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Bendigo's Central Deborah Gold Mine

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by Ian Gill (subscribe)
I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published June 2nd 2013
Strike It Lucky In Bendigo
To the Chinese on the gold fields it was Dai Gum San, the Big Gold Mountain. To you and I it's Bendigo the scene of some of the biggest gold strikes during what was the world's greatest ever gold-rush.

Between 1851 and 1954 Bendigo Creek as it was originally known produced more than 700,000 Kilograms of gold valued at somewhere between 25 and 35 Billion dollars in today's terms.

Gold Goldrush Mine Mines Mining Poppet
Central Deborah's poppet-head stands out above surrounding suburban Bendigo

The Central Deborah Gold Mine, the last commercial mine operating in Bendigo, worked a quartz reef on the Bendigo Flat. Descending 400 metres underground and with 17 working levels miners extracted just under a tonne of gold valued at about $37 million in today's terms between 1939 and 1954.

Bendigo City Council acquired the mine in 1970 and set about turning it into a tourist attraction and educational facility under the management of the Bendigo Trust.

Initially only surface access to the mine was granted to the public but as development of the site progressed the first underground tours commenced in 1986.

Gold Goldrush Mine Mines Mining Moulten
The end product - pouring a gold ingot

The Central Deborah Mine today is a multi-award winning tourist attraction and offers one of the best underground tour experiences available with many original features remaining to ensure visitors get a truly authentic mining experience.

A visit to the Central Deborah can be whatever you choose to make it with tours ranging from a self-guided surface experience including gold panning and a climb to the top of the 'poppet head', a Mine Experience Tour, the Underground Adventure Tour and, if you're up for it, the Nine Levels of Darkness Tour.

Not for the faint hearted or unfit the Nine Levels of Darkness Tour lasts between 3 and 4 hours and will have you descend 228 metres below ground, travelling in the original miners cage to Level 9 where, among other things, you'll learn how to set an explosive charge and operate a miner's drill.

Bendigo Tour Tours Tram Trams Tramcar
Bendigo's famous talking trams stop right outside the Central Deborah mine
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Why? Experience one of Australia's great underground tour experiences.
When: Daily 9am to 5pm except Xmas Day
Phone: (03) 5443 8255
Where: Violet St, Bendigo
Cost: Best value in town is the Bendigo Experience Pass. Adults $50, Concession $44, Child $26.50, Family $128 - see the WEB for details and excellent savings.
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