The Curse of Mungana

Author(s): David Moore

Australian Studies

The Mungana scandal is not just the story of a failed mining venture and its victims, but an expose of the arrogance of powerful politicians who compromised integrity for personal greed. Late in the 19th century mining entrepreneurs were eager to profit from over optimistic expectations of "another Broken Hill" in North Queensland. Ventures thrived with private railways linking new mines, including the town of Mungana. In the wake of "1,000 disappointments" of the failed Chillagoe Company, the new Labor Government acquired the assets.This was the signal for opportunistic operators and politicians to orchestrate secret deals, allowing them to enjoy financial benefits at government expense. The critical acquisition was Mungana Mines. Its largest shareholder was William McCormack,future Queensland Premier. This culminated in a Royal Commission, whose bombshell report exposed key beneficiaries, including McCormack and his friend, Edward Theodore, then Treasurer of Australia. In the aftermath of the scandal several myths have arisen. These are identified and refuted. It is pertinent to ask if ethical standards have really improved over the past 80 years.


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David E Moore was educated at Newington College, Sydney, and the University of Queensland, where he was awarded an honours Science degree, majoring in Metallurgy, followed by a doctorate in mineral processing. As the 1964 Rhodes Scholar for Queensland he gained an M.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University. After working for two decades in the mining and finance industries, he established his own consulting company, through which he was associated with the global mineral sands, titanium pigment and industrial minerals industries.In retirement from 2009 he undertook another doctorate through Swinburne University of Technology on the topic, Three Queensland Premiers and the Mungana Scandal, the story of which forms the basis of this book.His interest in the topic was stimulated by conversations with one of these Premiers, his grandfather, A E Moore. He was responsible for establishingthe controversial 1930 Chillagoe-Mungana Royal Commission, which led to an unprecedented conspiracy trial.

Photographs, Maps, Charts and Tables viiForeword ixCast of Characters: Political and Others xvTimelines: Chillagoe-Mungana Story and Political Events xixPrologue The Curse of Mungana 11 The Vision of John Moffat 92 The Hapless Years of the Chillagoe Company 313 A New Queensland Political Force 554 Ideology Transcends Reason 955 The Fateful Deal 1136 Costly Benign Neglect 1337 Re-shaping Queensland's Government:The Diverging Paths of Theodore and McCormack 1518 The Royal Commission 1739 A Controversial Finding 20110 The Conspiracy Trial 22311 Aftermath 25712 A Toxic Mix: Inept Governance and Conflicts of Interest 27513 The Myths of Mungana 287Abbreviations 307Units of Currency 308Units of Measurement 308Glossary of Technical and Special Terms 309Bibliography 314Index 323Acknowledgements 335About the Author 337

General Fields

  • : 9781925522112
  • : Boolarong Press
  • : Boolarong Press
  • : January 2017
  • : 230mm X 150mm X 25mm
  • : Australia
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 358
  • : Paperback
  • : David Moore