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No escaping ups and downs of the mining boom

Caval Ridge Mine opening- 100% FIFO mine Photo Lee Constable / Daily Mercury
Caval Ridge Mine opening- 100% FIFO mine Photo Lee Constable / Daily Mercury Lee Constable

SANDRA Juides says her head is still spinning.

The metaphor is echoed among many Dysart residents, who sat front and centre during Australia's mining boom.

But now the whirlwind is dying down, residents are left with a shared connection of experiencing an event talked about by the world.

"It's like a holiday now, I can get a bit of sleep," Ms Juides said.

"Dysart's still crawling, but it was like we were on a fast spin before. Now we're just on a slow spin."

The resident owned a cleaning and maintenance company, making sure the workers had somewhere "nice to come home to" through the boom time peak in 2012.

She said the loyalty of the workers always stood out to her.

"It's a really rewarding job, because they work so hard," she said.

"The miners are very dedicated to each other and the company.

"That coal goes into their blood somehow."

But she said many community members had used the change of pace as a chance to do something new.

"In a downturn you can study, you can change career," she said.

"You've got to be flexible."

Elisa Crooks at Dysart Hardware said since the downturn dynamics in the community had changed.

She said the boom hiked prices so high that people who weren't working couldn't afford to live in town.

Now more elderly, students and unemployed were settling.

"It's not better or worse now, just different," she said

"The dynamics have changed."

Her dad John Crooks said in the last two or three years, the amount of Dysart businesses had halved.

But while the population had fallen, he said introducing eight-hour shifts to mine workers would fuel the Dysart business sector.

"It's gone down 50% in the last two or three years," he said.

"There's contractors gone, cafes closed. But eight-hour shifts would give them a chance to come in after work."

While all Mr Crooks' children had done a stint in a mine, he said the shifts took a toll on families.

"Lots of parents are suffering from not seeing their kids," he said.

"They don't have time to do things like after school sports coaching."

But he said the downturn gave people the chance to move into other industries like agriculture.

"The only thing that kept people in the mines was the money and the security," he said.

"Now I know people that have left the mines and gone back into agriculture."

It's a move Lyn Sibson would likely recommend.

While a neighbouring agricultural and farming sector can prove a volatile mix, she said 15 years living on a Dysart property was "the best of both worlds".

"They did a bit of drilling on our property, but what they found was too deep," she said.

"It was a relief."

She said drought was a worry, but loved the lifestyle.

"We're not isolated by any means," she said.

"There's always someone to have a cuppa with.

"I love it."

Under the Dysart sun, earlier this month, toddler Heath Hickmott was renovating his grandma Cathy Stitt's house.

"Everyone cares in Dysart," Mrs Stitt said.

"The little fella went missing just for a bit one day, and about 10 million people came and looked for him."

Topics:  dysart house prices mining boom


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