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11 February 2008
This is 'The Mount'
DENISE RICHARDSON: Hi, I'm Denise Richardson. We're at Mt Gambier. This is my town. Mt Gambier is in the South East of South Australia, so welcome to it.
Mt Gambier is unique because it's the city of craters, lakes, caves and sinkholes.
So, the first stop of our tour of Mt Gambier is the Centenary Tower.
It's the highest point of the whole volcano of Mt Gambier and you get a fantastic view from there.
VIVIEN PETERS: Welcome to Centenary Tower. My name is Vivien.
On December 3rd 1800 Lieutenant Grant was sailing in his brig out to sea and he saw what he thought were two islands. In fact, it was the two mountains, Mt Shank and Mt Gambier.
It was such a significant sighting. Over a period of time a committee in Mt Gambier was formed to commemorate that sighting, hence the building of the Centenary Tower. The tower did open on April 27th 1904.
On that day of opening, six hundred people gathered up here with a brass band playing, quite a momentous occasion for the city of Mt Gambier.
Below us, the crater is a wonderful family area. There's a state of art playground, for kids of all ages, and a boardwalk which goes through the wildlife park. It's a very, very popular area for barbecues.
DENISE RICHARDSON: Now we're here at the Limestone Quarry. Limestone is an important industry to Mt Gambier, used in our local housing industry and building industry.
COLIN CRAM: Denise, we're in Mt Gambier, this is the Gambier Stone Supplies quarry. We deliver the stone all the way around Australia.
Denise, this is a piece of limestone. This used to be a seabed millions of years ago. This is a part of the stone that we pulled out which you can actually see - you've got your shells, there's a shell there, a crayfish tentacle over here.
DENISE RICHARDSON: Now we're here at the Engelbrecht Cave, which you'll find in the middle of the city of Mt Gambier. These caves are very unique to the cave divers.
GRANT PEARCE: One of the fantastic things about cave diving across the South East is that there's such a large variety of sites for people to visit. So, Engelbrecht's Cave for example has two dive sites associated with that. One is a site that only goes for about 100m or so but the other site in Engelbrecht's goes for quite a few hundred metres.
And this particular spot is visited daily by tourists as well, who can come and pay to have a look at the dry sections of the cave itself.
DENISE RICHARDSON: No trip is complete if you don't come and see the Blue Lake.
GARRY TURNER: My name's Garry Turner. I'm owner manager of Aqua Tours and we operate tours of Mt Gambier's Blue Lake and pumping station.
Now we're down by the water's edge and to be honest there are many, many theories about why the lake changes colour. Essentially, what we know is the lake will turn a beautiful blue around the middle of November and maintain that blueness through to around to about March.
Mt Gambier's Blue Lake is not used for recreation. It is purely for Mt Gambier's domestic use.
KEN NORTON: My name's Ken Norton. I'm standing at the Umperstone Cave which is a natural sinkhole. It's a garden that was established back in about 1890 by an old gentleman called Mr Umperstone who did a magnificent job and it was an attraction back in those days, wonderful attraction but unfortunately after he died, until about 1959, it let go, become a mess.
And actually the local volunteer social club from the Mill took it upon themselves to clean it up. And it was a magnificent effort because when they started no-one ever dreamt how good it could become.
We think it's up to 1000 people day and night come through the cave and it is unique and it's got these features, a natural feature, a sinkhole which is part of our landscape.
The animals. It's absolutely wonderful to see the children sitting on the steps with a possum on their lap.
DENISE RICHARDSON: Thanks for coming on tour with me around Mt Gambier today. I've had a great time. I hope you have too and we hope to see you soon. Bye.