I’m joining Becky in her July Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules of the challenge are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word tree. Look for #treesquare. Come with me on a Central Queensland road trip starring trees and the beautiful landscapes of my home state.
In 1862 a solid wall of copper ore more than three metres high was discovered at a site just south of Clermont. Within months Queensland’s first copper mine opened and the township of Copperfield was established. At its peak more than 2000 people lived in the town, which was serviced by many businesses including six hotels.
Copperfield’s rapid development was followed almost as quickly by decline. In the mid 1880s copper prices in London plunged, demand slumped and the population dwindled as opportunities elsewhere beckoned.
Three lonely sites are all that survive of this once thriving township. The General Store, long ago closed, sits right beside Rubyvale Road. At one time it housed a small museum dedicated to the story of Copperfield and its residents.
A few kilometres further south, a brick chimney stack is all that remains of the Peak Downs Copper Mine. At the height of the boom, 22 chimneys like this stood sentinel over the minefield. Built of bricks handmade in Clermont and finished with a layer of powdered glass, the chimney shimmers in the sunlight.
The most moving of the three sites is the Copperfield Cemetery, where dozens of inhabitants were laid to rest from the 1870s to the early 1900s. Many of the historic graves are no longer identifiable but the cemetery is still maintained by the local shire council.
Imagine the stories these people could tell about their lives in the once prosperous town of Copperfield.