Advertisement

The Archaeology of Water on the Victorian Goldfields

  • Susan Lawrence
  • Peter Davies
  • Jodi Turnbull
Article
  • 281 Downloads

Abstract

Water played a crucial role in gold mining in the Australian colony of Victoria during the nineteenth century. Recent archaeological research has identified extensive surviving evidence of water supply networks, industrial applications of water and downstream pollution. The integration of this physical evidence with Google Earth, LiDAR imagery and historical maps in GIS reveals how the use of water in mining continues to shape modern landscapes.

Keywords

Gold mining Landscape Industrial archaeology Water Anthropocene 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This paper was prepared as part of a larger project funded by the Australian Research Council, ‘Cultural Landscapes of Colonial Water Management in Victoria’s Central Highlands’ (DP11010437), conducted in the Department of Archaeology and History at La Trobe University. We are grateful to individuals and organisations who have supported our research including Don Henderson (Shire of Hepburn); Kevin Tolhurst, Leon Bren and Ian Rutherfurd (University of Melbourne); Public Records Office Victoria and Heritage Victoria.

References

  1. Alpers, C., Hunerlach, M., May, J. and Hothem, J. (2005). Mercury Contamination from Historical Gold Mining in California. Publications of the US Geological Survey, Paper 61.Google Scholar
  2. Barca, S. (2010). Enclosing Water: Nature and Political Economy in a Mediterranean Valley, 1796–1916, The White Horse Press, Knapwell.Google Scholar
  3. Bell, P. (1987). Gold, Iron and Steam: The Industrial Archaeology of the Palmer Goldfield, James Cook University, Townsville.Google Scholar
  4. Bland, R. H. (1890). History of the Port Phillip and Colonial Gold Mining Company, in connection with the Clunes Mine, F.W. Niven & Co, Ballarat.Google Scholar
  5. Board (1909). Report of the Sludge Abatement Board for 1908, Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  6. Bowie, A. J. (1905). A Practical Treatise on Hydraulic Mining in California, Van Nostrand, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Bradfield, A. H. (1937). Work Journals of Arthur H. Bradfield 1934–1937, Manuscript in the possession of Jeannie Lister, Castlemaine.Google Scholar
  8. Branch, N., Canti, M., Clark, P., and Turney, C. (2014). Environmental Archaeology: Theoretical and Practical Approaches, Arnold, London.Google Scholar
  9. Branton, N. (2009). Landscape approaches in historical archaeology: The archaeology of places. In Majewski, T., and Gaimster, D. (eds.), International Handbook of Historical Archaeology, Springer, New York, pp. 51–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carpenter, L. (2012). A 35-year endeavour: Bendigo’s Rise and Shine sluicing syndicate. Australasian Historical Archaeology 30: 5–13.Google Scholar
  11. Cathcart, M. (2009). The Water Dreamers: The Remarkable History of Our Dry Continent, Text, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  12. Commission, 1860–61, Beechworth Water Rights. Report of the Commission Appointed to Enquire into the Subject of Water Rights in the Beechworth District. Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  13. Council, L. C. (1989). Rivers and Stream Special Investigation, Land Conservation Council, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  14. Dasmann, R. F. (1999). Environmental changes before and after the gold rush. In Rawls, J. J., and Orsi, R. J. (eds.), A Golden State: Mining and Economic Development in Gold Rush California, University of California Press, Berkeley, pp. 106–121.Google Scholar
  15. Davey, C. (1996). The origins of Victorian mining technology, 1851–1900. The Artefact 19: 52–62.Google Scholar
  16. Davies, H. C. (2008). The Archaeology of Water, The History Press, Stroud.Google Scholar
  17. Davies, P., and Lawrence, S. (2013). The Garfield Water Wheel: Hydraulic power on the Victorian goldfields. Australasian Historical Archaeology 31: 25–32.Google Scholar
  18. Davies, P., and Lawrence, S. (2014). A ‘mere thread of land’: Water races, gold mining and water law in colonial Victoria’. Journal of Australian Colonial History 16: 165–184.Google Scholar
