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Talisker Silver-Lead Mine Ruins

Home > Adelaide > Free | National Parks | Outdoor | Places of Interest | Walks
Published September 18th 2021
An often forgotten aspect of South Australia's history
Talisker Silver-Lead Mine Ruins
Talisker silver-lead mine ruins

The continuation of my search for ruins brought me to Talisker Conservation Park where the remains of an 1860s silver and lead mine still stand today. This historic mine site has been heritage-listed to preserve an often forgotten aspect of South Australia's history.

Talisker Conservation Park
The green and white conservation park sign

Although not the dominant metal, Talisker silver-lead mine did play an important role in our early mining endeavours. It was one of the colony's largest producers of silver and lead. Its mining and ore processing techniques were typical of those used in Cornwall and a number of Cornishmen were employed to carry out the work.

talisker trailhead

Today, an interpretive trail passes through the mine ruins providing visitors with a glimpse of the past. There is a map at the trailhead along Talisker Road to get you started. Look out for the green and white conservation park sign. Approximately two hours will be required to complete the whole trail at a leisurely pace, however, I can recommend a shorter not-so-steep loop if you're under time constraints.

Main shaft

This route follows the 'main walk', slightly downhill, until you reach a 132-metre deep shaft, the focal point of the mine. Then, turn left onto a side trail literally next to the shaft. Along the way, there are piles of stone scattered in the valley marking the chimney sites of several miners' cottages. Some of the miners decided to build their cottages on the mine lease, rather than in the nearby township, to be closer to work. Ironically, those of us working from home are just as close to our workplaces today.

The side trail next to the shaft
Side trail next to the shaft

Taking a left again after the shaft, you will soon be led to a brick kiln where firebricks were made for maintenance, a calcining furnace where ore was roasted to remove sulphur and arsenic, and a two-storey crusher house where ore was crushed before concentration and smelting. I'm really glad to find the fireplace, furnace bottom and arches still evident to this day. These remnants tell the story of a time gone by, so do stop and read the many interpretive signs dotted around the area.

Brick kiln
Brick kiln

After exploring all that has survived, head up a narrow left trail just before the 'extension' and continue round until you join back onto the 'main walk'. From here, you'd simply retrace your steps back to the car.

calcining furnace
Calcining furnace

Even if you're not a history buff, I reckon there's great value in visiting places like this. You're bound to learn something from the past, and if nothing else, you'll gain an appreciation for the present.

Crusher house
Crusher house

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Why? An often forgotten aspect of South Australia's history
When: Anytime
Where: Talisker Conservation Park
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Looks like an interesting place of history to explore
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|5093) 328 days ago
An interesting and informative article Audrey. South Australia seems to have a rich history of abandoned mines. Long may they survive.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|4261) 329 days ago
This is fascinating Audrey. I love looking over ruins. Where I live in Wonthaggi (Victoria) we have a smattering of coal mining ruins.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|9635) 328 days ago
My great grandfather came out from Cornwall in 1862 and worked here until 1877 when he moved to Kangaroo Island.
by ctret (score: 0|3) 325 days ago
This is 'in my backyard' (as in I live at Yankalilla) but still haven't managed to visit the site yet. Great photos!
Lorraine Day
by Lorraine Day (score: 1|56) 325 days ago
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