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The Victorian Goldfields

Posted 02/04/2018 in Things to do


The Victorian Goldfields region is strongly associated with the 1850's Victorian gold rush, with many towns being established during the rush and many remnants of the rush remaining throughout the area. The Victorian Goldfields lie between Ballarat, Bendigo, Donald and Ararat. Other notable towns include Maryborough, Maldon, Castlemaine, Daylesford, Avoca, Inglewood, Dunolly, Stawell and many more.

The impact of the Victorian gold rush is strongly evident in the towns of the Goldfields as well as scattered throughout the surrounding bushlandMineshafts and mullock heaps are an extremely common sight throughout the bushland of the Victorian Goldfields, and you can regularly come across abandoned mine tunnels, discarded boilers, machinery site foundations, remains of gold puddling machines (or puddlers), and cyanide vats.

Gypsy Road Mine Shafts on Bulldog Reef, Moliagul VIC

You can explore many fascinating historic mines throughout the Victorian Goldfields, including:
You can also try your luck at gold prospecting, check out these great resources for prospecting in the Victorian Goldfields:


Candlelit tour of Carman's Tunnel, Maldon VIC

If you're looking for an adventure, you can take unforgettable underground mine tours at:
Discover all of Victoria's underground mine tours here.


Replica of the Welcome Stranger gold nugget. Image source: Replica - Rodney Start (photographer) - Museums Victoria

The largest alluvial gold nugget discovered in the world, the famous Welcome Stranger, was discovered on the Victorian Goldfields in 1869 at Moliagul. There is a great discovery walk and picnic area at the spot where the nugget was unearthed by lucky Cornish miners John Deason and Richard Oates.

An 1855 cartoon of a bushranger robbing a traveller. Courtesy State Library of Victoria, ID MP00/00/56/21.

The goldfields were also home to several notorious bushrangers, including Captain Melville, the bushranger of Melville Caves. Calling himself Captain Francis Melville and posing as a gentleman, he reached Victoria about October 1851 and by December had turned bushranger. He claimed leadership of the Mount Macedon gang that waylaid travellers in the Black Forest (source). Captain Melville supposedly used the spectacular Melville Caves in Kooyoora State Park as his hiding place as he preyed on the gold convoys travelling below.




Along with the gold rush came the establishment of early cemeteries, which offer a fascinating glimpse into the past. Some cemeteries were little more than burial grounds with stones marking the graves (such as Deadman's Gully Burial Ground), while others endured and grew to huge proportions over the years (like the enormous Ararat Cemetery). One of the most fascinating of the Goldfields cemeteries is the Pennyweight Flat Childrens Cemetery - a heartbreaking reminder of the harsh living conditions during the gold rush, which claimed the lives of many children.

There are so many things to do in the Victorian Goldfields. As well as discovering the relics of the gold rush, you can also explore waterfalls, mineral springs, caves, campgrounds, barbecue areas, playgrounds, walking tracks, and so much more!


Take a look at the goldfields accommodation page to find great places to stay while you explore the Victorian Goldfields.



 

 

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