Dust and Dreams. Mining Communities in South-East New South Wales: A Review
Coal mining is one of the largest industries in Australia. The country is known on their black coal exportation; in fact, Australia is one of the world’s largest producers of steaming coal. The industry can be traced back to have started from 1800s being done by various coal mining communities in different parts of the country.
Barry McGowan’s Dust and Dreams. Mining Communities in South-East New South Wales tells the stories of the miners who ran those coal mining towns, villages and camps and the accounts of their day-to-day lives. He illustrates well how they lived during those times and the trials they have faced during the start of the coal mining industry, especially at the New South Wales area.
McGowan wrote this book in a different light compared to the past mining histories he has written before. Dust and Dreams focused on the different life representations on the region; some of which are the following: population, technology, ethnicity and mineralogy. This gives this book plus points and distinction from other books, because it is important that those factors to be represented. In this way, the coal mining industry is being well-represented and studied. However, he has still included information on different mining ventures as well as the basics on mining and the environment.
The book also talks about the lives of the miners themselves. McGowan was able to tackle the hardships and the dreams they have faced, particularly from 1800s until the end of the Great Depression, around 1929. He was able to show the perseverance of those self-employed miners as well as those labourers earning regular wages.
Dust and Dreams. Mining Communities in South-East New South Wales is a good read if you want to know more or just simply revisit the early coal mining days in Australia. It presents the facts and the stories of the coal mining workers in an interesting and easy-to-read manner.