Please accept my sincerest and most humble apologies? as it has been bought to my attention that my last post neglected to inform you, kind readers of our latest folly.
When we returned from our grand tour of Silverton the driver had noticed that yet another tyre had gone flat on the ol? bouncey-bus. This led to a certain little fella rolling around in the dirt – yet again. No sooner had he assumed the position than a posse of fellow travellers materialised from the surrounding vans.
And as luck would have it, every single one of them was an expert!
After removing the wheel, the advisory team quickly determined the cause to be yet another steel rim with a tiny crack in the weld. Several theories were spouted which resulted in the driver having to partake in lengthy discussions. As you can imagine, this led to quite a thirst being developed and they were all soon enjoying a brew or two together.
The next morning we decided not to risk driving bounce so unloaded our trusty scooter and set off to tour the old Daydream Mine, an excursion that had been heartily recommended by our new friends. It was quite breezy out on the open road and we were grateful for our jackets, gloves and scarves. But in hindsight, perhaps we should have worn our thermals as well?
We followed the turnoff to the mine, riding for at least half an hour along a rough, rutted and often quite boggy road. Suddenly all my childhood pony club experiences came flooding back. After the recurring visions of a shetland pony rolling in the mud while I clung to the saddle subsided, I was soon expertly ?rising to the trot? as we approached each ditch and furrow. It was quite a workout and if nothing else, upon my return from this trip I should be sporting some rather well toned calves!
We rode past kangaroos and emus and through two cattle station gates before the ruins of another long gone mining town came into view complete with a monolithic stone smelter. This structure took an army of stonemasons over four years to build by hand.
After donning our hard hats and battery packs we joined the first tour of the day led by Jeremy, the son of the current leaseholders. He and his brother had grown up exploring the several hundred metres of underground tunnels as if it was their local playground. So he had plenty of interesting tales to tell.
The Daydream had once been one of the most profitable silver mines in the world. A team of eight year-old boys had been employed to sort through the rubble that was extracted. The adult miners worked twelve-hour days underground without a break. It was really an incredible feat when you consider that the only equipment provided were picks, hammers and the highly explosive black powder. The miners had to provide their own candlelight. There was no safety gear at all, not even helmets. Accidents, injuries and deaths were so common that a miner was lucky to live beyond the age of twenty-five only to die from lung disease by thirty.
As we emerged from the mine, one little lad in our group announced ?well that was an adventure? and with that we all trooped over to the caf? to enjoy delicious homemade scones with jam and cream together with a lukewarm cup of stale coffee. Mmm!
That night we shared sundowners with our friendly neighbours by their campfire. Another day, another memorable Daydream!