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Miners Life

Miners’ life was hard work, and their living conditions were pretty basic.

Photo: State Library of South Australia  B 9836
Men working in the open cut mine at Blinman, about 1907

 

Men working in the open cut mine at Blinman, about 1907

Men working in the open cut mine at Blinman, about 1907

They usually lived in camps or huts they set up where it suited them. Many of the early houses were made of pine logs sealed with mud. There are some good photos of pug and pine cottages in Blinman on bonzle.com: http://bonzle.com/c/a?a=pic&fn=c4zmqm2p&s=3

Photo: 
State Library of South Australia B31029.
Workers from the Blinman open cut mine on their tea break, around 1916.

Workers from the Blinman open cut mine on their tea break, around 1916

Workers from the Blinman open cut mine on their tea break, around 1916

Social Life

Even in the most remote places, miners made a social life for themselves. For instance, a Nuccaleena Miners Institute opened in 1861. Here a band played (‘bones’, violin, triangle, drum and a concertina); men studied, listened to visiting speakers or took part in ‘innocent recreation’. They formed a ‘judge and jury club for the trial of petty offences amongst themselves’ and it was thought to work pretty well (Austin 1863 quoted in Mincham 1983:125).

Resources:

  • Barker, S, M McCaskill and B Ward, eds. c.2005 Explore the Flinders Ranges. Royal Geographical Society of Australasia (S.A Branch).
  • Mincham, Hans 1983. The Story of the Flinders Ranges. (3rd ed). Adelaide, Rigby.