|Track 96 Goldfields|
Blue Pools Walking Tracks.
|History of the area|
The area was inhabited by the Briakulung. a tribe of the Gunai. Remnants from their era are the grinding grooves and the scar trees still evident in some areas.
The Freestone gold rush
Originally Mr Selwyn. a government geological surveyor stated that gold would not be found in the Upper Devonian rock formation of the area. In 1864 a 16 year old boy. Tanjore Boyce. was prospecting on behalf of some residents in the region and found some gold. By the end of 1865 most of the alluvial mining had finished. By 1866 there was a land rush near recognized mines, thus creating another gold rush near Top Plain. Valencia Creek and the lower regions of the Freestone Creek.
Twelve months later gold mining had almost stopped when there were reports of 18.5 dwt (approximately 26 grams) of gold being found in a 60ft mine shaft, This discovery encouraged mining and one area, Lees and Powers Paddock, yielded approximately 4ozs (or 113 grams) of gold a day. Nuggets of considerable size were also being found. especially at Stewarts Gully.
Soon a 4ft track and a water race were being constructed and a stage coach began operation in 1868. Nuggets were discovered in mine tunnels at Upper Gladstone Creek, on Maximillians. Creek. These mines are still open today and are in good order.
In August 1868 the township known as Maximillians Creek was officially named "Gladstone". This township was located near the Gladstone bridge. upstream from the Gladstone-Freestone Creeks junction. It was burnt down on Christmas Eve the same year and never restarted. Briagolong becoming the alternative settlement.
By 1871. most miners had departed. However, some mine shafts were still being sunk, but either the money ran out or the shafts became too wet and dangerous to work. Crushers were also tried. In 1888. twenty-four years after Tanjore Boyce had first discovered gold, he once again found another mystery reef. He was the only person to make a profit from the area at the time.
The circuit from Blue Pool to the Peregrine lookout takes about an hour return. For a short walk. The Bluff is only 5 minutes over some steep terrain.
Gold Mine Walking Track
This walking track winds its way through dry open forest made up of predominantly Red Box, Stringybark and Ironbark. On the way to the gold mine. scrapings suggest possible sites of other mines. The actual mine is 30-40ft deep. There is a chimney ruin of an old miner's hut near the Junction Ridge Track.
The lookout takes its name from the Peregrine Falcons which nest nearby from September to December each year From this vantage point you can view the Freestone Creek as it meanders to the Blue Pool and beyond. On the cliffs opposite there was a crystal mine. The tower seen in the distance is the Moornapa Telecommunication Tower. which also houses the Department of Natural Resources and Environment fire lookout It is situated on Mount Moornapa.
This track passes through a thick understorey of mainly mint bush shrubs, then leads into open Red Box forest. The small concentration of water provided a suitable environment for the ferns to survive on the dry ridge.. Apple-Box (Eucalyptus bridgesiana) is also present in the area.
The Bluff is a great lookout point which provides views of the Blue Pool. The track has a short steep rise to the bluff in the dry sclerophyll vegetation.
The Froam Picnic Area
The track follows the Freestone Creek to the Froam picnic area. which is situated near the Freestone Creek. The area has BBQ facilities but there are no toilets. Froam Picnic Area is situated 0.6km upstream from the Blue Pool, on the Freestone Creek Road. Camping is allowed
Click here for map of area.