The Herons Reef Historic Gold Diggings takes in a tangle of gullies at the head of Golden Gully and possesses a comprehensive range of gold mining relics, habitation sites and blacksmith forges. The area was first important for alluvial gold, with Golden Gully rushed in early 1852. From 1859 the mining focus shifted to the various reefs that crossed the gully. The main quartz mine was operated by the Anglo Australian Company (later known as Fryers Creek Gold Mining Company) from 1869-90. Golden Gully was hydraulically sluiced at the turn of the century, and appears to have been a favoured ground sluicing locality during the 1930s.
How is it significant?
The Herons Reef Historic Gold Diggings is of historical, archaeological and scientific importance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The Herons Reef Historic Gold Diggings is historically and scientifically important as a characteristic and well preserved mining landscape which possesses examples of many forms of gold mining. Gold mining sites are of crucial importance for the pivotal role they have played since 1851 in the development of Victoria. The mining relics at the Herons Reef Historic Gold Diggings are important in illustrating the ongoing and changing nature of gold mining, and how the gold miners lived and repaired their mining equipment.
The Herons Reef Historic Gold Diggings 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. This significance is enhanced due to the protection the place by the owner from 'treasure hunting'.
1. All exempted alterations are to be planned and carried out in a manner which prevents damage to the fabric of the registered place or object.
2. Should it become apparent during further inspection or the carrying out of alterations that original or previously hidden or inaccessible details of the place or object are revealed which relate to the significance of the place or object, then the exemption covering such alteration shall cease and the Executive Director shall be notified as soon as possible.
3. If there is a conservation policy and plan approved by the Executive Director, all works shall be in accordance with it.
4. Nothing in this declaration prevents the Executive Director from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions.
5. Nothing in this declaration exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the responsible authority where applicable.
No permits are required for the following classes of works:
* future Landcare, including noxious weed and vermin control, erosion and salinity.
* operation of the owner's gold mining tours.
* controlling access to the mining relics, including the erection of signs and fencing.
* protective works to ensure visitors to the mining relics are not put at risk.
* erection of on-site interpretive boards.
The main significance of the place lies in the evidence of a variety of gold mining acitivities. Permits and exemptions should be framed to allow the owner to continue to protect, display and interpret the remains to visitors.