Blue Sky Mine
“In the end the rain comes down
Washes clean, the streets of the Blue Sky town”
So say the lyrics of the Midnight Oil classic. But 50 years later, not everything has washed away.
Wittenoom is a ghost town located in the Hamersley Ranges in Karajini National Park, WA. Founded in the 1950s, this ‘company town’ was built around the mining of blue asbestos. Turns out, that’s the most harmful form of asbestos.
And so the mines were shut down and the town was abandoned. By most, but not all.
Some people decided to stay and, curiously, even though the power was cut in 2005, there are still four people living there. But they aren’t the only presence in this town.
Asbestos tailings haunt the gorge to this day; you see, the mine was never made safe, and so the real ghosts of this once thriving town, the exposed fibres, blow in wind and wash into the rivers, earning this place the nickname ‘Australia’s Chernobyl.’
24 years after ‘Blue Sky Mine’ made it to #1 on the charts, it seems “who’s gonna save me?” still stands as a rhetorical question, at least for the abandoned, toxic landscape.