Malachite in gossan D.5837 Click to enlarge image
Albert Shaft, 66 ft (20 m) depth Peak Downs Copper Mine Peak Downs Queensland Australia 20 x 45 x 20 cm Mined about 15 June 1865 Registered 1893 D.5837 Image: Stuart Humphreys
© Australian Museum

This is a very large and impressive malachite (copper hydroxy-carbonate) with rounded groups of green, radiating fibrous crystals of velvety texture, that was extracted from an open cavity in the mine. It comes from the oxidised zone of a copper orebody. In direct sunlight the whole specimen glows with a silky green colour due to light conduction along its crystal fibres.

Specimen details

  • Origin

    Albert Shaft, 66 ft (20 m) depth, Peak Downs Copper Mine, Peak Downs, Queensland, Australia

  • Size

    20 x 45 x 20 cm

  • Date

    Mined about 15 June 1865, Registered 1893

  • Collection number


It came to the Australian Museum through a strange quirk of fate. In August 1865, three large specimens of malachite were donated to the Museum by the Peak Downs Copper Mining Company through its new Secretary, Mr Jules Joubert. The Peak Downs Copper Mine in central Queensland had been discovered in 1861 and was the first successful copper mine discovered outside South Australia up to that time.

The specimen in question had originally been one very large one, weighing about half a tonne, but it had been broken into three pieces weighing 123, 105 and 27 kg, and sent to Sydney to impress the company shareholders.

It was advantageous that Mr Joubert had been appointed as the new secretary, as the previous Secretary, Mr George Spaight, had just fled another company where he was also secretary, (the Waratah Coal Company), embezzling the company funds. Fortunately, Mr Joubert thought the specimens should be donated to the Australian Museum, and they were put on display immediately after they were received.


Burra Burra, South Australia, Australia. 18.5 x 16.5 x 17.3 cm. D.50675. Albert Chapman Collection.

Malachite D.50675
Burra Burra, South Australia, Australia. 18.5 x 16.5 x 17.3 cm. D.50675. Albert Chapman Collection. Image: Carl Bento
© Australian Museum

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