Burra – Easter 2015

Day 1 – 03/04
Everyone met up at Munno Para at 8:30 in the morning and headed off to Burra at 9. By the time we made it to the camp it was lunchtime, so everyone set up their campers and tents, and had lunch. After lunch some of the group went to do some winch training while everyone else stayed at camp.
When the training was complete, several people went for a drive along the creek bed. When the group got back to camp from the creek drive, everyone settled down around the campfire for afternoon tea. When people were ready to start cooking their dinner they got up and started cooking on the fire or at their camper. When people had finished cooking and eating their food, everyone settled back around the campfire for a few hours of chatting and light drinking. The group gradually dispersed so that
they could head to bed and get some sleep.


Day 2 – 04/04
After a nice sleep in and a decent breakfast everyone was up and at what was left of the previous nights campfire to discuss what we were going to do for our first full day at Burra Creek.
Some of us had not been on a tour of Burra and surrounding areas or they hadn’t been for quite some time and so, we all drove into Burra and while most of us went on a tour of the mine related buildings a few others went back to camp.
The tour we did was called the Burra Heritage Trail, along the way we saw so many buildings and sites that it would take way too long to write about all of the places so I will write about three places; the miners’ dugouts, the powder magazine and the Bon Accord mine museum. First the miners’ dugouts, because of the mass influx of miners into the town of Kooringa there was a massive shortage of housing. The miners took matters into their own hands by
digging into the soft clay along the creek bed and creating their own homes; this was done for multiple reasons but the main reason would definitely be that it was close to semi-clean water and by 1851 about 1,800 people out of about 4,400 people lived in almost 600 dugouts. In the same year three floods devastated so-called ‘creek street’ forcing all of the inhabitants to leave their homes and by 1860 the dugouts were almost completely deserted.


Now onto the powder magazine, it is the oldest mining building left standing in Australia. The powder magazine was used to store the gunpowder that was used to blast the ore from the rock faces of the mine. With an arched roof and walls at least a foot thick built out of stone this building was designed with the intention that if the gunpowder were to somehow explode the building would not blow up as well but it was still built away from the other mine buildings. Finally, the Bon Accord Mine Museum, this museum was originally the site for the Bon Accord Mine and was owned by Scottish speculators in 1846 and those same Scottish speculators also laid out the early town of Aberdeen. After mining operations were
abandoned in 1849, they recommenced in 1858. In 1859 other essential buildings were built such as the mine offices, a blacksmith’s forge, a carpenter’s shop, a manager’s residence and an engine house with a 50 inch Cornish pumping engine that was used to dewater the mine, but the engine house was demolished in 1887. When it became obvious that the ore that was mined at the Bon Accord Mine was not of a sellable quality and mining ceased in 1862, but the water in the mine was of great importance. Water from the Bon Accord Mine was used from 1878 until 1966 when River Murray water became available.


Day 3 – 05/04
Everyone was given Easter eggs at breakfast and it was decided that we would go for a drive to Redbank’s Conservation Park for lunch. Unfortunately, we got lost on the way there and it took a lot longer to get there than we thought it would but once we were there we ate lunch and went on a walk to the dried creek that was close by and found some paw prints that looked feline. When we got back to camp most of us went on another creek run and we almost got lost… again. Around the camp fire that night we ate roasted marshmallows and chatted for a while.

Day 4 – 06/04
It was the last day and so there really wasn’t much going on but five people in two cars decided to go and do some more winch practice. Everyone packed up gradually throughout the entire day but it was pretty difficult to pack up around the short bursts of rain, but everyone managed and we all set off for home just after lunch.

By Richelle