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08 The Empress Amalia – Stollen


Stud Name:            "Empress Amalia - Stollen"

                                   Wife of Emperor Joseph I, married on February 24, 1699 in Vienna

Struck:            1687                           

Length:                         572 m

Altitude:                     851 m


The Empress Amalia tunnel was opened in 1687 in order to drive under the next upper Frauenholz tunnel and to be able to use the salt storage facility below.                                                                                                                                                                                                         

The year the main shaft was expanded cannot be found, but this must not have happened long after the 18th century, because in 1725 several pumping works in these tunnels were already in use.                                                                       

In 1734, a collapse and water ingress occurred in the rear part of the Amalia tunnel - main shaft, which is why a conversion had to be made. The main shaft was then cleared out again and the water that had collapsed was drained back to the surface without causing any damage.

The great squeezing pressure of the poor Haselgebirge made it necessary to reinforce the carpentry of the routes. In order to limit the consumption of firewood, Oberamtrat Kner ordered it to be soaked in brine in 1796, as in Hallstatt in Ischl, for which purpose the brine room next to the mouth of the Amalia tunnel was used. This could hold 1000 stamping sticks, which were soaked in the brine for three months.

Situation of the weirs in the Empress Amalia tunnel around 1800:

Length from the mouth hole to the salt boundary 496 Stabel (591.2m), from there to the field site 404 Stabel  4 hairpin bends with a total of 8 weirs, 4 of which are useless and 4 usable.


The hairpin bends originally laid out in these tunnels were mostly broken and abandoned quickly because of the enormous mountain pressure. In order to ensure access to the main shaft, complex conversion sections had to be created.

In 1839 the workers Preßel, Schwaiger, Rappan and Baron Sternbach suffered massive injuries in the Amalia tunnel. The mine workings that were still open had to be treated with particular care.

On May 11, 1843, Vasold Schurf (Amalia – on Elisabeth –  tunnel) to such an extent that the entire mining area was endangered. The massive inrush of water was a result of the collapse of the Erlach weir in the Frauenholz tunnel and the Mohr and Freund weir in the Elisabeth tunnel.

As early as May 20, 1844, a commission made up of the most experienced miners of the Kammergut met to save the Ischler Salzberg, which was threatened with collapse.

At the suggestion of the commission, the area of the collapse was measured and a wooden model of the Ischler Salzberg was made.  The model showed that the waters descended from the Niederen Rosenkogel and could be intercepted by an extension from the Potie - Schurf (Neuberg - on Frauenholz - tunnel). After several unsuccessful attempts to build, the stormwater was finally managed in this way, it was caught and drained off harmlessly. The collapse rooms made accessible by the extension could be secured with numerous wooden support boxes.

The extension was occupied in three-thirds shifts and Häuer also came to help from Hallstatt. The incompletely collected waste water continued to leach out the collapsed Haselgebirge, which settled and with it the support boxes, which became detached from the ceiling and no longer served their purpose.

In 1845, an attempt was made to counteract the renewed threat of decline by filling in the cavern spaces with debris and quarry stones extracted from the surface. In addition, the search for the origin of the waste water hidden under the sinkhole continued with success.

The approximately 60m high Keeler rubble , including the horn sites, was extremely brittle and could only be secured by lining. For the same reason, in 1848 the fifth water extension in Neuberg - the tunnel and parts of the Amalia tunnel - had to be built into the main shaft.

Longer iron pipes made of cast iron pipes were laid for the first time on the Ischler Salzberg in the Keeler - rubble and in the Layer - conversion for the quick, safe drainage of the enormous amounts of stormwater.

Another measure to reduce the water inflow from above ground was the construction of a widespread system of gutters and water catches in the area of the Reinfalzalm, which required constant maintenance and supervision.

As a last measure, the water supply should be relocated to improve the leaching conditions in the weirs. The more rapid leaching of the weirs reduced the risk of factory overlaps. To do this, however, the amount of fresh water fed into the pit had to be increased significantly. In addition to the installation of iron pipes with larger cross-sections, a new water supply route from Bader - Schurf (Frauenholz - on Amalia - tunnel) via the Springer - Kehr, the Scharf - and Liska - conversion (Amalia - tunnel) to Vasold - Schurf (Amalia - on Elizabeth –  tunnels) have been planned. This was intended to enable the supply of larger amounts of water to the production workers and to drain the sections that had been soaked by the weeping wooden pipes. According to the decision of the Court Chamber, the procurement of the necessary iron pipes was to be spread over the years 1842, 1843 and 1844.

