All the while the Beaconsfield Gold Mine pushed further and further underground, and all the years it was closed, there was gold at the surface just waiting to be found.
The big question is how much, and new mine owner NQ Minerals is working to find out.
Hopes of significant gold finds at and close to the surface at Beaconsfield are rising after what NQ calls "excellent" early exploration results.
"These results, albeit early days, are seen as very encouraging indeed," NQ Minerals chairman David Lenigas said.
"There has been little recorded exploration at surface (in the) Beaconsfield area, with the majority of previous exploration and mining efforts concentrated on the rich underground mine as it continued to mine to deeper depths.
"NQ considers that the surface potential at Beaconsfield remains untapped and has the potential to add significant resources to Beaconsfield gold inventory."
NQ said its geologists recently collected 250 samples from five small excavated pits at Cabbage Tree Hill, involving 488 metres of shallow surface trenching.
It said samples from two of the locations indicated good gold mineralisation.
Mr Lenigas said London-listed NQ planned a follow-up trenching program before a drilling program.
NQ, which bought the mine in 2020, aims to return it to production via a new decline.
The company also recovers value from tailings at its Hellyer site, west of Cradle Mountain, and has hopes of new mining in that area.
The Hellyer project produced net income of $4.8 million in the March quarter.
NQ is also hauling gold-bearing material from the Wetlands area at Beaconsfield.
t was deposited there during past mining.
That project is expected to lead to environmental improvements.
Gold mining at Beaconsfield started in 1877 and the mine operated until 1914.
It operated again between 1998 and 2012.
The mine is famed internationally for a dramatic rescue in 2006.
Miners Brant Webb and Todd Russell were rescued after about two weeks trapped underground following a rock fall.
A third miner, Larry Knight, was killed.