Statement of Significance
What is significant?
Wattle Gully Mine holds a pivotal position in the history of the State's quartz mining industry. The rich strike at Wattle Gully mine in 1937 helped revive the State's gold mining industry that had been in the doldrums since the First World War. Wattle Gully, and a handful of other 'new' companies - the Maude and Yellow Girl, Morning Star, A 1, and North Deborah - were the flagships of the revived industry and sustained the State's gold production for some 30 years. Wattle Gully mine, with a yield of 350,000 ounces, was the richest mine of its era. By 1940, the Wattle Gully Company had paid out £207,000 in dividends to its shareholders. The company continued to mine profitably through the Second World War, though it struggled due to a shortage of manpower.
After the war, the mine continued to develop - in the early 1950s new plant including a winding engine, steel poppet head, and twenty-head battery was added. The plant was obtained from the Central Nell Gwynne Company, Bendigo. On 13 March 1969, the Wattle Gully Company closed down the mine, laying off 62 men. Since 1970 Wattle Gully mine has worked intermittently. Recent additions to the mine's infrastructure has been a new ore processing plant and a decline tunnel. The ore processing plant was operated by Newmont mining from 1987 to 1990 and subsequently operated by Consolidated Victorian Mines and Duketon Goldfields. The mine site has retained evidence of its development since 1937 with its most recent periods of equipment upgrades in the 1950s and 1980s being documented by buildings, structures and intact and working machinery.
How is it significant?
The Wattle Gully Gold Mine is of historical and scientific (technical) significance to the State of Victoria.
Why it is significant?
The Wattle Gully Gold Mine is historically significant as the most tangible expression of State's quartz mining industry. The mine is also of outstanding historical significance as being the flagship of this industry during the middle decades of the twentieth century.
The Wattle Gully Gold Mine is of scientific (technical) significance for possessing rare and functional examples of a once plentiful technology in the form of 'traditional-type' shaft mining and ore crushing machinery. The retention of the 1950s machinery, buildings and structures, and the associated fittings and fixtures that were added later to modernise the mine are all crucial to the significance of the place. The relatively intact late 1980s cyaniding plant and the associated tailings dams and reservoir to the south from the same period demonstrate the changing technology of gold extraction in the late twentieth century. These elements combine to provide a unique illustration of the duration of a mining technology that was first introduced to Victoria in the mid-1850s. The old 'abandoned' section of the mine also provides a strong educational experience of stepping into the shoes of the recently departed gold miners.
WATTLE GULLY GOLD MINE - Plaque Citation
Wattle Gully quartz mine was first worked in 1853 and was the richest mine in Victoria in the 1930s. The site retains evidence of changing goldmining technology in the twentieth century.
WATTLE GULLY GOLD MINE - Assessment Against Criteria
The historical importance, association with or relationship to Victoria's history of the place or object.
The importance of a place or object in demonstrating rarity or uniqueness.
The place or object's potential to educate, illustrate or provide further scientific investigation in relation to Victoria's cultural heritage.
The importance of a place or object in exhibiting the principal characteristics or the representative nature of a place or object as part of a class or type of places or objects.
The importance of the place or object in exhibiting good design or aesthetic characteristics and/or in exhibiting a richness, diversity or unusual integration of features.
The importance of the place or object in demonstrating or being associated with scientific or technical innovations or achievements.
The importance of the place or object in demonstrating social or cultural associations.
Any other matter which the Council considers relevant to the determination of cultural heritage significance
WATTLE GULLY GOLD MINE - Permit Exemptions
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 determination prevents the Executive Director from amending or rescinding all or any of the permit exemptions.
5. Nothing in this determination exempts owners or their agents from the responsibility to seek relevant planning or building permits from the responsible authority where applicable.
Non Registered Fabric:
All works including demolition and internal modification to structures not included in the extent of registration are permit exempt. Additions to structures not included on the extent will require either the approval of the Executive Director or permit approval. Should these works require a permit is at the discretion of the Executive Director.
