mining tale

Two different eras are covered in this story of small mines in Australia. The first, just after the Second World War is located in the Northern Territory and the second, about mining on a small lease as it is today in North West Queensland.

Two very different times with initially, pick and shovel, hand drilling, gelignite use and hand winches the order of the day. The latter half depicts today’s mining when heavy machinery and new technology is available even in small mines.

There is danger too as mine sites can be a volatile environment. In either time, human spirit is engaged in a physical struggle with nature to wrest treasures from the earth.

A story of the men and women involved in perhaps mankind’s last great physical challenge in an ever-increasing digital-dominated world.


In Store Price: $AU29.95 
Online Price:   $AU28.95



ISBN: 978-1-921919-20-6 
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 285
Genre: Fiction

Cover: Clive Dalkins

By the same author:

 Nobody Reads the Credits

Voyage of the Britannica

Adventure in Java... And other Places

Temptation Island

Seize the Day...the Movie 

Author: Gordon Carr
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2012
Language: English







Gordon Carr was first engaged in mining in the Northern Territory soon after the war, in which, starting as a teenager, he served in bomber and air transport aircrews. Writing about the miners and their lives while still mining himself, he sold freelance stories to newspapers and magazines, which led to a career in journalism. This took him to work in Fiji, New Zealand and the Reuters Sydney office, assembling and distributing news releases to Australian and New Zealand newspapers. An early news highlight at the time was the so-called Petrov affair with its political ramifications.

He had a taste of the movie industry in Fiji when he became involved with Warner Bros when their production crew came to Suva to make the film His Majesty O’Keefe on location with Burt Lancaster. He wrote publicity press releases and won an acting role as a mutineer. Following this he wrote publicity for Return to Paradise, made on location in Samoa with Gary Cooper. When television started in Australia he was instrumental in starting the World of Sport program on Sydney’s TCN-9, originally sponsored by Westinghouse, and went on to produce and direct the programme and others at Channel 9 for seven years. He started his own production company, Network Telefilms.

On assignment with Don Lane in Hollywood he shot 24 short cameo films on movie celebrities of the time, including Alfred Hitchcock, Jayne Mansfield, Sonny and Cher, Jerry Lewis and the Three Stooges; also sequences in Disneyland. These were all screened on Nine’s Tonight show. Employment followed as production manager at the formerly great movie production company, Cinesound, producers of early Australian features and the Cinesound Newsreel. This led to work for Film Australia and the Australian Film Commission (now Screen Australia) where he was the Asia-Pacific representative for the Marketing Branch.

Then, life turned full circle and it was back to mining, this time for gold, in north-west Queensland, a much more sophisticated and mechanised venture than his earlier involvement.

Lately, Gordon is occupied in a rather less-exciting life as an office assistant in a family law firm and writing more novels which can make up for the lack of excitement. What next? Perhaps a humorous look at the law from a layman’s point of view.


Change, change, change. Things never seemed to stay the same for long. What was digitally innovative and new one day was replaced the next with something different, a marvel that one must have. Meanwhile legions of white-coated technicians were busily creating even more ever-changing, expensive and different versions of everything that did everything smart phones with ridiculous names, BlackBerries, Bluetooth, and iPods, on which to store hundreds of songs and musical numbers, most of which the iPod owner would never have the time to listen to most of them. All of this made fortunes for the production companies. People every day lived in a virtual world of unreality, their brains replaced by computers, many no longer happy in or even able to relate to the real world. Children starting school stared into computers and did so for the rest of their lives. Men and women became slaves to a super-fast, high-tech world with even more laughable names: Google, Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, WikiLeaks, with more to come. Mankind bought and paid for ever-evolving and expensive add-on accessories. With so much reliability on computers the world was open to cyber melt-down and formerly great nations open to cyber-attack.

