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Visit Dunolly, Victoria

Posted 02/02/2024 in Places

Dunolly is located in the heart of Victoria's Golden Triangle and is a brilliant destination for gold prospectors, history buffs, cyclists and bushwalkers.

Spend a weekend exploring the gorgeous heritage streetscape, take a step back in time and check out the incredible collection at the Dunolly Museum, try your luck prospecting for gold, and set out on an adventure to explore the region's many natural and historical treasures. 

Melville Caves and the Kooyoora State Park are only half an hour from town, and the world's most significant gold discovery site is located just up the road. 

Famous for its gold rush history and its close proximity to the discovery site of the famous Welcome Stranger gold nugget, the Dunolly region's gold mining heritage is still alive today. The bushland around the town is popular for gold prospectors, and there are still small mining operations in the surrounding area. 

Dunolly and the surrounding area has so much to offer, so I've put together this handy guide to the region to help when you visit Dunolly. 

Things to do in Dunolly

Dunolly Museum

Dunolly Museum, Dunolly VIC

The brilliant Dunolly Museum houses a huge collection of relics, gold nugget casts, firearms, photographs, local history records and more. This museum is definitely worth a visit!

Please see the Dunolly Museum website to confirm admission prices and opening hours. The website also features many pages of fascinating stories and historical information for the area. 

Dunolly Women's Historical Arts Trail

Bring your smartphone or tablet and take a step back in time along Dunolly's historical Broadway, discovering the stories of six remarkable women who lived in Dunolly during the gold rush! 

This innovative arts trail brings history and technology together to take you on a guided educational adventure through Dunolly's gorgeous heritage streetscape.

Find out more about the Dunolly Women's Historical Art Trail.

Dunolly Court House, Lock Up, Police Station and Stables

The Dunolly Court House is a beautiful feature on the corner of Market and Bull Streets in Dunolly. The building is of brick construction with a gorgeous symmetrical facade, and stands alongside a fascinating collection of restored historic police buildings. 

A sign out the front of the court house displays a map of the town with a series of numbered stops, providing a self guided tour of Dunolly's beautiful buildings, parks and gardens. 

Dunolly's First Plane Landing Site

An information sign stands at the edge of a field on the outskirts of Dunolly, marking the site of the first plane landing in Dunolly. In July 1920, Leslie Clarke landed Charles Pratt's Airco DH6 at this site before flying to the Dunolly Racecourse to give joy flights for three days.

Find out more about Dunolly's First Plane Landing Site

Gordon Gardens

Gordon Gardens, Dunolly VIC

Gordon Gardens is a fantastic, family friendly spot to spend an afternoon. The large playground area has been completely fenced and has safety gates plus park benches, which makes this an ideal spot to bring little kids. There are also excellent barbecue facilities. 

Find out more about Gordon Gardens

Rene Fox Memorial Garden

The Rene Fox Memorial Garden is a beautiful park on the main street of Dunolly, and an attractive setting for a picnic. It features a lovely grassy area, a picnic table, a well maintained rose garden, educational information signs, rubbish bins, and toilets.

Find out more about the Rene Fox Memorial Garden.

Welcome Stranger Mural

This eye-catching mural along Dunolly's Broadway celebrates the region's significant gold history, portraying the Deason and Oates families re-enacting the discovery of the Welcome Stranger - the largest alluvial gold nugget ever found!

Find out more about the Welcome Stranger Mural.

Welcome Stranger Anvil Monument

The Dunolly Welcome Stranger anvil monument was erected in 1968 to display the anvil on which the famous Welcome Stranger gold nugget was cut in 1869.

Find out more about the Welcome Stranger Anvil Monument

More in Dunolly

Gold prospecting in Dunolly

World-famous for the 1869 discovery of the Welcome Stranger gold nugget, the areas around Dunolly and Moliagul are a renowned destination for gold prospecting. 

Filled with old diggings, historic sites and extensive areas of bushland, the region continues to produce regular gold nugget discoveries to this day.

If you're looking to try your luck gold prospecting around Dunolly and Moliagul, we've put together this handy guide to get you started

Free campgrounds near Dunolly

Waanyarra Recreation Site

Set up camp and spend a weekend exploring the remarkable historic features of Waanyarra, as well as bushwalking, gold prospecting, and cycling. 

The Waanyarra Recreation Site is an excellent free campground within the Dunolly State Forest, well equipped with picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, a picnic shelter, water taps and toilets. 

A central picnic area is surrounded by camping spots in a peaceful bushland setting. The ground is clear, flat and easily accessible by caravans.

Find out more about the Waanyarra Recreation Site.

Moliagul Campground

Moliagul Campground, Moliagul VIC

Set up camp at the Moliagul Campground and spend a weekend exploring the area's fascinating natural and historical treasures!

