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Woolshed Falls are spectacular Water Falls which once was the centre of the richest Goldfields in Victoria, with more than 8000 Gold Miners or Diggers living along the banks of this small stream.

Woolshed Falls are 5 kms from Beechworth towards Wodonga or Chiltern. Veer left at the Chiltern turnoff and again turn left into McFeeter's Road. Woolshed Falls are over the bridge and to the right.



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On arriving at the Woolshed Falls car park, note that the road is in a circular pattern. Off to the left is an extension that goes up to the waterfall lookout or observation deck. The toilets are near the entrance to the car park, and the start of the walk is on the eastern or creek side of the toilets.  Be sure to walk down to the bridge which is section 9 to see the diversion race cut into the granite.


1        SPRING CREEK DIVERSION                        

        Large eroded gullies like this are found throughout the Beechworth goldfields district. They were mostly the result of hydraulic sluicing, a method of mining in which hoses were used to direct water at high pressure on gold bearing stream banks. This method was used here after the waters of the original Spring Creek ( Reid's Creek ) was diverted from its course. This gave the miners access to the rich gold bearing original creek bed which you will see further along the walk. At this point you are looking at the diverted creek.

Only 140 years ago, the point at which you are standing would have been in the middle of a flat paddock like that behind you and to the right.


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The equipment used here is on show at the El Dorado Museum




        All of the original stands of trees in the vicinity were cleared by the miners for firewood or shaft props. The growth of trees today is testament to the resilience of the Australian Bush to major disturbance.

This Beechworth Silver Stringybark is a rare blue leafed eucalypt that is only recorded here.


    Once the tree cover had been depleted, this gully would have eroded quickly following heavy rains. The miners then had to deal with the problem of collapsing banks and flooded claims. It is likely that stream banks were liable to collapse when the water undercut the steep banks.

The miner's solution was to cut a tunnel directly through the solid granite to provide an outlet for the water, a diversion within a diversion. You should be able to see the end of the tunnel. About 150 metres furter along the walk you may be able to see the water entering the tunnel. When you pass number 8 you will walk to the cliff above and opposite number 2, and will have an excellent view of the tunnel.


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The Diversion Tunnel Cut into Granite and Diverting the Stream Under the Cliff.


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Tunnel Entrance

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Looking through Tunnel

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Tunnel Exit


4        DRY MINING                                

    In this area there is evidence of Dry Mining. The miners scraped out gold bearing soil from between the granite boulders and the panned or sluiced it to extract the gold.


This area was the scene of much activity during the 1850's. In 1853 there were 8000 miners on the Reid's Creek field and the original settlement was just upstream from here. It had a post office, stores and police camp. Reids Creek was the scene of several riots, when disputes arose over the ownership of claims. At the time there was no proper legislation to ensure fair and orderly granting of claims.

William Howitt, an English Author wrote of Reids Creek in 1853:

" for nearly two miles, a wide valley is completely covered by tents and the soil turned upside down by diggers. A more rowdy and uninviting scene I never saw..... all the trees were cut down; the ground where it was not actually dug up was eaten perfectly bare by lean horses... more shabbiness and apparent wretchedness it would be dificult to concieve.

Reids Creek has the character of being a disorderly and dangerous place. There have been no less than fifteen murders  committed at it..."

The miners, or diggers as they wore called formed themselves into two groups; the Punchers and the Monkeys. The punchers worked the dry banks and gullies and generally wore moleskins. The monkeys worked the stream and considered themselves superior. Those who had struck it rich wore black woollen trousers and Napoleon boots, and sported silk sashes and gaily coloured kerchiefs.



You can see some differences between the original course of Spring Creek seen here, and the new Spring Creek, which you saw at the start of the walk. Here, the creek is much shallower and less eroded. After the creek diversion (Stop 1) was completed, the areas around here was opened up for mining. The alluvial gold was found in three layers of washdirt, 250 to 300 millimetres deep, deposited in three distinct geological periods. Some miners were lucky enough to win as much as 800 ounces from a single claim, originally 8 foot by 8 foot (2.4 metres) square.


7        WATER RACE

The track here crosses an old water race, one of the many long trenches dug by miners to bring water to their claims. Races were used for sluicing, a method of mining imported from the Californian goldfields, which became more highly developed in the Beechworth district than elsewhere in Victoria.

Water was carried to a point where it flowed into sluices, either a series of inclined, interlocking boxes made of sawn board and usually standing on trestles, or channels dug in the ground. Box sluices usually had a series of riffles or narrow slats across the base to catch gold. When the wash dirt was placed in the sluice, the lighter gravels were washed away by the force of the water and the heavier gold particles were left behind.


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Nearby are the ruins of a small hut in which Walter Ballart lived in the late 1920's. A recluse, Ballart scraped a meagre living from rabbit trapping and performing odd jobs for local farmers,

8        RAISED WATER RACE                        

This water race is different from the one at the previous stop. Its wall has been built up and the channel is above ground level, whereas the other race was a channel cut into the ground. To provide this gravity fed water supply the miners had to work very hard with picks and shovels, but usually it was easier to bring water to the claim rather than carry washdirt to water. If you follow this race you will find that it is cut by the creek diversion. Presumably the race was used before the diversion was constructed.




This race was cut through solid granite to complete the creek diversion. If you look closely you will see the drill holes in which the explosive charges were placed to remove the rock.The water above the bridge is about one metre deep, and below, up to two metres deep.The new creek was carefully graded to ensure a steady flow of water.


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Nearly 2000 ounces (57 kilograms) was extracted from this pool during the years of 1918-1920, much later than other areas around Beechworth.

Near the bottom of the falls, on the left hand side, some steel rods can be seen fixed in the rock wall. These rods supported a steel pipe or flume, which extended from the top of the falls to a point downstrearn. Miners diverted water past the pool, which was pumped dry to expose goldbearing material in the sand.




Beechworth Walks

Guided Walking Tour

One Tree Hill Walk

Powder Magazine to Woolshed

Gorge Scenic Walk

Lake Sambell to Tunnels

Tunnels to Lake Kerferd

Lake Kerferd to Wallaby Mine

Woolshed Falls Walk





For more Information on Beechworth Tourist Attractions, please call the Information Centre on 0357 283 233


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