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Seven seriously significant sites in the Victorian Goldfields

Posted 08/10/2022 in Gold

There are some seriously significant historical sites throughout the Victorian Goldfields, places where ruins, relics, monuments and more stand in testament to the region's prosperous (and sometimes dark) history.

This list takes you on a tour of seven of the most significant gold history sites throughout the region! 

We'll start with the discovery of the biggest alluvial gold nugget ever unearthed in the entire world... 

Welcome Stranger discovery site

Cornish miners John Deason and Richard Oates unearthed the largest alluvial gold nugget in the world in Moliagul, Victoria, 1869. 

The 'Welcome Stranger' was so big that it had to be broken up on an anvil before it could be weighed at the bank in nearby Dunolly. This unbelievable gold nugget was found mere inches beneath the surface! 

The spot where the Welcome Stranger was discovered is now a quiet bushland area with a monument commemorating the nugget's discovery, a picnic area, and a fascinating 'Discovery Walk'. 

Find out more about the Welcome Stranger Discovery Site.

New Australasian No 2 Gold Mine

The New Australasian No. 2 Deep Lead Gold Mine in Creswick is the scene of one of Australia's worst underground mining disasters. 

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, 12th of December 1882, water flooded the mine from the old workings of Australasian No. 1 trapping twenty seven men underground. 

Rescue efforts commenced immediately but by the time the miners were reached three days later only five had survived. The story of the disaster, rescue efforts, and recovery of the miners is absolutely tragic. 

Find out more about the New Australasian No. 2 Gold Mine.

Eureka Memorial Gardens

The Eureka Stockade Memorial Gardens in Ballarat East commemorate one of Australia's most defining historical events - the Eureka Stockade Rebellion of December 3, 1854. 

The park has been established right on the site of the Eureka stockade, where a rough timber stockade was constructed on a hill at the Eureka Lead. Within the stockade, diggers who sought reform drilled and gathered weapons for the purpose of rebelling against corrupt and unfair Government forces. 

In the early hours of December 3rd 1854, Government troops stormed the stockade right here at this spot. Twenty two miners and several soldiers were killed in the attack. 

Find out more about the Eureka Stockade Memorial Gardens.

Berry No 1 Deep Lead Gold Mine

The impressive pump house of the Berry No. 1 Deep Lead Gold Mine is the most intact out of the two remaining examples on the famous Berry deep lead system near Smeaton. The Berry Lead is an ancient riverbed buried beneath lava flows, and it was extraordinarily rich in gold!

The deep leads which were buried by lava flows required substantial capital and equipment to work for gold. The Berry Lead at Smeaton is covered by layers of basalt which overall are typically 90m-100m deep! Exploratory boring to find the course of the lead is followed by the sinking of deep shafts, and massive pumping engines are required to keep the water at bay underground.

This is an outstanding roadside example of the many massive old gold mines that worked on the Berry Lead.

Find out more about the Berry No. 1 Deep Lead Gold Mine.

Beehive Mine

The thirty metre high Beehive Mine chimney is an iconic part of the Maldon skyline. Completed in 1863, it's the only chimney of its age and size remaining in Victoria!

Visitors can stroll through the mine site of the Beehive Gold Company and take a close look at the chimney and a fenced mine shaft. Alongside the chimney are the fascinating remains of the brick and stone substructures for the boilers and steam engine that powered the mine.

Find out more about the Beehive Mine

Blacksmiths Hole

The Blacksmith's Hole was an extraordinarily rich mining claim on the junction of the Prince Regent and Canadian Leads in Ballaarat (now Ballarat), where a shaft was sunk in 1853 to 110 feet deep with unbelievable results. 

Known as a "jewellers' shop", this remarkable claim is estimated to have yielded a ton of gold! Miners in the adjoining claims dug in upon the blacksmith's claim to get at the rich wash dirt, with one party driving right through into the blacksmith's mine shaft. This claim was worked multiple times, with rich yields every time.

Situated in a backyard beside the present course of the Canadian Creek, the site of the Blacksmith's Hole is commemorated by an ornate iron signpost on the roadside where Main Road becomes Geelong Road in Canadian, not far down from Sovereign Hill.

Find out more about The Blacksmiths Hole.

Eureka Reef

Once a busy mining village, today Eureka Reef in Chewton contains some of the oldest quartz mining relics in Victoria! Here you will discover remnants of houses, batteries, alluvial mining, cyanide treatment, and more. 

A fascinating signposted walk travels around the Eureka Reef Gold Mining Precinct, where you will find the fascinating ruins and features which remain from a century of gold mining operations! 

Find out more about Eureka Reef.

More to explore in the Victorian Goldfields




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