The Castlemaine Diggings

The Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park  1

Mount Alexander gold rush settlements  3

Mount Alexander Diggings  5

The legacy today  5

Alluvial Gold  6

Shafts  7

Washing the Gold  8

Sluicing  9

Stream diversions  10

Cement mining  10

Puddling machines  11

Ground sluicing  12

Quartz Mining  12

Mining  13

Machinery  13

Evidence of quartz mining today  14

Roasting ore  14

Crushing ore  15

Continuing mining  16

Cyaniding  17

Pump sluicing and dredging  17

Jet elevator sluicing  18

What is there to see?  19

Getting about 19

Further information  20

Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum

Great Dividing Trail Association  24

Heritage Victoria  25

The Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park

The Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park is situated in a distinctive cultural region known as central Victoria, in the centre of the Victorian Goldfields region, 123 km north of Melbourne and 38 km south of Bendigo. It extends 50 km from Castlemaine in the north towards Daylesford in the south, and is up to 10 km wide. The Park is managed by Parks Victoria.


Map 2 CDNHP boundary 2002


Images Courtesy Heritage Victoria



The Park is associated with the historic gold settlements of Castlemaine, Chewton, Fryerstown, Vaughan , Campbells Creek and Guildford . The bulk of the park is located in Mount Alexander Shire.  It encompasses 7,440 ha and was proclaimed in 2002.


The Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park is an area of regenerating Box-Ironbark forest and is associated with the 1850s international gold rush known as Mount Alexander Rush.


The Park contains the sources of the gold – sandstone outcrops, quartz reefs, and shallow alluvial (stream) deposits - that made it one of the world’s richest shallow goldfields. The goldfield produced over five million ounces of gold, most of it during the gold rush period, and from the first few metres of soil and rock.



CDNHP report 168

poorly sorted fluvial gravel 26 May 2006_2012

Sandstone Outcrop


Quartz Reef


Alluvial (stream) Gravels



The Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park was assessed as being of significance to the State of Victoria and added to the Victorian Heritage Register in 2004 …. The Park envelops a goldfield which was the catalyst for the Victorian gold rush of the early 1850s. In that tumultuous decade Victorian gold transformed the demographic, social, political and economic complexion of Australia … Inextricably linked to the historic gold locations is an abundance of mining relics


In 2005, the Park became the 6th place to be added to the Australian National Heritage List   .…The Park is the most outstanding gold rush era site in Australia in terms of the diversity of types, integrity and time-depth of its collection of mining sites … Gold and the search for this precious metal, has played a major role in how our nation has developed. Its influence has left us with the enduring legacy of exploration, immigration, research, and industrial booms.



Image courtesy of Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum



Mount Alexander gold rush settlements

The two main settlements – Chewton and Castlemaine – were created by the Mount Alexander Rush and they adjoin the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. Chewton and Castlemaine are still linked a winding road that was established along Forest Creek in the first months of the Mount Alexander Gold Rush.


In its shape and its names, Chewton still wears the feel of a diggings settlement. Chewton’s streets are not shaped by pomp and bureaucracy, they wriggle and meander. You’ll find less squatters and gold officials honoured in the streets of Chewton - hardly any, in fact. Instead, some Chewton streets bear the names of the gold-bearing gullies and reefs that preceded them - you’ll find Adelaide and Eureka streets, Dinah and Manchester roads.


chewton road

Chewton Main Street


Castlemaine became the centre of government administration when a large colonial government military camp was established in late 1851. The formal grid of the town was laid out by the government surveyor in 1852 with reserves for the government buildings, churches, botanic gardens and a market square that were constructed over the following decade.


Castlemaine is a creative person's country town.  Wherever you go in Castlemaine you can see it.  Wherever you go, you can feel it. The Market Hall is the most striking building of the gold rush.  Beautifully restored, it has the symmetry and symbolism of a Grecian temple and looks as if it was scooped up from the shores of the Aegean Sea .


Castlemaine from the east 1

Castlemaine in 1857: Image courtesy of Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum


Mount Alexander Diggings

In 1851 in a tranquil wooded valley, in a far corner of the world, gold was found. Within a year, tens of thousands of people flocked to the Mount Alexander area. They came from all the distance reaches of the earth to the ‘bank till free to all’: the richest shallow alluvial gold diggings the world would see. Australia would never be the same again.


