Kaolin is also known as china clay. This specimen came from Dunolly, Victoria and was donated to the Museum in 1868 as part of the Geological Survey of Victoria. This survey helped map and study the geology of Victoria. In Victoria, Kaolin is particularly used as a filler and coating material in paper manufacture. It can also be used in paints, ceramics, rubbers and plastics. There are many kaolin deposits in Victoria but many of these have been mined out and there is not much Kaolin left.
Rocks that have a high amount of Kaolinite and it can be formed through the decomposition of other materials. There are two types of Kaolin; hard and soft kaolin. Soft kaolin's are coarse but have a soapy texture. It can also break easily. The hard kaolins have an earthly texture and are finer grained. This means that they are harder to break, unlike the soft kaolin. Hard kaolin's are formed by flocculation in salt water, a process that in basic terms, bonds particles together.
Kaolin is a common material in Victoria and that is why it is significant. While this specimen was mined in Dunolly, Victoria Kaolin can also be found Pittong, Pakenham, Bulla, Hallam and Ballarat as well as many other places throughout Victoria. This specimen represents the presence of Kaolin deposits in this region of Australia. It is also significant because Kaolin has many uses and is largely beneficial to many manufacturing processes in Victoria.
Statement of locality
This specimen is part of larger collection of significant geological specimens in the Burke Museum that was collected from around the world between 1868-1880. A large percentage of these specimens were collection as part of the Geological Survey of Victoria 1852-1974. The Geological Survey of Victoria was an organisation founded in response to the Victorian gold rush to explore the geological and mineral resources and to record a detailed map of the state. It was headed by British geologist, Alfred Richard Cecil Selwyn (1824-1902), who was responsible for issuing over 60 geological maps during his 17 years as director. These maps were all hand-drawn and coloured and became the benchmark for accuracy for geological mapping. Collecting geological specimens was an important part of mapping and understanding the scientific makeup of the earth. Many of these specimens were sent to research and collecting organisations across Australia, including the Burke Museum, to educate and encourage further study.
Two pieces of Kaolinite mineral with shades of white and gray
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