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Great Sandstone Mine

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Bulldog Lane, Llanelly VIC 3551

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  • Historic mine and battery site
  • Wooden battery foundations
  • Brick machinery foundations
  • Mullock heaps
  • Dam
The Great Sandstone Mine Bushland Reserve lies on the outskirts of Llanelly and features the remnants of multiple mining companies who were working on the Sandstone Reef. 

The reserve is filled with machinery foundations, mullock heaps, filled shafts, and a large dam.

Wooden mortar blocks from a stamp battery

A rare surviving line of 19th century wooden battery mortar blocks remain at the site, which once supported a 20 head stamp battery. 

The remains of three out of four sets are still present, each of which supported 5 heads of stamps. 

You can see another set of these over in Goldsborough at Belgian Reef, and at Bendigo's Victoria Hill (where they still support the stamp battery!)

Machinery foundations

Remnants of brick machinery foundations sit alongside a brick-lined pit which once housed part of the mine's powerful steam-driven water pumping equipment. 

History of Sandstone Reef

Sandstone Reef was worked by various companies through the 1860s and 70s. Mining stopped in the mid 70s before resuming in the 1890s, when upgraded pumping and crushing equipment was installed.

Sandstone miners, Llanelly, c 1900. Image source: Victorian Collections, Donald Clark Collection.

The following description of the Great Sandstone Company's equipment upgrades was published in the Tarnagulla and Llanelly Courier, 7th April 1894:

The Great Sandstone Company's Mine, Llanelly. The contractor, Mr Jorgensen, is making good progress with his contract for erecting the engine to work the Cornish pumps which are being put in to replace the Otis pump. 

There is no doubt that the Cornish pump should have been put in the first instance instead of spending a vast amount of money on pumps, which have proved complete failures and have had to be removed at great cost to the company. 

Unfortunately, the trouble did not end here. The directors were persuaded by the Otis Co. to get one of their Ball Mill crushers. Subsequent results have proved this likewise to be a failure. 

The management has crushed 5 tons of quartz and 15 tons of tailings from which good prospects were obtained, for a yield of 1 1/2 ounces of gold for the lot; and this under the superintendence of Mr. Brown, one of the experts in the employ of the Otis Company. 

10 tons of tailings from the Hellas Reef were then crushed without the use of silver on the amalgamating tables. From this parcel they obtained about 1/2 dwt of gold altogether, though the prospects in the tailings showed 2 to 3 dwts of loose gold to the load. 

5 tons of stone were then operated on from the Princess Royal shaft without the use of silver, and the result was about 1 dwt of gold from the lot ... 

Since then the company has removed the concentrating tables and erected splendid tables and copper plates. 

They then crushed 24 tons of quartz for the tributors, calcined, and obtained 10 oz 3 1/2 dwts of gold; and even this had to be sent to Mr. Spargo's works at Golden Square to be treated as it could not be amalgamated by the ordinary process. 

56 tons of the same quality stone were then forwarded to Mr. Clark's battery at Eaglehawk. This returned 12 oz. 15 dwts. of smelted gold.

The Company are now on the right track. They are putting in a Cornish lift and have purchased a battery.

Protecting the reserve

A sign at the entrance to the reserve displays the following text:

Great Sandstone Mine
Natural Features Reserve

This reserve has been set aside to protect our natural heritage.

To help protect this reserve - do not:
  • Litter or dump rubbish
  • Light fires
  • Remove firewood
  • Remove soil or rock
  • Use vehicles off road
  • Use firearms
This is an interesting area for bushwalking but be wary of mine shafts and uneven ground. 


Established in 1980, the Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria is a voluntary body created to protect the rights and opportunities of those who wish to prospect, fossick or mine in the State of Victoria, Australia.

You can support the PMAV in their fight to uphold these rights by becoming a member. You'll also gain access to exclusive publications, field days, prospecting tips, discounts and competitions.

Check out the PMAV website for more information.


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


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