Originally named the Vale of Chamoni after similar scenery in the French Alps, the Linda Valley, as it became known, has been transformed by mining. Most of the floor of the valley has been dug in search of gold. The most famous discovery was at the head of the valley - the Iron Blow, birthplace of the Mt Lyell mine.
The Iron Blow is one km from the top of Gormanston Hill. A plaque commemorates the discovery and subsequent mining of this extraordinary ore body which so puzzled the early prospectors. Steve Karlson, Bill and Mick McDonough discovered the "Blow". They traced gold in a nearby creek to its source on the top of the Blow. But they were at first deceived by iron pyrites or 'fool's gold", an ironstone capping over the riches beneath.
The whole area around the Iron Blow is much disturbed by old mine workings and by dumps of waste rock from the Mt Lyell mines. Beyond the car park is the West Lyell open cut which is on a mine lease and not open to the public. Quartzite and volcanics are the main rocks on Prospectors Ridge connecting Mts Lyell and Owen. The Heemskirk Range and Mt Zeehan are prominent mountains towards the northwest.
Like its neighbour, Gormanston, Linda was once a prosperous mining town, but is now a ghost town. It is well worth a visit by people interested in seeing how towns, once they have outlived their usefulness, simply die. Linda was the town supporting the North Mount Lyell mine and the terminus of the North Mount Lyell Railway when it was in operation. Ore was taken from the mine to smelters at Crotty (now under the waters of Lake Burbury) then the refined metal taken to a port at Pillinger on the shores of Macquarie Harbour at Kelly Basin.
When North Mount Lyell was taken over by Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company in 1903, Linda was quickly reduced in significance and eventually most residents moved to Gormanston, the nearby Mount Lyell town. Linda was the site of a serious underground mining disaster in 1912 when 42 miners were killed by a fire deep within the mountain. The remains of the townsite of Linda are at the northern side of the Linda Valley, to the north or ‘down the hill’ from the equally abandoned community of Gormanston. Linda Valley in 1923.
View Larger Map
Where is it?
240 km north-west of Hobart, adjacent to the Lyell Highway 8 km east of Queenstown.