The name Mount Alexander in the early 1850s described all the gold-bearing country around present-day Castlemaine. The name was soon lost to all but the mountain itself as Castlemaine township became the centre of the goldfields.


The Diggings is another name for a goldfield. As one gold seeker observed it: Thousands upon thousands of tents extending through the gullies for about ten miles in every direction, lots of stores distinguished by flags, and slaughter houses which might be nosed a mile off, enough to breed a fever in the place – the ground full of immense holes, many of them 30 feet deep and the surface cut up by carts and midleg in dust … and the creek thronged with cradles and tin plans, and fellows washing … [for gold] … in every direction (Edward Snell)


Image courtesy of Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum

The legacy today

The historical data documents the immense scale of human occupation and activity … their efforts left a landscape that littered with depression and mounds.


To some the diggings had the appearance of a graveyard¾It was a sight! Mounds of earth lying beside holes presented the dismal appearance of a graveyard, men washing dirt in tubs, carrying its colour on their skin, hair, hats, trousers and boots, miserable-looking low tents their places of refuge. Where water was to be seen it was puddle. The whole scene to a new chum was one of unspeakable squalor, surpassing all that his eye had seen or his fancy woven. (James Robertson, in Records of Castlemaine Pioneers, p. 47, Forest Creek, late 1852).


11 Oven's Gully Alluvial Diggings 02 June 2006_4390
Shallow shafts dug by gold rush miners

Alluvial Gold

Alluvial gold is gold removed from its parent rock by erosion and incorporated into stream gravels. Alluvial mining is therefore the extraction of gold from silt, sand, clay, and gravel deposits. The first alluvial mining method employed in the Mount Alexander Rush was shallow digging. The historical data documents the immense scale of human occupation and activity and provides interpretations for the extant evidence, e.g., such as the following snippets:


The washdirt often had to be transported to water sources - besides the enormous mass of persons stationary at the cradles, there is a moving population, from the various holes to the cradles on the water side, equally numerous. Some carry the earth on hand-barrows, made of two long wooden handles and a sack sewed long wise, on which they carry it. Some use wheel-barrows; others a piece of bark as a sledge, on which they place a bag full of earth, and draw it along the ground. Some carry it in sacks on their back, while the tin dish washers, of which there are hundreds, carry it in their tin dishes on their heads. (Argus, 27/10/51)


Forest Creek from Adealide Hill
Image courtesy of Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum


Each digger was allowed a claim of 8ft x 8ft (later increased to 12ft x 12ft) in which he could dig a shaft and pile excavated earth and rocks.


Inexperienced miners dug holes that became progressively narrower, like funnels; shapes also varied - The shafts for the first few months of the rush were round, and it can be imagined that those sunk by professional men, Cockneys, etc., were not likely to meet with the approval of the experienced miner. When the Cornishmen arrived on the field in 1852, they started the oblong shafts, and very soon their example was generally followed. (McKillop)


The entrances of shafts was also shaped to keep out the rain - Very unpleasant working in rain or soon after, as every place round is clay, and the rope, bucket, pick and spade handles, your feet and hands, in fact all is clay. Majority of holes closed in by logs and clay, except a small hole in the centre which is generally covered with a sheet of bark. (Finlay, p. 22)


Haulage devices depended on the depth of the shaft - In a shallow shaft (less than about 16-18 ft) earth was pulled up by bucket and rope. Deeper than that, diggers used a pulley set between three sticks arranged in triangle, or a wooden windlass cut and turned in a couple of hours with an axe. (Fauchery)


alluvialwindlass sm
Sketch by Robert Kaufman: Digging a shaft


Washing the Gold

The tin dish was the basic tool of every gold digger - Many of the poorer classes of diggers at first commence operations with a common tin-dish, and after a few trials seldom fail to acquire a peculiar knack of so turning the wrist and hand, that every twist sends from the edge of the dish a portion of water, earth and sand, the whole of the heavier matter drawing towards the centre. (Earp, p. 124)


Gold diggers supplemented the tin dish with a tub for soaking (or puddling) a load of washdirt. Tubs for puddling could be half a beer or brandy barrel, or a hollowed out log - put contents of four or five buckets of washdirt in tub (half beer barrel or brandy cask)—then fill it to brim and turn earth over and over with a spade - first lot of water, reduced to mud, is thrown away and replaced three or four times until only stones and gravel remain in bottom of tub—separate further with huge strainer or sieve—then empty fine residue into large tin dish, then wash at pool or creek. (Fauchery).


