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The Small Miner and Native Title

by Ralph De Lacey

The Small Miner and Native Title
Previously Published Book

The Palmer River was once a fabulously rich gold field that saw over 30,000 prospectors rush to this area in the early 1880s to try their luck. Cooktown was established as a port to cater for the huge influx of alluvial miners. The Palmer Rush is a prime example of how small-scale miners and prospectors pioneered North Queensland. The mineral fields that they discovered led to the establishment of almost all the towns and cities that now exist. Gold was the magic word of the time! Mining was the key industry and was promoted and supported by the community and politicians of all persuasions. Miners were given rights that prevailed over all other landholders. This utopia for miners lasted for almost a century, but alas by the early 1980's the tide had began to turn. The grazier lobby groups had gained strength and began to erode away the miner's rights, and then the environmental lobby groups began to erode away more, and then along came native title! This story is about mining on the Palmer in the 1990s and contains many tales about the every day life of a modern alluvial gold miner. The story delves into the history of small-scale mining, and also takes a long hard look at the Australian version of a modern worldwide concept of native title. The story is told by someone who was directly impacted by native title, and tells in a rational way, the effect native title has had on the mining industry. A good, readable story that puts forward a different point of view on an often controversial issue.




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