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Gold-bearing creeks and rivers in Victoria

Posted 21/03/2019 in Gold

Reedy Creek, Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park


Trying to figure out exactly where you can and can't prospect for gold within Victoria's creeks and rivers can get a little confusing. Victoria has a list of exempt rivers and streams - a list of all the rivers and creeks you are not allowed to prospect in, which is unfortunately very long. When checking out creeks and rivers for gold prospecting, the first thing you should do is refer to that list. If the creek you are thinking of prospecting in appears on that list, you must not prospect there. Simple, right? Well, sort of... 

The first thing you might notice that makes you think, "hang on a minute", is that Reedy Creek (tributary of Ovens River) is included on the list. Reedy Creek is one of the most popular creeks in Victoria for prospecting, a place where you are pretty much guaranteed to get fine gold in your pan. This is a creek which is openly promoted for gold panning... yet there it is on the exempted rivers list, plain as day. 

The reason for this is that Reedy Creek passes through the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park, and Parks Victoria has designated areas within this park for prospecting - which includes a section of Reedy Creek. So prospecting is permitted in this one section of Reedy Creek, but as it is on the list of exempt rivers and streams you are not allowed to prospect in any other parts of Reedy Creek.

So some creeks on the list of exempt rivers and streams can actually have sections where prospecting is permitted. On the other hand, some creeks which are open for prospecting may pass through areas where prospecting is strictly prohibited, so those sections are off limits. If in doubt, your safest bet is always to contact relevant authorities and ask about the particular river or stream you are thinking of prospecting in.

I have been unable to find a clear and simple list of gold-bearing creeks and rivers in Victoria where you can prospect, so I have put a few of the main ones together here. The following list of creeks and rivers are open for prospecting (or have sections open for prospecting) and are known to contain gold. 

Please note that this not a complete list of all the gold-bearing creeks you are allowed prospect in, it's a collection of creeks which are well-known for prospecting and are already promoted for this purpose. You will be able to find many more creeks to prospect in with a bit of research. I'm hoping this list will make it a bit easier for people when they first start looking for a creek where you are allowed to pan or sluice for gold. 

Also keep in mind that some of these creeks will be dry during hotter months.



TIPS FOR RESEARCHING CREEKS for gold prospecting


List of gold-bearing creeks and rivers in Victoria where you can prospect

Please note that this not a complete list of all the gold-bearing creeks in Victoria where you can prospect. It's a quick list of creeks which are well-known for prospecting and are already promoted for this purpose, intended for people who are first asking the question "where can I go gold panning or sluicing?". Also keep in mind that some of these creeks will be dry during hotter months.

Andersons Creek

You are allowed to prospect in the bed of Andersons Creek off Gold Memorial Road within the Warrandyte State Park. 

Resources for gold prospecting in Andersons Creek

Mount Misery Creek

Prospecting is allowed in Mount Misery Creek as it does not appear on the list of exempt rivers and streams. Located within Enfield State Park where nearly half the park is available for prospecting, including a 20 metre strip either side of Mount Misery Creek. Mount Misery Creek is very seasonal and rarely has running water. This creek is best to visit after heavy rains and during the winter months. Through most of the year you're more likely to find a bit of water for gold panning than any running water for river sluicing. 

Resources for gold prospecting in Mount Misery Creek

Reedy Creek

Reedy Creek, Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park

Reedy Creek is on the list of exempt rivers and streams, but you are allowed to prospect in Reedy Creek within designated areas of the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park. Reedy Creek is well known for gold panning, sluicing and highbanking, and typically yields plenty of fine gold. This is a great spot for beginners to have a go panning for gold, and a great spot for crevicing due to the huge areas of exposed bedrock found along the creek. 

Resources for gold prospecting in Reedy Creek

Sailors Creek


Prospecting is allowed in Sailors Creek as it does not appear on the list of exempt rivers and streams. Sailors Creek runs through the Hepburn Regional Park near Daylesford. There are plenty of crevicing spots along the creek, and it's also popular for gemstone fossicking. 

Slaty Creek

Slaty Creek, Gold Luck Victoria (YouTube)

Prospecting is allowed in Slaty Creek as it does not appear on the list of exempt rivers and streams. Slaty Creek runs through the Creswick Regional Park.

Slaty Creek is a popular destination for gold prospectors due to the three free campgrounds along the creek and the extensive surrounding forest for gold detecting. Visitors please note that Slaty Creek is a shallow, seasonal creek which will dry up during summer (but retains puddles here and there after summer rains). 

Slaty Creek is a great place to bring the family on a casual trip for easy access to a gold panning creek from the campsite. Prospectors may prefer to find a spot on the creek further from the campground, as the area around camp is very regularly worked for gold. 

Resources for gold prospecting in Slaty Creek
Camping at Slaty Creek

Free camping is permitted at the following campgrounds along Slaty Creek:

Sutherland Creek

Prospecting is allowed in Sutherland Creek as it does not appear on the list of exempt rivers and streams

Please note that Sutherland Creek passes through the Steiglitz Historic Park - within this park, gold panning is only permitted one kilometre down from the Meredith-Steiglitz Road Bridge. Prospectors with a miner's right are permitted to use pans, cradles and hand tools within the creek bed only. Please protect the creek bank environment. 

Sutherland Creek also passes through the Brisbane Ranges National Park - prospecting is not permitted in this section. 

Resources for gold prospecting in Sutherland Creek

See also

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Comments

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Nedd
23/03/2019
seems you need to be made aware just what the term "Exempt" means when referring to various waterways in Victoria. I Victorian law, these waterways were made exempt from habitation for the purpose of mining, ie not allowed to live within a certain distance from them look it up, I did, found it gazetted in Victorian Hansard somewhere around the late 1860's or so
Goldfields Guide
23/03/2019
Hi Nedd, yeah I am aware of the original intention of the list of exempt rivers. Unfortunately for modern day prospectors, regardless of the original intention of the exempt rivers list, the Earth Resources website simply states that recreational prospecting is banned in all the rivers and streams on that list. Hopefully some day this issue could be addressed and the list of waterways off limits for prospecting may be reassessed. Cheers! :)
Nedd
23/03/2019
thanks for that link, followed it to the gazetted law which states the said waterways are "exepted from occupation for mining purposes" with "occupation" being the hingeing word during the era of the major gold rushes, occupation (habitation) of the lands surrounding these waterways was allowed whilst one was working the goldfields so, to clarify, the said waterways and surrounding lands are exempt from occupation (habitation - no dwellings) nowhere in the legislation does it say that the said waterways and surrounding lands are exempt from mining purposes themselves hope this clarifies it a bit
M
30/05/2021
Nedd, when you refer to "legislation" what legislation are you referring to?