Pennies from heaven: The Queensland Government Mining Journal, 1900-1929

Murray, Alan (1995). Pennies from heaven: The Queensland Government Mining Journal, 1900-1929 M.A. Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Murray, Alan
Thesis Title Pennies from heaven: The Queensland Government Mining Journal, 1900-1929
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1995
Thesis type M.A. Thesis
Total pages 203
Language eng
Subjects 650402 Mining and extraction
671502 Mining machinery and equipment
Formatted abstract In June 1900 the first issue of the Queensland Government Mining Journal {QGMJ), was published under the Editorship of journalist, explorer, and former Cabinet Minister W.O. Hodgkinson. In his first editorial, Hodgkinson announced that the periodical, as the official mining authority of Queensland, would be the servant of the State, with no perceptible trace of bias. Still in print in 1995, the Queensland Government Mining Journal from the outset, was a vigorous, subjective, and relentless supporter of the mining industry. As such, it was both a product and an agent of the dominant ideology which saw virtue in material advancement through the identification and exploitation of mineral and other natural resources.

Hodgkinson died before his second issue could be printed. He was replaced by Walter John Morley, a Brisbane journalist and editor who spent more than 20 years with QGMJ until his retirement. There followed the editorship of Chester Reynolds, also a journalist and newspaper executive.

Between the optimism of the months leading to Federation in 1901 and the pessimism at the onset of Economic Depression in the late 1920s, the period under review in this study, the publication reinforced State Government backing for mining. In doing so, it displayed consistent partisanship and failed in its promise to eschew bias. As a consequence it did not entirely serve the public interest.

In essence, Hodgkinson's vision of a journal which would be the servant of the State and would display no perceptible bias was flawed. Successive editors equated State interest - more correctly, public interest - with Government interest. In doing so, these editors accurately reflected a winner-takes-all political climate in which the majority grouping in the State's Legislative Assembly perceived that electoral victory bestowed ownership - rather than obligations of prudent management - of natural resources. Students of recent and contemporary Queensland politics are familiar with this phenomenon.

The evaluation of the content and operating environment of the publication leads to the conclusion that it was biased and politicised and that its weaknesses outweighed its strengths. QGMJ self-censored and chose to hold fast to a fantastic and absurdly simplistic belief that a combination of serendipity and the application of the geologist's pick to rock would inevitably yield wealth and wellbeing.

From its inception, and regardless of the political persuasion of those in power, the publication reflected a governmental perception of minerals as a source of relatively easy reward, as a source of pennies from heaven.
Keyword Queensland government mining journal
Mines and mineral resources -- Queensland -- History
Mines and mineral resources -- Queensland -- Government policy
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