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Gold found at Stringer's Creek!

The Ballarat - Bendigo - Castlemaine area gold rushes of the early 1850s emptied the towns and cities as able-bodied men and large numbers of migrants rushed to the diggings in pursuit of their fortune. Countless ships rode at anchor in the ports for want of crews who had jumped ship to seek their fortune, and it was estimated (for example) that by early 1852, half the men in South Australia were leaving, or had already left, for the diggings in western and central Victoria. However, once surface gold in these areas was no longer easy to find, attentions switched to other areas, and further rushes occurred at Omeo in eastern Victoria and on the Goulburn River to Melbourne's north-east, beginning in 1854.

By January 1860, a fossicker called Edward Gladman had started the Baw Baw diggings on the Tanjil River in west Gippsland. These were followed by exploration of the Upper Thomson and Aberfeldy Rivers.

In December of 1862, a party of four prospectors were working their way south down the Thomson River from Fulton's Creek. On December 26th, three who had persevered began prospecting up a creek that flowed into the Thomson River from a steep valley to the east, several kilometers south of Fulton's Creek. They named it Stringer's Creek in honour of Ned Stringer, the assumed name of Edward Randel, one of the prospectors and a "ticket-of-leave" man, or former convict. When they found very encouraging signs of gold at a fork in the creek, Stringer promptly left to register a claim before the mining registrar at Bald Hills on 12th January, 1863.

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Ned Stringer Memorial at Toongabbie

Although he eventually was to receive a 100 reward for his part in discovering the goldfield, Ned Stringer had little opportunity to enjoy the fruits of his find. Diagnosed as suffering from tuberculosis, he travelled eastward to Sale for treatment in September of 1863, and died at Toongabbie on September 25th during his return trip to Walhalla.

The rush that inevitably followed news of this find was slowed to some extent by the goldfield's remote and inaccessible location, hidden as it was within a very steep and heavily timbered valley. But many other miners soon found their way there. In February of 1863, one named John Hinchcliffe discovered an immensely rich quartz reef in the hill just above the creek, which he named Cohen's Reef, after a storekeeper at Bald Hills.

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The rich quartz vein of Cohen's Reef is still clearly visible
in the roof of the Long Tunnel Extended Mine today

Getting there


By 1900, this reef had yielded more than 55 tonnes of gold, which at May 2006 prices would have made it worth at least $US1,250 million.


Getting there
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