Stabilising various structures on

                    the abandoned Lake George Mines site

 

What a great topic for a Blog!

This Blog is Mara Herba's day to day setting out of the works done on some of the structures remaining at the long abandoned Lake George Mines site at Captains Flat.  Some of this work is being done on the property Mikulov which was bought by Mara's parents (Alois and Vanda Mikula) after the Mine closed down in 1963.

Writing a Blog is something I have wanted to do for some time  - I only needed a topic to work with.  One reason for doing this is so that my family and those of you who have spent some time here at Mikulov are able to follow the progress of the work and recognise some of the structures from the pictures included.

Check the progress from time to time through the pictures and writings as I add them in chronological order below.  I consider this Blog to be a work in progress  -  writing it fills in some of those cold winter evenings when it is just too dark to be outdoors with the dogs.

This Blog has a lot of pictures so may take some time to download. Click on each picture to see a larger size of it.

 

8 March  2006

 

 

The first indication that work was going to start soon was the appearance of signs like this one in early March 2006.

The work was done by the Soil Services wing of the NSW State Government Department of Lands

Then came metres of safety tape  -   identifying those dangerous sections which we had been clambering over for years

 

 

The base of the chimney had been blasted to

topple it back in 1963.  It has since been

slowly crumbling - any thought of moving it

now will cause a total disintegration.

 

 

This view westwards between the processing bins would soon be changed - lost if not forever, at least until the work here ends

23 March 2006

This picture shows a part of the row of 5 processing bins.  As well as the sign letting us all know that something is about to happen right out there, a back hoe has arrived to start the first part of the work.

To remove (or at least reduce) the chance of damaging the large, expensive and heavy equipment which started arriving in the third week of March, every piece of rusting and twisted metal was cut off at ground level and piled up. 

A real bonanza for the local scrap metal collector!

Cleaning out leached salts

One part of the work concentrated on cleaning up years of leached mineral salts from the walls and the floor of the concrete area beneath the 5 surge bins.  The pictures below cover this work in sequence.

The picture on the right was taken prior to 1977 - before the first round of rehabilitation work commenced.

We thought the backhoe was just right for the job!

Here it is backed in under the processing bins.

 

The backhoe brought a smaller sized friend - a Bobcat

These two pieces of machinery were used to clean the accumulated debris and leached materials from the floor beneath the processing bins.  Removing the aging mineral salts (iron and copper) was one step on the long road to rehabilitation, cleaning up and making the old mine site safe.

This picture shows the mud, silt and slush beneath the bins - removing this thick layer was one of the very first jobs.  To think we used to scramble through it as children - we remember how our shoes stuck fast - often the next step was taken by a bare foot as the mud refused to relinquish that shoe.

The Bobcat was maneuverable enough to shift most of the sludge banked up around the concrete columns.

The images below may be the last ones available which depict what this sludgy area looked like

23 March 2006

The southern corner with silted pools on the floor and walls leaking mineral residue salts

 

close up of  iron salts leached through joints in the concrete walls

planks left behind and coated in sulphates

 

These were pulled out and burned (see here)

Let the clean up work commence! 

And when the "Big Guns" of mechanical machinery were unable to complete the job, the team resorted to the faithful, tried and true, tool.

Yes, this tool was needed for the fine work in corners and crannies.

There is not a much more subtle piece of equipment than a mattock  -  that is one thing I can verify from experience as well.

When the sludge had been scraped out, concrete blocks were placed to make low walls which would prevent any movement of water into or out of the area.

Go to another page to see a sequence of this work as it was done.  Click here

The openings at the base of each surge bin were cleaned out (mostly by removing logs or concrete blocks which had been dropped in to block them).

This was done to allow clean gravel to be dropped into each bin and to flow through the opening and mound up sufficiently to prevent any more solid material to spill out.

 

 

There was some question, and a lot of speculation, about whether the main adit  still existed. 

 

This was the main horizontal entrance through which miners walked to get to the rock face at the start of each shift.

 

Had the concrete Lake George Mines sign been blown?  Or merely bulldozed in to make any further entry impossible?

 

The men from the Department were determined to find out  -  one way or the other!

Click here for more pictures

This is the entrance being searched for

5 April 2006  -  what the area looked like  -  the same concrete staircase is still there at the left

6 April 2006

The big rig gets to work bright and early - ably handled by Tony

Railway lines set in to the concrete base verified that the location of the digging was correct

 

Tony found a concrete lip, and then carefully unearthed the letter M

This early sign buoyed hopes of finding the entrance intact and whole Here Tony cleans out the Big M

Once the sign was cleaned off, more speculation about what lay behind the piles of dirt blocking the entrance.  Here Graham O'Connor has dug a small hole on the left hand side and has camera and torch close by.

A camera was pointed through the hole and this is one of the snaps  -  digital technology helped us see the interior almost immediately

Quietly celebrating the revelation of the adit entrance are Scott Brooks, Graham O'Connor, Tony & Allan Brown

The picture at the end of 6 April 2006

Which remained until early May

 

2 May 2006

A delivery of concrete Besser blocks foreshadowed the next change in the landscape of the adit

A bustle of activity as the final blocking of the adit commenced

Graham O'Connor and Mike start building the first wall - about 1 metre in from the entrance

A final snapshot of the tunnel interior

The adit sealed by two concrete walls - this is the picture which greeted the world from 4 May 2006