East Gippsland (Croajingolong) Historical Notes

1851 Gold discovered in far east Gippsland by Rev. W.C. Clarke.
1855 First claim opened on site of Bendoc township.
1858 Miners on the Delegate River.
1859 Gold known to exist in Bemm River and Genoa River.
1859 Alluvial deposits worked at Back Creek.
1862 Alluvial gold worked at Queensberry River.
1864 About 200 Chinese working Haydens Bog on Victoria-NSW border near Bendoc, making £15 each per week.
1866-7 Reefs discovered on upper Bendoc River – by early 1867, Morning Star and Come Love reefs were worked, and there were 240 diggers on Delegate and Bendoc Rivers.
December 1866 Three distinct quartz reefs have been registered on the Upper Bendoc, just within the Victorian boundary – 20 miners at work.
March 1867 The visit of Mr Warden Howitt to the Upper Bendoc has made known the existenceof a considerable mining population, chiefly Chinese, on both sides of the boundary line of the colony in that locality. Popn: Upper Bendoc, 100; Nicholson’s Bog, Little Plains River, 125; Upper Delegate River, 15.
June 1867 New quartz reef registered on Spring Creek, near Delegate.
September 1867 Good accounts from reefs on Upper Bendoc and Bonang Rivers – From stone crushed in the rudest manner satisfactory results are being obtained.
December 1867 The various new diggings around Delegate, and along the eastern boundary of the colony, are attracting considerable mining population.
1868 Rising Sun Reef opened, the first at Bonang – rush at Goungrah (Goongerah) Creek, SW of Bonang.
March 1868 Two new reefs registered in Bendoc district.
June 1868 New reefs continue to be discovered on banks of Upper Bendoc, near Delegate Mountain.
1868 Bonang (or Liprail) River – alluvial workings have been carried on by Chinese, but now abandoned due to depth of sinking and excessive water. Two reefs at Upper Bonang – one, the Rising Sun, ‘is surrounded by a dense jungle of musk, fern-trees and other scrub, interlaced by vines’ – shaft sunk to 20 ft, also small open cut – homemade crushing machine (‘very imperfect machinery’). Party of Chinese on Upper Delegete ‘had constructed a flood-race of considerable length, calculated to carry all the Delegete River’. Chinatown – ‘colony’ of about 200 Chinese working alluvial on north bank of Bendoc River at junction with Queenborough River (according to map at back of Smyth’s book – copy on file). Alluvial gold ‘worked over a large extent on the Bendoc by the Chinese’. Chinese miners far outnumber Europeans in the region. Number of miners working at Nicholson’s Bog (Buldah), about 30 miles SE of Bendoc (see map on file). New creek working discovered about 30m south of Bendoc – Goungrah [Goongerah] Creek – about 30 European miners. Small township forming at Bendoc, around Phoenix quartz crushing machine, erected by Mr Eisenstaedter of Melbourne – 5 heads driven by 16-ft overshot iron waterwheel, supplied by race from Bendoc River (pressure sufficient to drive only 3 heads). Formerly ‘the original wooden machine’ crushed – on same site. Morning Star situated about 400 yards W of battery – 3 claims working. Come Love Reef – W of Morning Star – machine soon to be erected. Other reefs at ‘Upper Bendoc’ – Imperial, Homeward Bound, Primrose, Britannia, & United. ‘At present the great want at Bendoc is not only capital, but I believe actually, with many, the means of living. The miners are deeply in debt, and are depending on the reefs – and yet, poor as the miners seem to be, there are extensive tracts of country on the Bendoc, Delegete, Queenborough, and Back Rivers which promise well for alluvial workings, and yet are untried.’
March 1869 Bendoc Subdivision created. Alluvial workings (chiefly creek & river claims) nearly all occupied by Chinese. Quartz reefs becoming richer at depth. Come-love Co. working at 100-ft level – 8 tons yielded 21 oz. Morning Star Co. working a deep shaft. Evening Star Co. and Morning Star Nos. 1, 2 & 3 companies (all on Morning Star Reef) also working by shaft. United Tunnel Co. prospecting by tunnel. ‘I observed that several companies here are becoming alive to the necessity of erecting more efficient machinery for crushing purposes.’ Rising Sun Co. purchased 6-hp iron waterwheel and plant Union Co. constructing similar machine (dolly).
June 1869 More reefs discovered at Bonang, including Good Hope and Luck & Leisure. ‘But what retards the progress of this district is the want of enterprise and capital, as most of these reefs are in the hands of poor men that have no means of working them to advantage.’ United tunnel about 200 ft long. Homeward-bound Reef on east side of Bendoc River.
