Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Travelling North Day 5 Pt A

This picture is taken from our room looking south towards the mullock heap that divides the town. Just below the motel sign is the Broken Earth Cafe and to the left a memorial to miners killed while on the job. I believe in unions for workers and you only have to go through the hundreds of names in the memorial and how they died to realise how important unions were in changing work conditions for miners, to what now is still far from a safe environment. Some of them were just twelve year old kids. In the 1920's a new cause of death appeared on the list, electrocution.
Along the road to Silverton is a turn off to Daydream Mine. Seven kilometres of rough gravel road and getting out to open and shut gates brought us to this home like construction where we were offered a Devonshire Tea for a couple of dollars more that the price of the mine tour. There was actually a town here once, complete with hotels and prostitutes, but only a few remnants remain.

The mine tour was supposed to take an hour, but our guide Jason was very chatty and I guess it took ninety minutes. We strapped on a battery pack to power our lamps on our helmets and down we went in a group of ten or so. It was very interesting, although a level of fitness was required. We went down to the third level, the fourth being flooded by groundwater for the first time in many years. Jason was clearly passionate about the mine and I would say not unattractive. It just made the tour that extra bit good.

Being a ten year old child miner already with emphysema and coughing up blood sounds like fun though hey. One miner's daughter died of typhoid and he took her a few kilometres to Silverton to be buried and by the time he returned, his other daughter had come down with typhoid and also died. The real survivors were those who only drank alcohol and not the polluted water.



This is a view of the house of Jason and his parents who run the mine and the mine we went down on the left. They don't live on site at the mother's insistence, but in Broken Hill. I can highly recommend this mine tour at $20. Just before the mine, built into the side of a hill are the remains of a huge smelter. The plants are salt bush and blue bush. There was a cold wind blowing, but the summer temperature can get to 48 degrees.

With some skilful planning and good luck, we did not have to do any gate on the way out. Next stop, Silverton.

2 comments:

  1. r they scones? YUMMMMMMM!

    Keshi.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There were Keshi and light as air they were too. Tea drunk from an enamelled mug is extra nice too.

    ReplyDelete

Whenever I wish I was young again, I am sobered by memories of algebra.