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KILSBYS HOLE (or "Kilsby Cave/Sinkhole" - official CEGSA Inc. cave number 5L46) was one of the first sinkholes to be dived in Mount Gambier, with activities commencing in the late 1950s. During the 1960s, the sinkhole attracted a large number of people who flocked to the site, often with minimal training, to enjoy the crystal-clear water filled chamber which extended off the sinkhole's south-western side.
After a tragic double-drowning in the sinkhole in April 1969, the feature was closed to recreational divers, and the Adelaide-based Weapons Research Establishment (later the Defence Research Centre Salisbury) took on a lease for secret "Barra Sonobuoy" sub-marine-detection tests which were held there. These were discontinued in the 1970s, and the first authorised civilian dives in the feature after that time commenced in 1983, when research-oriented members of the CDAA formed the Research Group so that a cohesive (and concerted!) effort at mapping this large feature could be made.
During the later years of the 1980s, several additional (but smaller) research opportunities occurred and renewed access negotiations commenced with the land-owner (Mr. Ross Kilsby) and his son, Graham. Later, with the pending relinquishing of the lease by the Commonwealth Government, the South Australia Police Department's Underwater Recovery Unit expressed its interest in taking on the lease rights for diver training purposes, and lengthy negotiations between the CDAA, the Police and Mr. Kilsby commenced in earnest, resulting in an agreement being reached which enabled CDAA members to visit the site under certain conditions.
Bearing in mind the past history of the site in the public's eyes, and the concerns of both the land- owner and the lessees about diving safety and liability aspects (while they wish to provide an opportunity for CDAA members to enjoy one of the best sinkholes in Australia, and even the world), it is hoped that all members will realise how important it is for them to unreservedly accept the agreed access conditions in the interests of maintaining good relations with all parties. These conditions are NOT negotiable at this time and are required by both Mr. Kilsby and the Police Department; departures from ANY conditions could result in loss of access to the site for ALL members and will undoubtedly result in action being taken against the diver/s concerned!
Provided that all divers abide by the access agreement and act in a responsible manner, Kilsbys Hole has once again become the source of great pleasure for trained deep cavern divers.
Please remember that continued access to this sinkhole will ONLY be possible if every-one follows the rules; there can be no room for inconsiderate divers who do not care about other members' access to this unique feature.
In 2007 a new lease agreement was drawn up directly with Mr Kilsby the landowner. This has offered the CDAA increased access times as well as opening up this site to deeper dives with the use of trimix gas. This has resulted in a new indemnity being drawn up which must be signed by all members wanting to dive there.