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Steiglitz Court House

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Meredith-Steiglitz Road, Steiglitz VIC 3331

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Features

  • Historical court house
  • Information signs
  • Walking tracks
  • Picnic tables
The beautiful Steiglitz Court House is a striking feature of the former gold mining town of Steiglitz. The Court House is open most Sunday afternoons and contains a fascinating display of historical photographs and relics.

The Steiglitz Court House was opened in 1875 to replace the original timber court house which was constructed in 1858. The town's fortunes had started to slow down, and court house sittings were discontinued by 1879. The Steiglitz Court House opened again from 1895 to 1899 when the town experienced a period of revival due to successful mining and business ventures.

This spot also marks the beginning of the fascinating Steiglitz Town Walk, an easy half hour circuit filled with interesting ruins, relics and buildings of the gold rush era. 

There is a parking area alongside the Court House, as well as a large information board, picnic tables and bench seating. Multiple walking tracks set out from here. 

The information signs stand within a small shelter and displays the following text:

WELCOME TO STEIGLITZ HISTORIC PARK

Steiglitz is almost a ghost town today. However, at the height of the 1860s gold rush, it had over 1500 residents, four hotels, three schools, a newspaper, a variety of shops and even an undertaker. 

ENJOYING THE PARK

Visit the Courthouse, opened during 1875, to see a display of photographs, map and relics of the golden years. It is open most Sunday afternoons. 

Although most of the buildings have gone and the mines have been filled, there are still many traces of the golden years in and around the town. Look for mine tailing heaps and relics. 

Picnics

There are many pleasant picnic spots. Toilets and water are available at the Bert Boardman Reserve

WALKS FROM STEIGLITZ AREA

Steiglitz circuit walk - 8.5km, moderate

This walk is accessible from many locations

1. The Pines to Steiglitz Courthouse - Start at the Pines carparks on Durdiwarrah Road between Alliance and Fridays Tracks. Head south past large mullock heaps, remnants of the New Chum Mine. Enjoy views over Steiglitz Historic Park and Brisbane Ranges National Park. Continue south along Alliance and Hay Tracks, crossing Sutherlands Creek, into the township of Steiglitz.

2. Steiglitz to The Crossing Picnic Area - from the Courthouse, enter Stawell Street and follow Deadmans Loop Walking Track through to Hut Road then continue to The Crossing Picnic Area.

3. The Crossing Picnic Area to The Pines - This section of track runs parallel to Yankee Gully Creek before heading up a shallow gully to Mulrooney's Track and The Pines carpark. Look for remnants of the gold mining era. 

Deadman's Loop Track - 4.7km return, moderate

Starting at the Courthouse, this walk follows Sutherlands Creek through small valleys with Grass trees and several changes in vegetation, and finishes at Meredith-Steiglitz Road. See historic remnants including a large historic pine tree, a round, stone-lined well and some scattered bricks indicating a house site. Within the creek bank area, you will see the entrance to the historic Morning Star mine.

Beard's Gully Walk - 6km to Sailors Track, difficult

Starting at the top of Sailors Track, South Steiglitz Road, head downhill to Sutherlands Creek. The walk follows the creek bed so be prepared for a few hours of rock hopping. A car shuttle is recommended (leave car at Sailors Track). A circuit is possible returning via South Steiglitz Road.

CAMPING

There are two designated camping grounds in the park - siz sites at Boar Gully Camp Ground northern end of park and eight sites at Fridays Camping and Picnic Area near Steiglitz. Both have pit toilets and tank water, plus one designated camp trailer or caravan site at each camp ground. 

Bookings are essential and fees apply for all campsites including the Bushwalkers Only sites along the Burchell Trail. Book online at www.parks.vic.gov.au or call 13 1963.

Phytophthora cinnamomi

Phytophthora cinnamomi (PC) is an introduced plant killing water mould that lives in wet soil and attacks and destroys plant root systems causing plants to die through lack of water and nutrients. Patches of dead or dying vegetation can indicate the presence of this silent killer. 