The heavy-weight processing tool of the gold digger was the cradle - The man who works the cradle does so with his left hand, and, to save stooping, has a handle to it breast high, and in his right uses a short round stick like a porridge spurtle in stirring the contents of the sieve, and then in breaking the harder lumps. The ladler again uses for his purpose a sugar scoop or small tin fastened to a pole, which saves him wetting his feet. (Matthew Hervey, letter in Argus, 6/10/51)


Sketch by Robert Kaufman: Digging a shaft



Sluicing involved the use of running water to break down gold-bearing earth, and a sluice box was used to recover the gold. It involved washing alluvial material through a channel with riffles (a set of bars or slats) in its base for the capture of a heavy mineral released from its surrounding material.


Sluice mining had its drawbacks, particularly floods and droughts - The River Loddon at this season, in former years, was a formidable stream, often sweeping long-toms, sluices, and other mining apparatus before it; at present, however, portions of the river bed are being worked with perfect safety.  This state of things is serviceable to the river workers, but unless we have, during the later months of spring, a copious rainfall, the consequences will be alarming in the extreme [10, March 1866]



Sailors Gully sluice site DB

Sketch by Robert Kaufman: Using a sluice box


Surviving evidence of the operation of a sluice box


Stream diversions

An adjunct to this form of sluicing was the construction by miners of diversions was to gain drain to gullies, creek or river beds, and to provide a water supply to their sluice.  Often, diversions were made through channels dug alongside the gully, creek or river, and occasionally, where rivers ran in large loops around rocky spurs, tunnels and cuttings were used. Few historical accounts have been found dealing with diversions.


An early account deals with a mining tragedy - At Vaughan (or ‘The Junction, junction of Fryer’s Creek and the Loddon), late in 1852, three young Canadian brothers were smothered by the caving in of a cutting, intended as a drain from the last deep hole on Fryer’s Creek to the Loddon River. Their father, looking on, was the only one of the party to survive. The locality was thereafter known as Canadian Point. (G. Duncan, p. 4)



13 Sailor's Creek Diversion 02 June 2006_4497

Sketch by Robert Kaufman: examples of diverting stream through tunnel

Surviving evidence of stream diversion by a cutting


Cement mining

With all the easy ground taken up, latecomers to the rush commenced mining a new type of ore deposit, called cemented gravels. As a creek or river develops from a stream to maturity, the water cuts its way deeper through the earth’s sediments, leaving behind a ‘staircase’ of abandoned banks called high terraces. The constant cycle of erosion often leave the ancient gravels exposed as low hills alongside the major creeks.


Gold diggers found the ancient deposits rich in gold but quite different to mine than the creek flats and gullies - it is dreadful work to sink in some of the hills, which can be effected only by gads and hammers, and the driving of three inches is generally a good day's work for a couple of good able miners; whereas they could easily sink six feet per diem in the gullies.  [83: 8/3/1852: p.2].


Guildford gravel reserve 072
Example of shaft sunk through gravels

Guildford gravel reserve 003
Example of tunnel into gravels

Puddling machines

These horse-powered machines could process a couple of tons of earth and were introduced to enable the alluvial (or free gold) gold to be separated economically. A puddling mill consisted of an annular timber-lined trough with centre bearing and a revolving horizontal timber pole with a trailing harrow like implement to break the clayey gravels into a slurry and drawn around by a horse following a circular path. Water was provided via a race and the slurry was taken of via a tail-race.


