National Geographic : 1916 Dec
These discoveries had, however, little ef fect in increasing the population or changing its character. Although this State ranks first in the production of tin, second in silver and lead, and pro duces over 6,000 tons of copper a year, "it remains what it always was-a group of gardens, farms, wood-lots, and or chards" in the midst of delightful scen ery. It is the White Mountain region for Australia. FABULOUS RETURNS Broken Hill, in New South Wales, is perhaps the most famous mining district in Australia, noted alike for containing the largest lead-silver mine in the world and for its endless labor troubles. These two claims to fame are closely related, for the richness of the ore bodies and size of the dividends have incited the miners to "get their share." The crude ore runs 16 per cent of lead and zinc and 1 ounces of silver to the ton. From a lode Io to 300 feet wide and 2 miles long ore to the value of $383,000,000 has been extracted. One of seven shares of the original pro prietary syndicate, valued at $500, after ward was quoted at $11,ooo,ooo! The Broken Hill mines have changed the map of Australia. They support in the desert a city of 33,000 people, a pri vately owned railway 250 miles in length leading to a port in an adjoining State, and at the end of the railroad the smelter town of Port Pirie, with a population of 15,000. West Australia was the last of the States to feel the push of mining discov eries, but the impulse came with unusual force. The growth, development, pros perity, legislation, and social character of this State are but the reflections of' its gold mines. In 1880 the total population of an area nearly one-third as; large as the United States was 29,000, distributed along the coast and engaged in agricul tural and pastoral pursuits. But the sen sational discoveries at Coolgardie (1892,), followed by the almost unparalleled finds a few miles farther on, at Kalgoorlie, within three years doubled the population of the State, and during the twenty years since Hannan made his memorable dis covery a population of 48,000 had become 320,000 (see map, pages 480-481). The mines of the "Golden State" have Cooktown ,Cairns ownsville lackay oa mpton " risbane Geraldton sa PETI a" /SYDNEY ADEL \ N MELB0 3 . VHobart RAILROAD MAP (SEE ALSO PAGES 480-481) Although the railroads of Australia are largely State owned, there can be very few through routes, for each State has its own gauge track (see text, page 564). It is not likely that motor trucks will ever play a large part in the Australian Desert. The amount of material transported to the back country will always be small, and on account of the scarcity of water and the very high price of gasoline (there is no fuel oil of any sort in Australia), it will be unprofitable to' use trucks for trans portation. Where a large amount of material is to be handled, as from a mine, an amount too large for camels and too small to justify the, construction of a railway,- motor trucks will eventually, I believe, find a place. At present automobiles are used in the more thickly settled parts of the country; horses, however, are the chief transportation agents in the humid regions and camels in the arid. justified their early promise-they are fabulously rich. Within a few feet of the surface gold in flakes, grains, and nuggets weighing tens of ounces was ready for the finder. In one excavation 8 feet by 5 feet by 4 feet $90,000 was taken, and by the year 1900 seventy tons of gold had been gathered at Kalgoorlie. West Australia is the Nevada of the southern continent; Kalgoorlie its Con stock Lode. , The sensational yields of the early days in, Queensland, Victoria, and West Aus tralia were largely from surface workings Made by pick and shovel; but now ore is mined at Ballarat to depths of exceeding 2,500 feet. At Bendigo thirteen shafts are over 3,000 feet in depth, and the Vic toria Reef Quartz Mine reaches a depth of 4,614 feet-probably the deepest gold mine in the world. In West Australia real ;prosperity began with deeper miing and has continued with slight abatement to the present day.