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Mel Davies

Mr, BA Kent, MA Adel.

  • The University of Western Australia (M251), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Following his retirement at the end of 2007 after 37 years of teaching, Mel Davies currently serves the School as an Honorary Research Fellow. As an economic historian his research interests have been eclectic embracing topics in demography, development, and social history, though his main interests have lain in the area of mining history. Over the years he has presented papers at national and international conferences and has published widely. He has also organized a number of national and International conferences in the areas of economic history and in mining history.

He was a founder member of the Australian Mining History Association and over the last 15 years has acted as the Association’s Secretary/Treasurer. In addition he is editor of the Editor of the Association’s annual publication, the Journal of Australasian Mining History, as well as of the quarterly newsletter. In 1998 he was appointed as Secretary and international liaison and co-ordinator for the 4th International Mining History Congress held in Guanjuato, Mexico and has acted in that capacity ever since, being responsible for the 5th Congress held at Milos, Greece in 2000, for the Congress that took place in Hokkaido, Japan in 2003, and the Congress held in Bhubaneswar India in 2007. At the latter meeting he was elected to serve as the Congress’s Secretary for the 2009 Congress to be held in Redruth, Cornwall.

Funding overview

Reserve Bank of Australia to research information for a publication on Australian Financiers.

Previous positions

1971-1975, Tutor, Dept. of Economics, The University of Adelaide.
1976-1981, Senior Tutor, Dept. of Economics, UWA
1982-1998, Lecturer, Dept. of Economics, UWA
1998-2007, Senior Lecturer Dept. of Economics, UWA

Current projects

Biography of West Australian and international mining entrepreneur and financier, Claude Albo de Bernales.

Paper on John Benjamin Graham and his involvement with the Burra Burra Mines, South Australia in the 19th century.

Paper on the liquidity and other problems facing the Burra Burra Mine in its formative years in the 19th century.

Editing the 7th volume of the Journal of Australasian Mining History.

Collaborations with Other Institutions

Currently linked with a number of mining history academics at various institutions in the UK, Canada, South America, South Africa and the USA.

Teaching overview

Various Invited Lectures/Seminars from 1970 to 2007


Mining history, especially associated with South Australian copper mining;road and shipping transportation;capital;industrial relations;copper smelting.
Gold Mining Western Australia – especially associated with finance and capitalisation.
Demography – especially related to effect of fashion on the birth rate in the 19th century.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research expertise keywords

  • British economic history
  • Mining history
  • Nineteenth-century South Australian history


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