Tunnel Vision

A rare look inside Mittagong's Mushroom Tunnel

Buried underneath the hillside, alongside Mt Gibraltar between Mittagong and Bowral in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, lies a disused railway tunnel. This single track tunnel was built in 1866 and used up until 1919 when a new double track tunnel was built alongside it to become the new railway link between Sydney and the nation’s capital, Canberra. The single railway tunnel remained unused until in the 1950’s it became one of the first cultivated mushroom farms in Australia.
The Tunnel is 650 metres long and dark, Walking along his tunnel is a bizarre experience - there are hundreds of these manufactured wood logs and cut black bags with blooming mushrooms of different colours sprouting at the top and sides.
The single tunnel had been promised to the people of Bowral as an air-raid shelter during WWII, however, was taken over as a munitions store for the Royal Australian Air Force.  After the RAAF vacated the tunnel in 1953 is was used to grow mushrooms for the Edgell cannery. 
Some of his exotic mushrooms include shiitake, oyster (white, blue, grey, yellow and pink varieties) shimeji, wood ear, Enoki, king brown and chestnut.
And he says it's not only the dark and cool conditions of his tunnel that help his mushrooms grow.
"Someone sent me an article from Japan that said they found shiitake growers get better yields by having a low rumbling noise that apparently helps them grow.
"In this tunnel whenever we want a low rumbling noise we just order up a train."
Noel continues to be proactive by  introducing new varieties to the Australian market ... he was the first to grow Swiss browns and shiitake in Australia. 

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