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    Where is Stawell located?

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    Calcining Quartz at the North Cross Reef, Stawell, 3 November 1875, courtesy of State Library of Victoria.

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    The Magdala Mine, Stawell, 3 November 1875, courtesy of State Library of Victoria.

Stawell, VIC

Alternative Names
  • Pleasant Creek

William McLachlan is generally credited with discovery of the first gold at Pleasant Creek, on the Stawell Goldfield, although he was never able to obtain a reward. His find was in May 1853, but it was another year before payable gold was discovered.

The first rush to the field took place in the winter of 1854; it was attended by only forty diggers. The mining population of the Stawell field remained relatively small, averaging two hundred or less, until 1857 when a series of new alluvial gold discoveries were made, which continued into the 1860s. The Great Western Township Rush of 1862 was notable because of the large number of Chinese gold seekers.

By 1864, eleven distinct auriferous reefs were being worked at Stawell. Unlike reefs on many other quartz mining fields, those at Stawell were found to get richer the deeper they were worked. This provided the Stawell field with its most enduring characteristics, that of deep sinking and the persistence of small mining claims.

Jessica Redmond

Bannear, David, Heritage Victoria, Historic gold mining information, Department of Sustainability and Environment. Details
Flett, James, The history of gold discovery in Victoria, The Hawthorn Press, Melbourne, 1970. Details