1869 Bendoc township (formerly called Wagra) surveyed..
June 1869 The surveyed township of Bendoc (Wagra)- is distant from Twofold Bay (which is within eighteen hours’ steam of Sydney) eighty or ninety miles; and both places are connected by a good bush-road. Alluvial mining in the Bendoc district receives very little attention, the deposits being very precarious in their character and yield – workings entirely confined to bed and banks of Bendoc River – only payable portions are those in immediate vicinity of quartz reefs – wet sinking of about 8 ft. Principal reefs are Morning Star, Come-love, Homeward-bound, Imperial, and United – average yield about 1 oz/ton. Phoenix crushing machine at Bendoc township – owned by Leopold Rawack, lessee of Morning Star claims – 10-head battery, steampowered, cost £3,000 – five more stampers to be added. Imperial and Homeward Bound reefs are the same. Solomon’s public battery (water-powered) erected close to the town. Rising Sun Reef, upper Bonang River, was the first discovered in Bendoc district – water-powered battery – large amount of work done on mine.’- the present workings will, under ordinarily favourable circumstances, prove themselves of a stable and permanent character, and capable of supporting a large population, although I do not anticipate any very brilliant discoveries.’ Abundance of water for crushing purposes and for the working of machinery, and plenty of good timber. Sinking is through soft sandstone. Carriage of quartz from mine to mill (which in other parts of Gippsland forms so exorbitant an item of expense) can be done at the rate of 2s per ton. Chief drawback is scarcity of skilled miners and impracticability of tunnelling, the ground not being sufficiently steep. Total population estimated at 300 – 160 miners, of whom 80 are Chinese – does not include Chinatown. Bendoc consists of hotel, three or four boarding houses, schoolhouse, post office, and miners’ huts. ‘Though Bendoc is no doubt geographically within the boundaries of this colony, yet, owing to its peculiar position, it has become commercially bound to New South Wales, and most of the advantages which may arise from its future progress will benefit only that colony. While goods and machinery can be procured from Sydney, via Twofold Bay, at a comparatively small cost, their transit from Bairnsdale – over 126 miles of very difficult country – would cost such a sum as to preclude the possibility of successful competition with the route by water. ”The great want of the district seems to be an efficient crossing over the Snowy River. This want debars many Victorian miners from migrating to Bendoc’ – suggested that a punt be stationed at the river. Absence of police protection – nearest bank is at Bombala, 33 miles away.
September 1869 Royal Standard steam-machine removed from Bendoc to Bonang.
March 1870 United Tunnel Co. tunnel in 350 ft, but reef not struck. Homeward-bound Co. has 40 ft of water in their main shaft – inadequate pumping appliances. Morning Star claims amalgamated as Bendoc Parks GMC. Two more reefs at Bonang: Prima Donna and Monarch. Union Co. suspended operations entirely, due to dolly losing so much gold.
June 1870 Nearly all alluvial claims destroyed by floods – boxes, waterwheels have been found miles below their claims – miners now directing attention to the heads of streams. Two new reefs at Bonang: Rose of the Valley and Argyre.
December 1870 Many quartz claims completely suspended, owing to want of funds to carry on working -Rising Sun mine and plant advertised for sale. Alluvial diggings almost abandoned – most of the Chinese having removed to Chinatown (thought to be on NSW side of border).
March 1871 Quartz mining at Bonang at a complete standstill. Bendoc Parks QMC steam plant seems to be in dispute – unable to crush stone at present. United Co. still driving their tunnel – now 625 ft – have not yet cut reef – tunnel now beginning to drain some of the old shafts. European alluvial miners on the upper end of the Bog Stream – Chinese on lower part.
June 1871 Miners finding horse whims inadequate. Rising Sun mine, now being worked by a NSW company, erecting small steam pump. Park Quartz Co. trying to purchase an extensive pump – steam crushing plant in litigation, so are to erect a water-power machine of their own. Luck & Leisure claim now called Victoria.
September 1871 Rising Sun Co. erected strong and substantial steam machinery to bale water from shaft. Park Quartz Co. erected battery. All other reefs in district are abandoned, except the United Tunnel claim, still tunnelling.
December 1871 Most of alluvial population has left district for Delegate River in NSW. Rising Sun Co. intend either erecting a battery at the mine or making a tramway to the waterpowered battery (only 5-heads) about 2 miles from the reef – steam baling plant now dealing with water. Park’s Quartz Co. shaft down 175 ft, but 100 ft of water – still using whim. (Following mines taken up ‘under the by-law’.) Morning Star and Phoenix Steam Crushing Plant Co. have applied for water race and lease of 36 acres of ground. United Tunnel Co. – tunnel in about 700 ft – abandoned lease – now taken up by the Hit-or-Miss Co. Homeward-bound Co., formerly abandoned; now taken up again. Monarch Co. now Lone Star Co.
March 1872 Rising Sun Co. battery inadequate – the wheel being a breast one, with a scarce supply of water, cannot crush more than 15 tons per week – are now erecting a machine-house close to their claims, for a steam plant. Park’s QMC have three shifts of men working and three shifts of horses for their whim, which is constantly at work winding up the stone, and occasionally water.
June 1872 Rising Sun Co. erecting steam-crushing plant – 10-head, 9-hp. Monarch mine now taken up by Streaky QMC. All alluvial claims are sluicing claims, mostly held by uncertificated Chinese.
September 1872 Lucky Hit (ex Homeward-bound) erecting machine house and making preparations for their engine, ‘which appears to be close at hand, but the border duty seems to be a detriment.’ Morning Star and Phoenix Co. commenced a tunnel to cut the reef in their main shaft.
December 1872 Mines at work: Rising Sun, Morning Star, Hit-or-Miss, Lucky Hit, and Albert (new claim) – all others have ‘taken advantage of the by-laws’ or have been abandoned. Come-love (or Bendoc Parks Co.) have had poor crushings and are in litigation. Prospecting party found several patches of coarse gold on ‘Combinabar’ River and tributaries. Another party got coarse gold on the Wingen (next river to Genoa on the road to Cann) and on the Tarra River.
March 1873 Only claims in operation are Rising Sun, Lucky Hit, and Albert. Albert Reef surpasses any reef yet discovered in the district – 6 tons gave over 8 oz per ton. Most miners have left the reefs for the ‘Cobyingbar’ Creek – most parties cutting tail-races, erecting huts, etc.
