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Published January 9th 2015
History never repeats - enjoy this piece of SA history
Known as either the Moonta Mines Heritage Walk or Hancock's Precinct Walk (depending upon which brochures you collect), this walk explores the rich history of Hancock's Precinct of the Moonta Mines State Heritage Area. This free self-guided walk starts from the 1870's Miner's Cottage (open for viewing with a separate fee) which is a typical Cornish mining home, with furnishings and utensils being reflective of the era.
From the cottage, the walk takes the road behind the cottage and in to the historic Hancock's Precinct to the first of three informative information bays. To the right of the bay is the enormous Hancock's Tailings Heap, which contains the ore waste crushings after it was concentrated by crushing and jigging. A short climb to the top of the heap reveals the extent of this precinct.
The green trail marker signs are easy to follow and lead us past numerous shafts including the Prince Alfred Shaft, Greens Shaft and Bowers Shaft. On the right side of the walking trail is the remains of Hancock's Engine House. A short detour to and from Beddomes Enginehouse ruins runs behind an old stone reservoir.
Back on the main trail, and past another information bay, the trail continues along Bower Street to the Weslyan Church which was built in 1865, and is still in use today. A quick circle around Milne Street and on to the Main Road, and the National Trust's Wheal Munta mining display, featuring exhibits such as a windlass that conveyed ore to the surface from shallow depths and a horse whim used to haul ore to the surface.
Also here is the Moonta Tourist Railway and the Moonta Museum (formerly the Moonta Mines School from 1878 to 1968). And across the road is the highlight of the walk for the little ones - the Moonta Mines Sweet Shop (formerly a post office).
After stocking up on some boiled lollies it is then a short walk down Smith Street to rejoin the walking trail and to make your way back to the Miner's Cottage. The Heritage Walk is around 2.2km in length, and takes around an hour depending upon how long you spend in the Sweet Shop!
The walk is available all year round, and is best seen during daylight, and/or on weekends when the Cottage, Railway and Sweet Shop are all guaranteed to be open. Further details on this walk, and other tourist attractions at the Moonta Mines is contained within the National Trust of SA Website.