Historical information

[article by Bettina Woodburn in EDHS Newsletter No. 97, July 1994:] THE WARRANDYTE MYSTERY TOUR MAY 29TH 1994 - Members of the Eltham Historical Society met at the Old Post Office, now converted into the Warrandyte Historical Museum, for a picnic lunch on the sunny back verandah overlooking the shimmering Yarra River. Interesting photographs and artefacts filled various rooms outlining the history of this area, and told tales of Aboriginal and more recent neighbours of the Eltham Shire. The weather was calm, cloudy mostly with only occasional sunny patches, but it wasn't cold, although the autumnal leaf colours had changed to wintry brown. "All Aboard" and we set off in the Warrandyte Community Bus (with the School Bus sign displayed at the rear) to learn about local places of "Pride and Joy” from Bruce our guide and Tom the driver. Almost directly opposite we entered Whipstick Gully to explore the first of the district's hidden treasures - the Victory, one of the largest of the six or so major mines, past the old quarry now used for abseiling practice. By torchlight we entered the rocky hillside and saw the seams of quartz the miners had followed in their search for gold. Stamping batteries, and there was one in this gully, converted discarded rock into 'road metal'. Warrandyte is proud to be the first declared Goldfield in 1851, and one of the longest surviving, into the 1920s. A pleasant drive across the Bridge and along Bradley's Lane to Norman's Reserve brought us to see another Tunnel at Pound Bend through which the Yarra was diverted to allow about three miles of river-bed to be used for prospecting for alluvial gold. Still on this side of the river we visited the Old Slab Hut in Castles Road. This remnant of miners' housing is preserved because it had been incorporated into a weatherboard house, and saved from the bulldozers - a last minute reprieve, for preservation, by the National Trust. Devastating bush fires have destroyed other old cottages built of wattle and daub, with bark roofs and stone fire-places. The Cairn commemorating the disclosure of Gold Discovery at Warrandyte on June 30th 1851 beside Anderson's Creek Road was our next point of historical interest. We drove on to South Warrandyte and circled back to above the ford on Anderson's Creek to the entrance of the 4th Hill Mine. Again we crept along with our torches, careful of the low roof-rock, and side shafts. At a junction in a large cavity we were able to stand, look up a long air-vent which some 'cavers' climb down, and marvel at, and experience an aspect of a miner's life. Outside we heard the same bird songs, the trills and bell-pealing, saw the same straggly eucalypts, and a silver leafed wattle in flower, native grasses and ferns, and the neat present day houses, often of Warrandyte stone, perhaps veneered only. The day ended pleasantly, seeing more of the Yarra from Everard Drive, and the water rushing out of the Tunnel at Pound Bend, before returning to afternoon tea or coffee at the Museum. A great day for all concerned - many thanks to the Organisers.

Physical description

Two colour photographs