Cornish Miners in Western Australia 1850–1896
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In 1895, Western Australia was in direct competition with South Africa for the services of arguably the best hard-rock miners in the world, Cornish miners. The recruitment of Cornish miners to Western Australia began in the Mid-North of the colony in the 1850s, and by the early 1890s Cornish miners were managing many of the most profitable mines on the Eastern Goldfields. However, declining British investment in the late 1890s, saw South Africa emerge as the preferred destination for both Cornish miners and British investment. In the second part of this chapter, Nugent argues that despite the arrival of American ‘knowhow’ in the late 1890s it was lack of investment, and a clear preference for South Africa, that ended the Cornish domination of Western Australia’s mining industry.
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