Acland was a small town with a 120-year history and over 50 houses located just 35 kilometres west of Toowoomba. Now it is a ghost of a town, with an empty grid of streets where houses have been removed or simply fallen down. Over 300 properties and an estimated area of 9,000 hectares has been purchased for an open-cut coal expansion as a result of the New Hope Coal company deciding that it would 'remove' the town of Acland to allow mining. Feeling abandoned by their governments, confused and under pressure, with the existing mine encroaching closer and closer and bringing noise, dust and disruption, the townspeople gave up hope one by one and sold to the miners. Now, Acland is gone, a modern day mining casualty, and only one man remains, determined to protect the beautiful park and the war memorial which his parents tended when they were alive.
Community opposition has prevented the mining company from actually turning Acland into an open-cut pit, but it has not been able to stop the company turning it into a ghost town. There is only one many left standing in Acland, as the mine expands all around it.
Towns and villages across the country are facing encroachment from coal and gas mining. The villages of Camberwell and Ravensworth in the Hunter Valley have all but disappeared due to coal mining, and now the small village of Bulga is in the firing line. The Hunter town of Wybong has been decimated by encroaching mines, and even the beautiful hamlet of Gloucester in NSW would be virtually be sitting on the brink of an open-cut coal pit if mining companies have their way. There are also plans for a Gloucester gasfield, with approval for 110 wells surrounding the small communities of Stroud, Stratford and Craven. There is already a coal seam gas field on the outskirts of Sydney, with numerous CSG wells within 2km of peoples homes.