Shared history forgotten: the neglected stories of Aboriginal miners, prospectors and ancillary workers in the north Queensland mining industry

Ellwood, Galiina (Kal), and Wegner, Janice (2019) Shared history forgotten: the neglected stories of Aboriginal miners, prospectors and ancillary workers in the north Queensland mining industry. Journal of Australasian Mining History, 17. pp. 1-19.

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Abstract

Aboriginal mining in north Queensland was most obvious in isolated mining districts, those in which the miners followed soon after opening of the pastoral frontier, and in areas with considerable alluvial or eluvial resources. However, mining fields made less accessible by rough terrain or rainforest also saw a larger proportion of Aboriginal miners. This article considers the reasons for this, particularly the finding that the pastoral frontier was actually more murderous for Aboriginal people, resulting in those mining fields with a well-established pastoral industry having fewer Aboriginal miners. On all mining fields, Aborigines filled ancillary roles in the mining towns and districts, supplying much-needed goods, labour, and guides. In the 20th century, this ancillary work was undermined by the Queensland Protection Acts which privileged large employers such as pastoral station owners and removed unemployed Aborigines to missions and government stations, discouraging the casual labour and self-employment of many Aborigines on the mining fields. While some types of unskilled ancillary work are remembered in written reminiscences and histories, Aboriginal mining and more skilled work have been forgotten or written out of history.

Item ID: 61108
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-4471
Keywords: Aboriginal mining; Aboriginal Protection; gold mining; tin sluicing
Copyright Information: © Copyright is retained by the Australasian Mining History Association Inc.
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2020 19:34
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 100%
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