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Cornish Hill - Thomas' Lookout

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Orford Street, Daylesford VIC 3460

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Thomas' Lookout offers an excellent view over the township of Daylesford from the Cornish Hill Reserve. The lookout was built after 1945 to appeal to tourists. Alongside the lookout is a stone monument commemorating the Cornish Miners who worked here, and 'Bonnard's Shaft' which is fenced and signposted.

The Cornish Hill Reserve is an area of bushland within Daylesford which contains many substantial features of historical mining efforts. In the 1850s, thousands of prospectors arrived in the area to make their fortunes. Large scale mining operations commenced here in the 1860s and continued until the early 20th century. 

The historical features remaining throughout the reserve are from the 20th century mining operations, apart from a shallow open cut which may date back to the 1850s.

Features of the reserve include:
  • Thomas' Lookout
  • Bonnard's Shaft
  • Mitchell's Shaft
  • Argus Mine
  • Adit and water race
  • Water wheel site
  • Scascighini  puddler

The Cornish hill Reserve was originally a parcel of crown land, proposed to be sold for housing development in 1994. A group of concerned residents formed an action plan in order to save it as a historic precinct and for the establishment of flora and fauna. Cornish Hill as a Crown Land Reserve is the responsibility of a Committee of Management. 

All hands-on work on the hill is carried out by a group of volunteers called 'Friends of Cornish Hill'.

Information signs around the lookout display the following text:

Thomas' Lookout & Cornish Miners Monument

Thomas' Lookout sits on top of the rock & gravel bought up when digging Bonnard's mine. It was built after 1945, to appeal to tourists as it has a fine view of the township. Nearby is a monument to the immigrants from Cornwall, England, who worked the mines. Here lies underground the Cornish Reef which, among other deep reefs was a rich source of gold and the Cornish Miners had a long history of mining for tin and other metals deep underground. 

Bonnard's Shaft

Bonnard's shaft was part of the massive concentration of deep shaft quartz gold mining on Cornish Hill here in Daylesford. Now fenced off, is the filled-in main shaft of the mine that descended 1000 feet (330m) with horizontal tunnels at many levels below ground. Just behind is the massive brick & concrete footings, which anchored the winch that lifted the miner's cages and ore. At the current (2018) gold price $250,000,000 worth of gold was extracted from this reserve between 1850 and 1925.

A stone monument at the site displays the following text:

This cairn commemorates the Cornish Miners and their families who played a major role in the successful establishment of deep quart mining in this area - and thereby contributed to the development of Daylesford and other towns in the district.

Erected by the Cornish Hill Committee of Management 2001

There is a fantastic website about Cornish Hill which includes history, images, maintenance/volunteer information, and more. Check it out over at


  • There are many great places throughout the Goldfields that offer gorgeous, panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.


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