Back to Newsletter Archives



Last September an excursion was arranged with David Bannear to explain the significance of the Gardners Gully and Boswarva Hill mines in the Muckleford Forest. We met with some of the guides from the Diggings Project and we then went on to the Thornhill Reef roasting kilns in the Demo track area, as some people in the group were unaware of them and their historical value David regretted their deterioration and as a consequence, one of our members, Derek Reid with the help of Liz Coady submitted an application to Parks Victoria for a grant to restore and protect them. He was unsuccessful in that round of funding but Derek has just received news that his application for $4,250 has been approved! He is now in consultation with David to find suitable stonemasons etc. to proceed with the work. When David did his work ”Historic Mines in the Maldon Mining Division”, he deemed it as being worthy of nomination to the National Estate. It was duly placed on the list. David says, ”It is the only mine so far discovered in Victoria where there is a range of small below ground kilns and large above ground kilns”. There were 3 main periods of mining there – the reef opened up in 1856 by Mr Thornhill and worked by him and small claim holders into the 1860’s – an English company formed (Thornhill Co.) in 1871 and worked until c.1887 – a South Australian company (Thornhill Reef Co.) formed in 1873 and worked until c. 1888.


A group of about 20 turned up to head for the Campbelltown bush on Monday July 2. Waiting for us there were Susan Redlande, who had read of our excursion in The Echo and had brought along long-time residents of the area, Greg Davies and his wife. There was quite a lot published in the paper at that time as well as in David Bannear’s books on mining sites and this information was read out to those assembled as well as work from a school project that Greg had in his possession. The remains were exactly as David had described – the 2 levels where the 10 head of stamps had been, the winder bed, loading ramp and then the partly quarried mullock heap including where the shaft had been. However several members expressed their disappointment at missing the trip so another visit was made on Thursday 12 July. Again the 10 people enjoyed the day. The area was also well known for other reasons. Extracts from Stan Ebery’s book containing articles written for newspapers in the fifties were read as well as the parts of the book by Claude Culvenor on Thomas Smith, the geologist. Stan Ebery mentions the sound of the Hanley guns and a couple of those present said that they had heard them.

In Claude Culvenor’s book, there is a map showing the Campbelltown fault that runs through that bush and apparently the growth is quite different on each side of the fault line. More research is needed and perhaps another excursion will result!


On Monday July 30, leaving from the courthouse at 1.30pm a visit is planned to see the Thornhill Reef area and then going further north to the Frenchman’s Gully (early alluvial workings) and nearby Frenchman’s Reef Quartz workings. We can cater for those who wish to not walk far as well as those who will want to climb the hill and admire the view!


An invitation to our society from Carisbrook to attend there annual dinner was received. Last year Janet Trudgeon and Liz Coady represented us and this year Janet and I went. A feature of the night is that attendees are invited to bring an interesting article of historical interest and to speak about it. Their members had some very interesting things to show. Janet took the marvellous diary written by her great grandfather when he was a 14 year-old boy on route to Australia in 1852. She also showed the book his father, a sea captain kept when he was later surveyor in the port of Melbourne and she also told us that it was his ship the Melbourne that is credited with taking the first gold from Melbourne to London I took the Thomas Martin letter and was able to pass on the news that another performance by NAPE of The Writings of Thomas Martin is planned. Thank-you to Carisbrook Historical Society. Their idea is a very good one for extending friendship between district groups and for making history interesting.


NAPE are presenting another performance of this show. If anyone has not yet seen it, it is highly recommended. Mark Garner has taken our letter from Thomas Martin and made it into a marvellous show. Mark and Steve Walter are the performers and helped by the music of Andy Rigby they present the story of the early days of Newstead and Strangways in a sympathetic and sometimes humorous way. This time it is at Boots Cafe and a supper after is offered. Bookings are essential on 03547625. The cost including supper is $15

Next meeting is at the courthouse on August 20 at 1.30pm.

Dawn Angliss Secretary 0354762006


Back to Newsletter Archives

©2004 Newstead & District Historical Society

Web Design: Brian Dieckmann        Hosted By VICNET        Page last updated: 20 December 2008