June 1873 Homeward-bound Co. (Lucky Hit) sinking shaft – great trouble with water, as pump is a jack lift instead of a drawing lift – now making alteration. Rising Sun Co. let on tribute for ten years. Morning Star Co. abandoned tunnel after driving 360 ft and intends sinking shaft – ground is remarkably hard and requires all blasting. Many have left Cobyingbar greatly disappointed – incessant rains – provisions expensive as all goods are packed a distance of about 25 miles over very difficult and boggy country.
c.1873 Rising Sun mine – The difficulties of obtaining proper machinery were great, and the country surrounding them in an almost impenetrable jungle, so that further work with primitive appliances seemed impossible, as the loss of gold in the tailings was too great.
September 1873 Cobyingbar Creek alluvial is patchy – mostly coarse gold. Albert mine crushing by dolly. Some stone sent to Sydney assayed equivalent to 120 oz/ton – this quarter crushed 10 tons for 85 oz.
December 1873 New reef discovered – Aurora Borealis Reef, on opposite side of Bonang Creek to the Albert. Morning Star has put their plant up for sale. Chinese miners have all left for NSW side of border.
March 1874 Lady Elizabeth crushing plant purchased from Bendoc for erection midway between Aurora Borealis and Albert claims on the Bonang River, for public crushing. Claims still patchy at Combienar. No mines operating at Bendoc.
June 1874 Cerberus (ex Lady Elizabeth) battery unable to crush, not having sufficient waterpower due to a defect in the construction of the race – delivers water for breast-power not overshot, as required – new race being cut higher up.
September 1874 Cerberus machine now operational – proprietors ‘having spared no expense in obtaining the desired power for their machine (viz., overshot for their water-wheel)’ – crushing for Albert and Venus claims. Aurora Borealis Co. purchased Phoenix steam plant – 16-hp with tubular boiler of some 5-tons (ex Morning Star, Bendoc) – awaiting its removal. Union Jack Co. erecting dolly for crushing, ‘consisting of wooden stampers, iron shod’. Morning Star, Come Love, Homeward-bound, and Rising Sun mines all abandoned.
December 1874 Aurora Borealis GMC formed – 4,000 shares – sinking shaft and driving adit into hill on east of claim – cutting a race 1-mile long, together with 340 ft of fluming, preparatory to the arrival of their machinery from Bendoc. Union Jack Co. losing a great deal of gold with their dolly (water-powered). ‘I may remark this portion of my subdivision is a continuous line of quartz veins, but reefs in this district require at present to be rich and yield well under the present mode of working and state of machine appliances.
March 1875 Aurora Borealis has completed excavations for ex-Phoenix plant and have other machinery on way from Melbourne. Victoria (ex Luck & Leisure) reef again being worked.
June 1875 Aurora Borealis erected 12-head battery, battery shed, and appliances, sparing no expense.
September 1875 Aurora Borealis the only company actually engaged – tunnel now driven 480 ft.
March 1876 New alluvial ground discovered near Bonang – many claims taken up there by quartz miners and others.
June 1876 About 20 men employed on alluvial claims at Blackfellow’s and Dick Turpin gullies near Bonang – ground appears patchy. Aurora Borealis quartz proved unremunerative – operations suspended, seeking tributers.
September 1876 Only quartz claim at work is the Venus at Bonang – 3 men employed – have just completed alterations to the tables of their battery – shaft down 43 ft. Alluvial rush to Blackfellow’s and Dick Turpin gullies a failure – only the lower parts deemed worth working – now only eight men at work there.
March 1877 Rising Sun Co. machinery removed into NSW.
December 1877 Aurora Borealis Co. plant for sale. Many alluvial miners leave the gold at this season of the year and obtain employment harvesting and sheep-shearing over the border. Most Chinese miners have left, finding employment amongst the NSW settlers and selectors as hutkeepers, cooks, and shepherds, and many taken to gardening.
June 1878 Quartz mining completely at a standstill.
December 1879 All the miners who have claims in this subdivision appear satisfied with what they make, particularly as work for station hands and fencers is not in demand, so that most of the miners in this locality are dividing their time in mining and at their selections.
March 1881 Puddling machine operating at Back Creek, about 4 miles from Bendoc, where the clay bottom cannot be sufficient puddled to extract the gold and much gold is lost in the tailings – generally the ground in the subdivision is good for sluicing.
June 1881 Puddlers at Back Creek sold out, owing to the severity of the climate.
September-December 1881 Alluvial claims worked at Back Creek and Delegate River – ‘Several good patches have been discovered, and most of the miners are on gold, but, owing to the uncertain nature of the ground, a continuance of gold for any length of time is very problematical.
March 1882 Puddlers at Back Creek making £4 to £5 per man per week – ‘At the present time they have little or no forage to find for their horses, which in the winter months becomes an item. As the ground is remarkably patchy, no permanent returns for any time can be looked forward to.’ No. 2 puddling machine being erected on Bendoc River.
September 1882 Three puddling machines at work – one at Back Creek and two at Bendoc.
1884 Parties prospecting for new alluvial ground. Puddlers still at work. New quartz reef, the Hit or Miss, opened on Richardson’s selection at Bendoc.
June 1885 Rising Sun quartz shaft being baled out by horse whim.
