State Mine Museum struggling to deal with illegal dumping at Dobbs Drift

DOBBS DRIFT: Museum member John Oates, Alex Attree, president Ray Christison and vice president Darryl Cooper stand in front of a car shell that has been left on the museum's property. Picture: PHOEBE MOLONEY.
DOBBS DRIFT: Museum member John Oates, Alex Attree, president Ray Christison and vice president Darryl Cooper stand in front of a car shell that has been left on the museum's property. Picture: PHOEBE MOLONEY.

Apart from running a museum and conserving Lithgow’s mining history, members of the State Mine Park and Heritage Railway are now having to deal with the consequences of people dumping waste on the museum’s land off State Mine Gully Road. 

DUMPED: Mr Christison with a safe and pile of rubbish left at Dobbs Drift.

DUMPED: Mr Christison with a safe and pile of rubbish left at Dobbs Drift.

Dobbs Drift, located near the beginning of the dirt section of the road heading towards Newnes, has become an illegal dumping ground – replete with abandoned fridges, a burnt out car shell, drink containers, electrical cables, a safe and other items. 

The facade of an old winding house at Dobbs Drift has also been covered in graffiti. 

“It’s technically an abandoned coal mine, the same as the State Mine, it was included in the land holding given to us in 1990,” said Ray Christison, president of the State Mine Museum

DUMPING GROUND: Dobbs Drift off State Mine Gully Road.

DUMPING GROUND: Dobbs Drift off State Mine Gully Road.

“Its part of Lithgow's mining history and is being badly treated – it shows the modernisation of the coal industry.” 

Mr Christison said that dumping had only started to occur at the site within the last 12 months. 

“It seems like people are coming here and having parties and painting graffiti and don’t really care what happens,” he said. 

LEFT: A fridge left at Dobbs Drift.

LEFT: A fridge left at Dobbs Drift.

Mr Christison is organising a clean up the area, as well as the reconstruction of the earth barriers that once prevented vehicles entering the site. 

He believes four-wheel drives and dirt bikers driving over the barriers has worn them down over time. 

“People accessing this site is the problem. We own it but we don’t have the resources to control this.

“It’s a real distraction from our main task of continuing to preserve the heritage of the region.”

CAR SHELL: The car shell abandoned at Dobbs Drift.

CAR SHELL: The car shell abandoned at Dobbs Drift.

The site is infrequently used by groups for rock-climbing and abseiling, and the museum was considering involving an adventure company in the use of the site.

“But it’s going to take a few days of intensive effort and volunteer labor to clean this up.

“We have limited time and resources and now we have to spend money to alleviate the problem rather than spend it in more productive ways.” 

The State Mine Museum is hosting a working bee this Saturday on November 18 from 9am to pick up and relocate the waste to the Lithgow Waste Management Facility. To help with the clean up contact Ray Christison over the State Mine Museum Facebook page