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Jackson's Gully Gold Discovery Monument

  • 20211124 dsc 6978
  • 20211124 dsc 6979
Golden Point Road, Blackwood VIC 3458

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  • Gold discovery monument
This stone monument stands alongside Golden Point Road in Blackwood, commemorating the discovery of gold in Jackson's Gully on the 14th of November, 1854. Teamsters Harry Athorn and Harry Hider were searching for a group of bullocks that were generally known to be strayed in the bush, having gotten away from earlier carters. While stopped for lunch, they were surprised to discover gold in the clear water of the creek! They collected as much of it as they could see and returned with the gold and two bullocks, blazing a trail on the way out so they could return with more prospectors, equipment and supplies. 

The following account of the gold discovery at Jackson's Gully was published in the Melton Express, 24th September 1927

The account of the discovery of gold at Blackwood, given by Densley to me, is as follows: - "Harry Athorn and Harry Hider were the first to discover gold at Blackwood. They made the discovery in the latter part of 1854. Six bullocks that had got away from earlier carters were generally known to be in there, on the Laradoc (as the Lerderderg was colloqually, and, perhaps, correctly, styled by the early settlers), and previous attempts to get them had proved unsucessful. Athorn and Hider went on three different Sundays to seek them, and on the last occasion, when in the vicinity of where they were supposed to be running, they stopped about mid-day to have lunch, on the bank of the creek where Golden Point now is. 

The water was clear. While eating their lunch they saw water-worn gold at the bottom of the stream. They collected as much of it as was visible. Overjoyed at their discovery, they returned with the gold, and with two of the bullocks, blazing a track out to make sure of finding the place again. As soon as they returned to East Ballan a party was made up to prospect the discovery, composed of Athorn, Hider, and - three others, named Jackson, Dungey, and Bellinger, the arrangement being that all were to share equally in any gold discovered. Jackson, Dungey, and Bellinger were to do the prospecting, while Athorn and Hider found them in food and other requisites. The prospectors began work on Jackson's Gully (named after one of them), and they camped on the far side of the creek, about where the Golden Point bridge is. In some of the holes put down good gold was obtained, and in others none, but, on trying along the course of the creek, the party found that gold could be got anywhere in it. 

I took the first lot of provisions out to them on horseback, being guided to them by the trees blazed by Athorn and Hider, and afterwards a man named Matt Cook and I took out a larger supply, and some mining equipment, Cook having half a ton on a two-horse dray, and I a like weight on a dray drawn by six bullocks. 

After leaving Athorn's we went down by Pyke's homestead, and crossing Doctor's Creek below it, followed the eastern bank of that stream through what is now Mr. Thomas Lidgett's paddock, until we reached about where the present road is. We then turned in an easterly direction, and kept on until we arrived at the site where Greendale now stands, where we camped for the night near where Mr. George Henry Robert's latest store afterwards stood, close to a large pool, in which a servant woman in the employ of the Dales had drowned herself a short time previously. In consequence of this tragedy, the pool had received the name of the Lady's Waterhole, and I did not like camping near it. On mentioning my doubts to Cook, he did not seem to be perturbed, and remarked philosophically, 'She will not hurt you.' The creek was not then washed out, as it is now, and it could be crossed easily anywhere. 

After starting next morning we kept along the left bank of the creek, over the big hill, until what is now called the junction was reached, where we again camped for the night. Next day we made for where the prospectors were working, at what is now called Golden Point, above which Jackson and Dungey met us, and cut a track for us through the heavy heath and undergrowth, which enabled us to reach the tent at the foot of the hill, close to the creek. Throughout the journey we followed the trees blazed by Athorn and Hider, but as trees had to be cut, and fallen timber removed to give the drays passage, our progress was necessarily very slow. 

The news of our arrival was soon bruited about, and a considerable rush set in, in which a good many early Ballanites took part."

The plaque alongside Golden Point Road displays the following text:

GOLD FIRST FOUND 
AT 
JACKSON'S GULLY, GOLDEN POINT
BY 2 TEAMSTERS
ON
SUNDAY 14TH NOVEMBER, 1854

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