by Benjamin Marks, Economics.org.au editor-in-chief
The Australian libertarian movement has just suffered its biggest setback since the birth of Nugget Coombs in 1906. Ronald Kitching, our greatest letters-to-the-editor writer, died yesterday, aged 81, after a long, brave and arduous fight against government and other cancers. He is survived by 7 children, 10(?) grandchildren, 1(?) great grandchild and millions of other taxpayers.
The taxpayers work in many different industries, especially in the private sector.
As for his children specifically: Ronald Kitching’s family address book will attract large bids from mailing-list brokers, as there are so many of them, all succeeding in different industries all around the country. Kitching’s children work as everything from infants teacher in Tasmania, to power station operator in Karratha, to chief ambulance officer of the Rockhampton district. In light of this — and considering his dubious politics, the occasional appearance of his name in the papers (click here for example» ) and his history of welcoming thick-accented foreigners to stay at his home — it would appear that Ronald Kitching was the black sheep of the family.
He first came across the freedom philosophy reading Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal. Following Rand’s recommended readings led him to the Austrian school. He became such a big fan of the Austrian school of Ludwig von Mises, that, along with Roger Randerson and others he co-sponsored Hayek’s tour of Australia in 1976. Hayek and his wife stayed at his Atherton Tablelands property during a break in the tour to help with some farming. He attended many MPS meetings at Hayek’s invitation, and had much friendly correspondence with Antony Flew, Hans Sennholz and many others. He was well aware of the divide between the Austrian school and the Chicago school, and was firmly in the Austrian camp.
He has had long associations with such fellow Australian freedom advocates as Ron Manners and Viv Forbes. I look forward to learning more about how they met and worked together. Kitching met Roger Randerson after reading his magazine Forecast in the office of John Grover. (More on those two eventually.)
But Ronald Kitching was not only a preaching capitalist; he did have quite a career too. In fact, if you look closely at Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott or Bob Brown’s curriculum vitae, you will find that they have taken the opposite and opposing career path to Kitching.
Many of Kitching’s career achievements were with the company Glindemann and Kitching Enterprises. According to Kitching, they drilled:
- The discovery holes of the fabulous 1100 ore body at Mount Isa.
- The discovery holes of the Black Rock open cut at Mount Isa.
- The discovery holes and subsequent holes at Mary Kathleen Uranium mine.
- The McArthur River Silver Lead Zinc deposit.
- Drilled the discovery holes and then did four years of drilling on the Constance Range Iron ore bodies for BHP. That was in the days (Mid to late 50’s), before the huge rich iron ore deposits were discovered in WA.
- The first holes for coal at Blackwater for Utah.
- The first holes for the new iron ore discoveries at Mt. Goldsworthy in WA.
- Drilled on all of the major iron ore bodies in WA.
- The discovery holes at Telfer, and drilled there for years afterwards.
- The holes which discovered the fabulous super rich gold pod at the Warrego Mine in Tennant Creek.
- Drilled the discovery holes for the Mammoth Copper ore body near Gunpowder Creek North of Mount Isa.
- Drilled the discovery holes of the Esperanza Copper deposit near the Mammoth ore body, North of Mount Isa.
- The Mt. Agnew Nickel Deposit.
- Contracted to sink the first shaft and Crosscut at the MCArthur River Silver Lead Zinc ore body.
- Drilling and grouting on the Swamp creek Dam at Townsville. The East Leichhardt Dam near Mount Isa. The Perseverance Dam at Crows Nest QLD. Khankoban Dam, Snowy Mountains. Geehi Dam, Snowy Mountains. Eucumbene Pressure Tunnels, Snowy Mountains. Jindabyne Dam, Snowy Mountains.
- Discovered the Mt. Colin Ore body near Mary Kathleen and sold it to Mount Isa Mines.
- The company also built numerous roads, dams, light aircraft aerodromes, and camps.
- And drilled discovery and subsequent holes on many lesser known mineral occurrences.
- Kitching was the Father and, with Warman International, the developer of the Universal Drill Rigs. These rigs are produced in 15 different models, to drill holes from 120 metres to 5,000 metres, and are serving on every continent in the world, including the Antarctic, where there is a large model drilling large core holes, (NQ size), 2,800 metre hole through the ice and 1,000 meres into the continent itself.
- Kitching also consulted on exploration drilling problems in Africa, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. And advised Principals about drilling operations in Egypt, Cyprus, and many Central and South American Countries.
Kitching’s free market advocacy and business interests overlapped, as they also did with his parenting duties, and also with his story-telling and pranks. In this ripper he tells of his run-ins with the Edufuhrer as he tried to school his children, with his own funds and teacher selection process. And in this gem he tells of how he found a copper ore body in the middle of a mining expo at a sports oval — note the nice political statement at the end of that one.
His book Understanding Personal & Economic Liberty was published in 2005. It is a great introduction to classical liberalism, and contains plenty of recommended reading and tips to finding books online. It is dedicated to Australia’s youth. (You can read Kitching’s brilliant introduction to the book here, which also has a link to where it can be purchased.)
He has been of great support and inspiration for me personally. It’s a pity Kitching couldn’t find anyone deserving of his impressive library: 27 boxes of books, including signed leather-bound Hayek and Hazlitt. But, rather than giving up, he has tried to force the issue, and hopefully one day Kitching’s faith will be justified. The library has been culled slightly and is housed at the Economics.org.au headquarters in Fox Studios, next to the SCG. There is 24-hour security, so bookings are essential.
Economics.org.au will make available online much of his work. Please feel free to share any of your memories of Kitching in the Comments section below, or email me it to post online or link.
