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Pine Creek

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Pine Creek is about over 3 hours drive from Darwin. In 1871, while the Overland Telegraph Line was being constructed, gold was discovered at Pine Creek by the men digging post holes. Several thousand Chinese were brought to the location and Pine Creek became one of the most important places in northern Australia. The North Australian Railway was constructed from Darwin, with Pine Creek as its original terminus.

 

Today, Pine Creek is a quiet place on the Stuart Highway where the Arnhem Highway runs off to the southern entrance to Kakadu National Park.

 

Historically, it is an interesting little town. The Miners Park contains a display of old mining machinery and of the history of mining here, while Gun Alley Gold mine offers a restored steam crusher and stamp battery, as well as gold panning.

 

The Railway Station was built in 1888, and continued in use until the North Australian Railway was abandoned in 1976. It is now a small railway museum and outside is one of the locomotives which used to work on the line, an 1877 Beyer Peacock engine made in Manchester. It hauled trains on this line until 1943. There is also a railway carriage on display, appearing considerably more modern than the one in which the author rode when travelling on this line.

 

There is a Museum in an old building which has served as the mining warden's house, the doctor's residence, a surgery, a clinic, a chemist's shop, an army field hospital, a post office and a telephone exchange. It is now both library and museum, with its emphasis on the history of the Overland Telegraph Line.

 

The Mine Lookout offers a view of Enterprise Pit. The first mining here was in 1906, when a shaft was dug, with only mediocre results. Other shafts were sunk by Chinese miners, and some are visible on the hill, but none was really successful. Then, in 1985, Pine Creek Goldfields decided to undertake open-cut mining here, and, in ten years, extracted 764,000 ounces of gold. The pit is now abandoned and filled with water to a depth of 135 metres

 
 

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