Cave Gardens (South Australia) facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsCave Gardens
Cave Gardens from viewing platform (2016)
|Location||Mount Gambier, South Australia, Australia|
|Depth||27 metres (89 ft)|
The Cave Gardens are the garden located in the centre of Mount Gambier in the Australian state of South Australia that contain a 90-ft-deep cave. The cave was initially used as a water source for the town. In 1870 the area became a reserve, and by the 1890s trees, gas lamps and seating were installed in the area. On 2 August 2001, the Cave Gardens were declared a State Heritage area.
The Cave that the garden surrounds was first discovered during the 1845-46 survey of the area, with the fresh water supply in the cave being an attraction that initiated the first settlement of the area. The three acres surrounding the area was declared Government Reserve. The main water supply of Mount Gambier remained the sinkhole until the 1850s. The first buildings of Mount Gambier (the first post office, the Town Hall, and a hotel) were built surrounding this reserve. In the 1890s the first plants and seating were added to the area, and the formal garden was constructed between 1906 and 1910.
In 1922, a captured German gun from WWI was added to the garden, however this was later removed. A large flagstaff was displayed in the garden for 40 years until on 1 January 1926 it fell, however no one was injured. The garden also featured a 'model' air raid shelter in 1942 for householders to view, thought its use was never necessary.
The gardens now feature a scenic walk, as well as a lowered viewing platform into the sinkhole. The floor of the cave is not accessible. In wet weather, the drains at the top of the sinkhole create a waterfall that flows into the cave.
In October 2005, a 21-year-old man was seriously injured after losing his footing while trying to get a closer look at the sinkhole. In February 2020, a 20-year-old man fell approximately thirty metres to the base of the sinkhole and died. This accident however, was self-inflicted and subsequently a Darwin Award was presented to the deceased.
Though the cave floor is no longer accessible, people have made attempts to enter it. In August 2011, two men lowered themselves into the cave. One became injured after trying to climb out and falling. Both men were eventually removed from the cave and taken into police custody.
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