The construction of any new structures within the boundaries of this registration will require a permit.
Removal of vegetation to maintain fire safety to protect significant buildings and structures.
Repairs, conservation and maintenance to hard landscape elements, buildings, structures, roads and paths and drainage.
Management of trees in accordance with Australian Standard; Pruning of amenity trees AS4373.
Removal of plants listed as noxious weeds in the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994.
Non-commercial signage, lighting, security fire safety and other safety requirements, provided no structural building occurs.
Resurfacing of existing paths and driveways.
Maintenance of roads and paths and gutters to retain their existing layout.
Public Safety and Security :
The following public safety and security activities are permit exempt under section 66 of the Heritage Act 1995,
a) public safety and security activities provided the works do not involve the removal or destruction of any significant above-ground structures or sub-surface archaeological artefacts or deposits;
b) the erection of temporary security fencing, scaffolding, hoardings or surveillance systems to prevent unauthorised access or secure public safety which will not adversely affect significant fabric of the place including archaeological features;
c) development including emergency stabilisation necessary to secure safety where a site feature has been irreparably damaged or destabilised and represents a safety risk to its users or the public.
Note: Urgent or emergency site works are to be undertaken by an appropriately qualified specialist such as a structural engineer, or other heritage professional.
Signage and Site Interpretation :
The following Signage and Site Interpretation activities are permit exempt under section 66 of the Heritage Act 1995,
a) signage and site interpretation activities provided the works do not involve the removal or destruction of any significant above-ground structures or sub-surface archaeological artefacts or deposits;
b) the erection of non-illuminated signage for the purpose of ensuring public safety or to assist in the interpretation of the heritage significance of the place or object and which will not adversely affect significant fabric including landscape or archaeological features of the place or obstruct significant views of and from heritage values or items;
c) signage and site interpretation products must be located and be of a suitable size so as not to obscure or damage significant fabric of the place;
d) signage and site interpretation products must be able to be later removed without causing damage to the significant fabric of the place;
Note: The development of signage and site interpretation products must be consistent in the use of format, text, logos, themes and other display materials.
Note: Where possible, the signage and interpretation material should be consistent with other schemes developed on similar or associated sites. It may be necessary to consult with land managers and other stakeholders concerning existing schemes and strategies for signage and site interpretation.
Mineral Exploration :
The following Mineral Exploration activities are permit exempt under section 66 of the Heritage Act 1995,
a) Mineral exploration activities provided the works do not involve the removal or destruction of any significant above-ground features or sub-surface archaeological artefacts or deposits;
b) preliminary non-intrusive exploration, including geological mapping, geophysical surveys, and geochemical sampling and access to shafts and adits;
c) advanced forms of exploration (drilling), including the location of drill pads and access tracks where this has been the subject of on-site negotiation and agreement with representatives of Heritage Victoria, DSE and Parks Victoria, and where all significant historic site features have been identified and protected as part of an approved work plan.
Minor Works :
Any Minor Works that in the opinion of the Executive Director will not adversely affect the heritage significance of the place may be exempt from the permit requirements of the Heritage Act. A person proposing to undertake minor works may submit a proposal to the Executive Director. If the Executive Director is satisfied that the proposed works will not adversely affect the heritage values of the site, the applicant may be exempted from the requirement to obtain a heritage permit. If an applicant is uncertain whether a heritage permit is required, it is recommended that the permits co-ordinator be contacted.
Regular Site Maintenance :
The following site maintenance works are permit exempt under section 66 of the Heritage Act 1995,
a) regular site maintenance provided the works do not involve the removal or destruction of any significant above-ground features or sub-surface archaeological artefacts or deposits;
b) the maintenance of an item to retain its conditions or operation without the removal of or damage to the existing fabric or the introduction of new materials;
c) cleaning including the removal of surface deposits, organic growths, or graffiti by the use of low pressure water and natural detergents and mild brushing and scrubbing; d) repairs, conservation and maintenance to roads and paths, fences and gates and drainage and irrigation.
e) the replacement of existing services such as cabling, plumbing, wiring and fire services that uses existing routes, conduits or voids, and does not involve damage to or the removal of significant fabric.
