulated the local economy. However, Bell benefited little from these pioneering efforts. A devout Quaker and determined self-educator, he was born poor and died poor, despite winning a government pension in his declining years. Unfortunately for Bell and his large family, the mine named after him was unworkable during his lifetime, its success being the result of perseverance and improved technology during the 20th century.

Ken McQueen: <>
“Tackaringa”: First step to Broken Hill
Ken McQueen is a geologist with a keen interest in mining history. He is Professor of Geochemistry and Landscape Evolution at the University of Canberra.
The giant Broken Hill silver-lead-zinc deposit was discovered in the context of a sequence of earlier discoveries in the Barrier Ranges of western New South Wales. The early discoveries were rich silver veins, suitable for mining by individual prospectors or small groups, but before they were worked out and abandoned they attracted larger investors and companies. Importantly, they demonstrated the possibility of economic mining in this remote and inhospitable region. The pioneering prospectors such as Julius Nickel, John Stokie, Patrick and Richard Green and Aimee Garot, were frontier entrepreneurs. Their efforts set the scene for the discovery and development of Broken Hill. Development of the Barrier Ranges silver mines, including Broken Hill, followed a pattern common on Australia mining fields in the nineteenth century. Initial discovery and testing by prospectors was followed by small-scale mining through partnerships and syndicates involving local frontier entrepreneurs who had some capital and initiative to develop the mines. Syndicates commonly formed a steppingstone to companies, which could then attract more investors to provide the capital necessary to develop the larger and more complex deposits.

Keith Preston <>
Tailings disposal at the Arba Mine: A legislative nightmare
Keith Preston is a retired engineering geologist and geotechnical engineer who continues to research aspects of the Tasmanian mining industry, particularly the widespread use of water for power generation.
Development of the Branxholm Lead and associated shallow alluvial deposits extended over a period of some 85 years from 1875, the longevity indicative of the long term economic viability of the mine. Profits were reduced by expensive operating practices that were implemented to overcome challenging site geomorphology, restrictive historical land grants, increasing depth of the deep lead, a shallow water table, and poorly-framed government legislation for tailings disposal. Steam power was enforced by limited water availability, this due to competition from other mining operations along the Ringarooma River. Failure of the legislators to make adequate provision for compensation for degraded land due to tailings deposition led to mining companies being exposed to prolonged and expensive litigation in the Supreme Court. Provision of tailings easements financed by public expenditure also came at a high cost. Although tailings dumps were established by the larger mines, major flood events invariably swept most of the deposits into the Ringarooma River - a recovery from which, remains incomplete fifty years after the cessation of mining.

David Rogers: <>
Herbert Hoover: From Australia to Burma.
David majored in history including southern Asian history when he studied for a BA during his 50s, although his working life was in engineering and accounting.
The mine at Bawdwin, Burma, had been operated for hundreds of years before the British began operations there at the beginning of the 20th century. Early attempts to re-commence operations by a British company appeared doomed to failure until Herbert Hoover, of Bewick, Moreing and Co, was consulted. The history of this Burma mine cannot be complete without recognising the progress of Herbert Hoover’s life before leading the Burma Corporation to being, possibly, the biggest metalliferous mine in the world. David’s narrative covers the development from the beginning to the start of the Great War in 1914.
George Rogers, David’s father, first gained employment with the Burma Corporation in 1920, but had to leave his young family of seven in Australia. David was born in Broken Hill soon after his father had returned to Burma after being home on furlough. David spent three years or so of his early life in Burma in the early 30s.

Jan Wegner: <>
Too much haste, not enough prospecting: Mt Garnet Mine and Smelters, Queensland
Dr Jan Wegner is a Senior Lecturer in History at the Cairns Campus of James Cook University. Her research interests include Queensland mining history and environmental history. She has also been engaged in heritage matters in Queensland, including a stint on the Queensland Heritage Council and work on a number of cultural heritage consultancies.
Mining methods by base metal companies in the late 19th -early 20th century in Queensland were often governed more by stock market expectations than practicalities. Copper mining companies knew that rich surface deposits did not necessarily live down, and should therefore be prospected reasonably well before going to the expense of constructing railways and smelters. However, they instead played to the stock market by installing such expensive items at the expense of mine prospecting and development, which were largely funded out of profits. Mt Garnet is a particularly clear example of the practice. This copper, silver and lead mine was floated into a company which put most of its working capital into surface plant on a grand scale, with mine prospecting neglected and development kept just ahead of production. After only three years the consequences caught up with the company, with the deeper ore notably poorer in copper and worse, with an increasing proportion of zinc. The enterprise failed completely.


Search for a title or an author using the SEARCH facility at the top right of this page.  Enter the author’s name in quote marks. The Australasian Mining History Association accepts articles that relate to various aspects of mining history in the Australasian area, including New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. All submissions should be accompanied by an abstract that does not exceed 250 words and that includes brief details on the background of the author(s). The author(s) should state when sending their paper whether it should be placed in the refereed or the un-refereed section.  The journal also accepts books for review.It is expected that before submitting a paper, the author(s) should follow the instructions contained in the journal style sheet that include footnoting procedures, length of article, font, spacing, etc.Papers should be sent by email or on a disc to:

Mel Davies
Journal of Australasian Mining History
Economics, Business School M 251
University of Western Australia
Crawley Western Australia 6009
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