There is a memorial at Wilkins Park (next to the Molonglo River, along the main road) which commemorate the former mining activities of Captains Flat and surrounding areas. The town was formed as a result of mining for gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper and iron pyrites in the hills surrounding the upper reaches of the Molonglo River. The town boomed...more
Reverend W. B. Clarke, a geologist, discovered gold in the Captains Flat area in 1852. He reported his discovery to the local landholders who, not wanting thousands of prospectors all over their land, managed to keep the news quiet until 1874. By 1881, substantial deposits of reef gold was found, and major mining operations opened up the area. The...more
The Captains Flat Hotel was built during the second mining rush of the 1930s. This hotel is a reflection of the prosperity of this town at that time. The Captains Flat Hotel once boasted the longest bar in the Southern Hemisphere (it is still there). The location and contact details of the hotel is as follow:Captains Flat HotelFoxlow StCaptains...more
Captains Flat was formed as a result of mining for gold, silver, lead, zinc, copper and iron pyrites in the hills surrounding the upper reaches of the Molonglo River. The town boomed from 1881 to 1899 then went into a rapid decline until 1939 when rail access revived mining activity for another 23 years.There are more tips of the remains of the...more
Why is this town called Captains Flat? Well, this is because there was a bullock named "Captain" from Foxlow station (12 km away) which grazed here, and hence the place name. It has nothing to do with Captain Cook or any other human captains :-)Currently, the population of Captains Flat is about 400 people. Historically, this area was originally...more
With the closure of the mine, the Captains Flat railway also closed in 1968. But there was one last hurrah – twelve months later, the very last train steamed along the line as part of the film Ned Kelly and a cardboard “Glenrowan” was built alongside the tracks at The Flat. From all accounts the film (featuring an unlikely Mick Jagger as Ned Kelly)...more
If you cast back my ‘Intro’ page, you will remember that the town had an initial main period of growth in the 1880s-90s. Consequently, the main ‘official’ buildings date from that period. Here are some of the public buildings. You’ll find the former Post Office (now a residence) just near the pub. It dates from 1898 and is an excellent example of...more
The Captains Flat hotel was opened in 1938 when the mine was newly reopened and, I guess, the possibilities for the town seemed endless. So it seems to have been made for a substantial population. When it was built, it was claimed to have the longest bar in the Southern Hemisphere (that title now rests in Mildura) at over 31 metres. The pub is...more
Australians will remember our former Prime Minister Keating, who famously made a comment about “…the recession we had to have”. The main photo for this tip shows ‘Keating’s Collapse’, which has nothing to do with the Prime Minister, but rather shows the recession left in the ground when one of the major mine shafts completely collapsed in 1961,...more
It isn’t very often that I feature a place in two different ‘tips’ categories, but ‘The Outsider’ definitely is a deserving exception. Gunther Deix is an interesting bloke. The brochure for his gallery says that he “is overtly eccentric”, and that’s probably a fair comment – suffice to say I suspect he’d have been at home in San Francisco about...more
When the mine operated, tailings heaps containing millions of tons of rock were left behind – near the road, these tailings heaps were over 40 metres high! Needless to say, they were unstable and leaching minerals. Consequently, the Molonglo River was a polluted aquatic desert downstream as far as Canberra, where it entered the new Lake Burley...more
From the mine reopening in 1937 until it closed in 1962, the Lake George Mine produced substantial amounts of zinc, lead, copper, silver and gold, from over four million tonnes of ore. I estimate that the minerals extracted, on current (2007) values, would be worth over $2 billion US dollars.Most of the old mine buildings were removed when the mine...more
The good folk of the Captains Flat Community Association have created a Heritage Trail around the little town, taking in the main buildings and also the old mine workings. While the old buildings are interesting and, indeed, are some excellent examples of period architecture, the mine and its derelict workings will always be the main focus of...more
Run by Gunther (who serves) and Christine (who cooks), the food tends toward the Mediterranean in style, with main courses featuring heaps of lovely salads and chargrilled vegetables. With a largish group, we recently visited for an evening meal and found the main courses ranged from $22A to $26A. The servings were substantial, so a main course plus a dessert will more than suffice for most people! We had kangaroo fillet stuffed with prawns and it was excellent; others had Moroccan lamb, sirloin steak, and chicken. Everyone in the party advised they were completely satisfied.
For dessert, Pauline and I shared a “pancake stack” – not to be tackled by those on diets unless nobody is looking! Imagine a pile of pancakes and fruit some 75mm high, laced with cream, ice cream and maple syrup! It costs $10A and is truly memorable. On a later lunchtime visit, I had savoury pancakes with sundried tomatoes, olives and salad, while a friend had quiche and salad. We all were satisfied. The coffee was also great, every bit as good as in any city restaurant and far better than you’re entitled to expect in a little bush town!
The service is best described as ‘good country casual’ and you are welcome to tour the galleries (see ‘to do’ tip) while waiting for your order. After the meal, we were pleasantly surprised when Gunther’s reaction to our $71A bill was “Oh, just round it down to $70”– they don’t do that in cities!
Open Friday to Sunday and public holidays, 0900 – 1700 (also Friday and Saturday evenings on reservations only). No EFTPOS or credit cards.
Main photo:The trademark “Pancake Stack” (and jar of maple syrup behind)
Second photo:Savoury pancakes with salad
Third photo:Quiche with salad
Fourth photo:Blackboard menu.
Fifth photo:Window sign – don’t forget the BYO!
Favorite Dish: If you had to choose just one dish - it would have to be the pancake stack! Price below is typical for main courses.
Favorite thing: If you want to find out about the history of Captains Flat, it will be very easy because there are many information boards located at this historical mining sites of this town. I think the authorities have done a good job in providing information and old photographs to visitors, and preserving the remains of the mines for future generations to learn about the history of this place.