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    Discover what the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame. For the family we are a great fun day out, for the teacher and student we offer an extensive range of information, program assistance and tours catered to your specific requirements, for the Mining Industry we offer a space to tell your story and to honor and acknowledge Australias mining heroes.

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    Discover the Mining Hall of Fame. The Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame offers the unique experience of combining a historic gold mine, including underground tour and gold pour with interactive galleries, changing displays of art and unique gardens.

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      Be inspired, be educated. Discover the wide variety of galleries and gardens. Learn about mining history and then be propelled into the future. The exhibit spaces are ever changing so there is always something new to inspire.

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      Looking for a gift or souvenir to take home with you. Look no further than the Mining Hall of Fame s giftshop. Discounts are available for members.

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      Book a truly unique venue for your next function. You will have a choice of 10 different sites, indoor or outdoor, intimate or large, BBQs to a la carte. Anything is possible.

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    The movers and shakers of the Australian Mining Industry.

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      • Barrick Education Partnership
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        Barrick and the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame announced today they have joined forces in a partnership valued at $200,000 to further expand the existing education program in the Goldfields area.

      • Inductee Announcements 2007
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        Find out who was inducteed into the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame in 2007.

      • Education Outreach Program
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        Created to educate and inspire, the Mining Hall of Fame is in a unique position to change perceptions about the resources industry and encourage student participation in earth science studies.

      • Mining in India
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        Find the answers to Frequently Asked Questions about mining in India from the Ministry of Mines.

      • Australia Day News Flash
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        The Australia Day 'Kalgoorlie Dawn' Service will be held at the Mining Hall of Fame on January 23, 2006. All are welcome to attend the event which will be broadcast live nationally on Channel 7's Sunrise program and later as part of the National Australia Day presentation from Canberra.

      • St Barbara's Festival 2004
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        St Barbaras Festival was celebrated in a myriad of events for the Goldfields community and visitors during the first week in December.

      • Education Activities at the Mining Hall of Fame 2004
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        At the recent AGM for the Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame the Rio Tinto Education Officer provided a summary of activities for 2004. Read the Education Report for 2004.

      • Eremophila Garden Abloom
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        Flowers and bees are everywhere this Spring at the Mining Hall of Fame, particularly in the Placer Dome Eremophila Garden.

      • Earth Science Week 2004
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        National Earth Science Week is being celebrated in Kalgoorlie Boulder this week. An interactive display focussing on Earth Science related careers has been placed in the William Grundt Library to raise awareness of the variety of careers available in this area.

      • Careers Expo - Kalgoorlie Boulder Science Awareness Festival 2004
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        A very successful Earth Science Career display was put together by the Mining Hall of Fame and the Geological Survey of WA as part of the Careers Expo for the Kalgoorlie Boulder Science Awareness Festival.

      • Kalgoorlie Science Festival - Careers Expo
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        The Mining Hall of Fame has joined with the (WA) Department of Industry and Resources to provide a booth at the Careers Expo for secondary school students held on 16th & 17th September as part of the Kalgoorlie Science Festival. The Science Festival is a pilot event organised by the Kids Science State program, a joint initiative of Scitech and the Rio Tinto WA Future Fund.

      • Take a Look at Our New Website
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        Australia's famous Mining Hall of Fame has a new look website - and much, much more to offer visitors.

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Claude Albo de Bernales (1876 - 1963)

Company promoter and financier of WA gold mines.
Western Australia

Claude de Bernales, probably more than any other person, encapsulates the diversity of opinion as to the merits and achievements of entrepreneurs and mining speculators. He also has attained in WA history more generally, a legendary image of success, one given to lavish displays of wealth and opulence and, more problematically, as a colourful character whose entrepreneurial activities did much to stimulate investment in WA mining. If nothing, he was certainly the master of the complex scheme.

Arriving in Coolgardie in 1897, he soon became established at Kalgoorlie where he ran the Western Machinery company. In the course of his machinery dealing and financing, de Bernales obtained control over a number of leaseholds when clients defaulted or could not meet payments. One such was the holding of a Wiluna company. Eventually, these leases formed the basis of the very profitable, large-scale Wiluna Gold Mines, in which de Bernales had a share with overseas companies including Consolidated Gold Fields of South Africa.

De Bernales was much criticised for what others claimed was his practice of 'sitting' on leases awaiting opportune times to promote companies. His capital raising in London in the 1930s also brought him into conflict with others seeking to do the same.

De Bernales also played a leading role in convincing the Commonwealth Government of the efficacy of a gold bonus in the late 1920s. He led several delegations to the eastern states and produced several documents arguing the case for a bonus. His efforts were not without some self interest for any increase in the return on gold mining would make it more likely that de Bernales could proceed with capital raising to resurrect mines that he controlled. In fact, the nature of what constituted appropriate incentives for the gold industry lay at the heart of differences between de Bernales and some of the larger gold producers (particularly in Kalgoorlie). Such companies were not as much interested in raising new capital or company promotion. Rather, they sought assistance in reducing costs on the gold that they already produced and in obtaining assistance to develop ore reserves and seek new deposits.

In spite of his practice in seeking to rejuvenate previously abandoned mines, de Bernales was responsible for advancing development of a limited number of mines, notably those at Wiluna and Yellowdine. He also played an important part in redeveloping Great Boulder in the 1930s, though this may also have been for the benefit and prestige that the company brought to his group.

From 1939, de Bernales' empire began to lose its shine: he faced complaints from disgruntled Great Boulder shareholders who sought to recover their investments in litigation; in July 1939 the London Stock Exchange suspended trading in several of his companies, eventually forcing them into liquidation; Sir William McClintock conducted an extensive investigation for the Board of Trade into de Bernales' Commonwealth Group of companies during 1939 and 1940; and after the war income tax liabilities and the investigation of his company dealings by British authorities led to charges against him. The latter matters were never brought to trial in court.

For much of the post-war period de Bernales remained in England but made a final trip to Western Australia in 1958. He died at his London flat on 9 December, 1963. Much that was disparaging was written about de Bernales, especially in the London Daily Express and Sunday Express newspapers. A fuller picture of the intricacies of his dealings is not likely to emerge until papers from the investigations into his companies are finally released in England. Perhaps the most apt summation of his business dealings was a comment from the West Australian journalist John Laurence who wrote that newspaper's obituary on de Bernales. A commentator on de Bernales and his companies for over 30 years, Laurence believed that de Bernales did not break the law, but noted that "he was good at covering his tracks".

R.T.Appleyard and Mel Davies, 'Financiers of Western Australia's Goldfields', in R.T.Appleyard and C.B.Schedvin (eds), Australian Financiers: Biographical Essays (Melbourne, 1988); Hal Colebatch, Claude de Bernales: The Magnificent Miner (Perth, 1996); P.Bertola, 'Kalgoorlie, Gold and the World Economy', unpublished PhD thesis, Curtin University, 1994; Mines Department of WA, correspondence files.

Patrick Bertola