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Frank Mihajlowits     

Frank Mihajlowits, was one of the most famous and successful mineral collectors in Tasmania. When he retired from his job as Underground Shift Boss at the Renison tin mine in the late 1960s, Frank sub-leased the Adelaide mine from Derek Murray, agreeing to pay all expenses involved in mining for mineral specimens and to give Murray a third of what he found. He and his friend Ken Bugg then began working the Adelaide mine full time basis, Frank mining alone during the day and with Ken's help evening and weekends. They produce many specimens of crocoite and other secondary minerals, including 150 specimens of dundasite up to 38 cm in size. They also collected some attractive anglesite and cerussite specimens.

In July of 1971, Frank and Ken broke into a very large pocket of crocoite in the back part of an old stope. The pocket measured 2 x 2.2 x 2.5 meters and yielded crocoite crystals to 14 cm. They recovered a total of around 2000 crocoite specimens from thumbnail (2.5 cm) to cabinet size (25 x 45 cm). The specimens collected were split three ways between Frank, Ken and Derek.

In 1972, Frank's sub-lease agreement with Derek Murray came to an end, and Murray teamed up with a Melbourne mineral dealer named Gerald Pauley.

In early 1974 Frank re-pegged the Adelaide mine property and contested Murray's lease in court, winning on the grounds that the mine had not been worked by Murray for the required time period. Having gained sole control of the Adelaide mine, Frank went about mining it systematically for specimens for the next 30 years, assisted by his son-in-law, Andrew Farrelly. From 1975 to 1993 they made only occasional minor discoveries of anglesite, cerussite, dundasite, crocoite, gorceixite, hidalgoite, weilerite, and philipsbornite; but in 1993 they made another major strike of crocoite—a pocket measuring a meter wide and 10 x 14 meters across. Crocoite crystals up to 15 cm in length were recovered, many of them coated with gibbsite and manganese oxide.

In 2004 Frank Mihajlowits decided to retire from mining for specimens at the Adelaide mine and sold his lease to the Adelaide Mining Company Pty Ltd, headed by Adam Wright, Richard Wolfe and Robert Reid.

Since then the Frank Mihajlowits collection was acquired by the West Coast Heritage Centre in Zeehan, Tasmania.

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WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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