Historical information

This specimen was recovered from Silverton Mine in Broken Hill, New South Wales.

Otherwise known as the 'Day Dream Mine', the Silverton Mine was first established in 1883, when silver and lead deposits where discovered. Within a few short years, the population of Broken Hill reached 3000 people. As of today the Silverton Mine is still open, and has produced over 200 million tonnes of ore, which has generated over $100 billion.

The Silverton Mine was also famous for a number of specimens such as silver, iron and zinc.


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.

Copper is considered to be a rare ore in that finding it in its pure form is rare. Nowadays when mining for Copper it is often found in mixed in with other minerals or it is recycled from use. Moreover, Copper is found in a range of everyday uses such as coins, cookware, pipes, heating conductors and anything that generate electricity. The fact that Copper is heat a heat conductor, electricity conductor and it does not corrode easily, makes this ore a versatile and useful.

Physical description

A solid hand-sized cube-shaped sulfide and oxide with shades of green, grey and brown throughout.

Copper is typically found as nuggets in the ground. It can be found in a range of forms such as its native state; mixed with other ores, such as zinc and iron; as porphyry copper deposits; and as major deposits. Porphyry deposits are when the mineral is scattered evenly throughout the rock. Major deposits are when the mineral is scattered amongst other minerals.