The region’s mineral industry has a long and valuable history. An advertisement appeared in the Perth Gazette,
in April 1849, calling for tenders to transport 100 tonnes of mineral ore from the Murchison River area to Champion Bay (Geraldton).
This followed the successful purchase of 250 hectares of ‘mineral land’, for a total cost of $1300, by the Geraldine Mining Company.
The region has, since that time, been a prolific producer of various minerals including talc, manganese, lead, gold and,
in more recent times, iron ore which began being exported to Japan in 1966.
It can be claimed that 1849 saw the birth of a mining industry which is now one of the multi-billion dollar mainstays of the economy of the
mid west region.


The first commercial shipment of iron ore to be exported from Australia to Japan was through the port of Geraldton.
It went on board the ‘ Margaret Maru ‘, which was one of two ships built specially for such exports from Geraldton. The other ore carrier was named the ‘Geraldton Maru’. The exports were made from Western Mining Corporation’s deposits near Morawa.
A ceremony was held at the Geraldton wharf to mark the important occasion, at which the Premier of Western Australia, Sir David Brand MLA, officiated. That all happened on 16th March 1966.
Iron ore exports to various parts of the world are now made through Geraldton from various mine sites in the region, and are an important export earner for the Australian economy.


A coal deposit, now known as ‘The Coal Seam’ and located between Mullewa and Mingenew,
is where the first coal was mined in W.A . It was discovered in 1846, but was soon abandoned due to the very low grade ore.
However it was mined again for s short time during World War ll.


6th July 1894 was a golden day in the life of Mullewa.
There was great excitement in Mullewa on that day because the Marsh and McKenzie coach had arrived from cue.
The journey had taken 32 hours, and was under police escort – for a very good reason. the coach was carrying 3000 ounces of gold and its final destination was Perth.
Mullewa was one of a number of scheduled stopovers for such consignments en route to the state capital.
Although the gold was not actually seen while it was in the town, its very presence was cause enough for great jubilation.
3000 ounces of gold, at present day prices, was worth in the order of $2.5 million - a tidy sum for the times !

Back To The Minatures of Mid West History