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Hard Hill Tourist Reserve

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Wilson Street, Wedderburn VIC 3518

Features

  • Free camping (you can leave a donation at the Loddon Visitor Information Centre)
  • Wood fire barbecues
  • Picnic tables
  • Undercover areas
  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Walking tracks
  • Reconstructed gold puddler
  • Eucalyptus stew pot
  • Mine adit (no entry, locked gate)
  • Stamp battery located at entrance
  • Detailed information signs
  • RV friendly
The Hard Hill Tourist Reserve in Wedderburn is an excellent free campground filled with interesting features.

Explore gold rush history as you stroll through the reserve and discover a reconstructed gold puddler, a stamp battery by the entrance, and a mine adit atop the hill.

Information signs teach you all about eucalyptus distillation and you can view a working eucalyptus stew pot alongside the picnic area. Volunteers fire up the stew pot four days a week (Monday - Thursday, other times by appointment). 

Visitor facilities at Hard Hill include wood fire barbecues, undercover picnic area, large separate undercover area, toilets and showers (for campers' use only), walking tracks and lots of information signs. There is plenty of space to set up camp in the peaceful bushland setting, which is also RV friendly. 

The following text is displayed on two of the many well presented information signs at Hard Hill Tourist Reserve:

HARD HILL HISTORY

The history of Hard Hill remains obscure, as little of the era regarding "The Hill" was written down or, if it was, it has not survived. However, evidence of the Gold era of the 1850's is still visible today. With a keen eye and an imaginative mind we can visualise the diggers going about their daily life in this harsh environment.

There was little or no fresh water. Supplies of meat, when arrived, were usually fly blown. How welcome the fresh fruit and vegetables from the Chinese gardens would have been. No wonder high prices were commanded and received from the diggers.

The Hill and the surrounding area had much alluvial gold. After the supply was exhausted, paddocking (as it was known) took place, the ground was turned over and small nuggets were raised to the surface and gathered. Another practice was to remove all the topsoil and put it in the puddler, water is syphoned from the dam, the mixture is "stirred" by a rake attachment to the horse-operated pole. The top slurry is drained off and the remaining dirt is shovelled into hand-operated cradles to be washed away from the gold particles. 

Chinese on the gold fields always dug round holes, because of superstition, so that no evil spirits could hide in the corners, there are examples of these holes around Hard Hill. The square holes were dug by the European diggers.

Tunnelling through the Hill took place in the 1800's, remnants of this era are still visible but most of these have been back filled as was the custom in those days. 

GOLD OF THE REGION

The discovery of Gold in the 1850's at the Korong Diggings, (as Wedderburn was then known) is attributed to a man named Brady, working as a shepherd on Torpichen Station, Welshman's Gully on the St Arnaud Road. He discovered the gold on May 10th 1852 but never claimed the reward offered by the Government at the time. The reward of £400 was claimed by four men from South Australia, Henry Thomas Cullen, Richard Higgs, Thomas White and W. Adams. The date given was 20th May 1852.

The population on the Wedderburn field fluctuated between 6000 and several hundred. It was a dry field, there being no permanent water. There was much alluvial gold with many nuggets interspersed. 

In the 1890's gold ceased to be regarded as a major source of income for Wedderburn. However, there have been several revivals of gold fever since then, the main ones being in 1950 and 1980.

In 1950, several large finds in and near Wilson Street sparked a rush, in which 8000 people visited the town, many to dig and some to look. As late as the 1970's miners were still digging in that area in search of the elusive Cerchi's Reef, said to be very rich.

The discovery of the Hand of Faith at Kingower, and the Beggary Lump at Wedderburn in 1980 started another rush. For many months the bush around Wedderburn was swarming with prospectors, most equipped with detectors. 

Since then there has been a steady trickle of gold seekers, and many small nuggets and some reasonably big, have been found, but not publicised. 

Some of the main nuggets found in the area are:
  • 1853 - James Bangery at Potters Hill - 96oz
  • 1854 - TW Cosh at Possum Point - 144oz
  • 1854 - James Rogerson at Steels Point - 96oz
  • 1854 - ? Firth at Welshman's Point - 77oz
  • 1856 - John Hassett at Potters Hill - 255oz
  • 1857 - ? Jessup at Ironbark Gully - 73oz
  • 1857 - James Lubbock at Show Gully - 72oz
  • 1857 - Blanche Barkly at Kongower - 1757oz
  • 1858 - James Pretty at Bocca Flat - 71oz
  • 1858 - John Harton at Long Gully - 55oz
  • 1859 - ? Jessup at Ironbark Gully - 192oz
  • 1859 - John Harton at Judy Point - 82oz
  • 1859 - Frank Gallejes at Italian Point - 192oz
  • 1859 - William Sanders at Peep-O-Day - 51oz
  • 1860 - John Finn at Finn's Flat (2 nuggets) - 55oz each
  • 1862 - H Presnell at Bocca Flat - 75oz
  • 1863 - Trotman and Hayes at Judy Point - 55oz
  • 1866 - Phillip Archer at Main Flat - 114oz
  • 1866 - David Strachan at Cahill Gully - 72oz
  • 1868 - Reilly and Murphy at Ironbark Gully - 150oz
  • 1869 - Welcome Stranger at Moliagul - 2564oz
  • 1876 - Thomas Linkleter at ? - 70oz
  • 1884 - George Dupay at Tinpot Gully - 55oz
  • 1889 - Cosio Cellevich at Possum Gully - 336oz
  • Mar 1950 - Albert Smith in Wilson Street - 75oz £550
  • Mar 11 1950 - ? Butterick (Golden Retriever) - 72 oz £650
  • Mar 12 1950 - ? Butterick (Wedderburn Dog) - 145oz
  • Mar 29 1950 - ? Butterick (Golden Wedge) - 70oz
  • 1970 - Lisa Roverts in Wychitella State Forest - 7oz
  • July 25 1980 - A Turner, R Fazzani, R Hard (Beggary Lump) - 82.2oz
  • Aug 8 1980 - At Hit or Miss Mine, North Beggary Hill - 10.0oz
  • Sept 26 1980 - K and B Hillier at Kingower (Hand of Faith)
Source: Information signs at Hard Hill Tourist Reserve

More recently in 2015 a massive 2.7kg gold nugget was discovered near Wedderburn by Kerang man, Mick Brown. Read more...

The Wedderburn area is still very popular for gold prospectors today, and the Hard Hill Tourist Reserve is home to the annual Minelab Wedderburn Detector Jamboree.

ACCOMMODATION NEARBY





 

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