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Oct 6, 2010

Life of the Seven Dwarfs Part 2

Continuation to my previous post on the Gold Mine...

So you've sort of seen how the town looks like, the outfits and costumes on the workers, the most popular activity - Gold Panning (especially for kids), as well as the Chinese Camp.

Now more on what's there to see and do in Sovereign Hill.

The Red Hill Mining is a 15 minute self-guided tour 13 meters underground which reincarnates battling Cornish miner, Richard Jeffrey as he stumbles on what was the biggest gold nugget ever found - the Welcome Nugget, found on 9th June 1958, which was 69 kilograms, still the second largest nugget in the world. In this tour, the story is told using life-size, moving holograms and voice recordings. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to snap pictures during this tour.

The next tour we went to is 1 of the Gold Mine Tours. There are 3 to choose from - Labyrinth, Trapped and Chinese Tale (i think). Labyrinth basically shows you the working life of a miner, Trapped is based on the emotionally powerful true story of the disaster that struck Australia mine at Creswick, near Ballarat back in 1882; and the Chinese Tale is basically a made up story of 2 Chinese brothers who found and lost the gold they found in the mines. This tours cost $6 dollars each. Yes! After paying entrance fees, you have to pay for the tours as well. Aussie charges for every single thing separately =.='. Anyway, Mr. Navigator and I chose Labyrinth as it will tell us the dangers miners face while mining and how it actually works underground. This tour is a must-go if you ask me. I found it really informative as I certainly have no clue of the dangers miners face under.

So we took the tram in the picture above down into the dark underground mining trail. And from there, we were guided by a tour guide which I can't remember her name. The carriages in the picture below is basically what they use to transport themselves underground and also transporting what they have dug in it. I was pretty disappointed as I thought we would be able to sit in these while on the tour. LOL.
While on the tour, we were told that during the very early days of gold mining, the miners use a large iron hammer and hammer this steel cord through the walls. And the younger boys will be putting their lives in danger by holding the cord while other miners hammer them through the walls. Now the danger in holding the cord is that if the guy that's hammering misses the cord, then the boy who's holding the cord might end up having brain damage, broken arm or even end up dead. As years pass, mining companies started using TNTs. Under these mines, the deeper they go, the wetter it'll be. So when using TNTs, the miners faces huge risks of being blown up obviously. It may be due to defaults of the TNT, or even because of the water underground.

Again, as years pass, they came up with this really evil tool called the Widow Maker (picture below). Why is it called the Widow Maker? Well, only males work as miners. Back then, they didn't have protection gears such as goggles, face masks and ear-mufflers. And this machine-gun-looking tool, when operated, it makes really loud noise. And when I say loud, I mean you can go deaf with it. As it drills through the walls, the flakes of the wall's glass-like; so as the miners breathe in these flakes, it cuts their intestines and cause internal bleeding and infections to the lungs. Miners starts falling ill and die which leaves their wives husband-less. Thus the name - the Widow Maker. Despite these danger of this tool, it was still used and only after 20 years, they came up with protection gears =.=' Imagine how many lives were taken? How many widows were made?
Usually when miners spot gold, it is only a small spot. Only lucky miners come across these much gold. And yes, the gold in the picture below is REAL!
After this tour, I couldn't help but think how high was the death rate back in those mining days. LOL!

The next activity we went for was for me :D

Candy Making!!! I was sugar high on Raspberry Drops!
I'll roughly describe the steps of making these really addictive raspberry drops (above picture).Obviously there are more steps than just 6. Little details such as spreading flour to keep the caramel from sticking to the table is needed but I won't touch on that.

From picture 1 below(clockwise), 1st a caramel paste is made then the flavour paste is spread and knitted till the whole caramel changes colour. The caramel paste will then be cut into smaller pieces in order to fit into the mould roller. And walah~~~ Raspberry drops. And OMG! it's soooo yummy!!!
picture below shows the different types of shapes they have mould the candy into. The mould that he was using in his demonstration is at least 120 years old! Owned by the original owner of this candy making business. If I'm not mistaken, the owner is known as Mr. Brown.
Sorry, I have short term memory loss, so I can't remember facts that long. hehe...

Next post will still be about the mining field. Yes, I have much to share, told you, you won't be bored in Sovereign Hill!! Next post will be on Candle Making, $80,000 Gold Pour, the once-a-day Redcoat Soldier as well as the random shops I went into.

Stay Tune!! :)

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