Living on a gold mine
Tyrconnell gold mine, part of the Hodgkinson goldfield in far north Queensland, was once home to 10,000 gold miners and their families.
Ten people live in the area near Dimbulah now. Home for five of them—Andy Bell, Cate Harley and their three young boys—is a 1930s timber-and-tin mine office connected by a breezeway to the former singlemen’s quarters.
The couple have spent 12 years restoring the place, including what is Australia’s only working stamper battery, used to extract gold ore from quartz, to create a unique interpretative tour for visitors.
With a Living Building and Places conservation grant, the couple were able to continue their heritage work while improving their own liveability.
Last year they re-roofed the cottage, replaced the verandah and lined and insulated the building—all with prior approval from the Heritage Branch.
“Without lining and insulation, we were at the mercy of the elements: rain, dust and heat. Living here is much more comfortable now. It is such a lovely house to live in now in all its simplicity,” says Cate.