Rangers to inspect district reserves after puppy falls into mine shaft

Parks Victoria rangers will be determining whether reserves in the area are in need of new mineshaft warnings and dog signage. 

It follows an incident on July 8 where emergency services rescued a puppy after it fell down a mine shaft in the Deep Lead Nature Conservation Reserve.

A family had been walking through the area when their 12-month-old female black Staffordshire Terrier fell 10 to15 metres into a mine shaft.

Parks Victoria said they were happy the family pet was rescued.

“Like many areas in Victoria, this reserve contains many historic mine shafts, located off the park tracks,” a spokesperson said. 

“When in a public park or reserve it’s important to stay on the designated tracks, for both safety and protection of the environment. 

“Where dogs are permitted in parks, they are required to be on a lead at all times.”

Stawell State Emergency Services unit controller Alan Blight attended the rescue and said he was aware of multiple mine shafts. 

“This is a well-known fact,” he said.

“There is a safety concern for everybody here, but in an old mining town there are mine shafts scattered all around, especially at Deep Lead and Illawarra State Forest.

“There could be some signage at the entrances of these parks.”

A Facebook user also pointed out the safety concern. 

“Next time it could be a human out in the bush walking by themselves,” they said.

Mr Blight said he had seen “half a dozen” mine shaft rescues with SES.

“They have all been involving dogs in the mine shafts,” he said. 

“The only time it involved people was about 12 years ago when we rescued two firefighters who were battling a blaze in the Illawarra State Forest.”

Parks Victoria assured rangers will assess sites. “They will be inspecting local reserves to assess whether new mineshaft warnings and dog signage are required.”