Beaconsfield: when mining leaves town [images]

The Beaconssfield mine finally closed its shaft after more than 100 years or operation in July last year, leaving 100 workers without a job.

Australian Mining visited Beaconsfield with camera in hand to document an historic mining town looking to its future.

DSC03022.jpgThe sun rises on a foggy summers morning in Beaconsfield township

DSC03017.jpgA local resident walks to the bus stop with the mine looming as a constant reminder.

DSC03010.jpgDSC03011-1.jpgBeaconsfield Garage, one of the many buildings for sale in the town. Property prices in Beaconsfield are low, with 3 bedroom houses for sale from under $150,000.

DSC03053.jpgDespite the mine's closure, there is still plenty of activity in Beaconsfield, with the town acting as a hub for the surrounding region. Residents have also been told the processing plant still has up to 6 years worth of ore to process.

DSC03023.jpgDSC03025.jpgThe mine itself is behind a large green fence, with abandonded machinery still  strewn across the site.

DSC03039.jpgA large gold nugget replica sits on the turnoff to the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre

DSC03073.jpgThe intense media scrutiny after the rockfall allowed the town to invest in the Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre, which is a major drawcard for tourists. Australian Mining visited the centre on a Monday morning, and there were around a dozen tourists wandering around.

DSC03081.jpgThe first thing that greets you on entering is the In-Out boad that featured in so many news reports.

DSC03083.jpgMine safety is major focus.

DSC03085.jpgDSC03090.jpgDSC03114-copy.jpgIt's One of the most confronting parts of the exhibit is the replica of the cage Brant Webb and Todd Russell were stuck in for all that time.  You can crawl into the pipe below and stick your head into the space. If gives you an idea of just how cramped the space was. You can't help but think make which would make even the most hardy of miners claustrophobic after a day or two, let alone two weeks!

DSC03103.jpgDSC03105.jpgDSC03107.jpgSome of the improvised tools used in the rescue.  

DSC03215.jpgA hologram show takes you through various aspects of the mine and the rescue. The content hasn't been updated since the mine closed, giveing the mine an almost eerie "newly dead" feeling.

DSC03113.jpgThe thank you wall signed by the Beaconsfield community.

DSC03130.jpgThe collapsed Grub Mine Shaft which was used to pump water out of the mine from 1905 to 1914.

DSC03177-1.jpgFacial hair was a necessity for mine managers at the turn of the century. 

 DSC03178.jpgA reminder of just how dangerous mining was, and still is.

DSC03180.jpgDSC03182.jpgThe tools on display remind us just how much mining has changed over the years. A far cry from laser powered surveying and heavy load dump trucks.

DSC03184.jpgA 3D model of the mine makes you realise just how much the Beaconsfield mine had grown in over 100 years of operation.

DSC03158-2.jpgThe now derelict conveyor

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