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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 11

I The Present Energy Economy

II Australian Energy Consumption

III Research And Development

IV Coal
i Transition at the coal face
ii Further development of face mechanisation
iii Mechanisation outside the face area
iv Open-cut mining in NSW
v Open-cut mining in Queensland
vi Underground mining in Queensland
vii The state of the art
viii Conclusion

V Oil And Natural Gas

VI Solar Energy

VII Nuclear Energy

VIII Bagasse Firewood And Other Biomass

IX Electric Power Generation And Distribution electric Power Generation And Distribution

X Manufactured Gas

XI Industrial Process Heat



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It is not to be thought that Australian miners alone were resistant to the onset of mechanisation, as in the early days of its introduction in America there were serious conflicts between management and men on this issue, as evidence by the American equipment supplier who arrived at a colliery on the day that full time operations with machines were scheduled to commence. The man was carrying a revolver which caused consternation with the colliery officials who demanded an explanation. The reply was that before the day was out he fully expected to be holed up in an empty boiler shell taking pot shots out of the inspection ports.

This state of affairs was never reached in Australia but the overall opposition, particularly to the use of machines in pillars, was to delay the full benefits of technology for many decades. For, as mentioned earlier, under this restriction the mechanical equipment could only operate, at best, on 50 per cent of the coal reserves.

The benefits conferred by mechanisation and the application of advanced technologies have over the years become apparent to all sections of the coal mining industry so that there no longer is the blind resistance to innovative changes which existed in Australia prior to the Second World War. The Australian coal miner has proven adaptive and innovative in the use of new techniques, so that provided new procedures are introduced with common sense and care there seems little doubt that this country will continue to hold its position in the world competitive situation.

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 797 - 798, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher