One of the Many Reasons I am not an Underground Miner!

“And nothing’s as precious, as a hole in the ground”

Blue Sky Mining – Midnight Oil

Gary contemplates the Mount Isa Skyline, pleased to be back above ground


The photograph shows me as close to an underground mine as I ever want to work! Today’s three hours underground at the Hard Times Mine, a dummy mine especially dug to show tourists what mining was like, was enough to convince me that miners are worth every dollar they get. I can recommend the tour highly – all the guides are ex miners – Bill was ours and he had spent more than 30 years working on level 19 as a supervisor and then had spent 3 years building the exhibit, which was very realistic and must have cost millions to build.

There is more than anyone could ever want to know about Mount Isa Mine here

The real underground mine, just across town and up the hill, has 34 levels, each 60 metres apart making it the deepest mine in Australia  (1800 m) and one of the deepest in the world. If you hear that miners work in air-conditioned machinery, that is because the temperature outside is 65 degrees C! The water that continually tries to flood the mine is so hot it would scald you. This water is pumped continually up to it’s own lake on the fifth level to be recycled for use in the mine. This lake is big enough to need its own boat. Underground is like a city with roads, enormous workshops, storage facilities, railway lines, massive machinery , 200 Toyota diesel utes and a lift that can move nearly 200 workers from 20 levels (1200 m) in 60 seconds. That’s a fast way to get to work!

The mine runs on a permanent double 12-hour shift – 12 hours is a long time to spend illuminated artificially. One thing that hasn’t changed much is the tiny light on a miner’s helmet, except they now need a 12 hour instead of an 8 hour battery.

I like the sunshine too much myself – I will leave the underground to the dwarves, because after-all even Gandalph feared the deep mines of Moria because “The Dwarves delved too greedily and too deep…”




7 thoughts on “One of the Many Reasons I am not an Underground Miner!

  1. Happy Birthday Mum. Hope your having a nice day.

    I’m going to try calling today some time but thought I’d leave a message in case your out of phone service. I assume your still in Mt Isa but am not 100%.

    Talk soon,

  2. Happy birthday Mum. Hello mum and Dad.

    This is my first opportunity to read your blog since you guys left. Today is my first day off in about 12. We just finished smash week which involved about 16 hour days and lots of yelling and screaming. The most frustrating thing about Army these days during an induction week is the instructor cant make a trainee do push ups as a punishment any more. What I can do though is when an individual doesn’t perform a task to the required standard or just acts inappropriately I put the whole platoon on the drill square and drill them until they die. Group punishments are a good way of encouraging teamwork.

    So far Dad I haven’t spotted any spelling mistakes but I will continue to keep my eyes open. Hope you are enjoying yourselves. Talk to you later.

    Love Dan, Kylie and kids

    • Thanks for the message guys – Mum has read. We have had a good days travel and lovely time with Jono, Grace, kids, Bob & Norma. Keep reading the blog – tell Kylie I need some stirring comments

  3. G’day there Gary and Julie, been reading your blog with great interest, would like to do something simular one day, a bit sad that you got a Ford in front of an A’Van though………LOL. A statesman would have looked the part even if it were an older one………..A really good read and great photos, thankyou so much…………………Phil,Janet and boys.

    • Great to hear from you Phil/Janet & boys – fellow caravaners from way back. I am in Camooweal with Bob & Norma plus Jono & Grace plus Peter & Alison Muller, just back from 10 weeks in North Western Australia where we are going – lots to tell us. After we leave Katherine we will be in unfamiliar territory. A Statesman would have to be a V8 – I was always a Holden man until 2002 but the 6 cyclinder Ford is a better towing platform than the current Holden IMO. Keep in contact on the blog – I love to hear from people

  4. No good for me as I am scared of the dark, but I am fascinated by Australia’s mining history, growing up in Newcaslte. Sounds really interesting and worthwhile. Not sure if this is a blog or a “to do list for others”. 🙂 It’s great though, I look forward to seeing what you guys have been up to.

    Hope you are keeping well. And those early morning photography sessions aren’t harming your health (or the relationship!) I hope you let Julie sleep in!

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