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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. 

Many towns were established during the gold rush and extensive remnants of the rush remain throughout the area today. 

The Victorian Goldfields lie roughly between Ballarat, Rushworth, Wedderburn and Stawell. 

Notable towns include Ballarat, Bendigo, Rushworth, Whroo, Maryborough, Maldon, Castlemaine, Moliagul, Dunolly, Daylesford, Avoca, Ararat, Steiglitz, Blackwood, and many more.

Gypsy Road Mine Shafts on Bulldog Reef, Moliagul VIC

The impact of the Victorian gold rush is strongly evident in the towns of the Goldfields as well as scattered throughout the surrounding bushland

Mineshafts and mullock heaps are an extremely common sight throughout the bushland of the Victorian Goldfields.

You can regularly come across abandoned mine tunnels, discarded boilers, machinery site foundations, remains of gold puddling machines (or puddlers), and cyanide vats.

Abandoned mines in the Victorian Goldfields

You can explore many fascinating historic mines throughout the Victorian Goldfields, including:

Gold prospecting in the Victorian Goldfields

You can also try your luck at gold prospecting, check out these great resources for prospecting in the Victorian Goldfields:

Underground mine tours in the Victorian Goldfields

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

The Welcome Stranger gold nugget

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.

Bushrangers of the gold rush

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.

Historic Cemeteries

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). 

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.

More to explore in the Victorian Goldfields

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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