The State's richest deep alluvial gold lead system, known as the Berry Lead System, runs north from Creswick, slightly to the west of Smeaton. Mining of the lead system took place from the 1870s until the early 1900s. The Berry Consols Extended Company was floated in 1881. The company mined unprofitably until 1897 by which time investors had paid £75,500 in calls. For the next decade the company was one of the field's leading gold producers and during the early 1900s was its flagship. In 1903 the mine was employing the bulk of the district's miners (160 out of a total force of 180) and was responsible for the introducing electric lighting and locomotives for underground mining. The mine closed in 1907 having produced 100,727 ounces of gold making it the field's fifth largest gold producer.
The Berry Consols Extended Deep Lead Gold Mine is of historical, archaeological and scientific importance to the State of Victoria.
The Berry Consols Extended Deep Lead Gold Mine is historically and scientifically important as a characteristic example of an important 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. As well as being a significant producer of Victoria's nineteenth century wealth, deep lead mining, with its intensive use of machinery, played an important role in the development of Victorian manufacturing industry. The Berry Consols Extended Deep Lead Gold Mine is important for its manifestation of this facet of gold mining.
Deep lead mining involved massive underground operations resulting in, among other things, large dumps of mullock, pebbles and slimes forming around the surface mining plant. Post-mining quarrying activities have badly disturbed (sometimes completely removed) the surface dumps. Berry Consols Extended Deep Lead Gold Mine is now unique in that its still retains its various heaps, relatively untouched and in their original condition. This makes the site the best place in the State to appreciate, through the nature and magnitude of the heaps, the scale of the underground operations.
The Berry Consols Extended Deep Lead Gold Mine is scientifically important for its potential to yield artefacts and evidence which will be able to provide significant information about the technological history of gold mining.
BERRY CONSOLS EXTENDED DEEP LEAD GOLD MINE - Permit Exemptions
EXEMPTIONS FROM PERMITS:
(Classes of works or activities which may be undertaken without a permit under
Part 4 of the Heritage Act 1995)
No permits are required for the following classes of works provided they are
carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Conservation Plan For
Historic Mining Sites prepared by David Bannear in 1996.
* Mineral Exploration
* Fire suppression duties
* Timber production
* Weed and vermin control
* Public safety
No permits are required for the following classes of works in the event
portions of the land may used for agricultural purposes:
1. Grazing, cropping or other use of the land in accordance with a
professionally prepared conservation plan for the site, providing the plan has
been approved by Heritage Victoria.
2. Retaining access to the rest of the land
3. Normal land care maintenance, including weed, pest and soil erosion
controls, and removal of fallen trees where necessary.