Kyneton’s underground

The unexpected opening of a long-buried mine shaft in Kyneton has piqued the interest of mine chasers everywhere.
The small opening was uncovered on Premier Mine Road during council works last month and has many pondering just what lies inside.
A time capsule of abandoned tools, paperwork and clothing are just some of the historical treasures groups like The Victorian Historical Mine Shaft Chasers have discovered in other mines accessed in the region.
Group founder Raymo Shaw said his team was eager to explore the new-found underground but its flooding meant limited access.
The Lalor-based stonemason has been inside some 450 mines since forming the group 10 years ago and explained many people have a fascination with the unknown – his team of 20 is just a small sample.
“Everyone wants to know what’s down there,” Raymo said.
The group explored a Kyneton mine six months ago and more recently ventured to Castlemaine, Muckleford and further afield.
“There have been mines we’ve entered that no-one has stepped foot inside since they closed – and everything is still there exactly as they left it,” Raymo said.
“The handiwork inside these mines is absolutely amazing. It’s a different world down there: like Sovereign Hill on steroids. I love it – absolutely love it.”
The team has uncovered everything from miner’s buckets and brooms to candle wrappers and shoes. A miner’s drink flask was found in a recent Castlemaine visit and a Muckleford venture uncovered a horse bridle, old glass bottles and miner’s ‘spider’ (candle holder, c1910). More commonly found items are paperwork and picks.
“If we find any relics they need to stay put, we don’t remove anything, we just record them and take a lot of photos,” Raymo said.
“Sometimes we spend a month getting through it all. Sometimes we could be in there for 12 hours at a time and no-one would know.”
The team abseils into each mine and through different levels once inside, taking all the appropriate precautions before entry including testing air quality.
“A lot of people think it’s a few old and young blokes mucking around but we have the right training and experience to do this,” Raymo said.
“We take what we do very seriously and treat the mines with respect.”

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