June 1885 Rush of 100 men to Black Watch Creek, about 10 miles SE of Mt Ellery – only 35 men remained by July – none had made wages. The mining surveyor who inspected the ‘rush’ met many diggers heading thence, who had heard grand reports of finds there. ‘It is difficult to discover the origin of these misleading reports. In this case no blame appears to attach to the prospectors; their modest reports of ‘colours’ travelled a long distance, and at each succeeding store or hotel grew into grains, pennyweights, and ounces. Newspaper paragraphs did the rest, and very great losses were thereby inflicted on men who were ill able to bear them.
September 1886 New Rising Sun Co. erected winding and pumping engine (16-hp) on their shaft – ‘The intention of this company was to have erected their battery upon the former old site (but it has been taken up by a selector, who demands a very high rate for this site), and to have crushed by water-power; but, under all circumstances, they think it will be better and more expeditious to have the battery near their claim, which they have commenced to erect, having completed their well-shaft, and also the reservoir’. ‘We have several new hands upon the [alluvial] mines, who appear glad to avail themselves of any occupation, the country generally being in a most deplorable state through the continual bad seasons, and only for a little gold to be obtained here, without opossum shooting, this part of my subdivision would be much depressed, particularly as all at present are commercially connected with New South Wales; but the selectors and miners are agitating for a new track to be opened up to Orbost, to enable them to get their supplies from their own colony, to avoid duty and the exorbitant prices they are subject to through the new tariff in New South Wales.
December 1886 ‘The alluvial miners are continually shifting about, operating for about a week or so in one place, then leaving it and trying other places; and, although they procure a little gold, this continual running about lessens the number of hours’ work per week.’ Track being cut from Black Watch to Bendoc. Rising Sun QMC battery erected.
March 1887 New Rising Sun QMC got 0oz/ton from first crushing and over 1 oz/ton from second crushing.
June 1887 Croesus Reef discovered – adjoining claims taken up. Two puddling machines at work.
September 1887 Croesus Co. erecting a primitive machine, in the shape of a dolly, for crushing a few tons of stone to thoroughly test the ground before erecting an expensive battery and plant. New Rising Son QMC crushed 250 tons for nearly 1 oz/ton – erecting additional 5 head of stamps, as well as machinery for treating pyrites.
December 1887 Several new reefs discovered. Croesus Co. erected wooden crushing machine of three heads – crushed 35 tons for 40 oz.
March 1888 Quartz mining attracting ‘foreign’ enterprise to district – many mines changing hands for the purpose of forming them into large companies. Croesus erecting buildings and other preliminary works. Eclipse Co. erecting crushing plant consisting of dolly of 4 heads. New Chum (a new reef) sold to a Sydney company. Victoria Co., British Lion (ex Come Love), Morning Star, and several other quartz claims prospecting their mines.
June 1888 New Rising Sun Co. mine sold to a Sydney company for £7,000 – ‘jungle’ being cleared around mine workings in preparation for arrival of 20 tons of machinery. Mines at Bendoc include Unicorn (late Come Love), British Lion (late Morning Star), Golden Eagle (ex Hit or Miss), and Eclipse (30 tons yielded 90 oz). In alluvial, old and abandoned ground being worked by Chinese.
September 1888 Extensive plant being erected at New Rising Sun mine – crushing is under the roller principle – plant will be driven by water-power from the Bonang River – tramway about 1 miles from mine to plant, laid with steel rails. Unicorn Co. erecting a second-hand battery of 5-head and iron water-wheel. No puddling being carried on.
December 1888 Unicorn Co. waterwheel procured from Fulton’s foundry, Melbourne. Sluicing company on Delegate River has completed cutting of their race and will commence operations immediately.
March 1889 New Rising Sun GMC have all plant and machinery erected – stone crusher, two 5-ft Huntingdon mills with five Frue concentrators, driven by 22-ft diam. waterwheel – water from race measuring 5 ft wide, average depth 3 ft – machine house is 92 ft long x 50 ft wide – intend to add chlorination works. Unicorn Co. erected battery -waterpower insufficient water for crushing with more than two heads.
March 1889 On Bendoc Creek there are no extensive deposits of heavy washes, as elsewhere in Gippsland – Bendoc deposits mainly shallow and light bouldery washes – auriferous wash is widely distributed and does not appear to have been concentrated into the drainage channels – alluvial wash principally of a clayey character – in many places surface clays are 10 to 12 ft deep – one locality, known as Puddlers’ Claim (a minor terrace formation), was worked 30 years ago – Back Creek was also fully worked 30 years ago – in some places, the flats are fairly riddled with the shallow holes sunk in prospecting. Delegate River – company has been formed to construct a race to sluice the terrace wash above the alluvial flats, just below the point where the Bendoc to Bonang road crosses the Delegate River – race in course of construction. Chinamen’s Creek – tributary of Delegate River – creek deposits worked very profitably by Chinese miners – attention now being directed to terrace deposits. Queensborough River – almost the entire length of the lower portion of this stream and its tributary, Back Creek, has been worked for alluvial – first workings carried on during 1862 – no payable quartz reefs found in vicinity. Eclipse mine – on east side of Bendoc River, about 2 miles above Bendoc township, close to some old alluvial workings, known as the Puddlers’ Claim – one of the class of mines which would pay a party of cooperative working miners better than a company – hand-stoping and fossicking now being done – dolly erected close to Bendoc Creek – 4 heads of wooden stamps, shod with iron footings – worked by waterwheel, 1-mile water-race – total cost of battery and race not more than £150 – ‘As the machinery is a typical specimen of bush carpentry and construction, I have photographed it, as a relic, in striking contrast with the machinery employed at the Rising Sun mine, Bendoc. Golden Eagle mine – some 30 chains east of Eclipse – not being worked at present. Bismark – on western bank of Bendoc River – only prospected up to present. Come Love claim – on western side of Bendoc River, near Bendoc – a number of shafts sunk, the main one to a depth of 170 ft – from 1869-71, 606 oz of gold were obtained. Morning Star mine – discovered in 1867 – on western side of Bendoc River, near Bendoc very rich at first, but abandoned for about 16 years because of difficulty in following payable shoots of gold – now taken up again. ‘The works already carried on in most of the mines have not been in accordance with the principles of modern scientific mining, while the methods of extracting the ore, and the machinery employed, is of the rudest description.
