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Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc.

PO Box 403
Nowra NSW 2541

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The Mother Load

It is not too often these days that I get to feel like a kid again. The walk lead by Russ Evans to the last working silver and lead mine in the Shoalhaven was a winner. It started from the Yarramunmun Tops Fire Trail - just the name of this place was enough to get excited about! The walk down into the valley was so nice and peaceful through varying bushlands. Down and down we went till eventually we got to meet the Yarramunmun Creek which was clear and flowing like a mountain stream should be.

The big surprise for me was picking up a rock which someone pointed out. I lifted it and to my surprise it was as heavy as lead ... it was lead - the mother load! Smashing the rock on another showed the inside - beautiful sparkling crystals of lead and silver, just magic. I know we shouldn't, but I did bring a little out with me as a memento (I didn't bring out a big piece because of the up and up that was ahead of us). It now stands in our cupboard of things that mean a lot to us. It sparkles like jewels in a grey piece of rock with streaks of quartz.

Russ topped off this great moment by pulling out of his bag the history of the area, with maps of the mine and read it to us at lunchtime. The part about a miner dying down there on the very spot where we were having lunch and not being found for a couple of days didn't make the vegemite sandwich taste any better. A special hats off to Russ for this great walk.

How much is silver and lead on the market today? I've got a little load ...