Blackwood Victoria

Blackwood Victoria

Gold was unearthed as early as 1851 at Blackwood. It was not, however, until June
1855 that news of discoveries by Edward Hill as a spot called Red Hill saw a large
gold rush set in along the course of the Lerderderg River and its tributaries.. When
the Blackwood Rush peaked in September 1855 1there were some 13,000 diggers on
the field. By this time, most of the locations which were to become famous for their
alluvial gold had been opened: such as Golden Point, Nuggetty Gully, Long Gully,
Yankee Gully, Frenchman’s Gully and Dead Horse Gully. The last named gully was
noted for the recovery of the district's largest nugget, 29lbs in weight. During the
Blackwood Rush, two main mining villages were established: at Red Hill and Golden
Point, the latter was surveyed and laid out as Blackwood. By the end of 1856 the
bulk of the mining population that had gathered on the Blackwood field had left for
the Fiery Creek Diggings. For those that stayed on, less than one tenth of the original
population, things were never to be easy. Little new alluvial ground, except got Blue
Mountain Diggings in 1862, was to be discovered. Alluvial mining was almost
exclusively focussed on the bed of the Lerderderg River, which was sluiced time
and time again using sluice boxes, pumps and water wheels. At first the sluicing
was carried out by a mixture of Chinese and European miners: eg. in February 1860
there were 460 Europeans and 230 Chinese.2 By the 1870s, alluvial mining was
increasingly monopolised by the Chinese. European miners appeared unable, or
unwilling, to compete against the organisation and perseverance of the Chinese, and
thus were few in numbers in comparison, and were usually referred to as lonely
fossickers or hatters. Puddling, common on some Victorian goldfields, was a rare
practice in the Blackwood district: in October 1859 there were only two- horsedriven
puddlers in operation 3, and their numbers never exceeded five.

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Historic Gold Maps of Victoria And New South Wales


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