March 1889 Bonang mining district. Richest alluvial deposits were obtained on eastern tributaries of Blackfellow’s and Dick Turpin creeks – rich alluvial patches also worked on Bonang Creek at Chinaman’s Flat and Long Point, and at Battery Creek and Deep Creek. Claims worked/being worked in Bonang valley: Rising Sun, Duke of Westminster, Sunflower, Rose of the Valley, Day Dawn, Monarch, Venus, Aurora Boralis, Aurora Australis, Haydon’s, Crawford’s Prospect, Old Union Claim (all on western watershed), and Croesus, United Miners’ (Defiance), Albert, Who’d a’Thought It, New Chum, Victoria, Young Australian, Exhibition (all on eastern watershed). Rising Sun claim (Bonang GMC) – The Hon. Mr Copeland, M.P., ex-Minister of Mines of NSW, having visited the district and examined the property, arranged for the purchase of the mine, and, as a practical expert in mining matters, determined to obtain the most modern appliances for crushing the quartz and for the treatment of the refractory ore ? preparatory works almost complete – cost £10,000 – tramway cut through the dense jungle for distance of 90 chains from mine to reducing mills on Bonang River – vertical length from former to latter is 460 ft – race being cut 2 ft 6 in wide for 130 chains for carrying water to waterwheel, 20 x 6 ft, which will drive machinery for roller mills and concentrators – a previous party got 2,700 oz of gold from the mine, and a large quantity of concentrates was stored which tests show give an average of 11 oz/ton – very refractory ore – main shaft sunk to 290 ft, with rives north and south – several small shafts sunk by original prospectors are seen to the south, the deepest 80 ft. Croesus mine – situated on western side of Mt Goolinbalylon – tunnel driven about 70 ft and shaft sunk 80 ft – quartz crushed at Aspen’s wooden dolly of 4 stamp heads, driven by 9ft-diameter waterwheel fed by mile race, all situated on opposite side of the range from Croesus mine.
June 1889 New quartz discoveries mainly due to assistance from Prospecting Board. Companies raising and crushing stone are Bonang GMC, Come Love, and Welcome Stranger – others are prospecting and testing. Come Love Co. erecting 10-head battery and pumping & winding gear, to be driven by steam. Welcome Stranger crushed at ‘the Old Dolley, at Aspdens; but owing to the machine having stood so long idle, and being so much out of repair, the yield was very disappointing, the stone yielding only 2 oz of gold per ton.’ Eclipse Co. suspended operations; shareholders? refusing to pay further calls – shafts full of water. Alluvial mining chiefly confined to old ground around Back Creek. Delegate River Gold Sluicing Co. have cut a race about 1 mile 55 chains long – 2 ft deep, 2 ft op, and 2 ft clear at bottom – tunnel being driven through some very hard country to act as tail race – 95 ft cut, 105 ft to go.
June 1889 Orbost Subdivision created. Rush to Mackenzie River, about 28 miles from Orbost, on what is called Twelve Mile Creek – estimated 80 men rushed the ground, but yields were patchy and large numbers left – about 30 now at work.
September 1889 About 40-50 men at Twelve-Mile Creek – on average, not making anything like wages. ‘Men are coming and going almost daily from Orbost; but these, as a rule, are not practical miners, but parties in search of land in the McCulloch country’ – Bemm River. Jungle around Twelve-Mile Creek is being burned to open up country for prospecting.
1889 Waratah and Welcome Friend reefs discovered on the divide at the head of the Bendoc River – beginning of Clarkeville goldfield – other reefs soon followed: Jungle King, Snowstorm, New Discovery, Belle of Bendoc, Daydream, and Sunbeam.
September 1889 New finds – Jungle King, Welcome Find, and others on same line of reef, situated at head of Bendoc River, about 10 miles from Bendoc PO on the Dividing Range – reef traced for 1,000 yards – four leases applied for. Bonang GMC – 1,300 tons crushed 2,024 oz, Huntingdon mills for reducing, 6 Frue vanners for concentrating – also erecting 10-head stamp battery (water-powered) – concentrates being sent to Sydney for chlorination. Bendoc GMC (Come Love) – erecting boiler and engine for winding and pumping – all shafts baled dry and raising stone – also erected whip on British Lion (ex-Morning Star) 140-ft shaft – crushing plant (10-head battery & 20-hp engine) being erected on Bendoc River, a little above the waterwheel plant erected by former holders of Come Love. Welcome Stranger Co. completed erection of dolly – 4 wooden stampers shod with iron. Royal Albert GMC – erecting battery of 10-head driven by portable engine of 8 hp, for crushing stone from their mines – Albert & Australian Reefs, and Victoria and Who’s Have Thought It companies (on same line) awaiting Royal Albert crushing plant for trial crushings. Delegate River Gold Sluicing Co. proceeding with tunnel – nearly complete. Two other companies about to commence sluicing at Back Creek – one by ground sluicing, the other by hydraulic power.
