|So on a trip up the Stuart highway we found a convenient road sign labelled "Warrego Mines" and one next to it "Mine Closed". It seemed to good to be true, I mean given what the authorities seem to think about abandoned stuff in general, but it was only 50km out, so off we went. Turns out there was a mine at the end of the road, and it was abandoned, and it was fucking huge! Score!|
The Warrego Mine operated from the 1950s up until 1989 when it closed for good. There appears to have been tailing and ore processing going on until 1999 however.
The place was so big the decision was made to camp for the night before setting off in the morning to actually explore the place properly.
Camp for the night was in an abandoned miners shed just a bit down the road, in what is officially designated as the "Warrego Fossicking Area"
The next day it was up nice and early for a day of exploring.
The underground mechanical workshop made a great parking space, and kept the vehicle out of sight, as we weren't sure exactly how much security was around (it was none)
The headframe was absolutely huge, you can see it from quite a few k's away as you drive towards it. It felt like Christmas seeing that pop up on the horizon and then realizing it was actually accessible.
Looking down in the workshop from the top of the head frame.
Looking out across the rest of the site towards the cyanide and ore processing plants. From what we could gather the site had been decommissioned and then quite a lot of equipment was auctioned off or demolished. The cyanide plant seemed mostly untouched, but there was a lot missing from the ore processing area.
Warning on the side of the head frame ore hopper. The main shaft was directly underneath us, but with our lack of rope and gear we were unable to explore it further. I would hazard a guess, based on the geo surveys we found in some of the offices that it is extremely deep and the sheer amount of rope needed to drop it would make things difficult.
We came off the headframe and headed for the admin offices, they had been trashed, as was to be expected, but there was a heap of old exploration plans and reports and other fun stuff.
Most interesting were the A0 size geological survey maps, showing the mine workings in the 1990s.
A basic site map that we used to orient ourselves. Later on we found plans for the small township that was built, as being in a remote area the workers all had to live somewhere. It was fairly impressive and included a bowling green, tennis courts and even a drive in cinema. Unfortunately almost all of it has been demolished, just the streets remain.
Base of the headframe and beginning of the main shaft.
A shot of the headframe with the mechanical workshop on the left
After a quick break, it was time to head over to the ore processing plant. Unfortunately the place had been pretty well pulled apart/sold off
Inside was a huge jumble of machinery and junk.
Some of the control rooms were fairly well preserved though.
There was, as far as we could gather, a small gold smelting room in this building, but it was locked up tight, and inside a large metal cage, so we couldn't access it unfortunately.
Looking across the gangway at the very top of the ore plant.
Motivational sign inside the ore plant.
After lunch, it was off to the cyanide plant, this appeared to have been active much more recently, and was in fairly good shape.
There were a lot of stairs and fun gangways to climb. I'm guessing this plant operated for quite a little while after the main mine closed.
The place was a maze of tanks and pipework, the tanks are open at the top and have these giant fan like agitators in them.
Pretty interesting looking stuff! The control rooms were still fairly intact too.
There were even markers to write on the whiteboard with!
Looking towards the settling ponds.
All in all, the place was pretty fun explore, its certainly large, although parts of it aren't in the best shape. There is also quite a lot of chemicals and junk scattered around, and the place smells super funky. Still its not often you get to explore a site of this size without issue.
To get an idea for the size of the place, have a look at the video below, this was the drive from our parking spot in the mechanical shed, out to the entrance to the site itself. I've sped it up 2x.
[last edit 11/5/2014 3:32 PM by kontour - edited 1 times]
|Cool stuff! I bet the shaft and workings would be nifty. No ladders in the shaft? They often have a manway (smaller compartment with ladders) next to the main shaft compartment, in case of emergency. Deeper mines will often have a 2nd shaft somewhere as well, for emergencies and for ventilation. It won't always have a headframe so might be harder to spot. |
Turn off the internet and go play outside.
|Had both a manway with ladders and a second shaft, but both were locked shut with metal trapdoors. Plus there is no way I would even think about descending on a ladder of unknown integrity into a 200m shaft. One day I'll get back there with my SRT kit! |
It sounds like the type of place you might find Mick Taylor from Wolf Creek ;)
FacialBook is killing online forums.
|Definitely a fantastic sounding/looking day! Thanks for sharing. |
"When it rains, just find bigger drains."
|What a great trip report! Sure, everyone wants to get underground but a site like that has so much interesting stuff to explore, you could spend a couple of days just on the above ground stuff. We've "camped" inside big mine buildings before and it's really great. Especially the weekend it decided to rain most of the time. Well done!|
"Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem." Ronald Reagan
|Oh hells yes.|
We don't see enough of anything from down under.
Thanks for sharing.
Do I spy an FJ-80 lurking there?
Science flies you to the Moon. Religion flies you into tall buildings.
|Posted by DevilC|
Do I spy an FJ-80 lurking there?
Sure is! Her name is Izzy.
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