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#1

Roscoe
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From: , QLD
Joined: 27 October 2013
Posts: 742
Member
09 February 2016 08:02 pm

I noticed that all the mine shafts up my way here in Far North Qld seem to all have a mound of dirt circling around the entrance of the shaft. I can only presume that there was once a box timber frame of some sorts originally at the entrance? I have seen pictures of other shaft entrances on the net with no mound of dirt around them and the entrance seems flat level with the ground.

Was there different methods adopted by different areas for a specific reason or is there just local styles in entrances? Is the dirt mound i see around these shafts the original dirt that was on the surface that they dug out?

Just curious because no one has ever touched these mounds around the entrances and i have never test panned these mounds my self. If the mound come from close to the surface originally then its possible a lot of these mound could contain gold?

To be honest i wouldn't know how to start a shaft myself, so thought some one on here could shed some more light on it. smile

#2

Nightjar
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Joined: 26 September 2013
Posts: 576
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09 February 2016 08:08 pm

Hi Roscoe,
Good question, but if you think about it, why are bunds and sand bags used in suburbia.
Keep the water away from entering dwellings.
The old timers were aware of thunderstorms and the like and had to protect their mine shafts.
The below link is just one example of many.

http://www.mindat.org/loc-264772.html

Last edited by Nightjar (09 February 2016 08:13 pm)


Happy Hunting, Nightjar.

#3

silver
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Joined: 19 December 2013
Posts: 9,304
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09 February 2016 08:27 pm

Even walking on those mounds is dangerous Roscoe as they could be weak/undermined/1 000s of feet deep and prone to collapsing inwards with no recourse to retreat at all,.... I'd be roped up and harnessed to something safe before I even set foot near to one,....ever.
Think of them as giant ant mounds where you could be snatched away from life just being near to it and you will be on a good road to safety(I recon). yikes big_smile


What a great day ! ,... " I'll see you in the field ".

#4

Roscoe
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From: , QLD
Joined: 27 October 2013
Posts: 742
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09 February 2016 08:49 pm

How are you going Nightjar, thanks for the info. I think your right on about water getting in, we have lots of rain up this way in the wet and like your link demonstrates the dangers of flash floods and storms going down the shoot. Do you think they used timber framing like logs etc. I have never seen one with any wooden frame around them, i think the Termites and fires probably took them out long ago.

I was thinking also that if they had a cart or wagon then it would be easier to load the wagon from an elevated position as well to take the stone to the crusher. It just seems strange that the shafts go down a long way and they all seem to have the same amount of dirt mound around them, where has all of the rest of the dirt gone?

I would think that they went and sluiced the surface first and dollyed up the stone. Next time i am out that way i might take a pan and test sample some of these mounds. I know the old boy's weren't stupid and they seem to be very thorough.

I just thought also by understanding the way they went about things might help me to target areas were they may have been not so thorough.

#5

Roscoe
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From: , QLD
Joined: 27 October 2013
Posts: 742
Member
09 February 2016 08:53 pm

Good point Silver, i didn't think about the possibility of horizontal shafts just under the surface. ops

#6

silver
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Joined: 19 December 2013
Posts: 9,304
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09 February 2016 08:56 pm

You could always throw a smooth log across the top and lower a torch and camera running video down the shaft for ten metres or so,... it would spin and turn a bit and give you a view of the upper internals to know how supportive it is,... you could twist the rope slowly as you lower the camera to ensure that you get an all round video,... would be good to see a video like that if it could be done safely with the camera being safe too. wink big_smile


What a great day ! ,... " I'll see you in the field ".

