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On the way to a Mineral Boom

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Ore Truck loading Iron Ore � Koolan Island.  Courtesy Battye Library 003907d
Ore Truck loading Iron Ore � Koolan Island. Courtesy Battye Library 003907d.

By 1929, after a century of settlement, the State's population was more than 400,000, with almost half in the metropolitan area.

The 1940s saw four important mineral developments - the production of blue asbestos at Wittenoom in 1943, the re-opening of the lead mines in Northampton, the beginning of lead mining inland from Derby, and the development of tan integrated wood-distillation and charcoal-iron industry at Wundowie for the production of pig iron. [ref Western Australia: An Atlas of Human Endeavour 1829 - 1979]

The 1950s gave some indication of the mineral boom that was to come. In 1951, the first shipment of iron ore mined at Cockatoo Island, Yampi Sound, left for New South Wales.

Opening of the Narrows Bridge.  Image Courtesy of Battye Library
Opening of the Narrows Bridge. Image Courtesy of Battye Library.

In the 14 years after 1947, the population of the metropolitan area grew by more than 50 per cent. Those years saw wide suburban spread and enormous industrial growth, coupled with new transport routes. During this time the Causeway was built and the Narrows Bridge completed. A major freeway project was also undertaken to try and cope with the problems initiated by the car. [Ref: Western Australia: An Atlas of Human Endeavour 1829 - 1979, 'Evolution of Perth'.]

Aerial View of Kwinana.  Courtesy of Battye Library
Aerial View of Kwinana. Courtesy of Battye Library.

Massive industrial development occurred along the coast south of the capital. The Brand government of the day pushed hard for the development of the Kwinana Industrial Strip under its determined Minister for Industrial Development, Charles Court, who later became Premier. Sir Charles also pushed hard for overseas investment for a program of economic development.