The Central Deborah Gold Mine in Bendigo was in operation from 1939 and closed in November 1954 due to rising costs, fixed gold prices and water problems. In its fifteen years of operation 375 men worked here and the weekly wage for a miner was $22.80 per week in 1952.
Bendigo goldfields were the richest in Australia and at one stage had 6000 gold mines and produced almost 700,000 kilos of gold. But in 1988 Kalgoorlie exceeded Bendigo's production.
The mine is 411 metres deep, has 17 levels but the bottom 4 levels are completely flooded. The tour today only went down to 82 metres.
You get to use the drill.
The dynamite used in the olden days (top) compared to that used today.
The function room was constructed as a 'work for the dole' project and has been the venue for weddings and last November The Underground Opera Company made a very successful return performance here.
The mine can be reopened at any time, depending on world gold prices, as they believe there is plenty of gold still down there.
Be prepared to climb 6 ladders. The tour costs $68 and includes a pastie and cup of tea or coffee for lunch underground in the convention centre and the tour takes two and a half hours.
It is 42 C outside today but in the gold mine it was about 20.