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Adelaide Lead

Adelaide Lead is a district in Victoria, Australia, site of a former settlement, located on Old Avoca Road, south-west of Maryborough, west of the Paddy Ranges State Park, in the Shire of Central Goldfields.

Details

  • Area:38.503 km2
  • Elevation:235 m
  • Population:81
  • Local Government Area:Central Goldfields Shire Council

Description

Adelaide Lead is a district in Victoria, Australia, site of a former settlement, located on Old Avoca Road, south-west of Maryborough, west of the Paddy Ranges State Park, in the Shire of Central Goldfields. Located on the northern slopes of the Central Highlands, 225 metres above sea level, the area is naturally characterised by Box-Ironbark forest. Remnants of aboriginal settlement include rock wells beside the Possum Gully Road. Adelaide Lead began as a mining settlement, and covered about 3 miles (4.8 km) along the banks of Timor Creek. A state school operated from 1863 to 1954. The building, which still stands, was later used as a community hall in which Saturday night 'old time' dances were held until the late 1970s. The area was in the eastern part of the Glenmona Pastoral Station, taken up by Isaac Moorson and Edmund McNeill in 1839 and officially established as Glenmona by Edmund McNeill and Charles Hall in 1845. In 1848 Glenmona controlled 62,080 acres (251.2 km2), grazing 12,000 sheep and 150 cattle. It was the second largest property in the area, centred on the Bet Bet Creek which provided permanent water. The property was owned by the Mills family from 1875 until 1995. When the property was sold in 1995 it comprised 1,182 acres (478 hectares). Gold was officially first discovered at Adelaide Lead in December 1854. Adelaide Lead is close to Daisy Hill where a shepherd on Glenmona station had discovered gold in 1848 and sold it in Melbourne. That discovery gained media attention, but pastoralists tried to keep any finds quiet for fear of the impact on their runs. Gold was again discovered at Daisy Hill in June 1852 and brought many prospectors into the area. A major gold rush to Maryborough occurred from June 1854, although some miners had been working in the area from the previous December. The population grew from 150 to 1,300 in that month, and from 7,000 to 20,000 in August 1854. Three men, one of whom was William Howard, were camped on their way to the rush at Daisy Hill and found gold at Opossum Gully. As Howard came from Adelaide, he named the location Adelaide Lead. The Adelaide Lead began as a rush of 60 diggers who pegged all of Opossum Gully. The lead was part of a long string of leads which stretched from north of Amherst through Opossum Gully in the south and via the Inkerman Lead to Alma, seven miles (11 km) to the north. The lead followed Timor Creek on the east side. There were two hotels – the Adelaide Hotel and the Junction Hotel – and a Camp was established in July 1855 under the control of Phillip Champion de Crespigny, the gold commissioner appointed to oversee the Amherst gold district. The Adelaide Lead goldfields were just a small part of a huge goldfield with very significant yields and large numbers of miners following the latest gold discoveries. Adelaide Lead was never formally gazetted as a township, it was only a postal district. At that time there were several other gazetted townships close by such as Amherst and Alma. The initial gold discoveries were alluvial and a series of new finds and rushes opened up over seven miles (11 km) of rich alluvial field from Daisy Hill to Alma. The depth of the main lead was 70 feet (21 m). New ground continued to be discovered throughout the 50s. In 1858 it was reported that up to 8 ounces of gold was recovered from a load of wash dirt (60 buckets). In March 1858 the Maryborough and District Advertiser reported that 9 oz of gold was gained from a load of wash dirt at Adelaide Lead. On 12 October 1858 a 22 oz nugget was reported as found at Adelaide Lead. A 25oz nugget was found at Adelaide Lead in June 1862. In October 1869 a 160oz nugget was found by Thomas Mole at a depth of 25feet. The population fluctuated enormously in the gold rushes and reached over 6000 at one stage. Sometimes the population of the area was mainly Chinese diggers. In October 1855 there were three encampments of Chinese at Adelaide Lead, which were visited by Bernhard Smith, Acting Gold Receiver at Amherst, who had been made Protector to watch over the interests of the Chinese. After the initial rush in 1855, numbers of miners at Adelaide Lead fluctuated and declined as the surface alluvial gold was exhausted. In 1860 the Croydon Reef was discovered and quartz mining commenced. The Croydon Reef mine yielded 26,000 oz of gold and the Federal Reef mine 5,000 oz. However, there were very few large deep lead mines in the area, unlike Talbot, Alma and Timor. Prospectors remained in the district for many years, working the alluvial gullies and reefs. However, discovery of gold in Western Australia later in the nineteenth century saw some of these miners move west. The lack of permanent water in the area was a problem for both miners and farmers who took up the small blocks of land. The Timor Creek only flowed after rain and residents depended on wells, tanks and small dams. Reports in a range of official documents record the following population numbers at Adelaide Lead: 1855 (June)- 6000, 1858 (Aug)- 2000, 1859 - 1055, 1861 - 4051865 - 6001923 - less than 100, 1974 - 50.The 1861 Census return for Adelaide Lead, Blutchers Reef and adjoining gold workings showed a total population of 405 (275 males and 130 females). Only 100 people were born in Victoria, with 169 born in England, 41 in Scotland and 24 in Ireland. 35 were born in Germany. This census listed no people from China. The census listed occupations: 207 men engaged in alluvial sinking, 30 in gold puddling, 45 as diggers undefined, 10 in quartz crushing amalgam and gold quartz raising, 5 in trading, 5 carters, 2 labourers, 3 food and drinks, 184 domestics or children (58 male, 126 female). There were 107 children from 0 to 9 years, with 110 men and 34 women aged 25 to 34 years. # History # Weather # Things to do

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