Puddling machines - The ground has been turned over and over again, and now the whole of the alluvium found in the gullies is being put through the puddling machines, and excellent wages is the result.  There is no doubt but the present process will be continued until the whole of the known auriferous gullies will be entirely washed away in the shape of sludge, leaving nothing behind but the bare bed rock and sundry heaps of stones to show where the gold has been taken from. [December 1861:10]



Cobbler Gully puddling machine site DB

Sketch by Robert Kaufman: Puddling machine

Surviving evidence of a puddling machine

Ground sluicing

A ground sluice is a constructed or excavated channel through which flows controlled amounts of water. The sluice included an inlet (head race); sections which contained timber sluice boxes for collecting the gold by means of various configurations of riffles and mats to trap the heavier particles while allowing the waste to continue through; and a main drain (or tail race) to dispose of large volumes of soil downstream.


The water was delivered via a race to spurs above the selected mining areas and then directed downwards through the auriferous gravels, concentrating the gold (in the sluice boxes) and bearing off the lighter material down the tail race. Ground sluicing left behind high remnant faces and large pits with pebble heaps on bedrock through which run networks of channels connecting to the tail race.


sluice 2
Sketch by Robert Kaufman: ground sluicing

ground sluicing at nuggetty gully
Evidence of ground sluicing

Quartz Mining

Quartz mining dates back the discovery of the field -  The first gold discovery of Mt Alexander was made by John Worley and Christopher Thomas Peters at Specimen Gully on the 20th July, 1851 …  the first dish of stuff was … obtained from a little gully, and panned off in a small soup tin, the result being half-a-dozen pieces of gold about the size of "wheat corns" … The next attempt was in the hill side - about 100 yards from the first gold - into which they drove a tunnel and discovered a quartz leader, thickly impregnated with gold.  This necessitated the breaking up of the quartz, which they considered too much trouble, and soon left it. [39: p. 15]


In 1852, a small number of Mt Alexander diggers, not content with merely sinking into those 'six feet of the surface', first turned their attention to the gold to be found in quartz.  The aptly named Quartz Hill was the first reef to be tried, when¾6 to 8 inches of its eastern face was broken off, roasted, and crushed with hand-hammers, yielding, with these primitive appliances, from 60 to 72 oz. to the foot super... [10: Dec 1886]


Open stope Eureka 2
Sketch by Robert Kaufman:
Opening up a reef

open cut
Evidence today, reef removed leaving gaping hole


At first the miners open cut, working only the surface shows of quartz, but to work at any depth they had to sink shafts or drive tunnels. Most miners were able to profitably work their ground with hand or horse-powered machinery—haulage whims and whips—down to the water-level.


Open stope Eureka 1


  Sketch by Robert Kaufman:
operation of whim

Sketch by Robert Kaufman: mining a reef from the surface


Mining below the water level required steam-powered pumping and winding machinery, the cost of which usually led to the development of large company mining.


Sketch by Robert Kaufman: steam winding engine

Spring Gully Junction Company foundations
Surviving foundations for steam winding engine

Evidence of quartz mining today

The evidence of past quartz reefing is probably the most extensive and best preserved of all mining types.  Relics survive from all mining periods and types of operations and include such things as surface workings, mullock heaps, shafts, poppet heads, whip and whim foundations, machinery foundations, and abandoned plant, buildings, tracks and tramways, water dams and slum ponds..


Englishmens Reef heap

Spring Gully mullock last

1860s mullock heap


1930s mullock heap


Roasting ore

A necessary preliminary to early quartz crushing was the roasting of the rock in a kiln. Roasting ‘softened’ the quartz, making it brittle and easier to crush.  Quartz roasting kilns can be similar in shape and construction to lime kilns, but have been found in Victoria as free-standing masonry structures, and also excavated into bedrock on hill slopes. The roasting process leaves a characteristic reddish/brick coloured glaze on the interior of the kiln.


