Digging up Kapunda's history

UNCOVERED: Worker Nathan Newitt (left) and stonemason expert Bob Harrison in front of a tunnel, one of the Kapunda Mine discoveries.
UNCOVERED: Worker Nathan Newitt (left) and stonemason expert Bob Harrison in front of a tunnel, one of the Kapunda Mine discoveries.

A Work for the Dole group recently uncovered a number of mysteries at one of the most historical mining sites in South Australia, The Kapunda Mine. 

Bob Harrison, a qualified stonemason, and the workers from the dole scheme have uncovered old relics at the mine – which was completely buried until last year – with a tunnel being the pick of the discoveries.

“We’ve found tons of old bottles in the mine, the top of an old miner’s pick, you never know what you’re going to find,” he said.

“We were lucky when we found the tunnel, as we had the excavator in the spot, and it almost went under and then we found the tunnel.

“The guys have uncovered a lot of stuff here, which no one had any idea even existed.

“When it was a mine, there was a lot here.

“There’s a lot more than what people think around here.”

Mr Harrison also commended the efforts of MADEC and the Work for the Dole scheme, and the opportunities it can provide, which has led to a number of his own workers earning full-time work elsewhere.

“The Work for the Dole is a good scheme, and it gets the guys out of bed, to get to places, and they are learning more skills,” he said.

“We get employers ringing up, looking for a variety of people, and I give them a reference for a job.”

The mine was active for just 27 years, and Mr Harrison emphasized the importance the mine had on the state.

“This copper mine saved the state of South Australia from bankruptcy” he said.

Since the digging and discoveries, the mine has been noticed internationally, with visits from the Japanese, American and the English.

After the variety of efforts made by Mr Harrison and his workers, attitudes and interest in the site have changed dramatically.

“When I first came here, I was told I’ve got six to 12 months work, and after seeing the work that has been done, I was told I’ve got ten years of work here,” he said.

The Kapunda Mine will seek to be an even larger tourist destination in the future with the discoveries.