Sacks, sirens and miscellaneous things like that. Flowers. Frogs.
Covered in mud.
Like flour. They’d blast and release some clay down the shaft
or drive. A fault, a freakish fault. Which runs north-south, basically, though sort of a bit off that. In part. Most of the noise is contained in the workings. Most of it. Warning: part-woman, a fault. Nearly all been cut, and filled, and moved from one place to another.
Covered, covered in mud.
She— They only stopped for breakdowns. I only stopped for breakdowns. I only stop—
Covered in mud.
Part-woman, going underground, into the wet. Most of it. Into the underground’s day; into the sacks. Listening to the earth talk. I’ve heard the earth talk and it’s not nice. Miscellaneous subterraneous things, things contained in the workings. And nearly all been cut, like flowers. …
Miners’ lore and lingering hearsay become the refrain of a haunting feminine presence. Everyone in the Mt Egerton area, northwest of Melbourne, has heard of Maggie Malone. The first owner of Maggie’s ‘white clay’ mine was seeking gold in the late 1800s when he found his way to Mt Egerton. There he took advantage of a lode of kaolin discovered by earlier gold prospectors. Maggie Malone was his spirited, dark-haired daughter; she inherited the kaolin mine, and ran the business with notorious diligence until her death in the mid-twentieth century. According to former miner Keith Howse, ‘she used to go underground herself and hold the sugar bags while the men filled them’, and she loved racehorses.
Script for Maggie Malone was written in 2007 as part of Music at Mt Egerton, an Aphids residency at the site of the decommissioned mine. The text is based particularly on interviews with Michael Hutchison, in 2007 owner of the site, and Rodney Dalziel, longterm resident of Mt Egerton, former mine manager, and nephew of Keith Howse.
- 27 May: Mt Egerton, Victoria, decommissioned kaolin mine in Steetley Lane, part of Music at Mt Egerton, a community cultural development project undertaken by Aphids in collaboration with former mine employees, the Mt Egerton Primary School and the Mt Egerton Dance Club.