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Dunn's Reef

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Dunns Reef Track, Muckleford VIC 3451

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Stop by the Dunn's Reef historic site in Muckleford and explore the remains of this interesting open cut mine. Once an exposed outcrop of quartz, this site has been extensively mined, leaving this huge excavation we see today.

Loading ramp

The remains of a loading ramp retained by wood is an interesting feature of this site. The loading ramp has unfortunately mostly collapsed, the two large posts remain but the bits of wood going horizontally between them have given way. It's still very interesting to see, and there's a great picture of what it looked like before it collapsed on the information board up the top at the mine.

Image of the Dunn's Reef loading ramp, before it collapsed. Image displayed on an information sign at Dunn's Reef.

How to get to Dunn's Reef

Dunn's Reef is a short 120m return walk from Dunns Reef Track. Four wheel drive vehicles will also make it up the track.

The track splits in two about half way up, the track heading to the right takes you up to the mine, and the track to the left takes you to the remains of the loading ramp.

As you ascend towards the open cut mine you will begin to see quartz rock scattered everywhere. Before it was mined, the quartz reef here was exposed and protruding from the ground. Be very careful walking around the edges, the ground is covered in loose stones and you could easily slip.

History and timeline of Dunns Reef

The following information is displayed on an information sign at Dunn's Reef.

Before mining took place, Dunn's Reef was an exposed quartz reef protruding from the earth. From the late 1850s Dunn's Reef became an open cut quartz mine. Gold was extracted from the quartz by 'roasting' the material to soften it, then crushing it in huge stamp batteries. The crushed quartz was then washed to separate the gold. Day and night, loud stamping could be heard throughout the goldfields.

The track below leads to the remains of the Dunn's Reef loading ramp. Can you imagine the hardworking miners, loading materials from the ramp into the loud stamp battery below? The dam was then used as a water source for separating the gold from the quartz.


Late 1850s
Dunn's Reef is opened for mining

The mine shaft reaches a depth of 320 feet (97.5 metres)

Early 1860's
Concord Association try their luck at Dunn's Reef

Dunn's Reef Company begin a seven year stint at the reef

Dunn's Reef Company makes a cross-cut at a level of 200 feet (61 metres) to follow a reef rich in gold.

Mining by Dunn's Reef Company ceases

The reef is re-opened by the Concord Company

Concord Company close their mine at Dunn's Reef

Free camping near Dunn's Reef

Free camping is available nearby at the Red, White and Blue Recreation Area, Muckleford VIC

When visiting Dunn's Reef, be sure to stop at the Red, White and Blue Mine just down the road, where many relics still remain of the former mine including the poppet head with winding wheels, shaft, machinery site foundations, mullock heaps and dams. There are multiple quiet picnic spots with tables, wood fire barbecues and beautiful views over the dams.

Surviving quartz outcrop at Lillicur

If you're interested in seeing an exposed outcrop of quartz which hasn't been extracted by mining, Quartz Mountain (also known as Amherst Reef) in Lillicur is definitely worth a visit. Quartz Mountain is the largest outcrop of pure quartz rock remaining in Victoria, and it is a very impressive sight!


Established in 1980, the Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria is a voluntary body created to protect the rights and opportunities of those who wish to prospect, fossick or mine in the State of Victoria, Australia.

You can support the PMAV in their fight to uphold these rights by becoming a member. You'll also gain access to exclusive publications, field days, prospecting tips, discounts and competitions.

Check out the PMAV website for more information.


  • 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.
  • Gold prospecting is the recreational act of searching for natural gold deposits in the ground using tools such as gold detectors, gold pans and gold sluices. The Goldfields region of Victoria is a popular destination for gold prospectors, with many of the world's largest alluvial gold nuggets found in the area!


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