The campground is set in a fork in the road, and features an undercover barbecue area, picnic tables, water tank, toilets and rubbish bins. 

There is plenty of space to pitch tents and park caravans.

Find out more about the Moliagul Campground.

Bealiba Reservoir Recreation Area

The Bealiba Reservoir Recreation area is a fantastic spot for camping, picnics, fishing, swimming, bushwalking and birdwatching. 

Set beneath the beautiful Mount Bealiba, this reservoir makes a great place to set up camp while exploring the many fantastic historic sites and natural features of the surrounding area. 

Find out more about the Bealiba Reservoir Recreation Area.

Laanecoorie-Loddon River Recreation Reserve

The Laanecoorie River Recreation Reserve (also known as Cain's Reserve) is a fantastic campground along the Loddon River in the quiet town of Laanecoorie. 

The campground contains multiple picnic tables, wood fire barbecues, water taps, rubbish bins and toilets. There's plenty of space, a designated tent area, and lots of room for caravans/motorhomes. 

Melville Caves Campground

Spend a weekend exploring the Kooyoora State Park and the spectacular Melville Caves, a series of mysterious caverns and passageways which were reputedly used as a hideout by notorious 19th century bushranger, Captain Melville. 

This spacious free campground is located just down the road from the caves and provides great visitor facilities along with a variety of scenic walks.

Find out more about the Melville Caves Campground.

Gold mining history around Dunolly

Welcome Stranger Monument and Picnic Area

Head out to Moliagul and explore the discovery site of the famous Welcome Stranger gold nugget - the largest alluvial nugget ever found!

The Welcome Stranger monument and picnic area is a peaceful, fascinating and educational place to go for a barbecue or a picnic lunch. 

There is an intriguing bushwalk through the area where the famous Welcome Stranger gold nugget was discovered in 1869. 

The Wild Dog Diggings

Check out the above video about the interesting Wild Dog Diggings near Dunolly, a brilliant example of gold workings on a shallow lead. 

Kings Birthday Powder Magazine

This old brick powder magazine is presumed to have been built by the King's Birthday Co. who operated in this area from 1878 into the 1880s. 

Powder magazines such as this were built to store explosives used in gold mining.

This building is located on the edge of a bushland area off Baker Lane (see map above for exact location), which is filled with remnants of old mining operations and cyanide works. 

Find out more about the Kings Birthday Powder Magazine.

Belgian Reef

Belgian Reef, Dunolly VIC

This old stamp battery site on Belgian Reef features a rare surviving set of wooden mortar blocks. Half are still standing in their concrete setting, the rest have fallen and scattered about. Machinery footings and a large mullock heap are located alongside the battery stumps. 

Find out more about Belgian Reef

Hand of Faith Gold Nugget Discovery Site

The world-famous Hand of Faith gold nugget was unearthed in this spot in 1980 by Kevin Hillier. 

Hand of Faith is the largest gold nugget ever found with a detector, weighing in at a whopping 27.2 kg! 

Today the gold nugget sits on display at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. 

Find out more about the Hand of Faith Gold Nugget Discovery Site

Blanche Barkly Gold Nugget Monument

The incredible Blanche Barkly nugget was discovered in Kingower in 1857, and at that time was the largest gold nugget ever discovered! 

Named after the Governor's daughter, the Blanche Barkly was described as being "about as large as an average sized fore-quarter of mutton, and bears some resemblance to that joint". 

This monster gold nugget was found thirteen feet from the surface by two sets of brothers, Samuel Napier, Charles Napier, Robert Ambrose, and James Ambrose.

Find out more about the Blanche Barkly Gold Nugget Monument.

Gypsy Road Mine Shafts

Just outside Moliagul, between Gypsy Road, D179 Track, and D175 Track, there's a patch of bush on Bulldog Reef that is absolutely loaded with open mine shafts, many of which still have wooden logs bordering the tops.

These mine shafts are all uncovered and are very deep. They have fences around them for safety, do not cross any fences while you're there. 

Find out more about the Gypsy Road Mineshafts

Great Sandstone Mine

Great Sandstone Mine, Llanelly VIC

The Great Sandstone Mine Bushland Reserve lies on the outskirts of Llanelly and features the remnants of multiple mining companies who were working on the Sandstone Reef. 

The reserve is filled with machinery foundations, mullock heaps, filled shafts, and a large dam.

Find out more about the Great Sandstone Mine.

Poverty Mine Monument

Poverty Mine Monument, Tarnagulla VIC

The Poverty Mine Monument stands alongside the impressive remains of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Tarnagulla, Victoria. This monument commemorates the discovery of the rich Poverty Reef, which was found by New Zealanders from Poverty Bay. 

