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Red, White and Blue Recreation Area

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  • 20170528 153643 The shaft is covered by a steel grate for safety.
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  • 20170528 153546 Information board at the Red, white and Blue Recreation Area. Includes information about the state forest, history of the mine, all the relics you will see and their locations, and local flora and fauna.
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  • 20170528 154723 A beautiful spot for a picnic with views over a large dam.
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Red White and Blue Track, Muckleford VIC 3451

Features

  • Historic mine, complete with shaft, poppet head, foundations and more
  • Picnic tables
  • Wood fire BBQs
  • Camping
  • Information sign
  • Bushwalking
  • Birdwatching
  • Gold fossicking
The Red, White and Blue Mine in the Muckleford State Forest is a fascinating place for a barbecue and bushwalk.

The historic mine is a sight to behold, with an intact poppet head complete with winding wheels and remains of timberwork, a mine shaft, machinery site, mullock heap and dams. The poppet head was originally from the Bendigo Deborah United Mine.

There are multiple picnic tables scattered around the area, each with its own wood fire barbecue (in great condition). Several tables have great views over the water of the dams.

Camping is allowed in the Muckleford State Forest. There is plenty of room at the Red, White and Blue Recreation Area to park caravans and buses, and you should be able to find a nice spot to pitch a tent.

There are no toilets at the recreation area.

Make sure you take your trash with you when you leave, as there are no rubbish bins.

The Red, White and Blue Walk

Distance: Loop 5km
Time: 3.5 hours
Flat, formed track. Signposted.

The Red,White and Blue Walking Track is an easy five kilometre walk through the Box-Ironbark forest to Dunn's Reef. It starts at the Historic Red, White and Blue Mine Site.

Along the walk you will find interpretive information boards telling you interesting stories of Muckleford State Forest's natural and cultural landscape that will inspire you to look at your surroundings through different eyes.

The following text is displayed on an information sign at the Red, White and Blue Recreation Area:

WHAT CAN I SEE HERE?

Historic Mine site
  • Intact, standing poppet head - tubular steel legs, winding wheels, remains of timberwork.
  • 3-compartment shaft with its intact concrete baling pond.
To the south of the poppet head
  • Machinery site - remains of square concrete winder bed.
  • A concrete winding engine bed.
  • Several concrete air-receiver pads.
  • A boiler setting depression, an iron damper plate is visible on the south east corner of the engine site. The boiler setting has a short flue depression running from its rear end to the remains of a square brick chimney stack base.
Further South
  • A partially buried small narrow open cut associated with two filled (subsided) shafts. Both shafts still have sections of their wooden collars exposed.
East of the shaft
  • Small intact mullock heap
  • Six short dumping lines from an earlier mining phase.
North of the poppet head
  • Two large dams.
  • A drain leading from the shaft's baling tank to the closest dam.
  • Extensive dumps of treated tailings.
  • A band of shallow alluvial sinkings runs south down the gully below the dams and continue as far as the Dunns Reef Track.
West of the poppet head
  • Several sections of concrete flooring and some post stumps.
  • Small exposed section of a stone footing (possibly a battery site).
The poppet head/concrete engine beds etc belonged to the Golden Age Gold NL (1957 - c. 1960), while the tailings were generated by Maloney's Red, White and Blue (1909 - 1915).

RED, WHITE AND BLUE - A SITE OF STATE SIGNIFICANCE

Also known as the Golden Age Mine and as Maloney's Red, White and Blue Mine

The Red, White and Blue Mine is a site of historical, archaeological and scientific importance to Victoria - it is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register of significant heritage places. Explore the range of intact relics from the past, which illustrate 20th century mining operations in the heart of Victoria's Box-Ironbark country.

The forest surrounding you is an ancient landscape which bears the imprint of many cultures. For tens of thousands of years Dja Dja Wurrung people occupied and roamed the area. Today, this heritage is still evident in the form of scar trees, rock wells, artifacts and ancient meeting places.

Surveyor-General, Major Mitchell, passed through this area on his third expedition in 1836. Pastoralists followed soon after to squat and establish sheep runs on the grasslands. Gold was found at the foot of Mount Tarrengower in December 1853. Following this, miners spread out through the forest in the pursuit of gold and the town of Maldon quickly grew - the scars of early mining can still be seen throughout the forest. Sources of gold included sandstone outcrops, quartz reefs and shallow alluvial (stream) deposits.

"Thousands upon thousands of tents extending through the gullies for about ten miles in every direction..." (Edward Snell)

"To some the diggings had the appearance of a graveyard - It was a sight! Mounds of earth lying beside holes presented the dismal appearance of a graveyard, men washing dirt in tubs, carrying its colour on their skin, hair, hats, trousers and boots, miserable-looking low tents their places of refuge. Where water was to be seen it was a puddle. The whole scene to a new chum was one of unspeakable squalor..." (James Robertson, in Records of Castlemaine Pioneers, p.47, Forest Creek, late 1852).

Early miners initially carried out shallow digging for alluvial gold deposits. As gold became harder to find miners used other methods such as sluicing, steam diversions and puddling machines to separate the gold. Later methods included quartz reef mining, open cut and shafts. Mining for gold below the water table required the use of machinery such as steam-powered pumping and winding machinery - as here at Red, White and Blue.

From Maldon quartz mining extended south along Sandy Creek, eastward and even to the top of Mt Tarrengower. Shallow alluvial mining was also carried out extensively along Back Creek. Gold was found at Dunn's Reef to the north during the late 1850s - the remains of a timber loading ramp can still be seen today. The first shaft was sunk here into the Red, White and Blue quartz reef in 1871. A number of shafts were sunk in the area along the reef, and mining continued on and off for many years. Between 1909 and 1915 a total of 2,369 ounces of gold was mined from here. Red, White and Blue was last mined in 1960 to a depth of 52 metres - at the time the site consisted of a poppet head and shaft, a steam boiler, winding engine and battery, change rooms, an office and storage rooms. The poppet head was originally from the Bendigo Deborah United Mine. The final days of mining here were deep reef mining for layers of quartz rock containing gold. Deep shafts would fill with water and had to be pumped day and night to stop the mine from flooding.



DID YOU KNOW...

  • Camping is a great way to explore the Victorian Goldfields. Many campgrounds are located close to interesting attractions and historic sites, and the Goldfields region is certainly not lacking in fascinating things to discover. 
  • There are hundreds of fantastic barbecue areas throughout the Victorian Goldfields. Some are in parks/playgrounds, others are scattered throughout the bush. Many barbecue areas are located alongside amazing attractions and walks, so go out for a barbecue and get exploring!
  • 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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