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Iron Knob

Iron Knob is a town in the Australian state of South Australia on the Eyre Peninsula immediately south of the Eyre Highway. At the 2006 census, Iron Knob and the surrounding area had a population of 199. The town obtained its name from its proximity to large deposits of iron ore, most notably Iron Monarch which outcropped prominently from the relatively flat, surrounding landscape.Iron ore miningThe name Iron Knob first appeared on pastoral lease maps of 1854, and the first mineral claim in the area was pegged by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company in 1897. Mining commenced in 1900 and iron ore was transported by bullock wagon to Port Augusta then by rail to Port Pirie where it was used as a flux in the lead smelter there. In 1901 a tramway from Iron Knob to Hummock Hill (later renamed Whyalla) was completed, followed by wharves in 1903. These allowed the direct loading of ships which could transport the ore across Spencer Gulf to Port Pirie.Iron Knob's iron ore proved to be of such high quality (upwards of 60% purity) that it led to the development of the Australian steel industry. It supplied iron to Newcastle for and steel works established at Newcastle and Port Kembla in the 1910s and 1920s and Whyalla in the 1930s. The iron ore was transported by railway to Whyalla where it was either smelted or dispatched by sea.
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