The disease is spread through infected plants and the movement of contaminated soil and gravel. There is no known practical cure for the disease, but its spread can be limited by preventing the movement of infected soil. All management tracks have been closed to vehicle, bicycle and horse access to prevent the spread of this serious threat. Several tracks have been quarantined to restrict all access. 

Please use boot cleaning stations strategically placed along walking tracks within the park.

Prior to entering and leaving the park, use a sturdy brush to remove all soil from footwear and camping gear, then spray with a 70% methylated spirits/water solution or with bleach.

BE FIRE READY AND STAY SAFE

On days of forecast Code Red Fire Danger this park will be closed for public safety.

If you are already in the park you should leave the night before or early in the morning for your own safety.

Closure signs will be erected and rangers will patrol where possible, however you may not receive a personal warning that the park is closed so check by calling 13 1963 or visit www.parks.vic.gov.au

For up to date information on fires in Victoria or general fire safety advice call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.

LOOKING AFTER THE PARK
  • All plants, animals, archaeological sites and geological features are protected. 
  • Please take all rubbish with you for recycling and disposal.
  • Cats and firearms are not permitted in the park.
  • Dogs are permitted within the park, but must be kept on a lead at all times. 
  • All plants and animals are protected.
  • Light fires only in fireplaces provided. No fires are permitted on a day of Total Fire Ban. Built in and portable gas or electric barbecues may be used provided: a 3 metre area is cleared of anything flammable. At least 10 litres of water is available for immediate use. An adult is in attendance at all times. Fires must be completely extinguished before leaving. 
  • Bicycles are only permitted on the main access road.
HISTORIC BUILDINGS AND SITES

Steiglitz Courthouse

The first courthouse, a rickety timber building, was constructed at the rear of the present courthouse in 1858. The present building opened in June 1875.

By the time the new courthouse opened, the town's fortunes had waned and courthouse sittings were discontinued by January 1879. It re opened between 1895 and 1899 when Steiglitz enjoyed a revival of mining and business fortunes. 

From the courthouse veranda, you can look across the vacant lots and Sutherlands Creek to Gibraltar mine. 

St Paul's Church of England

This is a timber building located along Regent Street. Established in 1872, it was used as a church until 1962. The building deteriorated until 1988 when the external structure was restored to near-original condition. The internal structure was restored in 1994 with the help of volunteers.

The building can be hired for permitted functions such as weddings and community events. To apply for a permit, call Parks Victoria on 13 1963.

St Thomas Roman Catholic Church

This timber building, built in 1878, is located on the outskirts of the town along the Meredith road. In 1960, the building was moved to Norlane, Geelong and in 1983, relocated back to Steiglitz close to its original site. The building is now used by a local community group that collects and conserve documents, photographs, artefacts and family histories. 

Sugg's Cottage

This weatherboard cottage is the only one of its kind in the area. It is a four-roomed cottage with a corrugated roof and veranda and was possibly constructed in the 1890s. It was occupied by blacksmiths, the final one being Mr Sugg in 1944. With the help of the local volunteer group, the building is currently being restored to its former appearance. 

Privately owned buildings

Scott's Hotel is a weatherboard building constructed in the 1890s on the site of an earlier hotel. It closed in 1918. The bar is still in its original form and many of the original fittings retained. It is now a private residence.

Minogue's Store - This two-storey brick building was constructed around 1865. The building has been restored to near original condition by its present owner and is now a private residence.

Red Brick Cottage - This small brick cottage was built around 1870 and is now a private residence. The bricks match those used to build the courthouse. 

The Post Office and Drapery - This weatherboard building was built in 1865 and used as a post office until 1966. The verandah and front wall have been remodelled. It is now a private residence. 

Old Cemetery

The Steiglitz Cemeteries - The old Steiglitz cemetery lies adjacent to St Thomas Church. This cemetery closed in 1861 and only one headstone remains. The cemetery is of historical significance and the graves of miners and local residents can be identified. The new cemetery opened in 1861 and is still used. It is maintained by the Steiglitz Cemetery Trust.

