Browse by Tag
Free camping
Gold history
Gold prospecting
Walking track

The Blacksmith's Hole

  • 20210731 dsc 5394
  • 20210731 dsc 5396
  • 20210731 dsc 5399
  • 20210731 dsc 5400
  • 20210731 dsc 5403
Behind 719 Geelong Road, Canadian VIC 3350

Explore other locations around this area using our interactive map


  • Extremely rich historical gold mining claim
  • Walking track
  • Small patch of bushland
  • Creek
The Blacksmith's Hole was an extraordinarily rich mining claim on the junction of the Prince Regent and Canadian Leads in Ballaarat (now Ballarat), where a shaft was sunk in 1853 to 110 feet deep with unbelievable results. 

Known as a "jewellers' shop", this remarkable claim is estimated to have yielded a ton of gold! Miners in the adjoining claims dug in upon the blacksmith's claim to get at the rich wash dirt, with one party driving right through into the blacksmith's mine shaft. This claim was worked multiple times, with rich yields every time.

Situated in a backyard beside the present course of the Canadian Creek, the site of the Blacksmith's Hole is commemorated by an ornate iron signpost on the roadside where Main Road becomes Geelong Road in Canadian, not far down from Sovereign Hill.

The iron sign displays the following text:

About 5 chains due east was situated the blacksmith's hole known as the Jeweller's Shop 1853

Just over five chains (100 metres) to the east of the signpost you will find a walking/cycling track (accessed from Elsworth Street East) where you can take a stroll alongside the Canadian Creek, right past the area where the Blacksmith's Hole was. 

"Jeweller's-shop - a claim in which occur patches of extraordinary richness" A Glossary of Mining Terms, The Gold Fields and Mineral Districts of Victoria, R. Brough Smyth.

Gold, Gem and Treasure has a great page discussing all things "Canadian" in Ballarat, including the Blacksmith's Hole on the junction of the Canadian and Prince Regent Leads. Their page includes a sketch map of the leads, roads, Canadian Creek, and the location of the Blacksmith's Hole. You can check it out here

Robert Brough Smyth included a description of the Blacksmith's Hole and the incredibly rich Canadian and Prince Regent Leads in his 1869 book, The Gold Fields and Mineral Districts of Victoria. His chapter, 'Notes on the Ballaarat Goldfield' provides lengthy and detailed accounts of the area's diggings, mining companies, leads and gullies. 

In his section about the Canadian Lead, he wrote the following:

In the claim at the junction of the Canadian and Prince Regent Leads (known as the Blacksmith's Hole), the washdirt was very rich, and there was a great thickness of it. The blacksmith's party obtained over £3,000 per man (eight men); but large quantities of gold were taken by the holders of adjoining claims, who drove upon them (one party drove right onto the blacksmith's shaft). The average yield from this claim was about 1 oz. to the American bucket, but as much as 50 lbs. weight of gold was washed from one tub. This claim was afterwards worked a second and third time, and handsome yields obtained on each occasion ; it has since been worked by Chinese. The quantity of gold taken from this claim has been estimated by reliable men at a ton weight.

In his section about the Prince Regent Lead, he wrote the following:

This lead towards the junction was so rich that the claims were styled jewellers' shops, the average yields obtained by the first parties being from £1,600 to £2,000 per man, the usual number of men in each claim being eight. The depth of sinking at the junction of the Canadian and Prince Regent Leads was 110 feet. 

"Lead - a deep alluvial auriferous deposit or gutter. A lead, correctly defined, is an auriferous gully or creek, or river, the course of which cannot be determined by the trend of the surface, in consequence of the drainage having been altered either by the eruption of basalt or lava, or the deposition of newer layers of sand and gravel." - A Glossary of Mining Terms, The Gold Fields and Mineral Districts of Victoria, R. Brough Smyth.

The following remarkable report was published in the Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer on October 11th 1853:

Two Gullies, the Canadian, and Prince Regent's, became conspicuous for enormous yields, and the Buninyong Range was pronounced to be the richest ever opened. Gold was found by the hundred weight, and individuals amassed fortunes in a few weeks. In some of the holes the gold lay three inches thick, in small hillocks, which, until disturbed, presented the appearance of solid gold, and led to the statement, widely circulated, that "a Table of Solid Gold had been found." Two hundred and fifty pounds weight has been taken from one hole. Ninety-five pounds weight of gold was washed from three gallons of earth, and such immense results recurring left little room for exaggeration. But if the yields be great, the difficulty of getting it is great also. It requires the constant hard labour of a large party to sink to the requisite depth, some of the holes being a hundred and forty feet deep, sunk through strata, saturated with water, and requiring to be slabbed all the way down, which involves the necessity of felling, splitting, and cartage, and entails heavy expense. It has been estimated that one of these holes costs at least £200 to sink it. Parties work in gangs, by day and night.

Where two "leads" - or ancient river beds - intersected each other, the yield was doubled, or trebled. Thus, from a famous claim known as the Blacksmith's Hole, at the junction of the Canadian and Prince Regent leads, a party of diggers obtained over £3000 per man. The average yield from this claim was an ounce of gold to every bucket of earth ; as much as fifty pounds weight was washed from a single tub. The claim was worked a second, and a third, time, and was estimated to have yielded a ton weight of precious metal. The famous "Jeweller Shops," at Canadian lead, yielded from £1600 to £2000 per man. From one claim, 12 feet by 12 feet, at the Gravel-pits lead, over 125 pounds weight of gold was taken. From the "prospecting" claim on the Canadian lead, a party of eight men took more than £34,000 worth of gold.



  • 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.


No comments

Leave a comment