I already mentioned in one of my early posts that traveling in a car is probably the best way to travel at all as one in a car has a great freedom of altering the route and stopping everywhere she or he likes. For example, a few years ago we were crossing Finland from North to South and we had to stop at a petrol station in the middle of nowhere. We spent two hours at that place which turned to be a biggest bell museum I have ever seen (I will write about it eventually).
Of course, most of places like that are well-know and there is tons of information about the in Internet or, at least, in tourists booklets and it is possible to find them all when planning the trip, classify them, draw a route and make a schedule. But this just would not work — as I already mentioned, schedule and a good holiday cannot go together. In any case, it is not possible to plan everything.
And this is what happened to us in Mogo. We were just overwhelmed by its exciting zoo and it seemed there was nothing similarly exciting. Well, there was another surprise. They have got the Museum there!
Hopefully, it is not an inquisition museum. This is Gold Rush Theme Park, or Old Mogo Town
Australia’s as a nation is very young and can count only about 200 years yet, but despite that its history is very interesting and in some aspects is just amazing. The nation started as a high-security prison where prisoners were kept in conditions very similar to their guards, but the period where the easiest way to get there was to commit crime in Old England was not long and ended short after people started considering being sentenced to Australia not as punishment but as a new chance. Free artists and pilgrims of 19 century started to arrive in Down Under by themselves. And, accidentally, at roughly the same time the gold was found in Australia.
At that times Mogo was a gold mining center. Some say the town started after someone found a nugget in a creek.
Warning sign is excessive — I would not go into that water in any condition.
Oh right, someone was happy to find some gold there and this is how it started. I am not sure how many digger exactly came there after «easy» money, but the fact that soon after gold rush infected Mogo, there were more about 40 only legal places where citizens could have a drink says many words (not sure if they have any now).
I think this Gold Rush Theme Park is a very successful attempt to build a replica that actually passes the vibrations of that time. Gold harvesting in nineteen century conditions where where were no hammer drills and PS2 was not an easy task. Especially for desperate visitors, museum authorities organized a five minutes gold wash introductory course and even provide authentic plates, sand and water so anyone can try to harvest some gold to pay off credit card debt
But it does not look even nearly as exciting as in western movies — diggers were spending all the day under burning sun washing thousands of kilos of sand with very little hope to find any gold. The process itself was not fast at all — one medium plate of sand required at least 20 minutes to process and chances of finding any small gold grain were vain.
When all sand from the bed of creek was processed, they started to build mines.
This is modern version of gold mine and it has very little in common to how they really looked these days almost two hundred years ago. Nobody built such a spacious tunnels, they were usually just as wide and as high as it required for digger to get in be able to work. And, of course, there were no reinforcement constructions at all. There mines were nothing else but holes in the ground.
However, modern technologies of 19 century reached Mogo as well
This enormous piece of machinery was used to crush rocks from mines. They pass rocks again and again through it until they become a sand. At close look the machine looks very impressive. The noise it produces is not less impressive as well. An interesting fact that this machine was owned by English government and anyone who used it had to pay a fee.
By the way, all gold harvested had to be sold to English government too. And this was one of the reasons why first Australians of European origin did not like those who came from China. That’s right, there was a little Chinatown in old Mogo
At first, unlike Europeans they used cutting edge technology of that time — work in a team. As I understood, they were not even allowed to use sand from the creek’s bed (and, probably, to dig their own mines), but they managed to run on their more privileged colleagues’ used materials — the sand disposed after first wash still could contain some gold grains.
At second, they had their own opinion about when to invest their gold and instead of selling it to English crown, they tried to traffic it back to china (Did they become the first smugglers known in Australia?)
Unfortunately, the Fortune sometimes shows us the same body part as this Mogo resident.
Museum authorities ask anyone who takes any photos and videos in old Mogo not to use them for any commercial means or in advertisements. I am not quite sure whether my blog could be seen commerce of some kind or advertisement, but I do not want to reveal any more Mogo’s secrets. At first, I don’t wan to be sued by some truth seeker, at second, this place with no any doubts deserves a visit. I just cannot describe diggers life and town structure as good as their professional guides do; in any case their showpieces are definitely worth a look and sometimes a touch.
And, at last, not anyone can stay cold to the chance to improve finances by washing a couple of kilos of gold off the sand. But, as far as I know, the last case of such a great luck happened more than hundred years ago.
Finding the museum is not rocket science at all:
To be continued…