A Semi -Regular Photo Blog about Life in Northern New South Wales, Australia.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Z is for Zinc

Zinc coated iron, or corrugated iron, is/was a staple and iconic building product in Australia. It was mostly used for roofing and water tanks but sometimes entire buildings were constructed from this versatile material ( click here to see some examples I found in Emmaville) . This old abandoned cottage in Hillgrove was part of Robert Sharp's blacksmith yard. Sharp came to Hillgrove from Ballarat in the mid 1880's and eventually became the mayor in the early 1900's. Sharp's blacksmith yard operated until the 1920's.

Hillgrove's mining boom ended in the 1920's and it's population rapidly declined. Some of the buildings were dismantled and moved into nearby Armidale. In the Great Depression, with building materials expensive or scarce, this process speeded up. It was a similar story in many of the declining mining towns of New South Wales, like Hill End in the Central West. I wonder if this process will occur again when the great mining boom of the early 21st century comes to an end and all those 'new' towns in Western Australia and Queensland begin to loose their populations?


  1. I've seen roofs like that here in Canada.

    abcw team

  2. Wonderfully informative post and excellent photography ~

    (A Creative Harbor) aka ArtMuseDog and Carol ^_^

  3. They use a lot of zinc in US coins one think of as copper (penny) and nickel (guess)

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  4. Corrugated iron is mostly used for roofing in my country.

    Z is for...
    Rose, ABC Wednesday Team

  5. Ah! this lovely little cottage warms the cockles of my heart .... lots of rust ... just needs a bit of work on the slightly sloping verandah .... otherwise perfect!

  6. Another lost industry. I wonder if there is anything still under the surfsce of the planet not mined yet? I wonder what they will be digging for next. Here in North Yorkshire, UK Potash has been discovered. (A type of salt)

  7. Now that is something I hadn't thought of .. the buildings being 'mined' during the depression.

    I love this image.

  8. Interesting. The roof looks like the old asbestos roofs one can still find here and there in my village. Zinc sounds better for your health than asbestos.

  9. The roof of our house is exactly that, zinc coated iron. (southeast asia) But I didn't know the material could be used for water storage. Thanks for the historical info.

  10. That must have been very hot in there in summer !
    ABC Team

  11. What an interesting area you live in there...Your pictures make me feel like i'm walking down that old street.

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