Peak Hill Open Cut Gold Mine
The Proprietary Pit, the largest of the five , now has a black lake of groundwater in it which is full of iron leached from the ground. The coloured walls are caused by oxidised iron.
We got set up to leave and went to dump the septic water, only for Barry to discover there was also a hose reel and soft brush for washing your vehicle. He was ecstatic as the vehicles have been covered in splattered mud for several days since we encountered some roadworks. It has been driving him nuts – so we spent the next hour cleaning them both. At least with us doing it together we managed without getting soaked ourselves. When we finally left it was midday!
We were going to Dubbo but were making a stop at Peak Hill on the way. The Peak Hill Open Cut Gold Mine is a set of free trails that take you past one or all of the five pits, depending on how long you like your walks! As you go there are a few historic mine workings and remnants of equipment to learn about. The gold was originally mined by underground methods, in 1889 when it was discovered, but then the mine closed in 1917 when the yield didn’t warrant the cost of mining. It had produced about $400,000 worth of gold altogether.
In 1996, it was re-opened but this time
The Big Fish Fossil Hut, Peak Hill
This fearsome fish was a 4.5 metre long Xiphactinus Audax found in Kansas, USA.
as an open cut mine, using blasting to break up the rock and creating a huge pit and carting it away for processing. We walked partway around the biggest, Proprietary Pit, where the main gold-bearing ore body had been. They mined it for five years and produced a pit about 400 metres long and 80 metres deep (they didn’t tell us how much gold they got with the new company!). The pit now has a black lake of water in the bottom, which is groundwater that has leached the iron out of the surrounding rock. The sides of the pit are wonderfully colourful with reds, yellows and browns caused by the weathering of the iron into iron oxides. It is quite spectacular with the sun shining on the face.
Our other port of call in Peak Hill was the “Big Fish Fossil Hut” at the caravan park. For $3 you could go into the hut and see very well produced replicas of an interesting range of fossils. The “Big Fish” is a complete skeleton of a 4.5 metre Xiphactinus Audax found in Kansas – one ugly fish with very sharp teeth- that takes up the whole of one wall.
Westview Caravan Park, Dubbo
Another beautiful sunset to end the day well.
The other three walls are glass cases with a few genuine fossils, the replicas, (many of the originals are owned by the person who created them) and some funny comments and information about fossils. My favourite was the myth from the Whitby region of England where they believed that ammonites were the remains of venomous snakes that St Hilda had turned to stone in the 7th
Century. To quote the label, “The fact that every snakestone was always headless didn’t deter the locals one bit – they simply carved a crude snake head onto the fossil and set up a brisk trade in ‘petrified snakes’.”
Another European myth stated that fossilised oysters were Satan’s toenails, which meant that Satan must have thousands of toes as it is a commonly found fossil! All told we enjoyed the small display and felt we’d had our $3s worth.
After that we drove to a nearby Rest Area and had a late lunch amid the trees. Then it was on to Westview Caravan Park in Dubbo. We got set up and soon after the sun set beautifully and we were serenaded by lots of birds, including Currawongs, Galahs and a few
Our fifth wheeler
This is the living area when the slide out in not extended. We only have one recliner as the other is behind the wall, as is the TV at the other end. There's still enough room to use the kitchen - just.
parrots getting ready to roost for the night. Another nice end to an interesting day.
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