Note: Surface patina which has developed on the fabric may be an important part of the item's significance and if so needs to be preserved during maintenance and cleaning.Note: Any new materials used for repair must not exacerbate the decay of existing fabric due to chemical incompatibility, obscure existing fabric or limit access to existing fabric for future maintenance. Repair must maximise protection and retention of fabric and include the conservation of existing details or elements.
Fire Suppression Duties :
The following fire suppression duties are permit exempt under section 66 of the Heritage Act 1995,
a) Fire suppression and fire fighting duties provided the works do not involve the removal or destruction of any significant above-ground features or sub-surface archaeological artefacts or deposits;
b) Fire suppression activities such as fuel reduction burns, and fire control line construction, provided all significant historical and archaeological features are appropriately recognised and protected;
Note: Fire management authorities should be aware of the location, extent and significance of historical and archaeological places when developing fire suppression and fire fighting strategies. The importance of places listed in the Heritage Register must be considered when strategies for fire suppression and management are being developed.
Weed and Vermin Control :
The following weed and vermin control activities are permit exempt under section 66 of the Heritage Act 1995,
a) Weed and vermin control activities provided the works do not involve the removal or destruction of any significant above-ground features or sub-surface archaeological artefacts or deposits;
Note: Particular care must be taken with weed and vermin control works where such activities may have a detrimental affect on the significant fabric of a place. Such works may include the removal of ivy, moss or lichen from an historic structure or feature, or the removal of burrows from a site that has archaeological values.
Painting will not require permit approval if the painting:
a) does not involve the disturbance or removal of earlier paint layers or other decorative schemes, where the extant painting or other decorative scheme has not been mentioned in the statement of significance or the extent of registration.
b) involves over-coating with an appropriate surface as an isolating layer to provide a means of protection for significant earlier layers or to provide a stable basis for repainting;
c) employs the same colour scheme and paint type as an earlier scheme if they are appropriate to the substrate and do not endanger the survival of earlier paint layers.
If the painting employs a different colour scheme and paint type from an earlier scheme a permit will not be required if
a) the Executive Director is satisfied that the proposed colour scheme, paint type, details of surface preparation and paint removal will not adversely affect the heritage significance of the item;
b) the person proposing to undertake the painting has received a notice advising that the Executive Director is satisfied.
Any proposal to undertake such work should be submitted to the Executive Director, detailing the proposed colour scheme, paint type, details of surface preparation and paint removal involved in the repainting, for approval
WATTLE GULLY GOLD MINE - Permit Exemption Policy
The purpose of the Permit Policy is as a guide only in assisting when considering or making decisions regarding works to the place. It is recommended that any proposed works be discussed with an officer of Heritage Victoria prior to them being undertaken or a permit is applied for.
The purpose of the permit exemptions is to allow works that do not impact on the heritage significance of the place to occur without the need for a permit. Works other than those mentioned in the permit exemptions may be possible but will require either the written approval of the Executive Director or permit approval.
It is important that any proposed changes to the place are considered on the basis of clearly defined plans and must be carried out in a manner which prevents damage to the significant fabric of the registered place. It is recommended that before any proposed changes are undertaken the Conservation Management Plan [CMP] for the building be consulted.
Part of the significance of the Wattle Gully Gold Mine site relates to its continuous and ongoing operation as a functioning gold mine. The intent of the permit exemptions is to allow the normal day to day running and maintenance of the mine as an operational, gold-producing facility. The value of ongoing operation will be one of the factors taken into account when considering permit applications.
COBBLERS GULLY GOLD PUDDLING SITEVictorian Heritage Register H1249
COBBLERS GULLY QUARTZ ROASTING SITEVictorian Heritage Register H1277
EUREKA REEF GOLD MINING PRECINCTVictorian Heritage Register H1233