Kitted out in hard hats, cap lamps, bright orange overalls, gumboots and 15-kg worth of tool belt (kidding – this part wasn’t compulsory) we descended into the depths of an underground world of shafts, heavy machinery and alarming warning bells. It was a taster of what the ‘real’ men and women of Mt Isa do for their bread and butter……
Thirty seconds later the gates of
hell our lift (an Alimak Cage) were thrown open and a dozen headlamps attempted to light up the darkness that confronted us. It was a far cry from the standard 5-10 minute journey that ‘real’ miners take to their destination, kilometres beneath the earths surface, BUT it started to give us an understanding as to why our Aussie miners deserve to get paid serious bucks for the work they do.
At least the air was cooler. We had landed in ‘Isa’ mid-winter but temperatures were still in the mid-30s (Celsius) and going underground was definitely a reprieve. A reprieve until you start working with some of that heavy machinery that is!
The Hard Times Mine Tour takes you on a hands-on, historical journey through the past and future of mining in the outback town of Mount Isa (somewhere far-far west of the Queensland coastline). Here you get to sample some of the equipment that has now been made defunct thanks to modern mining practises. Personally, I’m pretty sure most of the workers would’ve been happy to see the back of some of these machines.
Hanging out’ in the never-ending tunnels and shafts that turn pitch black at a flick of a switch gave us a glimpse into a miner’s every-day working life. Every step of the way my rating of a miner’s mettle was accelerating up the Richter scale – from ‘Truly Impressive’ to‘Seriously Awesome’.
The noise, the dust and the serious fire power of boom drills, mucking units and all of that ‘other’ heavy machinery, was seriously something else.
Smoko was a subdued affair after all the action of ‘working’ the tunnels but it gave us a chance to drill our guide about his 30-years experience of working the local mines…now that we could all hear ourselves think again of course! It also gave us a taster of how a working day ‘rolls’ for your average underground miner, sitting in the mess hall (basically another section of tunnel) and chatting over a cuppa whilst sharing home-made slices and sandwiches.
By the time we hit the blue skies of Mount Isa again and ‘clocked out’ my appreciation for the mining men and women of our country had skyrocketed upwards. I seriously understood why they deserve every little bit of $$$$ they earn for venturing down into that world each day and embracing it as their ‘office’!
Check out our short video below to see how this Mount Isa Mine Tour ‘rolls’…..
Good Things to Know:
Who’s been to Mount Isa?? Did you do the Mount Isa mine tour? Any other things that you would recommend that families ‘must do’ if visiting the ‘Isa’?
Please Note: We received our tour complimentary BUT all views, opinions and photos in this article are 100% my own.
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