Find out more about the Poverty Mine Monument

Arthur Bayley Commemorative Sign

Did you know that one of Australia's most famous prospectors was born in Newbridge in 1865? Arthur Bayley was one of the founders of Western Australia's great mineral boom with his discovery of gold at Coolgardie in 1892. 

His mine, Bailey's Reward, yielded over 50,000 ounces of gold in the first six months, and was credited with saving the colony from bankruptcy. The mine continued to operate until 1963 and yielded over 500,000 ounces of gold!

Find out more about the Aurthur Bayley Commemorative Sign

Beautiful views near Dunolly

Melville Caves

Melville Caves, Brenanah VIC

Melville Caves lie atop a spectacular rocky mountain within the Kooyoora State Park in Brenanah, Victoria. Featuring a scenic lookout, walking tracks and caves, Melville Caves are a fantastic place to spend the day exploring. You can also set up camp at the nearby free campground.

These caves are named after notorious bushranger Captain Melville who used the caves as a hiding place and lookout in the mid 19th century. 

Find out more about Melville Caves.

Mount Moliagul

Mount Moliagul, Moliagul VIC

The summit of Mt Moliagul offers spectacular views of the surrounding bushland and fields. 

Take a stroll along the rocky mountain slopes, where you'll find many great vantage points and plenty of stunning scenery.

Find out more about Mount Moliagul.

Mount Bealiba

Mount Bealiba, Bealiba VIC

Mount Bealiba is a scenic lookout which offers stunning views over the surrounding mountains, forests and fields. 

The summit is adorned with impressive boulders, fallen logs and gnarled trees, giving the place a wild and untamed atmosphere.

Find out more about Mount Bealiba.

Swimming near Dunolly

There are some great swimming spots just a short drive from Dunolly. Check out the following options, pack a picnic lunch, and head out for an afternoon in the water!

Bealiba Reservoir

Bealiba Reservoir Recreation Area, Bealiba VIC

The Bealiba Reservoir is a great place for swimming and floating on inflatables, with good water levels well into summer. For the squeamish - be aware that there can be leeches here, but they don't eat much. 

Find out more about the Bealiba Reservoir Recreation Area.

Laanecoorie Reservoir

Laanecoorie Reservoir, taken from near the weir, Laanecoorie VIC

Brownbill Reserve, Laanecoorie, is a popular spot along the Laanecoorie Reservoir for fishing, swimming, boating, water skiing, picnics and barbecues.

There are multiple picnic areas which offer picnic tables, fire pits, and undercover areas. The electric barbecues themselves have been removed, and only one wood fire barbecue remains in a secluded, attractive lake-side spot at the far end of the reserve. 

Find out more about Brownbill Reserve.

Ankers Causeway

Ankers Causeway, Laanecoorie VIC

This quiet picnic area alongside Ankers Causeway, Laanecoorie is a great spot for boating, fishing, and swimming in the Laanecoorie Reservoir. 

While there are no barbecue facilities available, there are several picnic tables scattered through the area. 

Find out more about Ankers Causeway.

Tarnagulla Reservoir

Tarnagulla Reservoir, Tarnagulla VIC

The Tarnagulla Reservoir is a small water catchment located on the edge of the Waanyarra Nature Conservation Reserve behind the Tarnagulla Camping Ground. This is a nice peaceful spot, great for swimming, bushwalking and birdwatching.

Find out more about the Tarnagulla Reservoir.

Walking and cycling around Dunolly

Walking track at the Waanyarra Recreation Site, Waanyarra VIC

There are plenty of fantastic walking and cycling options around Dunolly.

A sign out the front of the court house displays a map of the town with a series of numbered stops, providing a self guided tour of Dunolly's beautiful buildings, parks and gardens. 

Just out the road, you'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to walking around Melville Caves and the Kooyoora State Park, where you'll discover beautiful views, cultural heritage sites, and caves to explore. 

The Dunolly Cycle Tracks pass through the gold rush towns of Dunolly, Waanyarra, Tarnagulla, Bealiba, Goldsborough and Betley. This series of tracks range from 14 and 47 kilometres in length.

There's also a great walk heading out from the Waanyarra Recreation Site - and we mustn't forget the fantastic Discovery Walk around the site where the Welcome Stranger gold nugget was found in Moliagul.

Explore Waanyarra

Once a thriving gold rush town, Waanyarra is now a peaceful bushland area with some very interesting historical remnants to explore. 

Free camping is available at the Waanyarra Recreation Site, a great place to set up camp while exploring the treasures of Waanyarra, Dunolly and Tarnagulla. 

Morton's Welcome Inn

Morton's Welcome Inn, Waanyarra VIC

Head out to the Dunolly State Forest and take a look at the impressive remains of Morton's Welcome Inn, built by convict Michael Morton in the 1850s. 

