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ABOUT THE CLUB
Our Caving Club is one of the larger caving clubs in Australia, and has been nationally and internationally recognised for our member activities, and high standard of our caving publications.
The Club had its inaugural meeting on April 23rd, 1973, with 16 persons present – many of whom are still associated with the Club. The intention of forming the Club was to bring together the active cavers already in the area, to enable them to share their knowledge, expertise and equipment, and to foster caving as a sport and science – particularly in the Chillagoe area.
We became an Associate of the Australian Speleological Federation not long after the Club was formed, and became a Corporate Member in 1995. The Club is incorporated under the Queensland Associations Incorporation Act (1981).
Over the years, the members of the Club have carried out thousands of hours of research into cave formation, karst management, flora and fauna and many other fields either as a sole Club project or in conjunction with visiting researchers. It has always been one of the tenets of the Club that this information needs to be passed on to the younger generations so that not only will the skills involved not be lost, but also that the research will continue in the future as the older cavers become “armchair cavers”.
The Club maintains a most happy relationship with the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, who are also involved with caves in Chillagoe – they operate daily tours of selected tourist caves for which no special equipment is required.
The Club has an established Clubhouse in Chillagoe which is used as a meeting place, a tackle centre, and is available for accommodation both for members and visiting cavers.
Cavers are adventurers, explorers, scientists, palaeontologists, geologists, surveyors and many others that like the challenge of finding something that no one has ever seen before. Chillagoe Caving Club is a focal point for these people to meet, share information, socialise and go caving together.
CLUBHOUSE HIRE & CAMPSITE BOOKINGS
Our facilities include:-
- Kitchen (including fridges and freezer);
- Toilets and shower (yes, we do have hot water);
- Bunk accomodation;
- Camping areas;
- Tackle room
- Meeting and lounge area;
We are located at 1 Hill St, Chillagoe
The club welcomes members and guests to use the facilities and charges a nominal fee for the use. The fees can provided, simply send us an email.
The Clubhouse Warden is currently Paul Osborne 0417 713166 and the Caretaker is Clare Mullins, 07 4094 7121 or 0429 323867.
If you are intending to use the facilities please let Clare know so she can make things ready. Please check in with Clare on arrival.
The Club also welcomes school and adventure groups. The site is considered ideal as exclusivity can be provided. Group rates can be provided and all group bookings are by formal arrangement with as much notice as possible so as we can provide the level of facilities requested.
ABOUT CHILLAGOE & THE SURROUNDING AREA
The town of Chillagoe is located approximately 210 kilometres west of Cairns. Most of the road distance (all but a very few kilometers) is now sealed. The climate is generally quite warm during the middle of winter with cold nights, and ranging to hot and humid during summer. Summer also sees the heaviest rain, with most of the annual 800mm occurring between December and March.
Chillagoe was and is a centre for the gold mining industry. Mining began about 1900 producing mainly copper and lead (small amounts of silver came from Muldiva). In recent times gold was mined at Red Dome and also some copper ore was sent to Mt Isa. The last large mine, Red Dome closed several years ago after virtually exhausting its resources. Today, a new underground gold mine operates at Mungana.
Chillagoe has an airport, keeping the town in touch with the coast through virtually all weather conditions – especially important when the roads are closed during the Wet Season. There is also a District Hospital with a resident Matron just up the road from the airport, which is convenient for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Dances, Rodeos, Race Meetings and similar activities are held on a regular basis in the town, and it is worth keeping in touch with the townspeople (via The Hub) to find out what is going on.
National Parks runs regular guided tours through certain caves, and they have done an incredible job of creating a non-intrusive method of lighting the caves they visit. Caves currently open are Royal Arch, Donna and Trezkinn. Donna and Trezkinn are lit, while lights (provided) are required to be carried for Royal Arch. Trips can be booked through local motels and through The Hub.
The Hub can be contacted on (07) 4094 7111 or via their website at www.chillagoehub.com.au.
A bus service goes from Chillagoe to Cairns three times a week – on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. the following website has all the details you will need to book passage:-
And for those that can afford it – Chillagoe also has a small airstrip which can be serviced by Far North air charter services upon request. Flying to Chillagoe, and being able to see the limestone bluffs from the air, is an awesome experience.
Chillagoe itself can be traversed by walking as all the important amenities are close together. It is a picturesque town with lots of history, amazing rock formations and of course, two pubs.
Post Office Hotel
(Ph: 07 4094 7119)
Chillagoe Creek Homestead (Camping only)
(Ph: 07 4094 7160)
Chillagoe Hotel Motel
(Ph: 07 4094 7168)
CAVING IN THE FAR NORTH
Many of the caves are within the National Park areas and require a permit to visit or cave within the National Park. CHILLAGOE CAVING CLUB has an annual permit which allows members to participate in caving expeditions.
CHILLAGOE CAVING CLUB has an introductory caving course for new members which includes subjects such as safety, underground navigation, route planning and how to minimally impact on the cave by your visit.
The club provides training and guidance for all levels of caving and has an active program for cavers to achieve greater competency.
Many of the caves have some vertical component requiring either freeclimbing or the use of wire ladders or ropes and descending/ascending equipment.
The Club has discovered and tagged nearly 600 cave entrances to date and there are still new caves being found.
Caving in Far North Queensland is very different from caving in in many other parts of Australia. Perhaps the most striking difference is the pleasant temperatures that one experiences. Caves in FNQ typically have an air temperature of 21 – 22 degrees and are very pleasant to spend time in. It’s being outside that can be hot, unpleasant and prickly! Our caves also tend to be a little shorter and have more entrances than other regions, due to the tower karst nature of our landscape. Primary karst regions include Chillagoe, Mitchell Palmer, Broken River and many small limestone outcrops dotted in between. There are also large areas of limestone further west such as Camooweal and around Lawn Hill Gorge.
WHAT TO BRING CAVING:
- Day pack
- Water bottle (s) at least 2 litres
- Lunch pack for an underground lunch and snacks
- Harnesses and personal SRT (Single Rope Technique) equipment. (the Club has 8 sets of SRT equipment for hire on a daily basis for new members)
- Helmet (the club has a limited number of helmets for hire on a daily basis)
- Head torch and spare batteries. (The brighter the better)
To contact us regarding Club Memberships, Campsite booking or for anything else please fill in the form or email us at:
Our postal address is:
Chillagoe Caving Club Inc,
Post Office Box 92, Cairns, 4870