The Kirby Flat Gold Mining Diversion Sluice consists of a 30 metre long stone embankment, pebble dumps and quarried bank. The sluice was probably built in the mid to late nineteenth century when the flat was extensively worked by alluvial miners The embankment was used to divert the waters of Yackandandah Creek through sluice boxes, with the eastern bank of the creek being mined for its alluvial gold.
How is it significant?
The Kirby Flat Gold Mining Diversion Sluice is of historical, archaeological and scientific importance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Kirby Flat Gold Mining Diversion Sluice is historically and scientifically important as a characteristic and well preserved example of an early form of gold mining. Gold mining sites are of crucial importance for the pivotal role they have played since 1851 in the development of Victoria. Water diversion and sluicing are important key ingredients in an understanding of gold mining technology as it was employed in mountainous country where water was plentiful and perennial.
The Kirby Flat Gold Mining Diversion Sluice is archaeologically important for its potential to yield artefacts and evidence which will be able to provide significant information about the cultural history of gold mining and the gold seekers themselves.
Heritage Inventory History of Site:
Kirby's Flat, south of Yackandandah, was first worked in 1853-4. By 1860, miners had shifted the course of Yackandandah Creek eastward to facilitate the working of its bed. The local mining surveyor wrote of Kirby's Flat: 'This flat has been worked and re-worked. The gold is too much diffused in small quantities through the soil to be remunerative to the dry-sinker, while it amply repays the sluicer, although he may have to incur an enormous expense in cutting head and tail-races to work the ground in a proper manner.' A party of Chinese that year paid more than £200 for a tailrace and proven alluvial claim on Kirby's Flat. Thirty-odd miners worked the Flat during the 1860s. No records of later sluicing operations have been located.
The Kirby's Flat sluice is a stone-retained channel, 90 ft long x 21/2 ft deep x 21/4 ft wide. After 12 ft, the sluice narrows and curves to join the creek. There is a small dump of pebbles at the end of the sluice, on the eastern side. The east bank of the creek, near the sluice, has been deeply quarried. A dump of six riveted sluicing pipes and water-race can be seen on the bank above the sluice.
Heritage Inventory Significance: National Estate. The site has scientific significance because of its rarity.