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Stawell at Pleasant Creek

Where is Pleasant Creek?

This question is often asked in reference to early events in the Stawell area which show Pleasant Creek as the place where the event took place i.e. birth, deaths, marriages or residence.

Pleasant Creek is a small creek which rises in the Black Ranges a few miles south west of Stawell. The creek flows through Stawell West at the Caravan Camping Park, crossing Seaby Street near the racecourse; continuing along the Halls Gap Road, through the Illawarra forest and finally to Lake Lonsdale.

A small quantity of gold was discovered in this creek in May 1853 by a hut keeper who, with two shepherds were shepherding Concongella Station sheep. They were occupying a bark hut, known as Pleasant Creek Hut, on the eastern side of Pleasant Creek not far from the present racecourse. This gold find was described as at Pleasant Creek.

Some three years later, about 1856, miners were pegging out claims on the quartz reefs around Big Hill in present Stawell. This would be about 2 kms from the original gold find in Pleasant Creek. This quartz goldfield was called Quartz Reefs, Pleasant Creek or The Reefs, Pleasant Creek.

In August 1857, a large alluvial gold find caused a big rush to what we now know as the Illawarra/Deep Lead area some 6 kms north west of the original gold find. This goldfield was described as at Pleasant Creek and was distinguished by the names of its streets - High Street, Broadway, Commercial road, Oxford Street. High Street was situated about where the Western Highway passes through Deep Lead today while Oxford Street runs off the highway past the Deep Lead Cemetery. Commercial Road runs off the Halls Gap Road at Illawarra and is signposted.

Shortly after this big gold rush, in June 1858, a Township called Stawell was proclaimed. This Township was an area of 640 acres and was surveyed around the site of the original 1853 gold find in Pleasant Creek. The Western Highway, passing through what is now Stawell West, is part of this original Township of Stawell. This township was known as Stawell at Pleasant Creek.

Eleven years later - in November 1869 - the Quartz Reefs settlement around Big Hill which had grown enormously and the Township of Stawell down on the present highway which had dwindled, were united to become the Borough of Stawell. The area of the diggings at Commercial road, etc., which had also dwindled, became Illawarra and Deep Lead.

So, a birth, death, marriage or residence could have taken place anywhere within a radius of many kilometers and still have been correctly described as "at Pleasant Creek".

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