Iron Blow

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Iron Blow in 2009

Iron Blow was the site of the earliest major mining venture at Mount Lyell on the west coast of Tasmania, Australia in 1883.

The site was above the location where Steve Karlson, Michael McDonough, and William McDonough were camped in the area on a ridge between mountains of the West Coast Range.

Original form[edit]

Geoffrey Blainey describes the appearance prior to its being mined:[1]

They (Those mentioned above) examined the strange formation. It jutted twenty or thirty feet above the surface and was split by deep cracks and crevices as if a great explosion had fractured the rock and flung slabs far down the hill...(they)... had seen no similar outcrop in their brief mining experience. What lay beneath the ironstone crust?


The first shot on the site was in January 1884 - and most local prospectors were camped in the Linda Valley to the east of the Mount Owen - Mount Lyell ridge - also known as Philosophers Ridge

The townsite of Penghana, the present site of Queenstown - to the west was still thick rainforest.

Following the establishment of the Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company in 1893, the Iron Blow orebody was mined until 1929.[2]

End of the era[edit]

The cessation of the Iron Blow mining was also linked in with the demise of the Mount Lyell pyritic smelting - the cessation of Robert Carl Sticht's smelters and methods.[3]

The development of the West Lyell Open cut, and the later development of the Prince Lyell ore bodies removed all vestiges of the original workings.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Geoffrey Blainey, The Peaks of Lyell p.26 of Third edition 1967
  2. ^ The Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company Limited (1994) A Century of Copper Queenstown, Tasmania page 6,
  3. ^ Geoffrey Blainey, The Peaks of Lyell, Third edition, Chapter 25 'The End of an Era',p.260

Further reading[edit]

  • Blainey, Geoffrey (2000). The Peaks of Lyell (6th ed.). Hobart: St. David's Park Publishing. ISBN 0-7246-2265-9.
  • Whitham, Charles (2003). Western Tasmania - A land of riches and beauty (Reprint 2003 ed.). Queenstown: Municipality of Queenstown.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°4′6″S 145°35′26″E / 42.06833°S 145.59056°E / -42.06833; 145.59056