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National Heritage Listing for Iconic Copper Mining Towns in Grey

Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said it is terrific news that two historic mining towns in Grey have been added to the National Heritage list.


“Both Burra and Moonta have been recognised for their part in establishing South Australia and are the 109th and 110th places in Australia to be awarded National Heritage listing,” he said.


“The two towns have special significance not just to the Grey electorate but the wealth they generated was crucial in the establishing the colony of South Australia”, Mr Ramsey said. “The prosperity they brought underwrote the economy of the state and enabled places like the Adelaide Town Hall and Post Office to be built.”


“A generation of Cornish and Welsh miners, engineers and tradespeople worked in the Copper mines bringing traditions and culture still cherished today.”  In Moonta and the Copper Coast the ties are celebrated with the wonderful bi-ennial, Kernewek Lowender which will be celebrated May 19th-21st. I urge anyone who hasn’t been to get along to see the parades, furry dancing and eat the best Cornish pasties in the country.” Mr Ramsey said.


“There is strong evidence of the miner’s determination and resolve in tough, unforgiving circumstances where they eked a living out of the ground”, he said. “About 600 dugouts housing1800 miners and families can still be seen along the Burra creek and give a glimpse as to how incredibly tough it must have been.”


Copper was discovered in South Australia in 1842 and the richness of further deposits found meant the new colony was soon producing five percent of the world’s copper resources, earning the nickname “the Copper kingdom”.


Burra’s monster mine was the largest in Australia at the time and supported a thriving mining community. By 1851 Burra was Australia’s largest inland settlement with a population of about 5000.


The opening of the Moonta mines in 1861 produced another significant boost to the South Australian economy, earning 67,000 pounds ($134,000) in its first year of operation, an enormous sum at that time. By 1870 the population of Moonta was second only to Adelaide.


Mr Ramsey said the communities of Burra and Moonta have worked hard to preserve the earliest examples of Cornish and Welsh mining and domestic architecture and the heritage listing is an acknowledgment of their success.


“This work in preserving heritage is central to their thriving tourism industries attracting thousands of visitors annually to experience this slice of Cornwall for themselves,” he said.


National Heritage Listing does not change land ownership but adds extra importance to the existing State heritage listings.

The National Heritage List recognises the nation’s most significant natural, Indigenous and historic heritage sites.

There are more than 100 sites on the list and together they tell the story of our shared experience on this ancient continent while showcasing our achievements and stunning natural environment.


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Media Contact : Leonie Lloyd-Smith 08 8633 1744

May 8 2017




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