There was a man who was tired of the modern, frantic pace of life. He just wanted things to slow down, be really natural trees, plants, birds, fish, butterflies, animals, mankind, endlessly repeating themselves so they were always there and all done without the aid of computers. Over the eons, snow-capped mountains were raised with the churning of the earth and then eroded away. Sea levels rose and fell. With the volcanic heat and bitter cold of the Ice Ages, minerals and metals were formed. In the heat of molten basalt, crystalline prisms appeared in which were locked spectacular colours and also wealth sought after by mankind. From nature came chrysoberyl, tourmaline and lepidolite that formed mica in great books. Man discovered coal, iron, gold and silver, and for one lone prospector, a great adventure, which had nothing to do with computers but all to do with nature. The earth, the sun, deserts, women and the great arching vault of the never-changing universe with its myriads of stars. That man stood alone on a hill in central Australia and breathed in the stillness, the emptiness, the peace and tranquility of an ancient land. It was a different world. The rocks, earth, sparse trees, dry river beds and low rolling hills offered a sanctuary from the madness he had left behind in the big overcrowded cities to the east.

That man was following in the footsteps of other men who had come seeking the treasures of the earth in a more ordered, and perhaps slower, pre-digital age, not so long ago.


It was a great time to be a child, an era between the two great wars that had split and devastated the world. A time before computers, video games, mobile phones and text messaging. There were creeks in which to play, splash, dive and swim; fish to catch and dams to build; hills beyond to climb and explore; further on high mountains that were snow-capped in winter. Children would be gone from home, daylight to dark, and nobody worried about their safety because they were safe. They returned home tired and hungry, with bare feet, scratched and muddy knees, sometimes proudly bearing the trophy of an eel or a trout caught in the creek. At other times they would bring baskets of fat mushrooms, collected from paddocks.

Fathers went to work from eight to five oclock each day and Saturday mornings. Mothers stayed at home, looking after the children, cooking meals and tending the flower garden. Land blocks in the towns were big, usually a quarter acre or more, and all had vegetable gardens at the back, plus fruit trees and poultry runs. Most families were almost self-sufficient in fresh food. There was usually a family pet, a cat, a fat cuddly pup, a white rabbit or goldfish or all four. Children went to school and learnt to spell, write correct English and learn their times tables. The strap was brought into play to control naughty classroom play-ups, administered on the hand or the backside; nobody thought it was abuse. Parents agreed such punishment was necessary.

Most children went to Sunday school with a penny (one cent) to put in the collection plate. There was a choice of attendance at Catholic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran, Salvation Army or Seventh Day Adventists (on Saturdays). Islam was never mentioned and for most was unheard of and unknown. Political offshoots, al-Qa’ida and the Taliban, lay far in the future. Not many families boasted cars or telephones apart from, usually, the local doctors, and farmers who lived far out in the country. To get anywhere you rode a bike, walked or caught a bus. There were few so-called foreigners and no multicultural society. The exceptions were a few Chinese who toiled from daylight to dark in market gardens, and Indians with sari-clad women who owned the fruit shops. There was no such thing as political correctness; such a curb on language would have been thought hilarious and downright stupid. There were waitresses, actresses and even an aviatrix. Oddly, teachers, lawyers, doctors and dancers could be of either sex.

As the children got older most of the boys got jobs before or after school delivering newspapers, or early morning milk deliveries helping the local milkman, who often did his job with a horse-drawn vehicle much like a Roman chariot. There were door-to-door deliveries by the fish man, the rabbit man, the local grocer and persistent salesmen who peddled all sorts of cooking and health products from house to house. All in all it was a great time to be a child even if the Great Depression was starting to cause concern to the adults. If your father had a job you were lucky. For the kids, the best of all was the Saturday arvo pictures with cowboys Buck Jones, Tim McCoy or outer space adventures starring Flash Gordon. If Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck came on the screen, their appearance would be greeted by cheers from the youthful audience. Hollywood was far away, a wonderful place where Shirley Temple reigned supreme, a junior Marilyn Monroe of her day.


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