THE HON JOSH FRYDENBERG MP, Minister for the Environment and Energy has announced that Australian Cornish mining sites, Burra and Moonta, will become the 109th and 110th places to be added to the National Heritage List. These South Australian towns are renowned for their role in Australia’s mining history.
Copper was discovered in South Australia in 1842 and the richness of further deposits found meant the new colony was soon producing five per cent of the world’s copper resources, earning it the nickname the ‘Copper Kingdom.’
Burra’s Monster Mine was the largest in Australia for more than 10 years and supported a thriving mining community. By 1851 Burra was Australia’s largest inland settlement, with a population of around 5000.
The opening of the Moonta Mines in 1861 produced a significant boost to the South Australian economy, earning 67,000 pounds in its first year of operation. By 1870 the population of Moonta was second only to Adelaide.
A generation of Cornish miners, engineers and tradespeople worked in the copper mines bringing traditions and a culture that are still celebrated to this day. The Cornish mining system spread from South Australia to other mining regions like Broken Hill, Bendigo, Kalgoorlie and Charters Towers.
Today Burra and Moonta give us the earliest examples of Cornish mining and domestic architecture in Australia. The fabric of these places is well preserved thanks to the care of the local community and the efforts of the National Trust.
Their history and character have become central to the area’s thriving tourism industry. Every year tens of thousands of visitors experience this slice of Cornwall for themselves.
National Heritage listing builds on Burra and Moonta’s existing state heritage listings and does not change land ownership.
Together they join South Australia’s other National Heritage places, including Koonalda Cave, Ediacara Fossil Site-Nilpena and the Old and New Parliament Houses.
The National Heritage List recognises our most significant Indigenous, natural and historic heritage sites. There are more than 100 places on the list and together they tell the story of our shared experience on this ancient continent while showcasing our achievements and stunning natural environment.