10 Top Victorian Goldfields Heritage Sites
Victoria’s Gold Rush Heritage
The Victorian gold rush created enormous wealth and shaped the future of the state. Here are 10 Golden Field heritage sites that played an important role during this boom period.
Maldon was a 19th century colonial time box. It was declared Australia’s first “remarkable city” by the National Trust in 1966 and was named “Victoria’s Most Impressive Historic Street Scene” in 2006.
The first Europeans to visit the district were members of Major Thomas Mitchell’s expedition in 1836. Mitchell was followed by biscuits who arrived in the area in 1840 and later founded two shepherds.
In 1853, when a gold rush swept over the colony, German explorer John Mechosk found gold in one of these properties, Cairn Curran, at the foot of Tarrengower Mountain. The resulting gold field was named “Tarrengower Fields” and 3,000 diggers arrived during the month. The post office was opened in March 1854 and in 1856, with an estimated population of between eighteen and twenty thousand, the settlement was explored and Maldon was named after the village of the same name in Essex, England. In the decades from 1861 to 1871, Maldon was the eighth largest city in Victoria with more than 3,000 inhabitants and twice supported the number of miners in the surrounding area.
Like most of Victorian’s golden fields, Maldon’s alluvium sank shortly after the first rush, and miners were forced to dig deep shafts in search of a rich quartz cliff. Maldon proved to be one of the richest quartz areas in all of Victoria with more than seventy cliffs providing good deposits.
With the transition to deep lead mining, many diggers moved, and by 1891 the population of Maldon had dropped to 1,600. Mining continued in various forms throughout the district for many years, with the last mine, North British, closed in 1926. Today, the city has a permanent population of around 1,000 and its survival is heavily dependent on tourism. Most companies are working hard to maintain their colonial look and give the city a truly ancient touch, ensuring that Maldon remains recognized as the best-preserved gold rush city in Victoria.
Getting there… ..
Maldon is 145 kilometers northwest of Melbourne, just over 90 minutes by motorway on the Calder / M79 at Fogartys Gap Road, Ravenswood South and then straight to Maldon.
At the end of 1852, a group of diggers went to the Korong Tombs to camp in Sandy Creek, very close to today’s Tarnagull Golf Course. For some unknown reason, one or more of them decided to dive into a hole in the river and found many gold deposits. Over the weeks, an estimated 5,000 diggers sought space along the 3-mile stretch of waterway, and Sandy Creek’s “rush” continued.
Successful diggers keep the details of their attacks to themselves, so the total amount of gold mined from these farms is not really appreciated, but there are stories of individuals who have experienced remarkable blacks.
In 1853 at Nuggetty Gully, south of Tarnagully, two miners obtained 39 kilograms of gold in a fortnight, including a 5.5 kilogram nugget found on a surface lying on the wheel of a chariot. The discovery was made by one of the gravediggers, a black American named Ruby, who was later hanged for murder. The bullet that Ruby and her partner found in the nugget later turned into another one weighing 14.5, 6.8, 3.6 and 3.1 kilos, as well as countless small finds.
Like all Victorian gold fields, alluvial or surface gold exploded rapidly, and the miners turned their attention to the underground quartz cliffs, which were only slightly richer than the Tarnagulla Poverty Cliff.
In 1853, Poverty Reef was named after one of its shareholders, David Hatt, of Poverty Bay on the North Island of New Zealand. Hatt was the captain of the ship that sailed into Poverty Bay when it broke through the rocks and sank. He and some of his crew were rescued by a Maori group, including a young woman who eventually married Hatt and was taken to Victorian golden fields.
The Poverty Reef is recognized as the richest lead in reef gold ever found, and in 13 months will return 13.5 tonnes from an area that is only three feet wide and 120 feet deep.
Getting there… ..
Tarnagulla is located 182 kilometers northwest of Melbourne, about a 2-hour drive across the Calder Freeway and Bendigo-Maryborough Road.