Mines

Mine tailings and mullock heaps are scattered about the park indicating mine sites. By 1897, the only two mines producing gold were the United Albion along Durdiwarrah Road and New Mariner south of Steiglitz. By 1907 only the New Mariner was still in operation.

Other relics such as brick water cisterns, stone gutters and drains are scattered within the township. Piles of rubble, sedimentary stone, bricks and chimney foundations can also be seen in the surrounding area. All relics are protected and must not be removed. 

A VALUABLE PLACE FOR PEOPLE, PLANTS AND ANIMALS

Steiglitz Historic Park offers excellent opportunities for pleasant walks, picnics, scenic drives, wildflower and bird studies and historical investigation. The best time for wildflowers is August to November. 

A rich human history

The Wathaurong Aboriginal people lived in the area around Geelong and small clans regularly occupied the Brisbane Ranges. Their spiritual and physical connection to Country are still celebrated through their descendants today. Squatters took up pastoral runs soon after Melbourne was founded in 1835. Grazing was concentrated on richer lands to the west of the ranges along the Moorabool River. 

In 1851, gold was found in the Anakie hills and miners arrived soon after. In 1855, many gold reefs were found near Steiglitz and by 1862 there were over 600 miners in the area.  The town's fortunes slumped between 1876 and 1890, then revived briefly until the early 1900s and then declined to the present ghost town status.

In 1907, parts of the Brisbane Ranges were declared state forest and provided substantial quantities of timber for fence posts and firewood.

As early as 1918, the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria proposed the Brisbane Ranges be reserved as a national park. The national park was proclaimed in 1973.

Lower Stony Creek Reservoir and Dam Wall

The Lower Stony Creek Reservoir, built in the 1870's, supplied water to Geelong and district via a timber pipeline through Anakie Gorge. A short walk from Stony Creek picnic area takes you to the top of the imposing concrete wall of the reservoir. This wall was the first concrete dam wall built in the southern hemisphere. The reservoir was decommissioned in 2001. 

This 1200ha of Barwon Water land was added to the Brisbane Ranges National Park in August 2010. The tracts of land, largely untouched for 125 years, are made up of native woodland, open forest and wetlands and  are home to the threatened Powerful Own.

Plants and animals

Keep an eye out for Eastern grey kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, possums and sugar gliders. Koalas were released in the park from Phillip and French Islands in 1957 and 1977 and the Friends of the Brisbane Ranges regularly monitor their numbers.

With more than 180 native bird species recorded in the park, the area is a great place for sightings.

An outstanding feature of the park is its rich native flora. More than 619 native plant species (about one-fifth of Victoria's total) can be found in the park. Many are either rare or remote from their normal localities. 

In spring there is a magnificent display of colour from daisies, wattles hakeas, bush peas and a variety of orchids. A plant list and illustrated guide to wildflowers of the park is available on the Friends of Brisbane Ranges website or from the Bacchus Marsh Parks Victoria office. 

Century Track Wildfire - 2006

In January 2006, two lightning strikes resulted in a large and intense wildfire that swept through over 6700ha of the Brisbane Ranges National Park and adjoining land, destroying three houses, other buildings and livestock as well as considerable park infrastructure.

Recovery from a fire is a miraculous process that begins soon after the fire has moved through an area. Each species has its own survival mechanism that assists it in recovery.

Plants such as the Xanthorrhoea (grass tree) burn readily and produce flowers and seeds quickly after a fire to take advantage of the increased light and nutrient availability. Many native animals are able to survive fire and are soon seen feeding on new growth in and around the fire area. 

Following the 2006 wildfire the Ranges remained under severe drought conditions for another three years, greatly hampering the regeneration and recovery process.

A return to average rainfall in 2010-12 was a welcome relief to the Ranges and its inhabitants. Endemic species such as Brisbane Ranges Grevillea have been recorded in greater numbers post wildfire, along with many other flourishing flora species, contributing to the rich biodiversity of the Brisbane Ranges. 

Information signs provided by Parks Victoria. 


 

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