Pioneering quartz mining companies roasted the quartz ore in kilns as a prelude to grinding or crushing¾ At Old Post Office Hill is a machine in full play, and it may be regarded as a very fair specimen of such works as can be accomplished by the united exertions and money of five or six spirited diggers.  After being roasted in quantities of about thirty tons, laid alternately in layers of wood and burnt (sometimes for a week), until the crushing is rendered a much easier process [47: 30 Nov 1855, p.2]


Sketch by Robert Kaufman: quartz roasting kiln

Spring Gully Roasting kiln DB
Surviving example of quartz roasting kiln

Crushing ore

The quartz had to crushed to a fine sand to extract the gold – methods ranged from the primitive hand dolly to large, highly capitalised, crushing and treatment plants. Early crushing mills (Berdan pans and Chilian mills) and stamping batteries were in some cases driven by horses initially; more commonly, though, steam-engines or waterwheels powered them. Batteries with revolving stampers were to become almost universally used in Victoria and continued to be so until the 1950s. The engines and other appliances were often housed in galvanised iron or timber-clad sheds.


Chilian Mill

Blight & party battery
Sketch by Robert Kaufman: early quartz crushing battery, Cornish stamper

Cornish mining technology ─ Uphill flues or chimneys

Blight and party, who have united with Stewart and Robbins, have their mill now in fine working order, and have been doing good execution of late. In the clearing away old stacks of quartz, the richest having been previously crushed, the yield has been from two to nine ounces to the ton. The yield of their famous rich stack, we  never could get at, and our impression is, that it did not fulfill their expectation. The gold was in the seams or facings, where the stone broke, and consequently the glitter was all on the outside. That it yielded well, however, there is no doubt. This party’s mill is worthy of more than a passing notice. The engine is a horizontal lever of twelve horse-power, and with the draught obtained by a flue of eighty-eight feet (advantage being taken of the hill, to save expense in erecting a chimney), it works up to its full capacity. There are 8 stamps, which are rather light, but heavier ones are about to be ordered.


Eureka Consolidated Co Battery, 1870s-80s
Sketch by Robert Kaufman: Early battery site, uphill flu to chimney stack

Tubal Cain Cornish flue
Surviving example of uphill flue and chimney stack

Continuing mining

In 1870 a boom in quartz mining investment resulted in an unprecedented number of public mining companies in operation, and transformed the goldfield's flagging fortunes.  One of the reasons was the injection of capital from outside the district - Numbers of gentlemen experienced and interested in mining in other gold-fields have visited Castlemaine, and show their belief in its auriferous resources by investing their capital.


Another positive influence was the support for the strategy of deep sinking. By the end of 1873 four mines in the Castlemaine Division were at depths of more than 300 feet  - the Ajax at 400ft, the Sebastopol at 413ft, the Eureka at 360ft, and the Old Wattle Gully at 339ft. Deep sinking resulted in an influx of new machinery and soon the field boasted twenty-four steam engines at work driving pumping machinery to drain mines on seventeen reefs - The Eureka Consols have 40 men employed; they have fixed pump plunger, &c., in their engine-shaft, and are sinking it from 280 to 400 feet, driving cross-cuts to eastern and western reefs, sinking winze and works for ventilation; and from the main body, sometimes 14 feet thick, they have crushed about 1200 tons, averaging 3½ dwts to the ton. [10, Dec 1871]


0043 Spring Gully mine
Spring Gully Mine 1890s

H91 50-1743
Wattle Gully Mine 1950s


In the late 1890s a new ore processing technique commenced being used in Victoria. Although cyaniding was already well-established overseas, particularly in South Africa, its introduction to Victoria had been delayed by patent restrictions, which, along with an attendant heavy royalty, were abolished in February 1896, making the treatment of low-grade tailings in Australia feasible.


The cyanide process was not initially widely adopted in Victoria as assays of tailings in many cases found to contain too little gold to warrant the expense of cyanide treatment.  It was not until the Depression of the 1930s did the price of gold rise sufficiently to make the cyaniding a viable industry.


Sketch by Robert Kaufman: cyanide process

Eureka Reef cyanide
Surviving evidence of cyaniding

Pump sluicing and dredging

At the turn of the twentieth century new developments in hydraulic sluicing began to revive the fortunes of alluvial mining. 


