First Day in Broken Hill – The Daydream Mine

After the long train journey and the nightmare of no taxis at the station we still managed to get a good night’s sleep. (Dani always has a good sleep!) Which was just as well as we were up and out early for a busy first day in Broken Hill.

Daydream Mine

When I asked Dani if he wanted to visit a mine his eyes lit up. He plays that stupid Minecraft game whenever he gets the chance – which would be never if left up to me! – so he naturally thought visiting a real mine would be great.

The Daydream mine is about half an hour out of Broken Hill. The name comes from one of the  early miners digging away to reveal a large deposit of silver, some five feet tall. He thought he must be daydreaming.

It was the first silver mine in the area and ceased being an active mine  years ago. It began in 1881 before the formation of the Broken Hill Proprietary company (better known as BHP). The current owners do allow tourists to go down into part of the mine however so this was a must see in an area famed for mining.

The tour starts with a walk around the surface and a look at how the miners used to live.

Daydream Mine Tea Room and shop
The original miners lived in tiny houses like this. Some with their families.

One of the old shafts
Surface tour

We were obliged to wear those bloody face masks because of this infernal covid crap. There is no way those things can be any good for you. They make breathing almost impossible. Still on we went…

An unintentionally dramatic photo…
Recent rain had brought out some greenery…
Fitting out to go underground

Going Underground…

After being kitted out with a hard hat complete with miners lamp we were ready to go underground.

Ready to descend
Mine shafts built for his size…

We were only allowed to go several hundred feet below the surface but that was enough. Although it was only a short trip inside the mine Dani loved it. It lived up to his expectations I think. You can still see silver deposits in the rock but mines like this are uneconomical as the price of silver is now too low to make it viable. That has been the case for quite some time.

Dani helps out by very dim candle-light

The kid definitely enjoyed being asked to help out in a demonstration of how they used to use some of the tools. Although the picture (above) is not very good he was actually holding and turning a bolster while the tour guide was hammering it into the rock. Those were the same lighting conditions the early miners would have had.

Down in level 3.

If the tunnels in the mine look like they were made for someone of Dani’s size it is because they were. Kids as young as 8 years old worked in these mines. In fact, slightly more recently,  Dani’s great grandfather (of the same name) went to work down a coal mine when he was only fourteen  years of age. That was the age they used to leave school in those days. Kids today eh? They don’t know they are born…

Almost incredible…

For me the most amazing thing about this place (and others like it) is how the hell they happened to come across this particular piece of land all those years ago and discover anything. Never mind discover metals worth mining and actually produce something form it! Sheer luck? Or what? Because even now it is still very remote, tucked away in a valley, yet founded by miners from Cornwall in England’s south west. There would have been no roads nor dirt paths back then to get anywhere near this spot never mind the rest. It is difficult to get my head around it all.

Some of the old gear used down here
Souvenir for Dani. An old tin tea mug.

And that was just the morning of our first day in the Broken Hill area…. I got the feeling that this was going to be a great trip…

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