There's gold in them thar hills! Well, perhaps not gold, but certainly silver and lead. The "hills" were at the present-day suburb of Indooroopilly, and at the time of discovery the location was known as Finney's Hill. In 1919 two men, G Olson and PJ Madden found what they suspected was precious metal and applied for a mining lease on the area. By November of that year, they were mining the site, initially underground and then later in open cut format as the following images from 1921 show.
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #80152)
(Photo: State Library of Queensland and John Oxley Library; #15297)
The mine operated for about ten years, and it's probably fair to say that the returns to the mine's investors were not as great as they had hoped. Mining operations ceased in 1929, and the plant and equipment were sold. The high costs of mining the product and the low prices being received at market made it uneconomical to continue. There are reports that even a diviner was used in an attempt to discover more commercial deposits, but to no avail.
But here is a photograph I took the other day. There were people in hard hats, there was equipment in use. What is going on there?
(Photo: © 2011 the foto fanatic)
After mining ceased in 1929, the land reverted to the Brisbane City Council and was unused until, in 1951, someone had the idea of using the old mining site to train mining engineering students. The University of Queensland applied for a mining lease, and the site was given over to the students, who had to rehabilitate the old mines. Many of the shafts and tunnels were in disrepair after so many years of neglect, and the first process was to re-establish a safe working environment.
These days the site is a registered mine once again, and is of enormous practical use to engineering students in the surveying, ventilation and safety aspects of mining.
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