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They came seeking fortune and fame, most left penniless.
In May 1860 the Prospecting Board sent a party into the mountains, with Alfred William Howitt at its head and specific instructions to find a new goldfield and aid the flagging economy.
He commenced his journey at the Dargo Station and followed the river of the same name almost to its head.
Along the way he discovered evidence of miners already at work on the upper reaches. Sluice boxes, water races and several large log cabins indicated that substantial work had been done on the river. The miners it appeared had abandoned their work because of the onset of winter.
Although gold could be found in most places along the river, Howitt was not prepared to officially report it as a major find, he wanted something more substantial. He therefore changed valleys and commenced working his way up the Wonnangatta.
The party travelled up the Wonnangatta river and found the river branched again.
This he named the Crooked River, in disgust at travelling up it zig zag fashion for several days. Howitt's efforts were rewarded however at what he called Good Luck Creek where several pennyweight nuggets were discovered and in one days work £7/6/- of gold was washed.
Most of the party resigned to take up claims leaving Howitt to finish the work on his own. Within two months 450 men were at work there and by April 1861 seven hundred had reached the field.
The GippsIand Guardian wrote, ... the Crooked River is not only remunerative but paying much above the average returns for the old fields.'
Those who had equipment were doing well washing three or four ounces of gold per day - there was one report of Sixtyone ounces being washed from the corner of a creek in a few hours.
Like other fields the Crooked River had one outstanding mine - The Good Hope, it worked almost continuously from 1865 to 1915. The mine which consisted of four tunnels was located on Good Hope Spur four miles from Grant.
The initial crushing plant comprised a twelve head battery and was erected in September. In one- adit values ran as high as ten ounces to the ton and £2000 of gold was extracted from this tunnel in eight months. In 1868 seven and a half thousand ounces was won. The mine was worked by means of four adits on the Good Hope Creek side and in 1906 a fifth adit was commenced on the opposite side of the hill.
They hoped to come in under the number four adit and pick up the line of the reef Despite a long drive being put in the line of reef in the number four adit was never found.
Three companies worked the mine between 1906 and its closure in 1915 all with little success and spent in excess of £20,000.
Old timers still say they can remember climbing down a shaft and walking along a now flooded drive and seeing gold sparkling in the roof of the tunnel.
This information and more details available at:- (visit link)
This cache will take you to the 5th Adit - The New Good Hope Mine
Easiest access will involve 4wd'ing to the base of the walking track on the Crooked River.
For those with 2wd, access is available on McMillans road via a steep and little used walking track.Add another 1/2 star to the terrain rating.
The steam engine and stamper are still in place, waiting for the miners return,
Enjoy this historic area
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum