Tingha, NSW

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Wing Hing Long c.1900. Tingha had the appearance of a ramshackle frontier town. UNE Heritage Centre.

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Tingha is typical of most rural townships in NSW. It was founded on Aboriginal land in the 19th century by Europeans pursuing economic opportunities. In the early 19th century the area was used for sheep grazing by colonial squatters.

Tin ore was discovered at Tingha in 1870 and a thriving mining industry developed soon after. Like most mining booms it attracted people of all nationalities from all over the world seeking their fortune. At the peak of the tin boom in the early 1880s Tingha was the largest tin-producing region in NSW and the area attracted a population of 4000 5000 of whom approximately 900 were Chinese. The township of Tingha started as a mining camp created to accommodate and service the population of miners.

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Tin Mining in Tingha c.1900. This method of mining caused severe erosion and polluted Copes Creek. Photograph courtesy of Ron Pickering.

Soon the traditional 19th century panning method of mining became unsustainable. New methods were introduced to rework the old ground in the 20th century. This included washing soil out with high pressure hoses and extracting the heavy ore with dredges, much to the detriment of the local environment. Little remains of the old mines except for rusting metal and substantial erosion. As the ore ran out, the miners drifted away. From a peak of 4000 - 5000 people in the area in the 1880s, the population in the town has declined to approximately 700 today.

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