On Sunday afternoon, I went for a drive down to Captains Flat, an old mining town on the Molonglo River, just outside of Canberra.

Captains Flat was a boom town in the 1880’s when the area was mined for Zinc, Iron Pyrites, Lead, Copper, Gold and Silver. The mine finally closed in 1920 and now has a permanent population of around 450 people.

When I visited Captains Flat in 2008, this is what I saw when I arrived:

2010… I was surprised that on arrival, this was what welcomed me to the old mine site:

Last I heard, the structure was being restored and to see it completely knocked down was a complete shock.

The structure was a reminder of times past. It was part of the towns history and an icon the defined the town’s heritage. I also noticed that a lot of signs and fencing had also been put in place since my previous visit which has destroyed the authentic look that the mine previously conveyed. I understand the needs of public safety but I thought it as common sense to take due care exploring around an old mine.

I did a little looking around and found an article published in the Canberra Times – Knocked flat: town loses mine heritage.

As shocked as I am, it doesn’t surprise me that the bureaucracies between two government departments would see the destruction of history without any consultation with those involved. As a photographer, hearing stories like this renews my passion for photography and it’s ability to document the past.

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