Sunday, December 28, 2014

Beaconsfield Mine

We knew it was going to be rainy on the Monday we were away so we wanted to find something inside to keep us occupied & the Beaconsfield Mine that was a little drive from where we were seemed to fit the bill. In the end it turned out to be a wonderful idea as we spent so long in the museum Mr S had to finally drag us out before he passed out from lack of food.

The kids had an absolute blast as a good percentage of the museum is hands on & clearly marked to that effect too. The lady who gave us our tickets also gave the kids a lovely little Eye-Spy page to keep with them to spot a plethora of animals throughout the museum as we went along. My kids love these silly little things & they seem to be readily available at most museums lately.

First off the kids tried out telegraphs, telephones, & various things down this line. There was an old phone booth you could use as well & ring a number which would work on one of a variety of phones in this section. Morgan tried it out & one of the Asian tourists answered the phone, they had an awkward conversation as one was speaking in Japanese & the other English before they both hung up in a fit of giggles.

The museum is huge & very maze-like in it's appearance as it's intermingled with the older portions or factories that are no longer in use but still there for the viewing with the newer portions that have been recently added on. The photo above is an older section that's run down, but you're still permitted to walk through & view. To get to it we had to walk through the newer section which had an entire section based on the cave-in from several years back. It was complete with a small tunnel to climb through to understand what cramped quarters the men inside were stuck in until they were rescued.

We really loved walking through the older ruins of the museum & seeing so much that was built well before machines did the majority of the work. Those steps led up to a small little cabin similar to what someone mining for gold might have slept in. There was also a gold mining area up there where you could try your hand at mining for museum gold if you wanted. While the boys tried it, they had far more fun working the old hand pump that was up there.

At one point Morgan & I broke off from Mr S & Jayde who were busy searching for something on the list & enjoying building with some bricks provided. Morgan & I found an entire section in another arch just next to this one with wrenches in it. We had a bit of a laugh that they were labeled wrenches & quickly confirmed that they were imported from the USA; otherwise, they would have been called spanners. Im' not sure how I missed a photo, but one was nearly as big as we were!

We got lost in an upstairs section for a long while as there were a great many things to do. Morgan contributed several strips to the newest rag rug that was in the process of being put together. The strips are all tired to a piece of canvas with large square holes in it. There were needles & other "tools" to help you poke your strip through if you needed them. Jayden {in the background} was checking out the old fashioned stove. He was a little nervous about opening the doors to peek inside because there was suppose to be a snake hiding somewhere. Not a real one! But it had him a little leery of opening up closed items.

Mr S got a little distracted writing his name in calligraphy, after we pulled him away from trying on the wigs! The kids thought it was hilarious to see him with black curly hair instead of his normal mop of redness. We have a video of Mr S who tried out the organ on display. Most people were just pecking out a few notes, but he treated everyone to a full song until he realised others were coming to check it out, then he opted to move on.

Back outside in another section you could operate this amazing water wheel. We were kept pretty busy in this area as well as there were heaps of blacksmith tools to check out & a variety of mine simulations to try out. In fact, there was even a set of stairs to climb up so you could sit on a bench & watch the actual mine at work. Which, the kids were keen to do.. until they realised this mean staring at the entrance in the ground where the very occasional person came out to obtain something before darting back inside.

We have so many photos & videos from our hours inside this place! It was time so well spent as the day was miserably wet & rainy. The kids didn't spot everything on their lists, but were still rewarded with a small treasure packet from the lady at the desk which includes a sticker or two & some museum gold. They were pleased as punch with the gift, but spoke of little else for the next 2 days! They can't wait to go back & finish finding all the missing items.

If you're in the area it's really well worth a trip out & geared for little ones to be quite hands on. All hands on displays are clearly marked. There's a park nearby if you happen to visit on a less wet day, as for us, we had a picnic in the car which elicited lots of "great ideas" from the locals who were scurrying around under umbrellas as they walked their dogs.

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