Life below the surface

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Last updated on August 6th, 2017 at 06:02 am

Those of us who can’t wait to live in Tim Flannery’s Geothermia will envy reader Frollicking Mole, who works in an underground geothermic wonderworld every day:
That’s an emergency ladderway leading from deep within Frollicking Mole’s Geothermiaville, near Kambalda, Western Australia. Please continue your tour:

•  Note the luxurious bathroom appointments (or, as Mole describes them, “dunny arrangements”).

• “This is what $90,000 gets you in the way of accommodation,” writes underground media identity Mole. “It’s a 20-man refuge chamber.”

• Here we see one of the three main vents that keep air circulating through the mine. Mole: “Cute little thing, isn’t it?” Yes; yes, it is.

• Behold the entry to Geothermiaville, featuring an emerging “dirt taxi”.

•  And here is the underground crib room, a place of calming rest for FM and his mining mates. What’s with the yellow deals? Stolen hybrid stickers, perhaps? “Those things hanging from the roof are tea bags,” explains Mole. In Geothermiaville, you make your own fun.

Much thanks to Mole for sharing details of his unusual place of employ. If you work in a strange or challenging environment – maybe you share a desk with Catherine Deveny, or sometimes take calls from Kevin Rudd – please send your own pictures.

Posted by Tim B. on 04/16/2007 at 12:25 PM
    1. Hey, thefrollickingmole!  Does your company sublet?

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2007 04 16 at 12:36 PM • permalink


    1. And here we see further evidence of American Imperialism, in the form of compelling good Australians to drive a vehicle with the operator’s cab on the wrong side. Does it have a big yellow-and-black CAUTION! LEFT HAND DRIVE sticker on the back?


      Posted by Ric Locke on 2007 04 16 at 01:31 PM • permalink


    1. Day-yam Mole, I knews you wuz deep, but this takes the cookie! Claustrophobia anyone?

      Posted by kiwinews on 2007 04 16 at 01:35 PM • permalink


    1. Man, you get all the perks, free tea bags growing from the ceiling……now I know why I want to go to Oz.

      Posted by Old Tanker on 2007 04 16 at 01:53 PM • permalink


    1. I keep warm at work with temperature-preserving books and odd heat sources .

      Posted by rhhardin on 2007 04 16 at 01:56 PM • permalink


    1. Sorry, frollickingmole, but Ward Churchill says you’re a lazy middle-class little Eichmann. Back in the ground with you.

      IMHO, I’m amazed. I know I’d never have the patience or endurance to go down there day after day. Good on you, mate.

      (I’m American. Am I allowed to say that?)

      Posted by Tungsten Monk on 2007 04 16 at 02:24 PM • permalink


    1. So, is teabag-mining a major Australian industry?

      Seriously, frollickingmole, those photos are way cool – thanks for sharing them!

      #5 rhhardin – your odd heat source is a sweetie.  🙂

      Posted by Blue State Sil on 2007 04 16 at 02:33 PM • permalink


    1. Great stuff, mole!

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 2007 04 16 at 02:46 PM • permalink


    1. But where’s all of Gaia’s blood?

      Posted by Mr. Bingley on 2007 04 16 at 02:47 PM • permalink


    1. “Those things hanging from the roof are tea bags,” explains Mole. In Geothermiaville, you make your own fun.

      And all this time I thought the only things that would grow in caves were mushrooms and blind fish.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 04 16 at 03:27 PM • permalink


    1. Nice Digs

      Posted by El Cid on 2007 04 16 at 03:51 PM • permalink


    1. That looks like a giant Pepsi bottle in your spacious digs.  How lucky can a guy get anyway!  Do you pay them to work there?

      Posted by yojimbo on 2007 04 16 at 03:58 PM • permalink


    1. RebeccaH

      I think Sleestaks grow in caves too, don’t they??

      Posted by Old Tanker on 2007 04 16 at 04:08 PM • permalink


    1. What’s with 4wd drive vehicles in Australia that Deveny is bitching about, anyway? One would think that will all the empty desert within a few days drive they’d be massively popular. Do the urbanites just never venture into the great outdoors or something?

      Posted by Ernst Blofeld on 2007 04 16 at 04:30 PM • permalink


    1. TFM, your moniker has always conjured images from The Wind in the Willows for me.
      How wrong I was, and how right you were for calling yourself the frolicking mole.

      Posted by Skeeter on 2007 04 16 at 04:39 PM • permalink


    1. Now that’s what I call a thunderbox!

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2007 04 16 at 05:47 PM • permalink


    1. #16
      Only problem is that the thunderbox is at the BOTTOM of the long drop, not the top, like it usually is….


