IN THE BEECHWORTH WOOLSHED FALLS AREA, REIDY CREEK
Reidy Creek was the richest Creek in the whole history of the Australian Gold Mining Days of the 1850's. The Creek was named after David Reid, who had a lease on the land which stretched from nearly Wangaratta to Stanley. The Creek has been named many things, but mainly Reedy, Reids, or Reed Creek. Today there are still various names on different maps.
I will call it Reidy Creek. No matter what it is called, nearly 9000 persons were digging Gold out of the creek in the 1850's. The huge Gold Dredge at ElDorado was still mining the creek for gold in 1954, less than 50 years ago.
Today even an absolute amateur can by using a gold pan, find small particles of alluvial gold anywhere along the Creek from the Woolshed Falls to ElDorado.
Also found in the Creek today are the following gemstones,
agates, amethist, citrine, corundum, diamonds, garnets, jasper, lydionite, petrified wood, quartzites, rock crystal, rubies, sapphires, smoky quartz, tourmalines, topaz and zircon.
Above the Reidy Creek wanders its way towards ElDorado, creating many spectacular water eroded gullies, such as the cliffs on the photo above left, which is taken just above the Woolshed Picnic Area down the Woolshed to Eldorado Road. Above right is another beautiful part of the creek, with a sluice box set in the creek to fossick for gold, as it was done 150 years ago.
Above left a fossicker digs up a barrow load of gravel from the bottom of the creek, and tips all of it into the top part of the sluice box, which has a wire mesh holding the gravel in the top compartment, but allows the water to flow through. Whilst in the top compartment, the fossicker then mixes up the gravel, stirring it round and round, to loosen any gold flakes.
The fossicker then pulls out the wire mesh, allowing the running water to wash all the gravel over the grilled plates, photographed on the right. The grilled plates are designed to allow the heavier alluvial gold flakes to fall to the bottom and be trapped underneath the sluice box in a tray about 5 centimetres high. The lighter gravel and the stones will be rolled along the sluice and emptied back into the stream. The tray will be emptied into a gold pan and panned to find the gold flakes.
Above we can see a family all panning for gold in Reidy Creek, and above left you can clearly see the gold flakes in the pan after the water and slush has been shaken out and washed away. Anybody can pan up this much gold if you follow the basic instructions.
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