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Captains Flat is opening its doors in a big way this weekend, and you’re invited

Captains Flat is opening its doors in a big way this weekend, and you’re invited

Captains Flat residents are welcoming visitors from right across the region this weekend for ‘Back to the Flat’ – a day celebrating the town’s history and future – and they’d love to see you there.

‘Back the Flat’ committee member Anita King said residents are excited to invite neighbours to join them for a day out in their much-loved town. Captains Flat hasn’t had an event like this for more than 11 years ago, when the town commemorated the 50-year anniversary of the Lake George Mine closure.

There’s plenty planned for this weekend’s event, which runs from 12pm until late into the night on Saturday 4 March 2023.


“It all came about last Australia Day when we didn’t get a very good turn out, and a few of us got together and decided to bring back ‘Back to the Flat’,” Anita says.

“We applied for a grant from the NSW Government, which was successful, and we’ve been busily organising ever since.” 

The former mining town has around 600 residents, specialty shops, a Bowling Club and the famous pub – built in 1939 – that once boasted an epic 32-metre bar. An exciting aspect of the event is the re-opening of the pub ‘The Captains Flat Hotel’ after several years. New owners have been working extremely hard for over a year to restore the grand old building to her former glory.

The Captains Flat township taken from Mine Hill.

The Lake George Mine was operational from 1939 to 1962, and at its peak had 350 Captains Flat residents mining silver, lead, copper, pyrite, zinc and gold. 

The town had 5000 residents in those days, and while the mine brought prosperity to the small town, almost 30 men lost their lives working underground or in the mine. Last year signified 60 years since the town’s mine closed. 

End of shift at the mine in 1942.

At its economic height, the town had a bakery, a butcher, a hospital (where many of my relatives were born), a bank and even a furniture shop. More than 190 fibro miners’ cottages lined the streets of Captains Flat and housed the workers and their families. When the mine closed, some of the fibro houses were transported to Queanbeyan, where they remain today. 


Former resident Gary Marmont will be speaking about Captains Flat’s history and his family’s connection to the town during Saturday’s event. No doubt there’ll be a rugby league story or two.

The new Captains Flat Hotel, 1938.

Saturday’s ‘Back to the Flat’ has a long list of events for the whole family, including wood chopping, shearing and wool classing, a tug-o-war competition as well as live music, stalls and a car display. Tea, coffee and cakes will be available at the Captains Flat primary school.

The Mabbott wheelbarrow race will also take place to honour publican William Mabbott, who was wheelbarrowed from his old pub to the new one when the licence was transferred in 1939.

“It’s a great an opportunity not only for our former residents to come back, but for the people who live here now to all get together after all the bushfires and COVID,” Anita says.

“The school is going to open and the community hall will be open with an exhibition of old photos. There’s lots of activities and a band and its just going to be a really fun day.”

Formal events kick off at 12 noon with an opening address by Queanbeyan-Palerang Mayor Kenrick Winchester, whose grandfather Ken ‘Ragged’ Winchester worked in the mine in the 1950s and 60s.

About the Author: Holly Winchester

Part Jennifer Coolidge, part Jennifer Garner (gaudy and geeky), Holly idolises Dolly Parton and Princess Di and loves NRL. When she's not creating killer content, you’ll find Holly at the Maccas drive thru getting her chai latte fix or buying 1990s memorabilia for the walls of her Googong home. Specialist subject: the Woolies carpark.