Those connecting structures that had become superfluous after the drainage pipe was relocated in 1842 were left open. These included the Niedere Wasserberg shaft and the water digging from the Niederen water tunnel to the Lipplesgraben tunnel, the rear Lipplesgraben and Johannes tunnel, some stretches in the Matthias and Neuberg tunnel and the Kößler conversion in the Frauenholz tunnel.

Situation of the weirs in the Empress Amalia tunnel – weirs around 1850:


A total of 9 weirs, all pronounced dead around 1850.  Wolfen - and Colonel Kammergraf v. Baron Sternbach - weir (cut), Kappan - weir, Sternbach - weir, Schwaiger - weir, Preßel - weir, Landsteiner - and Eberl - weir (cut), Boiger - weir.



An elaborate underground pipe system was maintained until 1933 to supply water to the production workers. Only after the above-ground version of the Törlbach and the supply of this water through the Maria Theresia tunnel could the watering be significantly simplified from 1933.

Dynamite explosion on  June 4, 1919 - Salzkammergut newspaper June 15, 2019:

From Bad Ischl we will be informed under the 6th d. M. on the phone: On June 4, 1919 at around 6:30 am, explosives expert Gschwandtner, who lives in Perneck No. 9, carried out blasting in the Amalia tunnel in Perneck. Since all shots did not have the full effect, Gschwandtner grabbed dynamite.  But it was frozen  and so he went out of the tunnel to look for a dressing hut in the vicinity, heated the oven there and put a board on the stovetop,  whereupon he wanted to warm up approx. 35 dynamite cartridges with a total weight of 2.5 kg. Gschwandtner then sat down in front of the stove and watched the cartridges. The miners Matthias Zeppezauer, resident at Untereck No. 4, and Josef Kogler, resident at Wirling No. 10, were also in the hut to change. Suddenly the 3 workers noticed a blue flame near a dynamite cartridge and heard a hiss.  They wanted to flee, but the explosion had already taken place. Gschwandtner and Zeppezauer suffered a shattered eardrum and a concussion, Kogler internal abdominal injuries and also a concussion. The injuries are serious but not fatal.  Josef Gschwandtner, who is a blaster and should be familiar with the handling of dynamite cartridges, is facing a misdemeanor  accountable under the Explosives Act. (It is unbelievable that the saltworks administration has no facility for heating up frozen cartridges of dynamite, so that the workers are forced to heat them up at the furnace, with the consequences mentioned above  brings with it. It's the second time in two months that in the Salzberg of Bad Ischl  due to the negligence of the administration, fathers of families have to perish or become unable to work.)

Watering path until 1933:

John - Stollen:      Drainage scour - main shaft - Saherböck scour  

Matthias - studs:       Drainage Schürfl - main shaft - Plenzner Schurf   

Neuberg - tunnels:       Albrecht conversion – Ritschner conversion – Schwind Schurf                   

Frauenholz - Stollen:     Kössler conversion – Schmidt Schurf                                               

Amalia - Studs:        Main shaft – Wimmer Schurf

In the Amalia tunnel, the highest still passable tunnel at 841 m above sea level above the Ischl mountain church, which is still used today for ventilation and the drainage of mine water, renovation work was started in 1994 and an access road to the tunnel mouth was built for this purpose. Furthermore, extensive maintenance work was carried out by external companies in 1983 in the Liska and Layer conversions as well as in the Keeler rubble.


Sources used:

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian salt works from the beginning of the 16th to the middle of the 18th century", Vienna 1932

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian Salt Works from 1750 to the time after the French Wars", Vienna 1934

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian Salt Works from 1818 to the end of the Salt Office in 1850", Vienna 1936

August Aigner "Salt mining in the Austrian Alps", Berg- und Hüttenmännisches yearbook, Vienna 1892

Leopold Schiendorfer "Perneck - A Village Through the Ages", Linz 2006

Johann Steiner "The traveling companion through Upper Austrian Switzerland", Linz 1820, reprint Gmunden 1981

Georg Chancellor "Ischl's chronicle", Ischl 1881, reprint Bad Ischl 1983

Michael Kefer "Description of the main maps of the kk Salzberg zu Ischl", 1820, transcription by Michael Nussbaumer, as of September 13, 2016

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