Forty-two years ago, Alan Rickwood, then a surveyor with the Cudgegong Shire, drew up a proposal to showcase the Gulgong’s gold mining history at Red Hill.
On Sunday, Mr Rickwood and other members of the Red Hill Mine Precinct Committee finally saw their vision for an educational and information centre realised, with the official opening of the Gulgong Gold Experience.
Located on the site of Gulgong’s first gold discovery, the Gulgong Gold Experience, allows visitors to walking into a tunnel under the hill to experience what an 1870s gold mine was like.
The centre also includes displays and photographs on the town’s history, geology and the mining process.
Visitors can walk to the poppet head which stands above the centre and peer down into the abandoned mine shaft.
Cr Paul Cavalier said the Gulgong Gold Experience would never have happened without a mammoth effort by many people.
“This has been a long time coming and I’m sure that all involved at some point thought that it would never get there,” he said.
Cr Cavalier said the Gulgong Gold Experience would complement the Gulgong Pioneer Museum, Henry Lawson Centre and planned Holtermann Museum.
“Gulgong is rich in history. Almost every corner you turn and every road you go down has a story; that’s what makes it an incredible place.”
Red Hill Committee member David Warner said Mr Rickwood was a remarkable example of past and present committee members’ effort and confidence that “something would happen”.
Mr Warner also praised the efforts of Cr Percy Thompson who was “like a terrier with a rat” in his search for a true representation of Gulgong history.
The Gulgong Gold Experience was funded by $400,000 from the Cobbora Transition Fund, whih was matched by Mid-Western Regional Council. Council also gave additional funds for the exhibition.
“Gulgong Gold Experience is a model example of how council and the community can work on a project that I believe will benefit not only Gulgong but the entire region,” Mr Warner said.
The Gulgong Gold Experience was also proof of the remarkable talents of Gulgong residents, with everyone from local tradesmen to the Gulgong Public School’s Paparazzi Club contributing to the final result, he said.
Mr Rickwood said although he was disappointed that plans for extend the tunnel to the original mine shaft had been dropped due to safety reasons, he was pleased with the final result.
“It’s been a battle, but it’s worth it,” he said.
The Gulgong Gold Experience will be managed by members of the Holtermann Museum Committee. It will be open on most days from 1pm to 3pm and by appointment for groups.
Volunteers are needed to man the facilities. If you like meeting and helping people and have time to spare, contact Chris Pearson on 6374 1844 or Maurice Gaudry on 0427 019 879.