In terms of his legacy, his phrase “Canberra Kremlin” ought to be in common usage. That would be a good start.
- Kitching for PM and other news
- Kitching on the Canberra Kremlin
- No Arbiter Superior to the Always Democratic Market
- Kitching at Large
- Kitching's Sensible Advice to Canberra
- Kitching on Hogan as Political Prisoner and more
- Kitching on His Election Defeat
- Kitching Unimpressed
- Kitching on the weather and more
- Kitching Corrects This Week's Socialists
- Kitching Condemns Kafkaesque Canberra Kremlin
- Capitalism, Coal, Dam and other Profanities
- Federation Has Failed and So Have States
- The Astronomical Tax Black Hole Asteroid Antidote
- Kitching on the money, proposes government rules foreign nations rather than their own
- Ronald Kitching introduces his book
- Teaching My Kids to Read and Write
- G&K Discover New Ore Bodies at Spear Creek
- Ronald Kitching Obituary
- R.I.P. Ron Kitching - pioneer, explorer, author, family man, entrepreneur, scholar
- All About Entrepreneurship
- Government Takes Over Milk Production
- Social Justice
- Ron Manners on the Workers Party
- Slaves of an omnipotent Public Service
- Why Sports Fans Should Be Libertarians
- Ron Manners’ Heroic Misadventures
- Government Schools Teach Fascism Perfectly
- Deport Government to Solve Immigration Problem
- The Drugs Problem Problem
- Self-Defeating Campaigning
- Gittinomics: Economics for Gits
- Exclusive Ross Gittins Interview on The Happy Economist
- Population Puzzle Solved
- An Open Letter to the CIS
- Principled Foreign Policy Options: Reinvade or Shut Up and Get Out
- WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Political Corruption Exposed!
- Feedback please: Is this worth doing?
- CIS and IPA Defend State Schooling
- A Thorough Review Without Spoilers of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
- Dead Reckoning and Government: A Proposal for Electoral Reform
- Quadrant Defends State Schooling
- The MPS 2010 Consensus
- Slogans for Property Rights Funeral
- Government is Impossible: Introduction
- Government is Criminal: Part 1
- Exclusive John Howard Interview on Lazarus Rising
- Response to Senator Cory Bernardi and the IPA
- Earn $$$$$ by Justifying Government Against Anarchocapitalism: Survey
- Statism is Secrecy: WikiLeaks vs Economics.org.au
- One question the Labor Party, the Liberal Party, the Greens, the CIS, the IPA, Ross Gittins, Ross Garnaut, Ken Henry, Gerard Henderson, John Quiggin, Clive Hamilton, Tim Flannery, Catallaxy Files, Club Troppo, Larvatus Prodeo, Phillip Adams, Robert Manne, Michael Stutchbury, Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt and Dick Smith are scared to answer
- Libertarian Philanthropists Should Exploit Tax Evasion Convictions
- Ronald Kitching Obituary
- The Minarchist Case for Anarchism
- Libertarianism in a 300-word rant
- Economics.org.au in the news again
- Libertarianism In An Executive Summary
- The Banking Bubble Blow-by-Blow
- WARNING: Libertarianism Is NOT ...
- Would Anything Possibly Convince You that You Are Living Under a Protection Racket?
- An Open Letter to Dick Smith
- Economics.org.au at 42
- "My boyfriend calls himself a Marxist and votes Labor, what should I do?"
- "He says if I leave him due to politics, I should leave the country too."
- No Booboisie at Gülçin’s Galt’s Gulch
- "Hey, Mr Anarchocapitalist, show me a society without government"
- The Three Epoch-Making Events of the Modern Libertarian Movement
- Government is Criminal: Part 2 - Methodological Individualism
- Government is Criminal: Part 3 - Subjective Utility
- Government is Criminal: Part 4 - Praxeological Synonyms
- Government is in a State of Anarchy
- Limited Government is Absolute Government
- Why the 2012 double Nobel laureate is coming to Sydney
- Exclusive Oliver Marc Hartwich Interview on Hans-Hermann Hoppe
- A Critique of the Opening Two Sentences of the "About CIS" Page on The Centre for Independent Studies' Website, www.cis.org.au
- An invitation for ANDEV members to the Mises Seminar
- Sell the ABC to Rupert Murdoch: Lid Blown on ABC Funding Disgrace!
- www.inCISe.org.au, The Centre for Independent Studies new blog
- The Unconstitutionality of Government in Australia (demonstrated in under 300 words)
- The Best Libertarian Film Is ...
- Launch Southeast Asian Military Operations to Free Australian Drug Dealers and Consumers
- Workers Party Reunion Intro
- Hoppe's Inarticulate Australian Critics: The Hon Dr Peter Phelps, Dr Steven Kates and James Paterson
- Vice Magazine Westralian Secession Interview
- Sideshow to Dr Steven Kates' criticism of the Mises Seminar: Davidson vs Hoppe on Adam Smith
- The Best Australian Think Tank Is ...
- Announcing a new magazine to rival Time and The Economist
- The exciting new Australian Taxpayers' Alliance
- Neville Kennard Obituary
- Contrarian Conformism
- An invitation for Dick Smith, the IPA and other Walter Block fans to the 2nd Australian Mises Seminar
- Westralian mining legend Ron Manners of Mannkal belongs in The Property and Freedom Society
- What would Bert Kelly think of the Mises Seminar and Walter Block?
- Bad news about the Mises Seminar
- Gina Rinehart Fan Club gives big to Australian political education
- Sam Kennard wins North Sydney by-election by unanimous consent