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Broughton, Bob
Gunpowder technology in Tasmania: A partial history of black powder technology in VDL and Tasmania
16th Engineering Heritage Australia Conference: Conserving Our Heritage - Make a Difference!
Engineers Australia, Barton, Australian Capital Territory, 2011, pp. 239-261

The realization that there was virtually no commercial production of gun powder in Tasmania led to writing the current paper, based on a revised historical perspective. The paper briefly examines why there was an absence of commercial production of gunpowder in Tasmania and, through contemporary records and building relics, examines the extent to which gunpowder infrastructure was purely related to distribution and consumption. Surviving archaeological relics of explosives engineering are examined for relevance and to provide clues to confirm the lack of explosives engineering in Tasmania. Why did a gunpowder infrastructure fail to eventuate? Because it was actively discouraged by the British government, is the overwhelming reason. Commercial competition from other industries appears to have been the other major factor up to the late 1840's. Importantly the raw materials for gunpowder are quite specific and were not easily substituted in the Colonial period. The other major hindrance was a lack of specialist engineering expertise, in our very distant colony. The Shot Tower at Taroona does underline that where the entrepreneurial climate favoured, then innovative ordnance engineering did occur.

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