Archive for the ‘Historic sites’ Category

Newstead Cemetery
March 31, 2020

I recently visited Newstead cemetery after driving by from time to time over the past 7 years.

One of the advantages of country living is I can go places where social distancing is not a problem during the current pandemic.

The photographs were taken over two days.

All is quiet in the country cemetery which overlooks farmland and across to the Guildford Plateau.

The Catholics had an area across a creek and a privately owned paddock. Whilst I am used to seeing cemeteries where there are designated areas for the different denominations, I had never seen this degree of segregation before. The cemetery plan also showed separate areas for suicides and Chinese.


This headstone is a sobering reminder of how common child deaths were on the goldfields in the 1800s.

This ornate, broken headstone relates the history of the Barkla family.

Rosemary for remembrance.

Castlemaine cemetery has roses, Newstead has oleanders.

A back gate leads up a hill ……..

………..where sheep graze.

Quartz Kiln, North British Mine, Maldon
August 24, 2018

The North British Mine in Maldon was opened in 1858 by Robert Dent Oswald who became extremely wealthy on the proceeds of the gold extracted from the quartz of Parkins Reef. By 1887, the North British Mine was being described as one of the richest mines in the world. The mine produced 242,000 ounces of gold before closing in 1926. It was the largest, most profitable and longest operating mine in Maldon.

Quartz kilns were built in the 1860s. The kilns were used to roast quartz to burn off impurities and to make the quartz more brittle so it was easier to crush to extract any gold.

The remnants of the mine are now Heritage listed and protected by fencing.

I used charcoal to make the drawing of one of the kilns yesterday (Thursday) on a perfect, early spring day.

Gold mining was a gamble. Across the road is Carmen’s Tunnel where guided tours are conducted by volunteers. The company which drove the tunnel into the side of a hill, failed because so little gold was found in the quartz reef there.


Stone Cottage, Specimen Gully, Barkers Creek
February 22, 2018

This is my interpretation of the stone cottage near the place in Specimen Gully where gold was first discovered in the Mount Alexander district.

I found making this charcoal drawing quite challenging as the cottage wouldn’t fit on the A4 page. I also found depicting the texture of the stonewalls difficult.

I found my eye kept being drawn to the trees which surrounded the cottage so I paid a bit of attention to them.




Specimen Gully, Barkers Creek
February 16, 2018

The discovery of gold in 1851 resulted in the gold rush to the Mount Alexander gold fields.

This cairn was erected near the site of the discovery of gold by three shepherds and a bullock driver. Specimen Gully was on land owned by Dr. William Barker who ran sheep on a large property since the early 1840s.

On the site is an old, crumbling cottage which was once the home of the John Worley mentioned on the plaque.

Bella Donna lilies dot the goldfields where there were once gardens. There are a number of these hardy survivors around the cottage. As you can see, neither rich garden soil nor regular watering are required for showy blooms.

The cottage and the cairn were built of locally mined slate. The cottage was extended at least once.

These ‘looking through’ shots are for you, Enivea.

Guildford Cemetery
August 21, 2016


The purpose of my visit to the Guildford cemetery on a gorgeous August day last Tuesday was to photograph some of the graves belonging to Swiss Italian families. I had been to the cemetery with Katie a couple of times before. Katie waited expectantly at the gate – this place means rabbit hunting!

Swiss Italian families settled the region around Daylesford, Yandoit and Guildford in the 1800s. They farmed the land, built houses and outbuildings from the local stone and each family had their own recipe for making bull boars – a dense meaty, herby, garlicy sausage.



Some of the graves are tucked away in the far corner of the cemetery.


This family was dogged by tragedy.



DSCN5010This woman was kept busy raising three families in her lifetime.






A number of graves bear the name Delmenico……..




and Passalaqua.


The Barassi family produced one of Guildford’s most famous identities.


I moved on to other graves. This new grave pays homage to the role of Australian Rules Football in this person’s life. Josie Connell was a Western Bulldogs supporter.


The violets growing on this grave scented the warm air.


This headstone brought back memories of my Aunt Anne. Guildford Gus was one of her favourite hosts on local community radio.







At the main intersection in Guildford, Ron Barassi, Australian Rules Football legend, gazes across to……..


…………Guildford’s only remaining hotel.


The Eureka Reef
August 19, 2015



The Eureka Reef site is near Chewton. The site forms part of the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park. Here a range of quartz and alluvial gold mines operated from the mid 1850s to the 1950s.




 There are deep vertical shafts. A concrete slab covers the shaft in the car park. Visitors can gaze into the inky blackness through an observation hole.




 Gold bearing quartz was ripped from the hill leaving a deep chasm.




If you want a closer look, check out this video on You Tube:


There are hand dug water races. Water races were used in sluicing operations to wash through layers of gravel to extract gold.




 There are bits of buildings here and bits of buildings there.










Cyanide tanks were used to extract gold from tailings in the 1930s.




Instead of a vertical chimney, miners built a Cornish chimney which follows the slope of a hill.  A fire heated water which created steam which drove the batteries which crushed the quartz to extract the gold……..the noise must have been horrendous!


Nothing in here!


 The chimney is beautifully and expertly made.



The top of the chimney is at the top of the slope.


The Manchester Reef, Chewton
July 26, 2015


Most weeks, Katie and I spend time walking in the local bushland.

After I have shopped at the Wesley Hill market on Saturday mornings, we often go for a walk in the bushland around nearby Chewton.

During the latter half of the 1850s, what is now quiet bushland, was a mining and industrial landscape dotted with temporary settlements. It is common to see evidence of the activity of those times on our walks.

Some of the more well known historical sites such as the Manchester Reef have a sign but others are unmarked.


This chimney and fireplace are the remains of a more substantial building. It sits on a raised platform and faces the remnants of a street.



We walked down a track, crossed a gully and further on up a hill, began seeing the familiar waste heaps of a mine.



The Manchester Reef site has a horizontal shaft…….



‘No Katie, we are not going in that big, scary hole.’



…. and a open cut mine where the top of the ridge was unzipped and the reef material scooped out.





Katie has managed not to fall over any cliffs or get lost in any mines.

On Monday, 27th of June 1898, ‘The Argus’ newspaper reported on ‘The Gunpowder Outrage at Chewton’. The ‘Argus’ reported the attempt to injure the Chinese, Ah Lin, at Manchester Reef by placing a parcel of gunpowder in a crevice of his hut at daybreak on Wednesday morning. A man, James Barnes, was arrested.