From Pickaxe To Sculpture: How Map The Miner’s Celebrates The Growth Of South Australia’s Mining Industry

Map the Miner is a 7-metre statue located in Kapunda, South Australia. Nicknamed Map Kernow or the Son of Cornwall, the statue makes its way into the list of the Big Things of Australia that celebrate mining activities in the country. 

The Inspiration Behind Map the Miner In Kapunda

The statue was built by a Dutch artist Ben van Zetten to celebrate the mining history of Kapunda. Here’s a brief history of mining in Kapunda. 

The town’s copper mines operated from 1844 to 1878 and it was the first metal mine in Australia to achieve success. The mine primarily relied on Cornish immigrants for its operations, generating over one million pounds worth of copper ore.

Map the Miner is a statue of a miner holding a pickaxe and wearing a helmet
Map the Miner in Kapunda. Source (Wiki Commons)

A local resident John Davidson was the man behind the idea of the gigantic sculpture. He sought funding through South Australia’s sesquicentenary celebrations, but the support was not forthcoming. When John met the Dutch artist, they agreed to seek support from the local Rotary Club to build the massive sculpture. A fundraiser was held, and the rest was history. 

When Map the Miner Caught Fire 

The original statute comprised a steel frame and a concrete base. It was then covered with fibreglass. Unfortunately, the original statue was destroyed by a fire in 2006 when a local teenager poured Eranol around it and set it ablaze. While the teenager’s original plan was to take a picture with the statue surrounded by a ‘ring of fire,’ things didn’t go as planned. The statue suffered damages worth more than AUD 95,000. As a result, it had to be demolished and replaced with a new one.

The new statue, which takes the same form, is now covered in cold cast bronze. Other Big Things constructed to celebrate mining history in Australia include:

Map of Map the Miner!

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