We Struck gold!
The Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine is still found just off the main street, and can be explored on a guided tour deep underground. The mine was originally built in 1865, with around four miles of tunnels and chambers dug into the rock about 150 meters below ground. During its operation, the mine produced over 13 tons of gold, which at today’s prices would represent a value of around $50 million. A tour through the mine gives visitors an understanding of what life underground would have been like for those early mine workers.
A highlight of a visit to this area is a trip on the Goldfields Railway, which runs between nearby Thompson and Walhalla. The railway and train has been restored to its 1900s' condition by volunteers, who now operate train rides on a limited timetable on weekends and holidays. The line winds through steep alpine country, criss-crossing the Thompson River and adjoining Stringer’s Creek. Tall Victorian mountain ash trees cast shadows over the sheer rock walls which line the train’s route along the creek.
The locals who work on the railway are more than happy to have a chat about “all things train" or to act as group photographer for a family photo. They know everything there is to know about this area and the fortunes of the railway, from its close call with a military explosives test in the 1950’s, right through to its restoration in the early 1990’s. The goal of this dedicated group is to eventually extend their beloved trainline right through to the town of Erica.
Research Task: Interview a local person in your own region who has some knowledge of trains - record the interview by hand using notes or on a tape recorder.
Writing Task: Transpose your questions and answers into written format so they can be shared with others in the ESL class.