Little known mining treasures now part of nation's heritage

16 June 2006

Part of Geoscience Australia’s unique National Mineral Collection and other memorabilia are now the centrepiece of a new exhibition at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

The ‘Rocks to Riches’ display is a collaborative project between Geoscience Australia and the National Museum to showcase the practical and symbolic significance of mining in the 20th century.

Image showing mineral display at launch of Rocks to Riches, National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

Opening the display, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, the Hon Bob Baldwin MP, said visitors would be able to see rare mineral specimens gathered by geologists or bequeathed by amateur collectors from such famous locations as Broken Hill, Rum Jungle, Kalgoorlie and Harts Range.

"The display is a tribute to the partnership between Geoscience Australia and the National Museum and will pave the way for many more collaborative ventures between both organisations and others to showcase the National Mineral Collection, which until now has been one of Australia's little known treasures," said Mr Baldwin.

The display also includes the more practical side of mining such as an Oertling gradiometer used for the Imperial Geophysical Experimental Survey of 1928-29, a microscope used by the office of the Commonwealth palaeontologist in the 1920s and 1930s, an airleg drill used underground at Mt Isa and a giant tyre from a water truck at Queensland's Oakey Creek coal mine.

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