Mining, masculinity, and morality: Understanding the Australian national imaginary through iconic labor
Australia began as a nation when six independent British colonies federated in 1901. Understanding the gendered realities that infused the nation-building project is crucial to understanding the Australian national imaginary and political landscape today. Labor plays a key role in this process. Male-dominated mining over the last 150 years has come to be valorized in Australian civil and political society, despite inauspicious beginnings as an industry that inflamed anxieties around class, race, and gender in a nation struggling to know itself. This chapter seeks to draw attention to the way mining has shaped Australia and its national character, with specific focus on the intersection of legislation and the moral economy in a time of concentrated nation-building.