Palmer_whole_thesis.pdf (4.35 MB)
Tasmanian tin smelters 1874-1901
thesisposted on 2023-05-26, 22:02 authored by Palmer, DJ
In October 1929 the Mount Bischoff smelting works in Launceston closed after operating for fifty-five years and smelting over 200,000 tons of tin ore at an estimated value to the Tasmanian economy of ¬¨¬£20 million. It was the last tin smelter in Tasmania, and the sole survivor of the tin smelters that were built in the period 1874-1900. This thesis documents the history of these smelters and examines why they were built and why they failed. In the nineteenth century tin was widely used in pewter, solder, bronze, typemetal and for making the tin cans used for preserving food. However, tin was mined in relatively few countries. Australia was the world's largest tin producer in the decade 1873-1882 and in the 1880s Tasmania was the largest producer in Australia. In Tasmania tin was mined at Mount Bischoff, which was discovered in 1871 by James 'Philosopher' Smith, and in the north-east, around Ringarooma and the Blue Tier, where tin was discovered in 1874. Geoffrey Blainey, an eminent historian, indicates that the discovery of tin in Tasmania 'blew away the depression and lifted Tasmania in the late 1870s into its most prosperous era of the century'. This importance is reflected in the large number of historical studies of Tasmanian tin mines, including books on Mount Bischoff and on the north-east tin mines and articles by historians Nic Haygarth and Greg Jackman.
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