Central Deborah Mine, Bendigo – underground

Central Deborah Gold Mine operated from 1939-1954 and extracted 929kg of gold, which would be worth about $50 million today.
From website

Above ground.


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.

Cage - 2

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.

Ladder by cages

That's the alternative way up/down when the cages aren't available. Much fun if you're half a kilometre down.

I have to use the flash down here.


Otherwise it will all look like this, which would get a bit boring.


We have lamps on the hats. The miners had carbide lights:

Calcium carbide + water = acetylene gas

Gas comes out the nozzle. Light the gas. Light!

And a fairly reliable, robust light source too, it seems. It could also work as indicator of the amount of oxygen present, they tell me, because the flame changed colour when the O2 level dropped off.

Narrow mine

This is a part of the mine that hasn't been widened to accommodate tour groups. Not unlike the convict-built tunnel from the old abandoned water scheme, although dug out with better equipment and less deaths.


The basic process is the same. Drill holes into the rock

Drill - holes

stick explosives into the holes. Hide.


That's old-style familiar style of reinforcing "bad rock".


The replacment method is to shove metal "spikes" in, which then IIRC expand. There's one above the quartz vein.

Of course gold mining is all about the quartz, because that is where the gold is.

Ladder down

Right, down to the next level. There were two-three ladders to climb down


Then a sort of sub-level.


Then another two-three ladders to climb down.

Ladder up

Another seam of quartz.

Quartz dark

Quartz vein in more normal light (i.e. no flash.)


Bringing air into the tunnels.


Now this thing had a name, but of course I've forgotten it. The loose rock was dropped down here into the cart, rather than having to take the cart to the site of mining/lug the rock down to the cart.

This is a very noisy, vibrating machine that I have forgotten the name of. This annoys me muchly.

Cage - 3

That's the entrance to the cage for level 3. See it looks wet there. It was like that underfoot a lot, even though the photos look dry, and in other places it was uneven. So it "Watch underfoot" all the time, and "Watch your head" at the same time.

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