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The discovery of osmiridium at Adamsfield

Instrument and tool relics from the Tasmanian osmiridium mining town of Adamsfield.

Black Gold! The Discovery of osmiridium at Adamsfield

Back in the early 1900s, osmiridium, a naturally occurring alloy, was used to make a variety of items – from fountain pen nibs to munitions. from jewellery to gases. It was much sought after and when the price rose to seven times that of gold, it became known as Black Gold and generated its own mining boom.

In December 1924, a prospecting party took to Tasmania's remote South West. They worked along the South Gordon track as far as the Gordon River, and then back along Marriot track to the Adam River Valley and it was here they discovered the valuable osmiridium.

Thus Adamsfield, as it was subsequently named, quickly became a thriving mining town with over 1,000 people working and building.  Today if you stand where once the miners toiled, there remain just relics and the remnants of buildings. The valley no longer resounds with machinery and men hard at work, and the town is slowly being reclaimed by the surrounding bush.  

The original prospecting party consisted of Messrs. E. Boden, A. J. Stacey, and C. B. Stacey and a certain Albert Wright, Colin’s great uncle.

The artefacts in this image were found at Adamsfield and are on loan to the Tasman Historical Museum from Dennis Turner.