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Richard Hamilton, 1855 - 1943, and the Great Boulder Gold Mine in Western Australia, 1896 - 1927

Porter, Anne (1981) Richard Hamilton, 1855 - 1943, and the Great Boulder Gold Mine in Western Australia, 1896 - 1927. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Richard Hamilton was an important figure at Kalgoorlie during the first thirty years of the East Coolgardie goldfields in Western Australia. He was a careful mine manager and had an affinity with his mine, the rich Great Boulder Proprietary. He planned the gold extraction so as to keep the London directors and shareholders happy and at the same time he gained a world-wide reputation for technical advances in the treatment of refractory ores. As a manager he was the agent for the forces of capital investment in London and the pivotal point between these and those of the mine workers. His adroitness in this position was matched by his influence among the other mine managers and attorneys. His rapid ascent to the top of the goldfields establishment resulted in little criticism of him being voiced in the local press. He and the Great Boulder became symbols of the success of the Golden Mile.

As President of the Chamber of Mines of Western Australia, Hami I ton helped it attain power within the community and the State. The Chamber controlled almost all management-worker negotiations connected with gold mining. Because of its increasing pre-occupation with this aspect of its activities and with the effects of the 1914-18 war, the Chamber neglected the encouragement and financing of research into improved mining techniques. After 1910 the Great Boulder’s output declined with the rest and, during the 1920’s there was increasing criticism that the Golden Mile mines were lacking in modern ideas and equipment. Hamilton was the target for much of this comment because of his position and his long-term championing of high dividends for shareholders and reduced wages for workers. He retired to take on directorships, one being the local director of the Great Boulder, and he remained the President of the Chamber of Mines until his death in 1943.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Inquiry
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Layman, Lenore
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