Sunday, 9 September 2012

Spring landscapes in mining country

This Sunday we travelled out to Creswick and to Scotchman's Lead looking at energy efficient houses along the  BREAZE trail.
The goldminers left their mark everywhere around here - land stripped and degraded, tons of quartz mined out of the deep leads, hundreds of mullock heaps. There's a mullock heap, top right, in the hazy spring light here at the back of Creswick.

The house we saw here was just near the old Berry and Australasian mines, so we stopped off at the memorial to the miners who died in the 1882 New Australasian Mine disaster. One of Australia's worst, with 22 men lost when water flooded into the deep mine.

There's not much left of the mine or the enormous heaps of earth and rubble from the mine, and very few quartz boulders like this holding the memorial tablet. Most of the quartz from the mines went off to make roads, streets and railways around Victoria.

Just one or two big heaps are kept on here as part of a heritage zone.

  Then off we went  to Scotchman's Lead, south of Ballarat, where mining ruins lie everywhere.

Old tracks and bridges, the stumps of brick or stone mine works and gorse growing on the rough ground.

Wherever you are, on grassy verges in the towns, in the paddocks and the bush outside, you walk over fragments of crushed white quartz.

Click on these pictures and have a good look.