The Barossa Goldfields were discovered nearly 150 years ago on 2 October 1868.
A prospector, found some indications of gold in “Spike Gully” and spoke to Job Harris, the publican of the Sandy Creek Hotel (the hotel is still operating). The Goldfields are just east of Gawler, South Australia. Spike Gully is 6km south of Sandy Creek.
Job Harris set out with six men. They sank a shaft in Spike Gully, and on 2 October 1868 they found gold. Their shaft had reached 4 metres and they found more than 1 oz of gold before their operations attracted attention.
It was the start of the largest gold rush in South Australia. By Monday 5 October 1868, 50 people had arrived and within a week 2,000 people made their way to the diggings. The creek was lined with men and women for a length of 4 km. Soon almost 6,000 prospectors were on site.
The Barossa Goldfields can be visited today. The diggings on Victoria Hill are still remarkably intact. A museum is open the third Sunday of every second month. It is beautiful country with several well-marked walking trails, and helpful interpretive signage. At the Barossa Goldfields we enjoy an open-air natural museum – a remarkable part of South Australian history.
If 25,000 ounces of Gold was produced between 1868 and 1871 (and no-one knows how much for sure), at today’s prices ($1,650 per oz), wealth of over $41M.
Job Harris died in 1882; and is buried at the Willaston Cemetery north of Gawler. He received a small government reward for his efforts.
YouTube video “Barossa Goldfields” 9 minutes:
Today much of Barossa’s wealth is still won from the ground; through good soil, sunshine, fresh produce, vines and fermentation. Today’s rush is of visitors at the many local wineries!
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For a map and walk notes: http://www.walkingtrailssupportgroup.org.au/barossaindex.htm
Barossa Goldfields Historical Society: http://www.communitywebs.org/BarossaGoldfieldsHistoric/