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The Tasmanian Government and the metal mining industry - An administrative history: 1880-1914

Roberts, GT 2002 , 'The Tasmanian Government and the metal mining industry - An administrative history: 1880-1914', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This dissertation carries forward in time earlier work concerned with the
relationship between the Tasmanian government and the metal mining industry
from the foundation of the colony in 1804. It covers the period from 1880 to
By 1880, metal mining was well established as a major industry, vying
with agriculture as the economic driving force. As the industry grew, the
Government was faced with increasing problems resulting from a lack of
infrastructure in the main mineral fields which were located in largely
uninhabited areas in the northern half of the state. In order to maintain control
and offer assistance, the Government gradually increased the numbers of
administrative and technical staff, albeit sometimes reluctantly. Particularly in
the technical area, politicians were sometimes slow to address shortcomings, for
example in data collection. This resulted in delays between the onset of
problems and appropriate official reaction, often to the detriment of the industry
Earlier work adopted a continuous narrative approach but the increasing
complexity of issues arising from 1880 necessitated a change to more rigorous
discussion of specific topics. Whilst no attempt has been made to compare
Tasmanian practices with those in other colonies, relevant observations are
made where appropriate.
Chapters 1 and 2 review the political background and the roles played by
the civil service. Chapter 3 discusses the importance of education in an industry
changing from the use of simple techniques to a more sophisticated
environment requiring skilled men. Chapter 4 traces the growth of legislation in
response to change and specific Government initiatives adopted to assist mining
development are described in Chapter 5.
The successes and shortcomings of Government involvement in the main
mining fields are discussed in Chapter 6-9. Development of the North East tin
fields is the subject of Chapter 6 The West Coast south of the Pieman River
figures in Chapters 7, 8 and 9. Chapters 7 and 8 are concerned with general
developmental issues while Chapter 9 examines in more detail the particular
practical and political problems posed in deciding on and providing satisfactory
all-season access between the remainder of the colony and the West Coast.

Eight appendices and ten figures are included. Figs. 1 and 2 summarise
basic data in time-line fonn. Figs. 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are designed to assist with an
areal appreciation of the mining fields in a colony-wide context, while more
detailed locations of specific features are illustrated for the North East (Fig. 4)
and the West Coast (Figs. 5 and 10).

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Roberts, GT
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