Mackay is one of the hubs of Australian mining, taking millions of tonnes of coal from the coal fields a couple of hundred kms inland, and loading it onto cargo ships heading all around the Pacific Basin.
You’re probably familiar with pictures of the monstrous dumper trucks which transfer raw coal from the face to processing. They’re easily the size of a small suburban house. Imagine driving a house!
Now imagine driving a bulk tanker, the ship, that is. That’s the sort of size you’re steering when you’re driving a dragline. They are Absolutely Massive, but since this is their normal size, they don’t count as a Big Thing. One of them is going for a walk out at Peak Downs mine. This monstrous electrically powered beast is being trundled at a snail’s pace from one part of the mine to another. In the process, it has to cross a busy highway and an even busier coal train line. Such is the importance of this piece of kit that they’ve closed and diverted the road and have taken up the railway line and laid a 1.5m deep dirt bed to form a road for it, to prevent it utterly destroying the highway and the railway line. We took ourselves out there on Miss Scarlett to inspect its progress. It was quite hard to get far enough away to get the whole thing in frame without making it look a bit weedy!
(Right next door is the longest and largest dragline in the Southern Hemisphere. We couldn’t get close enough, but if you’re interested, here’s the YouTube link, so you can see it in action).
So, not a Big Thing. Just very, very big.