Calliope?s mining era returns to haunt town


CALLIOPE town is sitting on a vast network of shafts and tunnels from its gold-mining past.

Long-time resident Noeleen Watt said the old gold mine shafts crisscrossed beneath the town and it was conceivable a disaster similar to the recent unit collapse in Sydney could occur in Calliope.

She said one large shaft lay deep beneath the surface, passing under the Dawson Highway and shops and houses in the centre of the township. Another shaft extended toward the cemetery.

'When there is heavy rain, the water follows in the shafts and fills the pony club grounds in the town,' she said.

Mrs Watt said rain in the 1970s caused a minor collapse of the CWA Hall.

She said with so many mine shafts and tunnels, and with heavier structures being built these days, a collapse into the tunnels was becoming more likely.

She said the mines were extensive and some still contained the boards that the pit ponies trod on while hauling gold ore.

Another resident and Calliope Shire Councillor, Carolyne Vickery, said minor collapses had occurred at her own Muirhead Street home in the past. Her home is near one of the mine entrances.

'The last one, in 2002, occurred while the council was putting sewerage in,' she said.

'One house post sank about one-and-a-half metres into the ground.' Most of the collapses happened dur-ing heavy rain.

Cr Vickery said the presence of the mine shafts was well known in the town.

The Calliope Shire Council said the Department of Natural Resources had provided it with some maps indicating the existence and the whereabouts of the mines, but urged any further enquiries to be directed to the DNR.

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