At its peak, Central Deborah Gold Mine reached a depth of 412 metres. It has 17 separate levels and 15 kilometres of drives and cross cuts (tunnels). The Central Deborah was very much a hands-on mine and the conditions that the miners worked in would be considered shocking by today's standards – being lowered underground in a cage with only two sides, often working ankle to knee deep in water, filling up to 32 ore trucks a shift by hand which were then pushed a mile or more along rails in the drives, working by carbide lamp, breathing in the fumes and rock dust and communication by bells. Geez, they were ironmen. However, at the time working conditions were considered to be among the best on the goldfields at Central Deborah, after all it was one of the only mines that had hot showers. From website
Partly crushed quartz containing gold was fed into the back of these battery boxes along with a steady flow of water. In operation, the large stampers, which life and drop about 90 times a minutes, crushed the quartz into a fine sad. Mercury, or quicksilver as it was called, was placed in the bottom of the battery box to take up most of the gold.
As the finely crushed material washed through the sieves, or screens, in the front of the battery box, gold that escaped was caught on a mercury-coated copper plate. Any fine gold that happened to get past the plate was caught in the blanket material on the lower end of the plate table. All the finally crushed material was then washed onto the Wilfey[?] shaking table. The shaking action of the table separated minerals such as iron pyrites, and others, away form the quartz.
CARBIDE LIGHT ROOM
Carbide lights were used extensively underground by miners. Refillings lights with carbide was done in this room, which was equipped with special light fittings and switches to prevent sparks. By combining carbide and water acetylene, a flammable gas was produced to create a flame. The carbide was stored in air tight drums to ensure that no dangerous explosives were generated.
Replica tents in the Chinese Camp at the Sovereign Hill open air museum.
This water cart has two points of interest on the back. On the left is an information panel and on the right is an opening that lets you look inside.
The panel says:
This water cart was used at the Tasmania Mine to spray the mine year to rest the dust. The driver could operate the release valves with a foot lever.
The draught horse pulling the cart must have been a powerful animal as the tank held amost a tonne (1000kg) of water!
"Built in 1860 to store the gunpowder used in goldmining, the powder magazine was designed to minimise the risk of exploding. Only copper fittings were used, an elaborate lightning rod was fitted and people entering had to wear special shoes. Should an explosion have occurred, the design of the build would direct the blast safely upwards. The magazine was closed in 1918 and fell into decay. The roof was removed to stop vagrants sleeping there and it was almost demolished. The National Trust restored the building in 1966."
"Beechworth Powder Magazine was constructed in 1859 by T Dawson and Company. In 1857 the Victorian Government passed an act to regulate the importation, carriage and custody of black powder which led to the construction of several Powder Magazines throughout Victoria. According to the National Trust, the Beechworth Powder Magazine is the best example in Victoria of this particularly important building type.
The architecture of the building features a classical style in the tradition of the early colonial military buildings. It is constructed in local granite and includes sever safety precautions within the structure which directs a potential explosion upwards to minimise damage.
The Powder Magazine was no longer being used by the end of the 19th century and was officially closed in 1918 and abandoned. Neglected for many years, the building was left to decline until the 1960's when local interest was raised and a restoration process began. In 1965, the project was formally adopted by the National Trust and opened to public access."
Central Deborah Gold Mine operated from 1939-1954 and extracted 929kg of gold, which would be worth about $50 million today.
Tour starts here.
So we travel down in the cage to level 2, and then down ladders to level 3, which is 85.3 m below ground (just belong the horizontal line there). That doesn't sound very far. You can see it goes down a long way beyond that, although I'm told these days levels 15-17 are under water.
There's two gates there, a cage goes down on one side while another goes up on the other.
"Stand up against the side and face in."
There were four people in there when we went down. Very squishy. They told me these things are suppose to hold 6, or was it 8?, people. All I can say is they must have really liked each other.