In fact Asbestos was mined in Australia from at least 1880 through to 1983. It seems SMH forgot about the small asbestos mines like the Jones Creek Mine near Gundagai that produced 72t of tremolite asbestos between 1880 and 1921. It also seems to have omitted the largest asbestos mine in Australia, the white asbestos (chrysotile) mine at Barraba in northern NSW. This was the Woodsreef mine that produced 550,000t of asbestos between between 1972 and 1983. Australia's second largest asbestos mine was at Wittenoom in Western Australia which produced 152,466t of blue asbestos between 1937 and 1966.
We realise that ABC rely heavily on the SMH and The Age for information so perhaps our correction will some how reach them before they repeat the error.
For further information on Asbestos occurrences in eastern and South Australia click HERE and HERE.
UPDATE: The following received 20/6/2013 from SMH:
Recently you contacted ReaderLink about the graphic, "Still breathing the devil's dust".
At Herald Publications we want to be an accurate and reliable source of information. Unfortunately, errors do occur. Our aim is to reduce the number of errors and publish corrections when appropriate.
The information ReaderLink has in response to your report is as follows:
Thank you for your email and for bringing to our attention the error in the graphic with the asbestos story 'Still breathing the devil's dust' The graphic was created by our colleagues at The Age.
They sourced the information from the Asbestos Diseases Research Institute. They concede they inputted the incorrect end date to the production of asbestos in Australia which they agree was 1983. However, they say the institute's website gives the starting date as 1918 not 1880. We have removed the graphic from our website.
Ben & Peter
Note. We have emailed ADRI with the corrected start date which is 1880 as indicated above. This is available through the following reference: MacNevin AA (1970) Asbestos. Mineral industry of New South
Wales Report No. 4. Sydney Geological Survey of New South Wales.
from page 41 and 42 of MacNevin. click to enlarge.