The building was a home for Morton's family of eight, a provisions store, and a public bar frequented by local miners, licenced 1866-83. 

The inn is situated right alongside the road, and visitors can get an excellent up close look at the beautiful old building. 

Find out more about Morton's Inn.

Waanyarra Historic Cemetery

Waanyarra Historic Cemetery, Waanyarra VIC

Located not far from Dunolly, the Waanyarra Historic Cemetery offers a fascinating glimpse into the past. This cemetery has been beautifully restored and features a gorgeous picket fence, gate, and signage.

The oldest surviving marked grave in this cemetery is from 1859, although there are many unmarked graves scattered through the grounds. 

Find out more about the Waanyarra Historic Cemetery.

Waanyarra Early Burial Ground

Early Burial Ground, Waanyarra VIC

The early burial ground at Waanyarra is dated 1853-1858 and is located just a few hundred metres from the beautifully restored Waanyarra Cemetery

Find out more about the Early Burial Ground

The Lonely Graves of Waanyarra

The Lonely Graves of Waanyarra, Waanyarra VIC

Have you been out to Waanyarra to check out the Historic CemeteryRecreation Site or Morton's Welcome Inn? If so, you may have noticed the series of mysterious graves scattered along the roadside.

Very little is known about the graves - the stones and ornaments decorating them have been placed in the last few decades, before which they were simply mounds of earth. 

Find out more about Waanyarra's Lonely Graves.

More in Waanyarra

general History to explore in the surrounding towns

Bell's Cottage

Bell's Cottage, Llanelly VIC

This beautiful stone cottage lies on the outskirts of Tarnagulla, a gorgeous little town within the Loddon Shire. Located alongside the Wimmera Highway in a quiet patch of bushland, Bell's Cottage stands empty and abandoned.

Built in 1937 by WW1 veteran Herbert Bell before he served in WW2, the cottage is an impressive testament to Bell's determination and hard work.

Find out more about Bell's Cottage.

Archdale bridge

Archdale Bridge, Archdale VIC

This striking old humped timber bridge stands across the Avoca River in Archdale and is the oldest surviving timber bridge in Victoria. 

Built in 1863, this thirteen-span bridge has an arched timber deck 84 metres long and 5.5 metres wide. The humped timber deck was designed to allow for the flow of flood waters, a design which was once common but with very few surviving examples today.

Find out more about the Archdale Bridge.

Wesleyan Methodist Church

The striking remains of the Wesleyan Methodist Church are an iconic feature of Tarnagulla, a gorgeous old gold rush town in Victoria's renowned Golden Triangle. 

This beautiful old church, opened in 1865, is a must-see when passing through the town and is a fantastic subject for photography. 

Find out more about the Wesleyan Methodist Church.

Bealiba Railway Station

The beautifully restored Bealiba Railway Station is a must-see nestled away in the quiet town of Bealiba.

This railway station has been well maintained and is a delightful treasure of the town. There are interesting information displays at the station. Be sure to sign the visitors book after you take a look around.

Find out more about the Bealiba Railway Station.

John Flynn Memorial, Moliagul

John Flynn Memorial, Moliagul VIC

This beautiful monument stands within a fork in the road at Moliagul, in memory of the life and achievements of Reverend John Flynn, founder of the Australian Inland Mission and the Flying Doctor Service. 

Moliagul may be world-famous for yielding the Welcome Stranger gold nugget, but it was also the birth-place of Reverend John Flynn - one of Australia's greatest visionaries. 

Born in 1880 opposite the spot where this memorial stands, John Flynn went on to create the Flying Doctor Service and make medical assistance available to people living and working in Australia's remote outback. 

Constructed of stone gathered from local mining areas, chimneys of pioneer homes, and from the slopes of Mount Moliagul, this striking monument is decorated with marble and red sandstone from Central Australia and an aeroplane propeller supplied by Australian National Airways.

Find out more about the John Flynn Memorial

Cobb and Co Well

Cobb and Co Well, Kingower VIC

Cobb & Co were an innovative coach transport company, established in the 1850s in response to the quickly growing need for transport of passengers, gold and mail during the 19th century gold rush. 

The 19th century stone-lined well in Kingower was used by Cobb & Co for their animals travelling along this route. The well is 11 feet in diameter and at least 10 feet deep, and stands alongside Kingower-Brenanah Road at the Western Road turnoff. 

Find out more about the Cobb and Co Well

Ironbark Fence

Ironbark Fence, Bealiba VIC

The fence was constructed using traditional methods in memory of the region's early pioneers, and makes an interesting roadside stop when exploring the natural and historical attractions around Bealiba.

Find out more about the Ironbark Fence.

More interesting history




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A very impressive site. Most informative and interesting.