The Role of Government in the Development of the Tasmanian Metal Mining Industry.

Title

Year

Author

Price

Availability

The Role of Government in the Development of the Tasmanian Metal Mining Industry: 1803-1883

1999

Glyn Roberts

$27.50

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The Role of Government in the Development of the Tasmanian Metal Mining Industry: 1803 - 1883, is a pioneering study.

The first part of this study looks at sporadic attempts to 1850 to find and exploit metallic minerals. All efforts were unsuccessful.

The second part begins by examining responses of government and private individuals to the discovery of gold on mainland Australia. Some interests, not all, were keen to match mainland finds in Tasmania. Early negative views of government, concerned to maintain the effectiveness of Van Diemen's Land as a major Goal to the Empire, gradually gave way as penal transportation was abandoned and modest quantities of payable gold were recovered at Fingal on the East Coast. The government, now sporadically enthusiastic about mining prospects, eventually hired a professional geologist, Charles Gould. Roberts traces in detail the interplay between Gould and the government, as successive attempts in the early 1860s failed to locate payable gold on the West Coast.

The third part spans the period from 1867 to 1883. Government gradually become more responsive to the view that a specific ministry was needed to oversee public works and survey matters, although government involvement remained sporadic. Early tin discoveries did not widely enthuse; an iron industry venture failed. Major gold and tin finds, into the 1870s, eventually provoked a more helpful legislative framework, a government infrastructure more keyed to efficiency, and some government financial help. By 1883, if the golden age has not arrived in Tasmania, to many Tasmanians it seemed closer.

This important study highlights roles assumed by key politicians, public servants, prospectors and businessmen.

Glyn Roberts comes to historical research via a long career as a geologist.

'A very competent piece of research and a valuable contribution to Tasmania mining and political history.'