#7

G0lddigg@
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From: Brisbane, QLD
Joined: 03 April 2013
Posts: 4,718
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09 February 2016 09:36 pm

as nighjar has said, all about keeping that rain out and you can imagine blokes with rocker boxes, flash flooding all there to ruin your hard work.
i actually do quite well around creswick running just the top 2 or so inches of dirt through a drywasher. the last stuff to come out was the stuff on the bottom any mud that fell off coming out when end up here. be careful and know the depth in areas you work. I dont play around with shafts that run 15 feet deep

here's an extract i came across last month looking at Castlemaine
http://www.fomad.org.au/history-overvie … c313628369

Shafts

Each digger was allowed a claim of 8ft x 8ft (later increased to 12ft x 12ft) in which he could dig a shaft and pile excavated earth and rocks.

Inexperienced miners dug holes that became progressively narrower, like funnels; shapes also varied - The shafts for the first few months of the rush were round, and it can be imagined that those sunk by professional men, Cockneys, etc., were not likely to meet with the approval of the experienced miner. When the Cornishmen arrived on the field in 1852, they started the oblong shafts, and very soon their example was generally followed. (McKillop)


The entrances of shafts was also shaped to keep out the rain - Very unpleasant working in rain or soon after, as every place round is clay, and the rope, bucket, pick and spade handles, your feet and hands, in fact all is clay. Majority of holes closed in by logs and clay, except a small hole in the centre which is generally covered with a sheet of bark. (Finlay, p. 22)

Haulage devices depended on the depth of the shaft - In a shallow shaft (less than about 16-18 ft) earth was pulled up by bucket and rope. Deeper than that, diggers used a pulley set between three sticks arranged in triangle, or a wooden windlass cut and turned in a couple of hours with an axe. (Fauchery)

image114.gif


Running the new Outback Pioneer Series Highbanker *The real Gold is the Journey and the friends we make
www.highbanker.com.au

6 users like this post: dam it, SCROUNGER, silver, davent, Billy, Mackka

#8

Roscoe
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From: , QLD
Joined: 27 October 2013
Posts: 742
Member
09 February 2016 10:32 pm

Very interesting link G0lddigg@ thanks. That's the picture i was looking for, this makes what i am seeing out there make sense. The shafts i speak of run 40+ meters deep and run through schist, slates etc. They were following quartz veins down quiet deep. The shafts are square cut in shape, i have not seen round cut holes here, well not that i can remember. I see a lot of trenches cut also in the area, the mounds of dirt from them are just sitting there as well. I did read in Gold and Ghosts that they surfaced the tops of these vein outcrops before digging down. So it would seem a good idea to take some samples of these mounds, from that picture i can see what Silver was saying about being undercut in places.

This is good, i am starting to piece together what was going on in the area and what they were doing.

thanks.

1 user likes this post: SCROUNGER

#9

MJB
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From: Apsley, VIC
Joined: 27 August 2013
Posts: 1,158
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09 February 2016 10:45 pm

awesome link GD...cheers and good question Roscoe


Gear used : Garret pans, mini sluice, Highbanker/sluice, Dry blower, Rock crusher and Minelab Pro-find pointer, MineLab XT17000

1 user likes this post: SCROUNGER

#10

stoyve
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Joined: 01 May 2014
Posts: 1,012
Member
09 February 2016 11:38 pm

Gday Roscoe,
In the many decades I've been exploring mine shafts and audits , I have only come accross one timber lined shaft about half an hour out of Ballarat.
Most of the thousands of shafts I've seen are belled out at the bottom to make the most out of there mining claim.
Some have even been tunneled through to the mine shaft next to it.
Cheers Steve


"Closed mouth gathers no feet"

1 user likes this post: Roscoe

#11

Nightjar
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Joined: 26 September 2013
Posts: 576
Member
10 February 2016 09:13 am

Most of the many thousands of shafts sunk around WA goldfields have a timber collar. This was erected at the beginnings of a shaft and acted as a barrier and support as extracted material was packed up to form the mound. (as per G0ldDiggs sketch) Many of these collars are still sound because termites are not keen on chewing Mulga.
However as mentioned can be very unstable after a 100+ years of weathering, keep your distance.


Happy Hunting, Nightjar.

2 users like this post: Mackka, Roscoe
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