December 1889 More fresh discoveries made through assistance of Prospecting Vote and trackcutting. Morning Star Co. erecting plant, including 10-head battery and 20-hp engine with Tangye boiler. Welcome Friend Co. amalgamated with Victoria Co. – erecting machinery for working mine and crushing stone. Jungle King, Waratah, Belle of Bendoc, Snowstorm, No Name, & Welcome Find about to form into syndicate to work these mines on an extensive scale – reefs on two distinct lines, about 400 yards apart. Croesus mine has been carried on with a very persevering manager and under great difficulties ? two tunnels driven through very hard and difficult country.
December 1889 Only 15-20 diggers at Mackenzie diggings (12-Mile Creek).
1890 Township of Clarkeville named after original prospector (1851) – shortlived.
1894 Gold discovered at Mallacoota – Holly and Spotted Dog reefs opened.
1894-8 Spotted Dog Reef worked at Mallacoota, for a total yield of 899 oz – mine closed down in 1898 due to rising water levels and poor values.
1895 Gold discovered near Bemm River, at what was soon named Club Terrace – first reef was Ace of Clubs – by early 1896, known reefs extended over three miles.
1898 Prospecting tracks being cut throughout east Gippsland. ‘There is, perhaps, no other district in the colony, except the higher regions of the Australian Alps, where such difficulties exist owing to dense undergrowth, absence of food for horses, etc., as meet the prospector in the wilds of Croajingolong. Bendoc – reefs have been worked north 2 miles and south 7 miles as far as Clarkesville. Delegate River – most work done about 3 miles from source. Bonang River – reefs have been worked in one or two instances to depths, but in most cases water-level has been the death-blow – greatest depth obtained about 300 ft – one line of reef traces 14 miles, upon which are the Bonang Co., Rising Sun, Pioneer, Percy, and other leases. Broadribb River – Alluvial gold obtained near junction of BA Creek, but not yet proven payable. Back Creek – Alluvial gold can be obtained, but can only be called ‘tucker-ground’ – best gold obtained about 2 miles above Broadribb River – reef lately discovered, traced 2 miles. Cabbage Tree Creek – small quantities of alluvial obtained. Mackenzie River – Worked profitably for alluvial near Combienbar mining track crossing, also at Watch Workers’ and Ten-Mile creeks – coarse gold. Bemm River – payable alluvial obtained at Club Terrace, in creek alluviums, and Dead Horse Creek, and in terraces (Farquhar’s sluicing claim) – numerous auriferous reefs discovered at Club Terrace and poorer stone at South Bemm – crushings from Club Terrace yield up to 5 oz/ton. Combienbar – worked profitably for alluvial near head – slugs of up to 1 oz obtained – 9-ft sinking. Errinundra River – alluvial worked. Boulder Creek – branch of Errinundra River – reef recently discovered. Cobon Creek – tributary of Combienbar – traces of alluvial. Buldah River – poor alluvial along course – payable alluvial in one head branch known as Quadra Creek. Cann River – poor alluvial. Thurra River – patches of alluvial near heads. Wingan River – patches of alluvial near heads. Genoa River – reef gold sample obtained at extreme head. Mallacoota – lodes worked to depth of 100 ft – crushings up to 5 oz/ton.
1898 Reefs at Lower Bemm River, below junction of Dinah’s Creek: Alford’s, Ace of Hearts, Ace of Diamonds – no payable stone so far discovered – prospecting of a ‘timid’ character. Reefs at Poddy’s Creek (southerly continuation of Club Terrace belt): Henderson’s, and Wadsworth’s Nos. 1 & 2.
1898 Reef discovered about 1 miles NE of Buldah, at head of main branch of Cann River.
1898 Gippsland Boulder Co., Boulder Creek – 13 miles north of Club Terrace and within 2 miles of Errinundra River – company registered in January 1898 and commenced crush ing in September with a 10-head battery – first nine months’ yields totalled 1,418 oz from 972 tons – working from tunnel halfway down slope – self-acting Tramway between mine workings and battery.
1898 Clarkville township consists of a few wooden cottages and paling huts of a very primitive character, close to the principal mines – situated about 8 miles south of Bendoc. Clarkeville GMC working mine originally known as New North Discovery – main shaft sunk 120 ft – new two-compartment shaft started – not worked at present. Clarkeville Extended Co. – four shafts sunk, deepest 65 ft – one went as high as 3 oz/ton – stone presently being carted to Sunbeam battery. Waggra claim – two shafts sunk, deepest 80 ft – best yield was 1_ oz/ton from surface. Empire claim – shaft sunk, three men working. Band of Hope claim – two shafts, two small open cuts -poor yields. Sunbeam claim – main shaft sunk 80 ft, cross cut 100 ft, winze sunk 80 ft – deepest work on Clarkeville field – best-defined reef on field – two men now working the mine on tribute. Sunbeam mine on the fall to Back Creek and Little River; others on the Bendoc fall. Two batteries at Clarkeville: Sunbeam, 10-head, 20-hp engine; Lewis’s 6-head, run by 25-ft waterwheel – also a 20-head battery originally erected by New North Discovery, but never used. Another useless piece of work is two tram roadways, one of which was never used, although wooden rails have been laid. Alluvial ground patchy and of no great value.
