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About the Cave Clan and What We Do

Cave Clan is a group dedicated to urban exploration. We are much like traditional cave exploring groups in that we venture into places other people would not usually think of going, just to see what's there. Unlike traditional caving groups we don't limit ourselves to natural cavities. We will explore pretty much anything, natural or man-made. We are a pacifist organization in that we don't go and smash things underground. We have expanded remarkably since the 80s, we now have branches in most states of Australia and contacts in many countries around the world. Cave Clan has been the subject of many rumours throughout the years, such as being; a gothic band, a graffiti crew, ritualistic (having bizarre rituals and sacrifices in drains), residents of the drains who defend them to the death, a group who use drains as an escape after committing crimes, and so on. These rumours are always a source of amusement. Being a part of the Cave Clan is not a full time obsession, it's a part time hobby. Some people explore whenever possible while others explore just a few tunnels a year. It's up to the individual.

Photograph of Mummy Drain, Melbourne. (By Pizzy)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe? What about diseases and things?
Cave Clan explorers a wide variety of tunnels which includes stormwater drains. Since Americans refer to stormwater drains as 'sewers', most people assume them to be effluent carrying pipelines, but this isn't accurate. Australia's stormwater and sewerage network are completely separate, therefore the only thing you'll find in a stormwater drain is rain water. If you catch diseases whilst standing out in the rain, you would probably end up in trouble. Despite what some people will tell you there aren't pools of stagnant water filled with rotting vegetation and dead bodies. It's very rare for water pools to accumulate in stormwater tunnels, and if they do, the natural rain cycles ensure they don't have enough time to sit still and stagnate. In the 20 years of Cave Clan's operation, there hasn't been a reported case of a member falling sick after exploring a stormwater drain.

What about rain and flash floods?
It's true that flash floods do happen. There are warning signs and some time for escape, but the safest practice (apart from not going in tunnels at all) is to follow the golden rule; When it rains, no drains! ALWAYS check the weather forecast before exploring drains, this information is available free of charge over the phone and internet (see our safety section). Keep in mind that most drains are connected to rivers and creeks, so it can be raining a few kilometres away and that will cause a flood.

Photograph of Zorga's Tomb, Adelaide. (By Pizzy)

Why do you do it?
There are many answers to this question. Some of the more 'hardcore' members of Cave Clan say they are addicted to exploring. Other's just like to see a cross section of what's underground. Some just do it from a social point of view, a little bit of adventure mixed with socialising. It's different for every member. Some do it to record sounds or take photos, others to get away from it all, but for most of us we have one thing in common in us; A sense of adventure.

What age do I need to be? What is the average age group of Cave Clan members?
The joining age is over 18. The average age group in Melbourne is 18 - 35 with most members being in their mid twenties. We have members in their 40s as well.

Are you all dole bludgers?
Nope. Cave Clan is a diverse group, you'll find tradesmen, computer geeks, shop owners, teachers, government workers, writers, students, scientists, mechanics and many other types.

Photograph of Fortress Drain, Sydney. (By Siologen)

How hard are these places to explore?
Most places we explore are 'walk-in'. The majority of drains are high enough to stand up in, some are even enormous. Some of the locations we explore are a bit more awkward, however you are not pressured to do anything you don't want to in the Cave Clan. Some locations we know about are very difficult to get into - these are more suited to seasoned explorers and are often explored during `unofficial expeditions'. The important thing is for newer members not to feel that they need to prove themselves to us by doing things they don't really want to - every Clan member had to start somewhere and we all know what it's like. The Cave Clan is not about who is the best and bravest, it is about enjoying yourself.

Are there leaders and officials in the Cave Clan?
No. Whilst Cave Clan was founded by three people, they don't control the group. We don't have 'officials' or leaders. Every member is free to have as much or as little input as they like. Cave Clan is more a central point for like-minded explorers to meet up. Newsletters, planned expos and events are put together by a team of members who have donated their time and resources in order to keep the group organised and moving. Every member is welcome and encouraged to submit exploration related articles to our newsletter or for online distribution (expo reports etc), and give suggestions for up and coming expos and events. The Cave Clan is entirely non-profit.

How can I get involved? How do I join?
Firstly, we do not encourage you to join us or to go in tunnels. However, if you are then you can contact us either by e-mail or post (where available) and we'll let you know when the next New Explorer’s Expo is happening. New Explorer’s Expos consist of a group of interested individuals (mostly new to the scene) and only a couple of Cave Clan members who will guide you through one of the more interesting and easy drains in your city. If you like what you see and want to join, all you have to do is subscribe to let the guide know and they will give you some information on the Cave Clan Probation.

Photogrpah of Split Pit, Tasmania. (By Ordex)

I heard you cut off peoples fingers and have bizarre rituals down drains. Is that true?
Could be!

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