An inspired gathering occurred in Queenstown in Western Tasmania last weekend.
“Oh, is that the town that looks like a moonscape?”
It’s the mining town that 100 years ago thrived; it must have with fourteen pubs, and another thirteen in nearby surrounding towns like Linda and Gormanston. The North Lyell mine, affectionately called “Mount Mother Lyell” had a disaster that ravaged the heart of an isolated community and left 42 men dead. The second biannual Queenstown Heritage & Arts Festival marked the centenary of this disaster on 12 October 2012 and over the weekend wove family history and reunion, with mining and environment, with contemporary art. It was a compelling mix. Set in an extraordinary town with the copper brown-coloured Queen River running through. Surrounded by the scarred hills left bare and orangey moonscapesque from 130 years of miners plunging ever closer to the core of the earth to leach out its ore.