Near Castlemaine, on the Guildford-Chewton Road, is Fryerstown and its satellite settlement in Irish Town. Today, Fryerstown consists of only a few private houses, some of which have been restored with former shops and churches from its time. There are 37 mines, which with three schools, five breweries and more than twenty hotels support a thousand inhabitants.
Fryerstown was the site of the first major foreign investment in the Victorian gold rush. The Australian United Gold Mining Company was formed with British capital and began construction on the Duke of Cornwall mine. The Cornish machine house was built using local stone, granite and brick. An 80 HP press battery with a large 18.5-meter flywheel was installed and generated an incredible 7,200 beats per minute. With mills, kilns and various buildings, the Duke of Cornwall represents a huge investment.
However, gold yields were extremely low and the company found itself in severe financial difficulties within six months of launch.
The mine was sold in 1875 and finally rebuilt in 1889. Come….
Fryerstown is 126 kilometers northwest of Melbourne, about a 90-minute drive along the Calder / M79 to Elphinstone and then along the Iberian Highway / B180.
The small residence in Vaughan, formerly known as The Junction, has been the center of many excavations with names such as ‘Grogshop Gully’, ‘Chokem Flat’ and ‘Murder Flat’, probably showing constant violence.
Vaughan is a particularly lucrative field for Chinese excavators, who have developed extremely effective dredging and locking skills, benefiting from washing every last piece of gold. Renowned Australian author Ion Idriess has written several search books, noting that “no one has found gold after the Chinese who worked in the creek.”
Vaughan Springs Reserve has mineral springs and a Chinese cemetery nearby.
Getting there… ..
Vaughan is located 120 kilometers northwest of Melbourne, about a 90-minute drive along the Calder / M79 motorway to Kyneton, Malmsbury and Vaughan.
Gold was discovered in Creswick in 1852 and by 1855 the population had grown to a staggering 30,000. At the beginning of the Victorian gold rush, the diggers quickly counted all the alluvial gold in one of the richest alluvial gold fields ever found in the world. This shifted the focus to deep lead in the early 1970s and the intensive and very expensive deep lead mining processes required to extract gold. Creswick excelled in this high-tech method of obtaining gold.
Creswick deep mining peaked around 1880, and it is estimated that 37 large mines in the district have produced 1,697,500 ounces of gold, equivalent to about 550 metric tons. But with success and great wealth, Creswick also experienced a great tragedy. On Tuesday, December 12, 1882, at 5:30 a.m., a catastrophe struck the city. With hundreds of miners working deep underground, millions of gallons of water spilled onto the surface of the adit coming from New Australian Mines No. 2 shaft.
Some of the diggers showed great courage and rushed back to danger to warn their species, 29 of whom were in serious danger and struggling with the rapid rise of the water. Two swam to safety, but 27 others were forced to seek refuge in the upper room of the mine, where they had to hold on to the ceiling trees and barely kept their heads above water. Above all, all available pumps were used, which took thousands of liters of water from the mine every minute, but it took another two days for humanitarian workers to reach the detainees. There were 22 dead at the time.
The next day, 15,000 women gathered for their mass funeral. The people of Creswick built a memorial to the dead in 1909. It can be found in Creswick Cemetery, where all but 3 of 22 are buried. Getting there… ..
Getting there… ..
Creswick is 120 miles west of Melbourne, about a 90-minute drive across the Western Freeway and Bungaree-Wallace Road.
The vast wealth discovered in the gold deposits around Bendig is clearly documented today in this perhaps the most unique, well-maintained 19th-century city in the country.
Bendig’s wealth was born out of the largest and best of all Victorian gold strikes covering an area of more than 300 square miles, supplying more than thirty richer quartz cliffs and twenty million. return an ounce of gold. It is a city with many architectural variations, from lovingly renovated mining houses to rich mansions, large public buildings and cathedrals that you can expect in major European cities.
Like many strikes in Victoria, the relatively quick search for alluvial gold quickly disappeared and attention returned to the deep quartz cliffs.
Reef mining, deep lead mining, as it is known, requires a lot of money, more specialized equipment and knowledge, and little business skills.
