Walking tours inspired by history

February 24, 2024 BY

Going deep: Victoria Hill Mining Reserve was the site of the deepest mine in the world in the late 1800s at 1406 metres. Photo: FILE


LAST Sunday a Bendigo historian led a group tour at what was a very lucrative mining site towards the end of the nineteenth century.

The walking tour was organised by the Ironbark Gully Friends Landcare and secretary Carolyn Jones said group members were planning more historical tours in the future.

“When we were out and about yesterday, we thought we would like to do some historical pub tours, historical schools and some of the old churches in the district so we’ll hopefully be working on those,” she said.

Honorary associate in history at La Trobe University, Dr Charles Fahey, led Sunday’s tour and said the Victoria Hill Mine, now Victoria Hill Mining Reserve, was the deepest in the world in the late 1800s.

“Victoria Hill was a very early mining site,” he said. “There was about 200 people living on that road back in the 1860s, now there’s only a few houses left.

“I’m just trying to describe what life was like for people on that goldfield.”

Dr Jones said what is particularly interesting about the Victoria Hill site is the personal information left by some of its inhabitants, often hard to come by, which provided colour to the history of its past people.

“It’s interesting because it was very well documented,” he said.

“There was one resident who kept a journal, there was one nearby resident who kept a diary for 50 or 60 years, and then there was a miner who also kept a diary.

“So, we can say a lot about the place and what it was like to live there.

“Most people who came out to Victoria didn’t leave much in the way of voice, but to say in that area we’ve got three very important journals.

“A lot of the physical evidence is gone so it is a spot we can learn more than in other spots.”

Dr Jones said he will be leading another historical tour looking at miners’ cottages in Black Street in May with the National Trust.