400th Sunday History Photo / WA

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 07:52
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Marble Bar is a town and rock formation in the Pilbara region of north-western Western Australia. It is well known for its extremely hot weather.
The town was officially gazetted in 1893 following the discovery of gold in the area in 1890 by a prospector named Francis Jenkins who is remembered by the name of the town's main street. The name Marble Bar was derived from a nearby jasper bar mistaken for Marble and now known as Marble Bar, which runs across the bed of the Coongan River.
In 1891 the town boasted a population in excess of 5,000 as it experienced a rush on the goldfields.

By 1895 the town had its Government offices built; these are now National Trust buildings. Cut from local stone, the buildings still stand today.
Possibly the most famous building in the town is the Ironclad hotel built in the 1890s, constructed of corrugated Iron, and given the name by American miners who were reminded of the Ironclad ships from the United States. In 2006, the Ironclad hotel was listed on the Western Australian register of heritage places.
Several large gold nuggets were discovered as a result of the goldrush. The 333 ounce Little Hero nugget, the 413 ounce Bobby Dazzler and the 332 ounce General Gordon nugget were all found in the goldfields around the town.

During World War II, United States Army Air Forces and Royal Australian Air Force heavy bombers were based 25 kilometres away as the crow flies at Corunna Downs Airfield. Allied airmen from the base attacked Japanese forces as far away as Borneo.
It had a railway connecting with Port Hedland up until the early 1950s, which can be seen as a narrow gauge precursor to the network of standard gauge iron-ore railways that have since been created across the Pilbara.

Marble Bar has an arid climate with very hot summers and mild to warm winters. Most of the annual rainfall occurs in the summer. The town set a world record of most consecutive days of 100 °F or above, during a period of 160 days from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924.
During December and January, temperatures in excess of 45 °C are common, and the average maximum temperature exceeds normal human body temperature for 6 months each year. Marble Bar receives 159.6 clear days annually.
My first visit was in 1967 in a 1962 EK Holden

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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 08:36

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 08:36
Congratulations Doug on the 400th

I have always found them to be most interesting and reading them is a normal part of Sunday for me.

Thanks for the efoort you have put in to provide excellent entertainment and information to all members.


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Follow Up By: B1B2 - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 09:25

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 09:25
Great job, 400 is impressive.
I meant to add that Corrunna was the secret airfield and the Japs never found out it's location. Probably easier to follow the Stuart Hwy and bomb those ones.

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Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 09:23

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 09:23
Many thanks Doug - 400 is a lot of research and writing - well done on showing Australia and all the best.

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‘Human Being’ and ‘Being Human’.

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Reply By: Member - MARIC - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 10:24

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 10:24
The PO building is identical to the one in Cue WA. We lived in the Cue PO for 3 years 1977 to 1980.
The cost 3 to 4 thousand pounds to build. Hot as hell kn summer and freezing cold in winter
It is only when you see mosquito land on your testicles that you find another way to solve problems without violence

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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 15:43

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 15:43
Yes you are right, in my photo's taken 7 ?September ?2006 , the section behing the Police
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 15:48

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 15:48
Yes your right, in the photo's I took 7 ?September ?2006 , the section behind the Police Troopy is the same, but the PO tower looks shorter than the color photo of Marble Bar PO, but in the B/w photo it looks higher.. My 2 photo's were taken same time, see the front of the Grey Nissan in the second photo.

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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 14:54

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 14:54
Thanks Doug, for the 400th post and a write-up about a spot that most people only zip through, and who have never experienced living there!

My brother and I, and our employees, picked up the job of re-treating the Marble Bar State Battery gold tailings dumps, during 1988.
This job involved building plastic-lined leach vats of our own perfected design to extract the remnant gold from the battery tailings (which were relatively rich, due to the inefficiency of the old stamp mills).
I can't recall the exact tonnage there, but it was in the multiple tens of thousands of tonnes.

