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At the turn of the 19th century, the Hill 50 gold mine near Mt Magnet in Western Australia was the dominant mine in the area. It was regarded as a mine which would last forever. Through good times and bad, depressions and boom, its fortunes ebbed and waned. From it decline during the war years it raised itself back up to be Australia’s most profitable mine in the late 1950s.

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When Hill 50 closed in 1976, it had produced 1.4 million ounces of gold from 3.6 million tonnes of ore for a value of A$700 million.

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The once proud head frame stood silent witness as a procession of new owners tried their fortune.

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The years have seen the surrounding landscape torn apart in the relentless quest for gold until only a small island of what once was, remained.

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When the moon was full it was sometimes possible to glimpse the phantom miners as they started their shift and hear the strained protests of the old winder as it hauled it’s ghostly ore from the dark recesses below.

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Truly a piece of Australian mining history and a testament to the dogged determination and pioneering spirit of those that came before us.

So today……..

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    We blew it up!

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These photos were supposed to be in the last post but didn’t upload for some reason 😦

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Since the 1890s the Hill 50 mine near Mt Magnet has been producing gold, lots of gold, over 5 million ounces of gold in fact.  At one time it was regarded as a mine that would last forever but its fortunes have ebbed and flowed over the years.

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Today the mining operation is open cut and the Hill 50 Head Frame which has stood for over half a century is shortly to be pulled down to make way for the expansion of the pit.

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I felt an obligation to capture these images, to record what was, before it disappears forever.  An obligation to tell at least a part of its story and to pay tribute to the thousands of workers who descended to toiled in the heat and darkness below.

 

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