Daydream Mine, Silverton

It’s 2012. We turn off the made road and take the 6 kilometres of unmade road out to the Daydream Mine, the drive alone is worthwhile as it really does have an outback feel, what with the red dusty road, the saltbush and rocky outcrops one could wander around here for hours. We arrive at a ramshackle disarray of diggings and rusting equipment. There is an old corrugated iron house, with pressed metal ceilings which serves as the office, cum souvenir shop, cum tea rooms. The fly wire door makes that wonderful twang sound as we enter.Seventy dollars lighter, a group of us follow our guide Kev (the boss) around the various aspects of the mine site as he describes the vegetation, powder store and the short lives of miners. The miners used to sleep sitting up, because their lungs were too damaged (by lead and dust) to allow them to sleep horizontally. The mine was originally worked by Cornish miners who had traipsed all the way up from South Australia when the copper ran out at Burra, it was begun in 1882 and closed in 1983. We then don helmets, hook on our lights and battery packs and scramble down into the mine in a crab like fashion. We all thank our helmets constantly as there is only four feet of headroom in some places, those miners must have been midgets. It was a great tour, we saw outcrops of silver and Kev explained a lot of the whys and wherefores of mining both past and present, heavily interspersed with his views on world politics and economics. I guess he was something of an underground taxi driver! Back on the surface we wolf into tea and hot scones inside the cool of the tea rooms grateful that we don’t have to work below.

Google Maps, Silverton

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