Leading the way was the appearance of bucket dredges in 1898. The first dredge worked at along a section of Campbells Creek - Campbell's Creek Dredging Co.: 27,720 tons, for 414 oz gold [10, March 1899]


Ray Bradfield, a local historian, provided this description of one of the early dredges - The dredge was powered by a pair of compound steam engines, 16 hp.  Her boiler was 22 feet long, and 8 feet in diameter, her pumps operated a nozzle jet at 45 lbs per square inch pressure, and put through 7,000 gallons per minute.  Her buckets held four and a half cubic yards, and 11 of these were discharged in each minute, under ordinary conditions. ...Over the three years, 1907-8-9, she treated 223, 580 cubic yards of ground, covered 27¼ acres, of an average depth of 15.3 feet. In those three years, she produced 4,024.91 ounces of gold, and paid the shareholders about £1600 per year in dividends.


DREDGE Sketch by Robert Kaufman: dredge

Vaughan dredge

Jet elevator sluicing

Another innovation in this period was hydraulic sluicing or jet elevator sluicing. A.J. Cox, arriving from Beechworth around the turn of the century, is credited with introducing to the district the Jet Elevator system of hydraulic sluicing, with outstanding success.  The sluicing business quickly expended in the following years and in 1905 it was estimated that 18 dredging/sluicing plants were operating along Campbell 's, Forest and Barker creeks and its tributaries


sluicing cement
Hydraulic sluicing

Fryer's Creek Hydraulic Sluicing Pit
Example of sluice hole

What is there to see?

There are many relics and traces of gold-mining, ruins of gold-rush settlement throughout towns like Castlemaine and Chewton which still bear, in the buildings and streetscapes, the heritage and magic of their golden past.


The surrounding Box-Ironbark forest has its own secrets. Its natural attributes—bush life, topography and geology— coexist with historic gold rush mining relics and evidence of Aboriginal occupation to form an extraordinary, layered landscape.


Hargraves Street

Nuggetty Gully hut site DB

Castlemaine Streetscape


Fireplace marking site of gold rush camp

Getting about

Finding your way – There is a Visitor Information Centre at Castlemaine that can help you with information about the trail, tour guides, accommodation, special facilities, maps and any other queries.

Getting a bed - You won’t have to sleep under a wagon any more. You can put your feet up in a luxury bed and breakfast establishment, drop into a convenient motel (from the luxurious to quite comfortable) or, if you decide on a cabin or camp in one of the caravan parks, you are still way ahead of 1850s accommodation.

Getting fed - It is easy to find excellent coffee shops, cafés and restaurants throughout the region—try a different one every day. There are also many great places to enjoy a picnic lunch.

Tracks and trails - Some roads are unsealed, and may sometimes be a bit dusty, muddy or bumpy. If you are not accustomed to unsealed roads, remember to drive slowly, particularly on corners. The walking tracks are OK for a person of average fitness, but you will need a strong pair of walking shoes for all but the shortest of strolls. Smooth rides, suitable for wheel chairs are indicated at the top of site pages.

Out in the weather - It can be cold and wet at times in autumn, winter and spring, so rug up and bring something waterproof. In the warmer months it can get quite hot. Wear a sun hat, use sun block and carry


Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park is inspirational as a forest that has remade itself around the relics that the gold-diggers left behind. The park and its associated gold towns are also genealogical 'hot spots' for Australians and overseas visitors. As Robyn Annear writes in her preface to Nothing But Gold¾ ‘There are perhaps hundreds of thousands of Australians like me, with ancestors who were part of the rush to the goldfields of Victoria in the early 1850s. Those first few years changed the pattern of Australian history; but more importantly, they changed individual lives. For better or worse, gold-diggers swerved from their plotted course, leaving a jagged line of upheaval in the stratigraphy of many a family’s history.’


lottery 1compressed
Image: Courtesy of Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum

Further information

Castlemaine Visitor Information Centre

          Located in the historic Market Building, Mostyn St, Castlemaine

Market Building 2


The Visitor Information Centre is open every day (except Christmas Day) and provides visitors with many forms of information about the Diggings, including video clips, books, maps and photographs.  They also provide an Accommodation Booking Service (1800 171 888), bicycle hire and portable MP3 players with guided audio tours of the town and the Diggings Sites.


· – podcast tours: Diggings Tour, Castlemaine Town Tour and Eureka Reef Walk and short films

· – The Goldfields Track is a journey through time. Central Victoria ’s gold rush history was forged in its historic towns and goldfields, and the dramatic changing landscape of forests and open country. Shared by bushwalkers and mountain bike riders, the Goldfields Track cuts a 210km pathway through the heart of Victoria ’s historic goldfields.