Bendig’s heyday created legends such as George Lansell’s “Quartz King,” who owned seven lucrative mines, making him one of the richest miners in Victorian goldfields. Not bad for an Pommie immigrant who came to Bendig to open a butcher shop!
In 1872, Bendig’s gold production was estimated to exceed 400,000 ounces (11,340 kilograms), but the actual number was higher and unlikely. Unknown luck returned to China, the diggers were paid for with gold nuggets, the nuggets were thrown at Grandma Montez’s feet as she performed at the Shamrock Hotel, and the local staff made a small fortune collecting small nuggets and gold dust from the diggers. shoes as they vacuum the bar.
Bendigo is one of the most famous tourist areas in Victoria, whose history and heritage are carried by the biggest gold rush in the world.
Getting there… ..
Bendigo is 153 kilometers northwest of Melbourne, less than 2 hours’ drive from the Calder / M79 motorway.
Located 115 miles northwest of Melbourne on the Midlands Highway, Daylesford is rich in history with golden fields. Shepherds are known to be active on Jim Crow or Wombat Flat, as was already known in 1838, but this area was rediscovered in 1851, when alluvial gold deposits were found in the area of today’s lake. Daylesford. In 1854 the town was explored and named Wombat, but in 1855 Victorian Governor Charles Hotham replaced Daylesford with the town of the same name as Worcester in England.
Diggers from all over the world came to Daylesford, including a large number of Swiss-speaking Italians and, of course, the inevitable Chinese.
Although Daylesford’s early “rush” returned with relatively weak yields, shallow alluvial mining continued until the late 1950s, supporting several thousand miners throughout the district. The city developed according to the post office established in 1858 and the Telegraph Office opened in 1859. Rail transport from Melbourne began on March 17, 1880 with the opening of a branch from Carlsruhe on the Melbourne-Bendigo line.
Unlike many small gold settlements, Daylesford did not die when easily accessible alluvial gold rose. Instead, many miners moved underground and hunted quartz cliffs with large amounts of gold, some working in local industries, especially sawmills, which grew to support the mines.
Daylesford was at its peak in the 1960s, a heyday characterized by the many beautiful buildings built at the time, including the post office, many hotels, some famous churches, the residences of the golden commissioners, police barracks, courthouses and lockers. The whole area was hit by difficult times in the 70s and 80s of the 19th century, but the further expansion of mining in the early 20th century led to another period of prosperity, which lasted until the beginning of the First World War.
Quartz cliff mining continued in Daylesford until the early 1930s.
One of the main attractions in Daylesford today is the beautiful Lake Daylesford.
The idea of building a lake in Daylesford has been considered several times since the late 1990s, with the original intention of providing the city with hydropower, but 30 years have passed since construction began. It is located right on the outskirts of the city, on the site of the original gold mine from 1851. When the diggers moved, the Chinese moved to create extensive market gardens and build the Joss House to take them out when excavation of the lake began in 1929.
Today, at the heart of the tourist area, Daylesford is known for its natural mineral resources and has a well-deserved reputation as a center for alternative life, which is reflected in the number of tarot readers, psyche, massage therapists and exponents. all kinds of rejuvenation processes. in the city.
Getting there… ..
Daylesford is 113 miles northwest of Melbourne, about a 90-minute drive from National Highway M8 and C141.
Alternatively take the sightseeing route via the Calder Freeway / M79 to Woodend, then the C317 to Tylden, Trentham and Daylesford – same distance and journey time as option 1 above. Ballarat
Ballarat, a heyday, the breeding ground of the 1854 Eureka Rebellion, born in the Victorian gold rush, was recognized as the birthplace of Australian democracy and became the region’s main center and the third largest city in the state.
The discovery of gold in nearby Buninyong in August 1851 brought thousands of diggers to the region. Ballarat was known as the ‘Golden City’ and in 1858 its population grew to less than 60,000.
In 1854, the uprising led to the Eureka uprising, an armed uprising in Ballarat that killed 22 diggers. As most miners in Victoria moved their gold deposits as debris began to dry up, many moved to excavations on Mount Alexander or west to Ararat.