The vat building meant levelling areas with our big Michigan loaders (86 tonne machines) and then building 3 dirt walls on the levelled area.
Then, heavy plastic sheeting was rolled through the vat, to make an impermeable liner for the cyanide solution.
Draincoil was installed in the bottom of the vat on top of the plastic, as the loader placed the tailings to a depth of around 3 metres over the plastic, by reaching over the plastic sheeting roll.

Finally, the top of the vat was levelled roughly by hand and then the cyanide solution pumped in to fill the vat.
The cyanide solution went to work on the tailings, and extracted the gold and the cyanide solution was pumped out of the vat and through steel tanks full of activated carbon, where the gold was recovered.
The solution went back into the vat to repeat the process until all the gold was extracted.

We carried out the re-treatment from March to October to keep to satisfactory working temperatures for the outdoor work.
However, I can recall numerous days when temperatures of 42C up to 47C were common - even at that time of year.

It's the place, where in these kind of temperatures, you cannot put your bare hand on any metal exposed to the sun after about 9:00 AM without suffering burns!

The blokes shovelling the top of the tailings level were the blokes wearing the bulk of the heat.
It was critical to ensure that one kept up the water intake, it was very easy to get dehydrated.

Finally, I can never see a mention of Marble Bar, without thinking of Victor Courtneys poem! ....

'The Man from Marble Bar.'

Satan sat by the fires of Hell
As from endless time he's sat,
And he sniffed great draughts of the brimstone's smell
That came as the tongue-flames spat;

Then all at once the devil looked stern
For there in the depths of Hell
Was a fellow whom never a flame could burn
Or goad to an anguished yell;

So Satan stalked to the lonely scene
And growled with a stormy brow,
'Now, stranger, tell me what does this mean?
You should be well scorched by now.'

But the chappie replied with a laugh quite new;
'This place is too cold by far!
Just chuck on an extra log or two;

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Member - ACD 1 - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 15:19

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 15:19
Congratulaions on your 400th Doug.

Always look forward to and enjoy a good read on Sunday.

Heres to another 400.



EDIT - I Just noticed one of those Serendipitous occurances. - Mine was also the 400 view of this post. Im taking that as a good omen.

I took a screen shot, but i cant upload it for some reason
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Reply By: Member - Rob D (NSW) - Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 15:22

Sunday, Jan 31, 2016 at 15:22

Thank you so much for your efforts, they are greatly appreciated.

I always look forward to your interesting Sunday History articles. Keep up the good work.

If you relax at a faster pace you can get more relaxation in for a given time.
Regards Rob

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Reply By: Ron N - Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 00:20

Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 00:20
Here's another interesting snippet from the history of Marble Bar.

On 17th Dec 1946, a consignment of around 600 ozs of gold was sent in the mail from the Marble Bar Battery to the Royal Mint, Perth.

The gold was shipped in ordinary mail bags along with many other bags of ordinary mail.

The mail was transported by road to Meekatharra by a mail contractor and it arrived in Meekatharra on 21st Dec 1946.

The mail was then loaded on a train to Perth which left Meekatharra the next day, Sunday the 22nd Dec 1946.

When the train arrived in Perth on Dec 24th, 1946, the 600 oz of gold was missing!

One of the trains guards, a gent by the name of Fishwick, was found guilty of stealing the gold, in cahoots with a miner by the name of Durant, who was apparently a chronic gambler.

Fishwick apparently kicked the bags containing the gold, out of the guards van just out of Cue.

I guess one could presume that Durant actually picked the gold up.

Durant was jailed for 2 1/2 yrs for the theft, and Fishwick received 18 mths.

However, not a single ounce of the gold appears to have ever been recovered!

I wonder if Durant suddenly became quite wealthy after leaving jail?? [;-)

Gold case

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Life Member-Doug T NSW - Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 09:13

Monday, Feb 01, 2016 at 09:13
Thanks Ron.. oh yeh, 2 1/2 yrs for 600 ounces would have been worth it ,
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