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Australian History

Saturday, November 22, 1952. :   Lang Hancock claims to have discovered the iron ore deposits which change Australia from being an importer of iron ore to an exporter.

     Langley George Hancock, or "Lang" Hancock, was born on 10 June 1909 in Perth, Western Australia. A member of one of Western Australia's oldest landowning families, he became a politician and iron ore magnate.

The story goes that, on 22 November 1952, Hancock was piloting a light aircraft that was forced by bad weather to fly at a very low altitude over the Turner River gorges in Western Australia. Hancock noticed the large bands of deep ochre rock within the gorge and realised they might be iron ore. The discovery led to the development of Western Australia's major iron ore industry in the Pilbara region, and changed Australia from being an importer of iron ore to an exporter. Following this discovery, Hancock initiated and perfected a technique which led to the further discovery in the Pilbara of more than 500 other deposits of iron ore, and which earned him the nickname of "The Flying Prospector".

However, the veracity of this story has been questioned. There is evidence to suggest that a 25 year old Englishman by the name of Harry Page Woodward, who had come to South Australia in 1883 to take up the post of assistant state geologist, was the one who discovered the Pilbara's iron ore deposits. Woodward relocated to Western Australia as the new government geologist, and undertook extensive ground surveys of the state, mapping some 175,000 square kilometres of the state. Woodward recognised the iron-bearing potential of the northwest of the state, and recorded that "There is enough to supply the whole world should the present sources be worked out." The iron ore fields of the Pilbara were already mapped by Western Australia's Mining Department in the 1920s.


Today in History

Thought For Today
The wise get all the knowledge they can, but when fools speak, trouble is not far off.
Proverbs 10:14 (c) GNB
It is better to shut-up and be thought wise than to speak and prove yourself a fool. Gather knowledge and you can speak with authority.

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