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Mt Greenock Geological Reserve

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Ballarat-Maryborough Road, Dunach VIC 3371

Between Mitchell Road and Fells Gully Road

Explore other locations around this area using our interactive map


  • Extinct volcano
  • Significant geological site
  • Site of the historical Union Mine
  • Part of the Major Mitchell Trail
  • Picnic table
  • Information sign
The Mt Greenock Geological Reserve is located just outside Talbot and is a fascinating place to explore, featuring an extinct volcano, a historic mine site, and an informative sign celebrating the life and accomplishments of Major Thomas Mitchell. 

There are a couple of picnic tables alongside the parking area, and an information sign provides details about Major Mitchell's life, accomplishments and famous explorations through Victoria, as well as pictures of the Union Mine which once operated here. 

Please note that parts of this reserve are used for grazing - make sure you keep the front gate closed and latched after entering/exiting the reserve. 

Extinct volcano

Mt Greenock, an extinct volcano, stands beyond the picnic area and mine site. According to Victorian Resources Online:

This is an outstanding example of a volcano and lava flow associated with a deep lead. It is one of the few large scoria cones on public land and contains abundant outcrop and morphological evidence of its volcanic origin. 

It has the potential for extensive educational use in earth and social science study.

This is a tall scoria cone with a broad shallow crater open to the northwest. In the crater are blocks and bombs of scoriaceous basalt. Long lava flows extend both north and south from the cone. 

The flow to the north has been eroded by McCallum Creek which is a lateral stream. On the eastern base of the cone, the stream valley exposes a lava flow and underlying sedimentary rocks. 

The lava flow and the scoria cone overlie the Greenock lead (a buried valley with auriferous gravels). A line of mine tailing and abandoned mining relics occur on the margins of the lava flow.

Mining history 

The Victorian Heritage Database provides the following timeline for mining operations around Mt Greenock:

Second period of alluvial mining at Mount Greenock

March 1865: Ground for about 100 miners occupied about 1 1/2 miles south of Mount Greenock, near the Antrim Arms, or junction of Clunes and Ballarat Roads. A tunnelling company, in driving westwards into the plains, obtained some good prospects. It is probable this may be Mount Greenock lead, or a tributary of it. 
September 1865: Considerable falling off has taken place in the Mount Greenock Plain leasing companies. 
September 1866: The alluvial mining about Mount Greenock continues in a depressed state, owing to the want of sufficient capital to work the main lead which is so heavily charged with water. The Hoffnung Co., at Mt. Greenock South, has had a 12hp engine, with 6 inch pipes and a 70 ft lift, employed for some months past exclusively in pumping, but have had to suspend operations to place in 10 inch pipes, which is thought will clear the lead so as to enable the miners to proceed. 
September 1866: Alluvial mining about Mount Greenock continues in a depressed state, owing to want of capital. 
March 1867: Mount Greenock Lead will probably remain unworked indefinitely until outside capital is brought in. 
September 1867: Hoffnung Co. - broken down a third time. March 1868: Alluvial mining still in depressed state for want of capital. An effort being made by the Union Co. to raise sufficient funds to develop the Mount Greenock deep lead, nee about £4000. 
September 1868: The Union Co., Mount Greenock South, now erecting plant...will assist the Hoffnung with water. Private ground on the south side of Hoffnung has been let to a mining company = Nicholls Freehold Co. 
March 1869: Nicholls Freehold - erection of two engines of collective power of 48hp. Union Co. bottomed on gold at 150 feet. 
September 1869: The large mining companies on the plains are each progressing favourably. 
1868: Rip Van Winkle Co. - first attempt to find Mt Greenock Lead. Party sank shaft to 230 feet, then mining depression set in and shaft abandoned. 
June 1870: Hoffnung Co. in prosperous state, Union Co. to the north and Nichol's Freehold to the south, Rose Co. let on tribute. Potosi Co. not yet struck the gutter. so far spent £9,000. The Gladstone Co. have completed and started two engines. December 1870: Alluvial mining in the deep ground has disappointed our expectations. It was thought that Mount Greenock Lead, when found, would give good results; but after the expenditure of more than £20,000 in the Potosi and Gladstone claims, the aforesaid lead has been found to be worthless in the parts worked, so that we have nothing but the subsidiary leads to depend upon in alluvial mining. Nichol's Freehold, Union and Hoffnung claims produced respectively 1,296 ozs, 676 ozs and 331 ozs. 
September 1871: Nichol's Freehold - 659 ozs.; Union Co. - 358 ozs. 
March 1872: Union and Hoffnung companies continue to work profitably. The alluvial ground on the south side of the Mount spreads over too large a space to be worked with profit Nichol's Freehold has ceased working for this cause, and their fine plant which cost about £5,000 is being sold and removed. 
June 1872: Hoffnung Co. - 381 ozs., Union Co. - 302 ozs. 
September 1874: A new company has been formed to work Nichol's Freehold, about 1 1/2 miles south of the Mount. 
March 1875: Hoffnung Co. employs 21 men, produced 660 ozs. June 1875: Nichol's Freehold erecting steam machinery. 
December 1876: Nichol's Freehold completed their plant. 
September 1876: Hoffnung Co. still keeps up an excellent yield per ton of wash dirt. 
September 1877: Hoffman Gold Mining Co., Mount Greenock, produced 404 ozs, employed 20 men. 
September 1879: Union Gold Mining Co., Mount Greenock, produced 753 ozs. of gold during the quarter. Mount Greenock Extended Co. is progressing fast. 
1880: Rip Van Winkle Co. - second attempt to find Mt Greenock Lead. Powerful machinery installed, costing £6,000. Ground purchased for £9,000 from Mr Samuels of Talbot. Ground proved unpayable. Abandoned and plant removed 
December 1884: Union Co., Mt Greenock, has at last ceased work, after being in existence for about 20 years. A new lease has been taken up on Mt Greenock to work the ground to the east of old Union Extended claim in direction of the Princess Alexandra Tunnel. 
June 1885: South Greenock Co, may return something payable soon. Adams' Freehold Co. has taken up 800 acres of land under Mining on Private Property Act, 1884. Expected to bottom in a few days. 
September 1885: South Greenock Co. have stopped work but a leases has lately been taken up close to the NE, by Richard Hull, under the Mining on Private Property Act. Already payable gold, which is supposed to be the real Mt Greenock Lead. Adams' Freehold Co. - 16 men employed main driving. 
June 1886: Adams' Freehold Co. have sunk shaft no. 2 to 103 ft.

Also of interest


  • 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.


Leave a comment

Brian Mange
My forebears settled here for a few years in the 1840s prior to gold being found. According to old family papers, a great,great,great Uncle was part of Mitchell's team and returned here to Greenock then to an area south east called Bullerook where they planted a Maize crop which was eaten by large jumping "Hares" . During the drought of 1844, several families survived by catching Perch fish in a creek (un-named). There was also reference to eating native bears and the hirsute burrow pig. We believe these were Wombats. Following a bushfire and several deaths they returned to Port Fairy.