· – Great Dividing Trail Association

·         Heritage Victoria – iPhone/iPad App is available from the Apple iTunes Store giving the location and descriptions of all places listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, including the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park and individually listed places within the park


Mount Alexander Pod Tours - downloadable from Mount Alexander Shire Council’s tourism website at



Narrator – Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky and interviews with Robyn Annear and Dennis O’Hoy.

Three linked heritage tours through the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park

• THE RUSH – you will hear about the gold rush proper, and visit the places where it all happened.

• THE CHARACTERS – here you’ll travel to the ghost towns beyond the main rush and meet the people who were there, the men and women, the civilized and otherwise.

• NEW GOLD MOUNTAIN – you will be introduced to the stories of the indigenous Jarra people, where geology meets the Dreamtime, and also bring you the wonderful tale of the Chinese who came to this place they called New Gold Mountain.



Narrator – Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky and interviews with Jaara Elder Brien Nelson.

Today the Eureka Reef is a quiet place. The only sounds, apart from the comings and goings of us people, are the calls of birds and the wind in the trees. But in 1857 it was

a busy and noisy gold mining centre, filled with the noise of the thumping of batteries crushing quartz rock and trolleys trundling along railway lines, of horses pulling carts and people digging, building dams and stone walls and huts, and the cries of children and dogs. What these people left behind are like pieces of Braille, scattered across the land, and it’s from these fragments that we are going to imagine and tell the story of this place, the Eureka Reef, and of the people who were here.



Narrator – Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky and interviews with Felix Cappy, Robyn Annear, Brian McCormick, Ben Laycock and Ken Parker.

Castlemaine is the creative person’s country town, rich in the cultural heritage of the Victorian Gold Rush. Wherever you go in Castlemaine you can see it. Wherever you go, you can feel it – in the art galleries, the Botanical Gardens, the Market Square or just walking in the streets. Relive the colourful history as told by local identities.


Mount Alexander Short Films -  downloadable from Mount Alexander Shire Council’s tourism website at



Narrators – Gerry Gill and Felix Cappy

Victoria ’s golden centre is an ancient landscape, dotted with forests, grasslands and volcanic mountains. It bears the legacy of waves of people. Beginning with the land’s first people, the aboriginals – Jaara or dja dja wurrung speaking people – who touched lightly; now the region bears the scars and magnificent embellishments resulting from one of the world’s earliest and greatest 19th century gold rushes.



Narrators – Jaara Elder Brien Nelson and Gerry Gill

Prior to the gold rush, there were many Aboriginal clans in central Victoria all speaking the dja dja wurrung language. This film will help people see that on this transformed country, before the times when the world came looking for gold, walked men, women and children who carried with them everything they needed for survival tools, ceremonial implements and possum skin cloaks.



Narrator – David Bannear

The film illustrates the history of the gold rush through its surviving evidence preserved in the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park . This park is a cultural landscape comprising an area of Box-Ironbark forest containing archaeological and landscape features associated with the Mount Alexander Gold Rush.



Narrator – Elissa O’Connor

This film presents a range of community based events that take place in and around Bendigo , Castlemaine and Maldon. This small triangle of Central Victoria boasts many of Australia ’s oldest community events and possesses one of the busiest event calendars you will hope to find. This richness stems from an inspiring environment and its strong and creative communities, whose roots are deeply intertwined in Victoria ’s gold rush past.



Narrator – Jodie J. Hill

This film showcases the region’s concentration of artistic talent. Bendigo , Castlemaine and Maldon are bursting with artistic activity; you will find it everywhere, in galleries, theatres, on the streets, in café’s, at markets and even adorning the locals themselves. It’s the quality of life, the quality of the air, the light, and the connection with the land and history of the place that makes it so attractive.



Narrator – Lynda Bullen

Maldon’s folk festival has been going over 30 years. It still remains true to its founding principles of supporting Maldon’s tourism focus as Australia ’s first notable heritage town, being affordable to families and showcasing traditional Australian and multicultural music and dance. It takes place in Maldon’s famous historic main street, many of the town’s heritage buildings and also in the bush at nearby Mount Tarrangower .

Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum

Founded in 1913, the Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum has acquired an excellent collection of Australian art works and of historical items from the district’s past.

The 1931 art deco building is noted for its elegant design and is Heritage listed. The building has been extended a number of times. The Gallery and Museum is fully accredited by Museums Australia.


The Museum

Drawing on the Historical Museum ’s collection, the thematic exhibition Camp to City: Castlemaine and Mount Alexander District presents a rich and colourful history. Themes include: indigenous Australians; the goldrush and mining; Chinese on the goldfields; the regions’ development; surrounding towns; prominent early citizens; 20th century Castlemaine and much more.


The Gallery

The Gallery has always specialised in Australian art.  Its particular strength is in major works of the late 1800s, the Golden Period of Australian painting, and the Edwardian era. Traditional landscape painting is a feature of the collection. More contemporary artists are also well represented.

Great Dividing Trail Association

The Great Dividing Trail, a community-planned long distance trail that allows recreational walkers and tourists the time to savour central Victoria's unique combination of gold rush heritage and its natural beauty. All major entry points are accessible by public transport as well as by road from smaller centres, with the possibility of overnight Accommodation and camping.


Created by a community-owned organisation, the Great Dividing Trail Association (GDTA), the Trail links the old gold rush towns at the heart of Victoria, as well as the forests, hills and lakes, straddling the Australian Great Dividing Range. The main, north-south 'spine' of the GDT (connecting the Goldfields towns of Buninyong, Ballarat, Creswick, Daylesford, Castlemaine & Bendigo) is now promoted as the Goldfields Track and has been adapted to allow use by mountain bikes


The Great Dividing Trail (GDT) Network currently includes:

·         Goldfields Track containing three sections - Dry Diggings, Wallaby (incorporating former Federation Track) and Leanganook Tracks).

·         Lerderderg Track


The GDTA sells maps for the Lerderderg Track and the three tracks that comprise the Goldfields Track via its website,, using PayPal.

Information Victoria also sells the maps (80 Collins St Melb,1300 366 356) as do several regional visitor information centres.

·         Ballarat: 1800 446 663

·         Bendigo : 1800 813 153

·         Castlemaine: 1800 171 888

·         Creswick: 03 5345 1114

·         Daylesford: 03 5321 6123


You can walk or ride the Goldfields Track


Bikers GT rocky downhill HR

0056 GDT Mount Alexander

Heritage Victoria

Heritage Victoria now has a free App for iPhone/iPad that helps you explore the architectural and historical gems of Melbourne and regional Victoria, providing access to the Victorian Heritage database while on-the-go. It features audio walking tours, allows users to create their own tours, and to add their own stories and images to the official records of heritage places. The App is the perfect companion for visitors or locals with an interest in architecture and design, history and heritage


The whole of the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park is one of the places featured on Vic-Heritage app along with around twenty individually listed places locate in the park. The red highlighted places form part of the Diggings Trail


Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park H2407


Individually listed places within the park

Castlemaine Public Cemetery ( Campbell ’s Creek) H1776

Cemetery Reef Gully Cemetery H1412

Cobblers Gully Road Puddling Site H1249

Cobblers Gully Quartz Roasting Kiln H1277 

Deadmans Gully Burial Ground H1750

Deadmans Gully Cemetery H1410

Eureka Reef Gold Mining Precinct H1233

Forest Creek Tourist Gold Mine H1322

Garfield Waterwheel Quartz Mining Site H1356

Herons Reef Historic Gold Diggings H1323

Pennyweight Flat Cemetery H1675

Red Hill Hydraulic Gold Sluicing Site H1230

Duke of Cornwall Engine House H0385 (private property, no access)

Sailors Gully Gold Mining Precinct H1239

Specimen Gully Gold Memorial H1242

Specimen Gully Quartz Mining Association Gold Mine H1235

Spring Gully Quartz Mines H1234

Spring Gully Gold Puddling Site H1245

Vaughan Chinese Cemetery H1408

Wattle Gully Gold Mine H1879