By 1859, many successful diggers had invested in deep lead mining, which drove many quartz seams underground. Thanks to the high gold yield from your trades, Ballarat continued to flourish until the end of the 19th century.
Today, Ballarat is high on Victoria’s list of top tourist destinations thanks to its heritage of golden fields and the highly successful Sovereign Hill theme park.
In the heart of the city, the area around Lydiard Street is home to some of the most unique buildings of the Victorian era, many of which are listed as National Heritage or National Trust. The city has the largest number of public images of any city in Australia, with its parks and gardens showing examples from the 1960s to the present.
On the shores of Lake Wendouree is the Ballarat Botanic Gardens, which were recognized around 1858 as the best example of regional botanical gardens in Australia.
Getting there… ..
Ballarat is 114 kilometers west of Melbourne, less than a 90-minute drive along the Western Highway.
Once the site of the richest alluvial gold in the world, Castlemaine was home to 25,000 diggers in 1851 and delivered an average of 7,000 ounces (less than 200 kilograms) of gold to Melbourne each week under strict supervision. golden accompaniment.
It was all the result of a shepherd who found gold in Barkers Creek in July 1851. Christopher Peters’ staff mocked him for collecting gold from fools, and he threw it away. But in August, Peters and other workers on Mount Alexander began work and fished for gold in what they called Specimen Gully. One of the parties revealed reports of its findings, and within a month there were 8,000 prospectors, and by the end of the year they had reached an estimated 25,000 in the so-called Mount Alexander and Forest Creek graves. When gold ran out in the late 19th century, Castlemaine returned to other industries, including beer, the iron foundry, and the wool factory.
Heritage, art and nature tourism have been strongly promoted since the 1970s, and today Castlemaine is a major player in Victoria’s tourist center.
The county’s administrative center on Mount Alexander Castlemaine has many listed buildings; in fact, the entire east side of Barker Street, between Templeton and Lyttleton Streets, is classified by the National Trust.
The Art Deco Castlemaine Art Museum around 1931 has a collection of Australian artwork as well as historical objects from past districts.
Castlemaine is also home to the Theater Royal, the oldest continuously operating theater on the Australian mainland. Getting there… ..
Castlemaine is 120 kilometers northwest of Melbourne, less than 90 minutes’ drive from the Calder / M79 to Elphinstone and then the B180.
Guildford is located on Midland Highway, 126 miles northwest of Melbourne between Daylesford and Castlemaine.
Major Thomas Mitchell was the first European to cross the road in 1836, and herders moved to the area in the 1840s.
Guildford was founded after 1852 and ran from drift gold along the River Loddon. Again, when the alluvium was dumped, limited deep lead mining was carried out with reasonable results, but by the middle of 1870 it was also no longer viable. Guildford is perhaps the most famous site of the largest concentration of Chinese miners in Victorian goldfields, estimated at about 6,000 in the 1960s.
The main camp was a tent town at the intersection of the Loddon River and Campbells Creek. The Chinese built Joss houses, tea houses, liquor stores, theaters, gambling and opium caves.
Today, Guildford planted an attractive plane tree trail in 1919 in honor of the locals who fought in World War I. It is also home to ‘The Big Tree’, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, located at the intersection of Fryers and Ballarat streets. With a height of 25.9 meters and a base circumference of 12.8 meters, this unique, very healthy river red gum is probably the largest of the Victorian species. There’s a plaque indicating that Burke and Wills were camping under a tree on their unfortunate expedition to Carpentaria Bay.
Getting there… ..
Guildford is located 126 kilometers northwest of Melbourne, just over 90 minutes by car on the Calder Freeway / M79 to Kyneton and Malmsbury and then on the C316.
Gold rush memorabilia can be found throughout the region’s Victorian golden fields, abandoned mines and tunnels, buildings, floodplains, quartz kilns and mullock mounds in the mountains. If we simply take pictures and leave only traces, we can preserve our precious golden heritage for future generations.