Copper at the Curry (BOOK)




Copper at the Curry (BOOK)

The mineral district of Cloncurry is situated in far north-west Queensland, some 800 km due west of the Townsville seaboard and 1,500 km north-west of Brisbane. The region experienced a boom in the period from 1910 to 1921 when world demand for copper was at a peak.

By 1915 Cloncurry district was producing half the copper output for the entire state of Queensland. The industry supported over 100 mines and several smelters. The major players were eight companies financed with Queensland, Victorian and London capital and they each gathered a stable of mines to support their operations.

The mines and smelters were linked in a production chain through a network of railways centred on Cloncurry. These railways were built rapidly and funded through a mix of public and private investment. Growth was explosive, reaching a high point in 1917.

This regionally tuned rail network functioned admirably until 1921 when the smelters collapsed completely owing to world prices plummeting to long term uneconomic levels. However the Cloncurry district economy was, and is, not one dimensional and fell back on the livestock industry to stem the traffic haemorrhages on the railways laid in the previous decade. From time to time in the coming years mining made various revivals and the railways filled their original role in association with livestock.

This work explores the original copper lines built in the period 1910 to 1917 that emanated from Cloncurry to Mount Cuthbert and Dobbyn, to Dajarra, from Malbon to Selwyn and the feeder tramways at Ballara and Trekelano. 

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148 pages, B&W

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