May 1898 The colony was losing trade to the extent of £20,000 to £30,000 per annum, owing to the miners of East Gippsland being forced to cross the border into New South Wales for supplies for mining purposes, and the necessities of life. There were no vehicular roads leading to the nearest Victorian centres. Up to 10,000 oz was annually carried across the border and sold in New South Wales. One prospector argued that if Victoria did not open up roads, the best thing that could be done was to alter the border line a little farther to the west, and let New South Wales have a show in the opening up of East Gippsland.
1898 Mining at Bendoc at very low ebb. Two or three parties ground sluicing. Welcome Stranger quartz mine – about 3 miles south of Bendoc – not presently worked, but worked intermittently for years – main shaft with poppet heads, first-class small winding plant, consisting of two-cylinder double drum winch with a horizontal boiler (30 tubes set in iron frame. Star of Bendoc mine – SW of Welcome Stranger – worked to 60 ft – stone averaged 1 oz/ton. Eclipse mine – worked to depth of 50 ft – £3,000 worth of gold reportedly taken from mine. Come Love mine, about a mile west of Bendoc – worked intermittently – yielded from 13 dwt to 7_ oz/ton. Western Tunnel, Delegate Hill – utterly useless.
1898 Locality of recently discovered auriferous quartz reefs near the Bemm River now known as Club Terrace – situated east of Bemm River, about 5 miles south of junction of Combienbar and Errinundra Rivers – quartz reefs have so far been opened at intervals for a length of about 3 miles – nothing so far to justify a ‘rush’ or to warrant money less and inexperienced men to proceed to the field. ‘The character of the country is such that the work of prospecting demands special qualities of aptitude and patience on the part of those engaged, as in the case of the reefs above mentioned there were no conspicuous outcrops whatever, and they were only found by means of most diligent search.
1898 Reefs at Club Terrace.- Mustard & party (Ace of Clubs claim) – pioneer discovery on the field – local battery erected by the proprietors – two lines of reef in claim – shaft on No. 2 reef down 75 ft. Other claims include Royal Mint, Valentine, Olive Branch, Waterfall, Brilliant, New Chum United, Last Chance, and Never Can Tell.
1898 Between Mt Bendoc and Bendoc River a small mullocky reef is being worked by local men, yielding wages – prospectors have erected a small wooden 4-head battery and waterwheel for crushing.
1899 Twenty years hence, Eastern Gippsland will be one of the most active districts in Victoria.
1904 Principal mines at Bonang are the Bonanza and South Bonanza. Bonanza mine held by an English company – worked by tributers this year – 387 tons gave 259 oz – also 8 tons of concentrates worth 4_ oz/ton – good treatment mill on mine and winding plant on main shaft, which is 100 ft below adit level – adit driven along reef for about 400 ft. South Bonanza also worked by tributers – crushing of 8 tons gave 25_ oz – main shaft 100 ft below main adit. Several other small parties working in locality. Rising Sun mine held and worked by Pearce and party. Mining almost at a standstill at Club Terrace. No work done on Mallina mine, held by an English company, which has a good plant on it. Bright-light mine at Paddy’s Creek (James Brothers) working on tribute. Gippsland Boulder mine, at Boulder Creek, taken up by a party of four miners, getting good wages. Bowers erected cyanide plant – put through 84 tons of sand for 27 oz.
1905 Bonang and Club Terrace the same.
1906 Old Rising Sun mine being prospected (with aid of govt grant) at shallow depths. Number of dredging leases applied for – one new dredge being built near NSW Border.
1907 Homeward Bound Reef, Bendoc – half a mile south of Bendoc – shaft about 90 ft deep. Bendoc United mine – about _ mile north of Bendoc, tunnel driven, but not far enough to cut reef. Morning Star Reef – about _ mile west of Bendoc – shaft 210 ft deep – reef was worked for about 350 ft in length. Clarkeville – old quartz mining camp on the divide between waters flowing into Bendoc River and Back Creek – quite deserted. New North Discovery mine – shaft about 300 ft deep – about 5 years ago a Ballarat syndicate attempted to reopen this mine – abundance of quartz, but poor gold content. Welcome Stranger Reef – 4 miles from Bendoc on the Clarkeville road – poppet heads still standing – shaft 105 ft deep. Star of Bendoc mine – about 300 ft south of Welcome Stranger shaft – whip over 90-ft shaft. Although this is geologically a favourable district for quartz mining the disabilities are so great in prospecting and actually working the reefs that the present condition of mining is not to be wondered at, and though as a mining field the conditions are favourable, it is difficult to see how the mines are to be re-opened until there is better access to the field and consequently cheaper means of living and of working the various reefs known to exist. Rising Sun Reef, Bonang – about 1_ miles SW of hotel at Bonang – extensively worked for many years and large yields of gold obtained – shaft sunk to cut reef at 500 ft.
1907 Booth’s Fancy copper mine, on Copper Creek, a branch of Sardine Creek – 14 miles from Orbost on the road to Bonang is the Calico Flat settlement, from which the mine is two miles NW – lode worked by shaft and tunnel. McDougall’s copper lode, Wallaby Creek, 1_ miles south of Granite Creek in a creek about _ mile east of the Orbost-Bonang road and about 400 ft below the level of the road.
1908 Dredge mining, so far, has not been a success in the Bendoc locality.
1910 Prospecting at Bonang. Bendoc-Wolfram and bismuth discovered at Round Hill – several claims pegged out. Dunlop Co. opened up new main shaft and sank to waterlevel – erected small treatment mill to test value of lode. Hopkins and party acquired mine formerly opened by Kelly & Jackson, about 4 miles south of township – got 4 oz/ton from 100 tons, then sold their interest to Bendoc Victoria Reefs Co., which has sunk a new shaft to 75 ft – water proving too heavy for horse-power, now erecting suitable winding plant.
