Well it seems that the coffs boys have opened a can of worms by looking for old mines in their spare time. In the last mine story we had been exploring Beacon just west of Coffs. In october Ray and Kev took a local school out here on a field day as they were studing gold and our local history- so we combined the two.
The kids had a ball, walking the old tramway, peering into the mines,looking down shafts climbing over the old boilers and imangining how life was,and Ray was even more excited showing the kids !!ln our search for bigger and better things we have extended our search a few kms west ( and i really mean only a few kays). As reported in my first mine story there is an estimated 130 mines around the coffs area and we are slowly ticking them off our list but just recently we have been blown away with some amazing mine discoverys. With info we get in the shop and a a few old books we are pretty much able to pin point with a GPS and map an area in which the mines lie.
So this has led me to an area called Moleton- around 25kms west of coffs. Here there are several groups of mines called Waratah,Advance and Daydawn groups.Within these groups there are quite a few individual named mines. The day started off by finding an old grave,only had instructions like look for the big log on the left,go to the mark in the tree,then 30 feet away you will see the grave !!!. They were spot on. Next on the list was finding the Waratah group, we had to travel a full 300 metres down the road before the GPS went off. he marks were spot on, found drives,shafts and quite a few pits. Tick number two.
Next was what they called the Advance group. Got a bit of a heads up as about 3 km down the road there is an old track called Advance road-woohoo !!. A lot of these tracks are pretty overgrown, but still visable. Wasnt long before we spotted quite a few mullock dumps ( all the rubbish rock they pull out of the mines).
So it was a scramble up the bank to stand amongst a lot of pits and piles. A great score here was a boarded over mine that was still in pretty good nick complete with old ladders and boarded up sides. A few pics and we on our way. The next gully to the north held a few more mines in the Daydawn Group, so we headed over there to see if the day could get any better. We pretty much worked blind for this one as there are conflicting names for these mines and because these areas get logged regulaly tracks shoot off everywhere( no we didnt get lost ).The main track soon closed in so it was decided to explore on foot and what a find we found !!!.
This mine ( Mary May, part of the DayDawn Group), was awesome. It follows a major fault in the earth so this is where the shafts fall. We discovered 3 extremely deep shaft that drop down as far as you can see, with timber ladders and platforms making their way down to around 15>20 metres. There are mullock heaps here,old bits of machinery,pits and a major drive, for bringing the rubble out.This area just blew us away.We ended the day here, clocking up 7km down this road finding the grave and 3 major mines.Several weeks before this we were told of a mine that was still been worked around 1980,was still safe enough to walk in and had quite a bit of equipment around. This is called the Illaboo mine. Ray was lucky enough to find this one after some fruitless walking in the next valley, but definatily a bonus when he did.
We discovered an old tractor here,a shaker for sorting the rocks, and the mine maze is mindblowing. Inside we found old ladders that are rusting away into the earth,waterfilled shafts that seem to go down around 20 with ladders still in place. There are offshoots of drives that go in every direction following the quartz seams, some are lost and some go another 15 feet skywards. The Illaboo mine was set on 3 levels that link up with shafts that are reportedly 49 meters deep. This find was great.Just to top it off there is another group called The Matilda Group of mines.
We visited here just to have poke around the pits,mullock heap,look for drives and even look around for the odd ( about 9) shaft. But we discovered an earth fault tha hid an amazing area that was in near perfect condition. Ray and myself scrambled down the 20 metre drop like spider monkeys on a vine ( I really saw where the evolution of man came from when Ray climbed down !!!), it was like entering a different world. We climbed over a few rocks then the mine opened up to around 10 feet high,8 feet wide and must of gone on for 80 odd metres. The timber props in here were in perfect condition as no moisture was able to get in here to rot the timbers. But it got better AGAIN !!!.
There was another shaft that dropped down into the darkness to around 15 metres with straight solid cut walls through hard rock before it seemed to level out. Only the small bats flying around knew what was down there. I have posted some clips on u tube looking down into these mines and plenty of other photos on photobucket, links below.