The Gold Days in Kinglake
An excursion, organised by the Kinglake Friends of the Forest in 2021, to the site of the old Big Ben gold mine on Mount Robertson has sparked an interest in the gold-mining history of the district among local residents, especially those who were unaware of this important part of the Kinglake story.
It hasn't been easy to find records and details of the gold-mining days but, over the past 30 years, the Kinglake Historical Society has managed to gather much interesting information about the first goldfield, called 'Mountain Rush', which was established on the Mountain Creek at the eastern end of the Kinglake plateau following the discovery of gold there by David Moore and his party in 1861.
Moore and other prospectors had ventured up into the hills from the Caledonian goldfield, which stretched from Warrandyte to Queenstown (now known as St Andrews), looking for alluvial gold in the creeks. One of the earliest to arrive was Jack Grimshaw who stayed around the area for many years, living in a makeshift hut which must have been a useful landmark as its location appears on early maps. There were soon about 200 miners camping along the four creeks which were named somewhat unimaginatively No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4.