1911 Bendoc Victorian Gold Reefs Co. made additions and alterations to plant, then enlarged shaft to 3 compartments. Dunlop Co. also increased plant – keeping battery fully employed. Very little done at Round Hill wolfram deposits.
1911-24 Victoria Reef yielded 1503 oz from 584 tons.
1912 Rozzinski Brothers now erecting battery on lode discovered at Combienbar a few years ago – so far only low-grade ore opened up, but Rozzinskis (only prospectors remaining on the field) believe that selected portions of the lode will pay at least a living wage.
1913 Bendoc Victoria Reefs Co. installing a large high-pressure Cornish boiler, to replace three small and unsuitable boilers – struggling to cope with mine water. Welcome Stranger Co. commenced work on south end of shoot of stone being worked by Bendoc Victoria Co., but had to suspend operations when Bendoc Co. allowed water to rise during installation of new machinery. Helleman and party, at Round Hill, prospecting wolfram and bismuth lodes by adit.
1913- Bridie & Allen’s molybdenite mine, Wangrabelle – values improved below water level – ore concentrated on site and sent to Sydney for treatment.
1913-15 Helleman & Robinson prospecting wolfram and bismuth lodes at Round Hill, by adit.
1914 Hard-to-Seek – new reefing area located about 3 miles south of the 73-mile peg on the Orbost-Genoa road, and about 10 miles west of Genoa – reefs located at various points on Hard-to-Seek range, and isolated range of hills rising to about 700 ft above surrounding marshy swamps which form head of Wingan River – field opened by Messrs Brown – several shafts sunk by prospectors and others.
1914 Welcome Stranger Co., Bendoc, installed winding plant and sunk main shaft to 130 ft ? will probably take over lease of Bendoc Victoria Reefs Co., which failed to resume operations (stone was of good quality, but tonnage was insufficient).
1888-1915 Welcome Stranger line of reef yielded 814 oz from 368 tons, to a depth of 100 ft.
1915 Government battery installed at Hard-to-Seek.
1916 Only notable mining operation at Bendoc was Bismuth Tunnel Syndicate (Helleman & Robinson) – picked concentrates sent elsewhere for treatment, and the ‘seconds’, which comprise the bulk of the lode, are being stacked at the mine for milling and concentrating at their own battery, recently purchased. Very little work done at Hard to-Seek – crushings from the two best shows on the field proved disappointing.
1917 Bismuth Tunnel Syndicate, Round Hill, is only party at work on the ‘old’ Bendoc gold-field – cutting water race and erecting water-power battery. Bridie’s molybdenite mine at Wangrabelle taken over by Sydney syndicate – poor prospects.
1918 Bismuth Tunnel Syndicate still at work, on good prospects.
1928 Victoria Reef GMC yielded 437 oz from 276 tons.
1935-6 Victoria Star Co., Bendoc – main shaft now 190 ft deep – crosscut at 140-ft level driven 200 ft to intersect Welcome Stranger Reef – yield for 1935-6 – 804 oz from 507 tons.
1937 Government battery installed at Club Terrace – kept fairly busy by prospectors in vicinity.
1938 Prospecting is being carried on in the more distant and difficult country, but there is need for reconditioning old tracks and establishing new ones. Unfortunately, for the most part, there is no other industry in these areas, and in many cases the prospector is the only inhabitant. In some regions, without him, districts would become unknown and almost inaccessible.

1938 Mayfair mine (formerly Victoria Star), Bendoc, promises well – small crushings give good averages.
1939 Mayfair mine (although temporarily closed down) partly responsible for renewed interest (after nearly 30 years) in Clarkville area – some small payable crushings made at a battery newly erected by Mr W. Mustard (a prospector of the 1890s). Interest still being shown at Combienbar in an effort to establish proposition between Rozinski’s and Golden Gully.
1940 Some prospecting in progress at Club Terrace.
1941 Number of small sluicing claims situated on Queensborough River and in Craigie’s Bog – satisfactory results.
1942 In Bendoc area, several small-scale mines showing good returns and sluicing profitable.
1946 Sluicing operations recommenced (after wartime closure) by Back Creek Sluicing Syndicate (Miller & sons), Lower Bendoc – getting satisfactory returns – road constructed by bulldozer and second penstock dam completed.
1947-8 Additional plant installed by Back Creek Sluicing Co. – new settling and storage dams completed. Two prospecting parties at work at Club Terrace and Combienbar.
1948 IXL mine (Jamieson’s), Lower Bendoc – recent crushing of 12 tons gave 1 oz 10 dwt/ ton – shaft sunk to 48 ft.
1949 Another reef discovered at IXL mine. Miller & sons installed new hydraulic sluicing plant – good yields continue.
1949 Rich ore won from Sisters mine (Heenan’s), Club Terrace – treatment plant obtained.
March 1950 Good results continue at IXL mine and Miller’s sluicing works, Back Creek. Work progressing at Sisters mine.
September 1950 IXL mine – operations on a very limited scale. Sisters mine, Club Terrace – pumpingplant to be installed.
1951 Boulder mine, Errinundra – small amount of work. IXL mine – limited work. Lower Bendoc Sluicing (Miller) – good results continue – 150 oz during 1950.
1952 Operations recommenced at Sisters mine, Club Terrace. Lower Bendoc sluicing continuing after flooding.
1954 IXL mine showing payable results.


Australian Mining Standard

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