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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Remember the Poseidon Boom?

Most of the movie's action was shot in a mining town called Broad Arrow (population 20) near Kalgoorlie. One day an old Aborigine wandered on to the set and was offered a part by Miss Withers, the nickel queen of the story. There was no shortage of extras, particularly for the drinking scenes in the Broad Arrow Hotel, although some drinkers forgot to follow the script.

 

The Poseidon Boom was a stock market bubble in which the price of Australian mining shares soared in late 1969, then crashed in early 1970. Mining stocks peaked in January 1970, then immediately crashed.

The best-known mining share, Poseidon, rose from $1.85 on 26 September 1969 to its high of $280 on 10 January 1970. Some years later it went off the board. Its shares were worthless.

In 1969 I'd just come back from South West Africa, rejoined the ANZ Bank in Canberra and then gone to Papua New Guinea to escape the hand-to-mouth existence of a banking career. I was totally ignorant of the Poseidon boom but my new colleagues in the chartered accounting firm of Hancock, Woodward & Neill in Rabaul talked of nothing else - when they weren't drinking which was most of the time!

The address says it all: PO Box 187, Rabaul, New Guinea

First out of sympathy and then as a convert, I spent what little money I earned on VAM and Kambalda shares which, after I had bought them at several dollars each, went down to just a few cents and then nothing. As they say: I started out with nothing and I still got most of it left.

PO Box 12, Kieta, Bougainville, New Guinea

The 1971 comedy Nickel Queen is loosely based on the Poseidon boom, and tells of an outback pub owner who stakes a claim and finds herself an overnight millionaire. 1960s hair styles; 1960s music; 1960s hippies - it's all in this full-length movie on YouTube, so enjoy it while you can!