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Mining industry development

Silver and lead was discovered in South Australia at Glen Osmond in 1841. The Glen Osmond mine was the first metal mine in Australia. Copper mining boomed in Kapunda and Burra and many immigrants were drawn to the mines in search of fortune and a new life. Copper was discovered on a property near Kadina called Walla-Waroo, on the Yorke Peninsula in 1860. Mining commenced soon after the copper discovery and the township of Moonta was established in 1863. Cornish immigrants made up the majority of the workforce in Moonta and Wallaroo. The three Yorke Peninsula towns of Moonta, Kadina and Wallaroo were to become known as the 'Copper Triangle' for the richness of the mines there. By 1875 the area's population had reached 12,000; the largest settlement outside of Adelaide.

Under Captain Hancock the mine at Moonta went from strength to strength. In its first year of operation the mine produced almost 5,000 tons of copper ore and by 1876 Moonta was the first mining company in Australia to pay £1 million in dividends. Moonta Mine was closed in 1923 after a drop in copper prices in the wake of the First World War.

Iron Knob is located west of Port Augusta on South Australia's Eyre Peninsula. Commercial iron mining was begun at Iron Knob in 1880 by the Mount Minden Mining Company. This is recognised as the first commercial iron mine in Australia.

The Australian gold rush of the 1850s and 1860s had a dramatic effect on the people, landscape and fiscal market of the colonial nation, especially South Australia. Almost every able bodied man fled South Australia to Victoria and Ballarat to pursue a dream of striking gold, leaving it relatively empty. However some gold was found here in Adelaide in the Mount Lofty area. Artists like S.T. Gill followed the prospectors, perhaps in search of gold themselves, and sketching various scenes including mining itself, gold escorts, miners and the changing landscape. 

South Australiana: Sources a comprehensive list of websites, published and non-published sources for South Australiana materials.

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Advertisement for A. Simpson & Son's safes
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Afghan handlers and camels
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Boiler explosion at Moonta Mines
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Burra Mines, view of the copper mine
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Captain Hancock
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City and country newspaper front cover
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Copper Company's Wharf
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Matthew Burnett
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Mine Managers
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Miners, Wallaroo Mines
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Salvation Army at Gawler cartoon
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Teetulpa gold mine, Yunta.
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