The importance and future of mining history: An Australian perspective

Kenneth McQueen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Mining is a pillar of civilisation, providing many of the materials needed for technologies. It has a long history dating back to the first use of surface stone to make simple hand tools. This history even predates the appearance of our own species and is dated to at least 2.6 million years BP when Homo habilis developed the earliest Oldowan tools in Africa (McCarthy and Rubidge 2005). Our Stone Age ancestors improved and continued this technology for most of the history of Homo sapiens. They also adopted the use of mineral pigments for decoration and art. Following the use of stone, the discovery and utilization of precious metals, particularly gold, as well as copper, lead, tin and iron played a major role in transforming the human condition (Raymond 1984). The production, consumption and coveting of gold shaped and influenced many cultures. In Australia, the gold rushes and gold mining history are a central part of the Australian psyche and national mythology. This is the mining history most familiar to most Australians
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-320
Number of pages5
JournalEarth Sciences History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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