Even if the weather is bad and you are stuck outside you are warned from staying the night in the old, abandoned miners hut as strange noises are heard within.
The early history of European settlement in the area has been discussed in a previous article (The Devils Marbles) but we shall pick it back up here with the 1920's and the discovery of some gold. In 1926 and 1927 gold was found in the ranges close to Tennant Creek but it was not until 1932 when local indigenous man Frank Juppurla found a sizable amount of gold that one of Australias last great gold rushes began.
Within a matter of months the local population grew to about 600 people, a majority men who were to find and make their claims in the gold fields. In 1934 the Tennant Creek Hotel was built and three years later a bakery and cafe were opened by Cecil Armstrong who began baking bread the day after he arrived. Also around this time a chuch was brought to Tennant Creek plank by plank from Pine Creek and is still there to this day.
The gold rush lasted about ten years before a majority of the gold mines closed down in 1942. Although there was still gold present the extraction of gold was a tough, time and money consuming process and soon many mines closed. The mine that remained was a large one capable of doing all its own crushing on site, besides this there were a number of men alone or in groups mining their own small claims.
One Day Mick came across a large nugget of gold in the fields and soon took out a miners lease and started working on his own. Although many people knew where Mick was working, no one would dare approach as Mick had a habit of firing off his gun as a warning to keep far away. This along with his fast paced broken english speaking earned him the name 'Mad Mick'.
It was in the 1980's that a man went missing out near Mad Micks claim. Although people searched for the missing man it was not until a few years later that his body was discovered. A short while later it was noted that Mick had not been heard firing his gun for a while or been to the local general store for supplies.
Mick was gone, missing after having worked his claim alone for ten years.
If you look around on the internet through fossicking forums (fossicking being a term for prospecting or rummaging) they do talk about the gold still being found up at Tennant Creek and especially around the land near Mad Micks shack. However the information comes with a warning of never to enter the little abandoned home even if it looks like rain is coming in.
Strange wailing sounds have been heard coming from the shack as has the clattering of metal tools.
There are two theories about the ghost of Mad Micks Shack: one, that Mad Mick disappeared into an abndoned mine shaft or had one of his own shafts cave in on him or two (and more disturbing) that Mad Mick found the missing man a little too close to his claim, killed him and when the body was discovered years later made a mad run from town, the dead mans ghost remains haunting the area.
Or maybe it is all just legend?
Put together by Ashley Hall 2014