World-class sinkholes attract divers to South Australian farms
Published – 06/07/2021 11:00 pm
Trevor Ashby’s property south of Mount Gambier looks like a typical dairy farm from the roadside, but hidden among the cows is a tiny portal into a world-class dive site.
The hole in the ground is so small that equipment and divers have to be lowered separately.
But below the humble entrance is a huge, seemingly bottomless chamber.
“We’ve had people who have dived all around the world and have come to here and they just couldn’t believe the size of the room that we’ve got under our feet here in the middle of a cow paddock,” cave diving instructor Gary Barclay said.
The Shaft, as it is known, is the darkest and deepest recorded sinkhole in the region, dropping more than 120 meters.
It was discovered by the owner’s grandfather when he was plowing a paddock and the horse put its hoof through the surface.
A pile of rubble 35 meters down was the family’s unsuccessful attempt to fill it.
“We really didn’t have a clue how big it was underneath. We had no hope of filling it up,” Mr. Ashby, a third-generation farmer, said.
“It looks like an anthill down there and we’ve tipped a thousand tonnes of stone down there.”