Making Moonta: the invention of Australia's little Cornwall

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University of Exeter Press, Nov 9, 2007 - History - 269 pages
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This book is about Moonta and its special place in the Cornish transnational identity. Today Moonta is a small town on South Australia's northern Yorke Peninsula; along with the neighbouring townships of Wallaroo and Kadina, it is an agricultural and heritage tourism centre. In the second half of the nineteenth century, however, Moonta was the focus of a major copper mining industry. Making Moonta explores Moonta and its copper-mining hinterland in the years after 1860, charting the arrival of hundreds of Cornish immigrants and the transplantation of distinctive Cornish cultural patterns. It examines the role of institutions such as the several Methodist denominations and the local trade unions in fostering a 'Cornishness' that in time became the bedrock of Moonta's myth. From the beginning, Moonta cast itself as unique among Cornish immigrant settlements, becoming 'the hub of the universe' according to its inhabitants, forging the myth of 'Australia's Little Cornwall': a myth perpetuated by Oswald Pryor and others that survived the collapse of the copper mines in 1923-and remains vibrant and intact today.

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The man and his mines
Moontas workingclass

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About the author (2007)

Philip Payton is Professor of Cornish Studies in the University of Exeter and Director of the Institute of Cornish Studies at Truro.

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