Today we went exploring around Tennant Creek, first stop was the Battery Hill Mining Centre for a tour.
Took a look around the museums and found out a lot of information on the local history and mining processes and then went on the mine tour.
This tour was great and we found out a heap of information on how they mined for gold in the area and the process, wouldn't trade my life for theirs any day! Working for a year or so under ground manually chipping away at the rocks in 50 degree heat, to end up with nothing. The example we were given is, if they mined and found gold worth $1 million - they lose $250,000 straight up to pay to use the government run battery etc. Then they have to pay back the mine and general store for their equipment, clothing, food etc over the past year, pay their bar tab, truck hire, water etc.
After all this they may be left with say $10,000 - to then be divided between up to 4 people, seems a complete waste of a years hard work, doesn't it.
Some people did make a lot of money from gold mining, but for the vast majority of people, the above scenario was closer to reality. It was more of 'making a living', rather than getting rich quick.
We took a drive out to Lake Mary Ann, a man-made dam just outside of the town. Such a nice place. The grass is so green and lush and there is so much space to picnic and enjoy the surroundings. Swimming is allowed in the lake, although there was only 1 person in there today, even though it was 37 degrees!
We did hear from a local that there have been numerous deaths at the dam over the years and all have been males, so the locals think that it may be a sacred Aboriginal woman's area. We were told that the locals definitely still use the area, but that thought is always in the back of their mind.
Went to see The Pebbles and the Telegraph Station and took a drive out to see the Speedway.
Went for a walk around the town, not too much to see, but they have all the facilities they need, grocery store, butcher, mechanics, tyre store (Bridgestone!), clothing store, repco, a few service stations, and a really good store that sells a bit of everything, guess its like a mini department store, selling othes, furniture, toys, manchester etc.
There are dogs everywhere here roaming the street, not as bad as up the cape though. Speaking to Caroline last night, she said that they have a ranger come up from Sydney once a year and he does a mass desexing and that is definitely helping, within 5 years they expect to have it under control.
Tonight we met up with a local by the name of Caroline. She is the sister-in-law of one of my friends back home and he had put us in touch when he found out we were in Tennant Creek (thanks Alan!).
We met up at the Memorial Club (the memo, as the locals call it). Caroline was lovely and we had a great night drinking with her and her friends. She has been living in Tennant Creek for 17 years now and she loves it, as does everyone you speak to - people seem to arrive for a short stay with work, visit family etc and just never leave! We heard the same kind of stories about the people living on Thursday Island.
So thank you for a great night Caroline, it was nice to get out for a few drinks and meet some of the local people.
And still 30 degrees when we were leaving at 11pm ... wow!