Mark Buchanan discovers an old mine shaft while undergoing renovation work.
Mark Buchanan discovers an old mine shaft while undergoing renovation work. Patrick Woods

Builder uncovers disused mine shaft during house reno

UNCOVERING a disused mine shaft is the last thing Gympie builder Mark Buchanan expected to find when he started a deck renovation last week.

The award-winning builder was working hard replacing stumps at the back of a Horseshoe Bend home when he discovered a hole.

He said they were digging out underneath the house with an excavator when the earth seemed to disappear in front of him.

"What the hell is that," Mr Buchanan said.

"That doesn't look right," and he went over to investigate.

When he got to the excavation he found a hole in the ground about half a metre in diameter.

Mr Buchanan, his apprentice and the owner of the home decided to take a closer look and stuck their heads inside the hole.

With a torch they saw the hole opened up to be about two metres in diameter and very deep.

At first Mr Buchanan thought the hole looked like it plunged to a depth of 20m, but later the men tied a rock to a piece of fishing line to measure the depth of the shaft.

It ended up being 10.5m deep. Mr Buchanan said it as the first time he had ever discovered an old mine shaft.

"I have worked around them before but this was the first time he had ever found anything," Mr Buchanan.

"It was bit of a spin-out."

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines have now erected a fence around the area while they wait for the workers to cap the mine.

Mr Buchanan it would take about two weeks to get the site safe and the house back to how it used to be.

Mine facts

The Gympie shaft repair project started in 1990.

Common causes of subsidence are historic shafts, old wells, trenches, dumps and unconsolidated fill.

Collapses are common after heavy rain.

$13.4 million has been spent to make more than 2000 shafts safe.

More than 900 shafts have been capped with concrete.

Gympie Times


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