This collection houses over 30,000 minerals, 2,000 rocks and 150 meteorites, tektites from all over the world. Areas of particular strength include minerals from Broken Hill, Burra, Moonta-Wallaroo, Iron Knob and South Australian meteorites.
The Department of Mineralogy and Meteorites currently curates 4 distinct collections; those of minerals, meteorites, tektites and rocks. The strengths of this collection are undoubtedly the fine suites of specimens from South Australian localities. South Australia is famous for its copper mines, particularly Burra, Moonta and Wallaroo, and these are well represented in the collection. The donation of the O’Neill collection in 1995 of minerals from the Olympic Dam Copper-gold-uranium deposit has enabled us to have a good representation of minerals from this mine at a time when current mining methods and the nature of the ore body mean that comparatively few mineral specimens have been recovered.
Thanks to the purchase of the Francis Collection, the Museum has a comprehensive collection of the minerals of the Precambrian iron formations of the Middleback Ranges, now documented at over 150 species. The collections also contain a particularly fine assortment of quartz specimens from the White Rock Quarry in the Mount Lofty Ranges, acquired through purchase by the Friends of the Museum and by donations from the collectors. Due to a number of donations in the 1980s, the Museum now has a good collection of opals from South Australian opal fields, but lacks large high quality specimens.
Targeted field collecting and donations from amateur collectors have meant that the general coverage of species and localities from the State is good and constantly improving. The general coverage of mineral species is good, with over 1500 species represented in the collections. Recent research activities have resulted in the deposition of type specimens of 20 new mineral species and much other material which has been analysed or otherwise characterised.
The Meteorite Collection contains representative material from over 150 Australian and overseas meteorites. There are 1500 registered individual specimens and specimen lots in the tektite collection, mainly acquired through the donation of several large collections.
The rock collection is relatively small in volume and comprises some 1700 registered specimens, a significant number of which were bought from Dr A Krantz of Bonn in the 1880s. There is a good representation of South Australian rocks acquired through Museum fieldtrips, donations from collectors and the South Australian Mines Department Collection. Highlights include small collections of Antarctic rocks donated by the explorers Sir Ernest Shackleton and Sir Douglas Mawson, ore suites from Australian and overseas sulphide mines donated by various mining companies, and a fine selection of host rocks from the Wallaroo Mines at Kadina, donated by the first Honorary Curator T C Cloud.