Saint Patrick’s College business manager Glen Albion looks through security fencing at a collapsed mine shaft near the Saint Patrick College oval cricket nets.
Saint Patrick’s College business manager Glen Albion looks through security fencing at a collapsed mine shaft near the Saint Patrick College oval cricket nets. Craig Warhurst

Old mine shaft opens on oval

THE major rain event that caused minor flooding in Gympie has contributed to three mine shaft collapses in the city.

Shafts have opened up at Saint Patrick’s College and on private properties in Dent Lane and River Road.

A woman walking her dog on Saint Patrick’s College oval discovered a large hula-hoop sized depression in the ground near the cricket nets on Monday.

After reporting her find to school authorities, Saint Patrick’s College took no chances and called in the Gympie Shaft Repair team who confirmed the hole was an old mine shaft.

Saint Patrick’s College business manager Glen Albion said the shaft had been previously capped around 1991, but something had happened and another sink hole had appeared near by.

He said the shaft was named the Number 7 South Lady Mary underlie and it, along with the Number 8 South Lady Mary underlie (also on the College’s grounds), were some of the deepest shafts on the old Gympie Goldfields.

Mr Albion said they had rolled a stone down the shaft and it had taken a long time to hit the bottom.

St Patrick’s College principal Tricia Kennedy said it was lucky the shaft was in an area that wasn’t regularly used by students and the mine shaft’s appearance wouldn’t interrupt school activities while it was being capped.

A Resources Industries spokesman for the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), said the Queensland Government funds the Gympie Shaft Repair Program under the State-wide Abandoned Mine Lands Program.

“During and after periods of heavy rainfall, the ground weakens and becomes soft due to saturation,” the spokesman said.

“Timbering and other support covering unfilled historic mine shafts become stressed and prone to failure, creating the potential for subsidence.

“Mine shafts are subsequently either capped or backfilled depending on an assessment by expert repair teams.

“Since the Gympie Shaft Repair Program began in 1990, $14 million has been spent to remediate approximately 2000 mine subsidence issues, including the capping of 870 mine shafts,” he said.

Gympie Times


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