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Powder Magazine

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Forest Drive, Heathcote VIC 3523

Explore other locations around this area using our interactive map

Features

  • Historical powder magazine
  • Information sign
  • Picnic table
  • Walking track to cave and lookout
The Heathcote Powder Magazine was constructed by the Public Works Department in 1864, and still stands in the bush off Forest Drive in Heathcote. Powder magazines such as this were built to store explosives used in gold mining, and were located away from residential areas in case of accidental explosion.

A picnic table is located alongside the parking area, and the beautiful Viewing Rock Circuit Walk begins here. The circuit walk is a one hour return track which takes you past Devils Cave and Viewing Rock Lookout in the mountain above. 

VIEWING ROCK CIRCUIT WALK

One hour return

Viewing Rock 0.9 km
Viewing Rock via Devils Cave 2 km

Gold prospecting is permitted in the bush up behind the Powder Magazine. Click here to view the Parks Victoria map indicating areas where prospecting is permitted (the Heathcote area is located in the bottom-right inset map).

An information sign at the Powder Magazine displays the following text:

Powder Magazine

The Heathcote Powder Magazine was constructed by the Public Works Department in 1864, from high quality locally quarried stone. The builder was H. Cormack & Co. In Victoria, powder magazines stored explosives used in gold mining, quarrying and road making, and were located outside many goldfields towns to avoid accidental explosions close to residential areas. This powder magazine features a brick vaulted space inside a buttressed rectangular building, with a small entry and office space. The vault, buttressing, and baffled air vents were a result of the belief at the time that extensive masonry would help to contain explosives. The gabled roof was originally of slate. Sawn Oregon racks remain in the main room, together with a two-door iron safe with decorative stencilling.

The building demonstrates particularly fine stone masonry and brick vaulting work, and is a excellent example of a Public Works Department designed powder magazine.

The Victorian Heritage Database provides the following text regarding the Heathcote Powder Magazine:

The Act to Regulate the Importation, Carriage and Custody of Gunpowder was passed in 1857 in a period when increasing deep mining for gold engendered a requirement for safe storage of large quantities of explosives. Under the Act, public powder magazines were financed by Government and administered locally. After 1857 over twenty five new magazines were erected in Victoria and older magazines extended. The McIvor diggings, with which the Heathcote Powder Magazine is associated, were a pivotal point of mining activities in the central goldfields area and ensured the development of Heathcote as a township. The Heathcote Powder Magazine was constructed by the Public Works Department in 1864, in high quality quarry faced local stone laid in coursed ashlar. Like several other magazines built during the 1860's, the Heathcote Powder Magazine features a brick vaulted space inside a buttressed rectangular building, with a small used entry and office space. The vault, buttressing and baffled air vents were a manifestation of the (erroneous) belief prevalent at the time that massive masonry would help to contain explosives. The gable roof over the vault was originally of slate. Sawn Oregon racks remain in the main room, together with a two door iron safe with decorative stencilling.

SEE ALSO


DID YOU KNOW...

  • Bushwalking is an excellent way to get outdoors and exploring nature.
  • 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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