Historical information

This photograph depicts four men standing near a large unidentified building. This building is the entrance to a deep lead mine shaft. There is a bridge entering the building, which was used to access the elevator to the shaft.

Deep lead mining involved placing large shafts into the ground which miners use to access deeper locations in order to excavate the rocks in the search for lead. Deep lead mining was highly dangerous as roofs could cave in of the soil was loose. Therefore, this particular mining considered to be highly undesirable profession as many miners did not want to work long hours nor risk their lives in the search for lead.

Indigo Shire was a large area where deep lead mining took place, and thus the landscape and environment was largely impacted by these mining businesses. The Indigo Shire grew in population and wealth in the early 1850s when people came into this location in the hopes of finding gold and making a fortune. Ultimately, the accessibility and availability of gold and precious metals decreased once the gold reserves dried up and alongside this, the large population moved away. The Ovens was also heavily impacted environmentally as deep mining resulted in the change in land formation.


The search for gold is ingrained into the history of Victoria and therefore, images like this one which portray an open cut sluicing site can reveal important information for society and technology for the date when the photograph was taken. This image is of important historical significance for its ability to convey information about the methods used to find gold in Indigo Shire. It also shows a location where deep mining was undertook which provides insight into the impact of deep mining on the environment at a time when it was done.

This image is important for current research into the history of Indigo Shire, a region in Victoria's north-east. Therefore, this image has the capacity to be beneficial for research into society and the motivations of those living and working in this region during this period and therefore, has social significance. The Beechworth Burke Museum has additional images relating to deep lead mining and Indigo Shire which can be analysed and studied alongside images like this one.

Physical description

Sepia coloured retangular photo printed on gloss photographic paper.

Inscriptions & markings

1997, 2510/
Deep Lead Mining/
page 94/
Burke Museum, Photo 44