Local History

Local History

The Light Regional Council Library offers local history services, these include:

New Book on Australia’s First commercial Copper Mine

"Captain Bagot’s Mine: Kapunda Mine 1844-1916" by Greg Drew is a welcome addition to the literature on South Australia’s mining history.

The Kapunda Mine, initially owned by Captain Charles Bagot, commenced operations in January 1844, just seven years after the British colony of South Australia was proclaimed. It was the first successful mine in Australia, predating the much larger Burra Mine by almost two years.

The mine was run as a private partnership until the formation of the Kapunda Mining Company in 1851. The company operated the mine until 1866 when falling ore grades and copper prices forced it to lease the mine to the Kapunda Copper Company. The mine eventually closed in 1878.

Although the mines and mining communities at Burra and Moonta–Wallaroo have been well-documented, in comparison Kapunda has been largely neglected by historians. Given the significance of Kapunda in the early history of this state, this book will fill what has been a glaring gap. Only four brief accounts have been published prior to the present work.

Greg Drew Captain Bagot's Mine New Book

From left to right: Greg Drew (author), Professor Philip Payton (Flinders University), Deane Rohrlach (Deputy Mayor of Light Regional Council) and Andrew Philpott (convenor of the Kapunda Mine Site Working Group)

More than 40 personal stories are recorded including the family of Bob Hawke (prime minister of Australia, 1983–91) who came to Kapunda from Cornwall in 1851 and remained for several generations.

Captain Bagot's Mine is well documented and lavishly illustrated, featuring exquisite paintings of the colonial artist ST Gill, capturing this significant piece of South Australian history. Copies of the book are available for purchase from the Kapunda Visitor Information Centre for $49.95.


Light Regional Council
93 Main Street (PO Box 72)
Kapunda SA 5373
Tel: (08) 8525 3200 | Fax: (08) 8566 3262