Nic Haygarth: plenty of mining fodder for this Tasmanian historian
idea of utopia is roaming through the Tarkine
searching for old mine sites.
As this area in the State's remote North West contains the history of 140 years of mining and something like 600 mines, there is obviously the potential for lots more discovery for this Tasmanian historian.
"I try to get into the Tarkine
once a week, it's my way of staying sane and it's amazing what you find... It's amazing how nature reclaims itself," Nic
As a renowned historian of the Tarkine region, Nic has written numerous books and articles on mining, including his PhD, a biography on the legendary prospecting figure, James 'Philosopher' Smith.
"The Mount Bischoff tin mine had a profound effect upon Tasmania's economy and social structure," Nic
writes in his
article: 'Grey gold': James Philosopher Smith and the creation of a Tasmanian Mining Culture.
"It gave great impetus to minerals exploration which resulted in further major discoveries such as the Zeehan-Dundas-silver-lead
field, the Mount Lyell copper mine and the Renison
Within three decades of Smith's discovery (around 1900) mining represented 60 per cent of Tasmania's export earnings.
In 2013, it still does.
found Philosopher Smith's "incredible" papers and correspondence in the Library Archives.
says that as a historian you learn that people are not heroes.
Sounding like part historian and part psychologist, he
says: "Smith was driven by the stigma of convict parents and his
mother deserted him.
had low self esteem."
believes that the reason for Smith's success was his
dogged determination and self-belief in making a significant mineral discovery.
"Smith devoted the decades leading up to his discovery of the Mount Bischoff tin to the pursuit of minerals," Nic
writes in his Grey Gold article.
prefers not to comment publicly on Federal Minister Burke's recent heritage listing of the Tarkine
says that he
is very pleased that the aboriginal middens have been protected.
article 20th Century Tasmanian Osmiridium Mining, Nic
says that though the State's osmiridium deposits were small, so was the worlds' demand.
The demand for osmiridium soon stalled after World War 2 with the advent of the ball point pen and synthetic substitute.
"I love both industrial heritage and nature, and that I love to see how nature reclaims industrial heritage," Nic