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Mt Tarrengower Tunnelling Company

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Anzac Hill Road, Maldon VIC 3463

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The Mount Tarrengower Tunnelling Company commenced work in Maldon in 1865, and were the first company in Australia to use compressed air-driven rock drilling technology. Subsequent widespread adoption of this technology was a milestone in Australian underground mining. After failing to find payable gold, the company was wound up by 1870.

There is a short walking track to the Mount Tarrengower Tunnelling Company's mine, beginning from Anzac Hill Road. The track is a narrow gravel path with a few steps on the way down. The track brings you to a wooden barrier where you can look down a cutting towards the tunnel.

To see the tunnel itself, walk along this cutting or a minute or so to the mine entrance. There are prickly berry bushes near the entrance to the mine, so be careful if you're wearing short sleeves or shorts.

A locked gate is set within the tunnel, a few metres in.

The following description of the Mt Tarrengower Tunnelling Company is provided by the Victorian Heritage Database

The Maldon quartz reefing field, although relatively small compared to others in the State, was extraordinary rich in gold. The hardness and heavy mineralisation of the rock mined put the field's mining companies in the vanguard for the use of new technology.

This site contains the tunnel or adit excavated by the Mount Tarrengower Tunnelling Company. This company was the first in Australia to use compressed air-driven rock drilling technology. The subsequent widespread adoption of this technology was a milestone in Australian underground mining. The Mount Tarrengower Tunnelling Company commenced mining operations at Maldon in 1865. Their tunnel was designed to cut reefs at a greater depth than any workings in the colony. That ambitious objective was hampered by the hardness of the rock, which made progress by tap and hammer very slow. In 1866, a Low's rock drill, manufactured at St Peter's Iron Works in Ipswich, was introduced. The company nonetheless failed to find payable gold and was wound up in 1870. The fate of the rock-drill is not known.

The Mount Tarrengower Tunnelling Company Gold Mine is of historical, archaeological and scientific importance to the State of Victoria.

The Mount Tarrengower Tunnelling Company Gold Mine is historically and scientifically important as a characteristic example of an important form of gold mining. Gold mining sites are of crucial importance for the pivotal role they have played since 1851 in the development of Victoria. As well as being a significant producer of Victoria's nineteenth century wealth, quartz mining, with its intensive reliance on machinery, played an important role in the development of Victorian manufacturing industry. The Mount Tarrengower Tunnelling Company's Gold Mine is important as a manifestation of this aspect of gold mining.

The Mount Tarrengower Tunnelling Company Gold Mine is a significant historic location where the first compressed air-driven rock drill in Australia was used. Although the technology did not prove successful in that instance, a decade or so later the rock drill revolutionised underground mining in Australia and, in doing so, reversed the fortunes of many a declining goldfield. The rock drill also brought a social cost in the form of the deadly lung disease, phthisis, known euphemistically as 'miners? complaint'.

The Mount Tarrengower Tunnelling Company Gold Mine is scientifically significant for its potential to yield artefacts and evidence which will be able to provide significant information about the technological history of gold mining.

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DID YOU KNOW...

  • Bushwalking is an excellent way to get outdoors and exploring nature.
  • Evidence of the mid-late 1800's gold rush can be found throughout the Victorian goldfields in the form of abandoned mine shafts and tunnels, mullock heaps, buildings and ruins, circular puddling troughs, remains of cyanide vats, and quartz kilns.
 

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