      Did you hear that the Beaconsfield miners are no longer bosom buddies?

      Well, they weren’t bosom buddies before the mine collapse, and had nothing in common. So why is everyone so surprised?

      Posted by kae on 2007 04 16 at 06:20 PM • permalink


    1. #14 Yes Mr. Blofeld. Just like in Canada, most people live in, and rarely venture beyond, suburbia; and certainly the new immigrants who aren’t even convinced they’ve left their old country, let alone Toronto.

      Posted by Wimpy Canadian on 2007 04 16 at 06:56 PM • permalink


    1. The solution is at hand – all we need are huge CO2 scrubbers like the big yellow box in the refuge pictured above, and we can get rid of all the carbon dioxide.  Though I think they may be the size of the atmosphere machine in Total Recall.  Maybe just portable ones to tow behind your Gaia-raper like the gas-producers of the war years.  Imagine, a Ferrari more green than a Prius!

      Posted by SezaGeoff on 2007 04 16 at 07:07 PM • permalink


    1. Thanks for the pics frollicker.

      Floor coverings here are not unlike the ones in my challenging environment.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2007 04 16 at 07:10 PM • permalink


    1. That 20-man chamber is reminiscent of the Hicks containment vessel I had the pleasure of visiting yesterday.  You got Korans in there TFM?

      Posted by anthony_r on 2007 04 16 at 07:23 PM • permalink


    1. X marks the spot, more or less. I’d say this shot of UWA is at least ten years old.

      Posted by SwinishCapitalist on 2007 04 16 at 07:52 PM • permalink


    1. #22 I expect that plans to move UWA to higher ground are well underway, swinish, or are you being infiltrated by filthy climate change denialists?

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2007 04 16 at 08:14 PM • permalink


    1. Good question MM! Haven’t heard a word about it – in fact they’re putting a new building up right at the bottom end of the campus (top of the picture).
      I’m making my plans to move, though. If you know what I mean.

      Posted by SwinishCapitalist on 2007 04 16 at 08:58 PM • permalink


    1. Memo to self: Do not borrow coffee cup when visiting TFM. (see dunny arrangements pic).

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 04 16 at 09:21 PM • permalink


    1. Thanks for the comments.

      1. They would sublet, however the unused or old sections of the workings havent had their ground support repaired for about 10 years. Buyer beware.

      2. Nope no big sticker on the back, just a blanket “if your in its way, YOU back up”.

      6. Ward Churchill is quite welcome to come for a visit. Be tragic if he was to get “lost” and walk into some unsupported ground though…

      9. We drink it and use it in our matzo balls.

      14. The old Toyotas cop aflogging underground. We have a light vehicle fitter who is flat out servicing a fleet of only about 10 underground and 15 surface light vehicles. We have just written off a couple after only 3 years of use due to cumulative damage.

      19. Co2 scubbers are overrated trust me. Produce quite a bit of heat with the breakdown of the chemicals. Handy for short term use though.

      21. No korans, pack of cards standard with each one though! At full capacity the chambers can provide oxygen internaly for about 4 days. You are in deep poo if it takes longer than that to get out.

      25. Trust me EVERYONE brings their own cup.

      Posted by thefrollickingmole on 2007 04 16 at 11:13 PM • permalink


    1. TFM, thanks for the pix.  And thanks to Blair for piping them through.  Your name makes much more sense now.

      Frollick away!

      Posted by reese on 2007 04 16 at 11:23 PM • permalink


    1. Great pics tfm.
      Work has taken me to Kal & Tallering Peak (iron ore) on occasion and have been driven down the coastal and inland roads from Geraldton-Perth: quite scenic.

      Posted by egg_ on 2007 04 17 at 08:51 AM • permalink


    1. Yes, great pics. I was trying to think of a joke about the dangling teabags and bat bait, but I give up.

      Posted by ForNow on 2007 04 17 at 07:17 PM • permalink


    1. I get claustrophobic when the front door is closed on my house (it may be only 975sf, but there’s lots of windows), Mole! Wow! I knew you were really sumpthin, but this is WAY more than I thought. I admire those of you who can do such things, but I’d rather jump out of a perfectly good airplane than visit your place of work. Thanks for the pics.

      Posted by KC on 2007 04 18 at 10:08 AM • permalink


    1. • “This is what $90,000 gets you in the way of accommodation,” writes underground media identity Mole. “It’s a 20-man refuge chamber.”

      That’s the biggest bottle of beer I’ve ever seen.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2007 04 18 at 10:24 AM • permalink


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