  19. Davies, P., Lawrence, S., and Turnbull, J. (2011). Harvesting Water on a Victorian colonial goldfield’. Australasian Historical Archaeology 29: 24–32.Google Scholar
  20. Davies, P., Lawrence, S. and Turnbull, J. (2015). Historical maps, geographical information systems (GIS) and complex mining landscapes on the Victorian goldfields. Provenance 2015. http://prov.vic.gov.au/publications/provenance/provenance2015/.
  21. Deagan, K. (2008). Environmental and historical archaeology. In Reitz, E., Scarry, C. M., and Scudder, S. (eds.), Case Studies in Environmental Archaeology, Springer, New York, pp. 21–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dingle, T., and Doyle, H. (2003). Yan Yean: A history of Melbourne’s Early Water Supply, Public Record Office Victoria, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  23. Edgeworth, M. (2011). Fluid Pasts: Archaeology of Flow, Bloomsbury, London.Google Scholar
  24. Fagan, B. (2011). Elixir: A History of Water and Mankind, Bloomsbury, New York.Google Scholar
  25. Felton, D., Porter, B., and Hines, P. (1979). Survey of Cultural Resources at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, California Department of Parks and Recreation, Sacramento.Google Scholar
  26. Garden, D. (2005). Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific: An Environmental History, ABC-Clio, Santa Barbara.Google Scholar
  27. Getzler, J. (2004). A History of Water Rights at Common Law, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  28. Gosden, C., and Head, L. (1994). Landscape – A usefully ambiguous concept. Archaeology in Oceania 29: 113–116.Google Scholar
  29. Greenland, P. (2001). Hydraulic Mining in California: A Tarnished Legacy, The Arthur H. Clark Company, Spokane.Google Scholar
  30. Hardesty, D. (1988). The Archaeology of Mining and Miners: A View From the Silver State. Special Publication No.6, Society for Historical Archaeology.Google Scholar
  31. Hardesty, D. (2009). Historical archaeology and the environment: A North American perspective. In Majewski, T., and Gaimster, D. (eds.), International Handbook of Historical Archaeology, Springer, New York, pp. 67–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hodge, A. T. (2002). Roman Aqueducts and Water Supply, Bloomsbury Publishing, London.Google Scholar
  33. Isenberg, A. (2005). Mining California: An Ecological History, Hill and Wang, New York.Google Scholar
  34. James, L. A. (1989). Sustained storage and transport of hydraulic gold mining sediment in the Bear River, California. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 79(4): 570–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kanazawa, M. T. (1998). Efficiency in Western Law: The development of the California Doctrine, 1850–1911. Journal of Legal Studies 27(1): 159–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kelly, R., and Kelly, M. (1983). Arrastras: Unique Western historic milling sites. Historical Archaeology 17(1): 85–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Knapp, B., Pigott, V., and Herbert, E. (1998). Social Approaches to an Industrial Past: The Archaeology and Anthropology of Mining, Routledge, London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Lawrence, S. (2000). Dolly’s Creek: An Archaeology of a Victorian Goldfields Community, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  39. Lawrence, S., and Davies, P. (2014). The Sludge question: The regulation of mine tailings in Nineteenth-Century Victoria. Environment and History 20: 385–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lawrence, S., and Davies, P. (2015). Cornish tin-streamers and the Australian gold rush: Technology transfer in alluvial mining. Post-Medieval Archaeology 49(1): 99–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lawrence, S. and Davies, P. (in press). The archaeology of Anthropocene Rivers: Water management and landscape change in Gold Rush Australia. Antiquity in press.Google Scholar
  42. Lloyd, B. (2006). Gold in the North-East: A history of mining for gold in the old Beechworth Mining District of Victoria, Histec Publications, Hampton East.Google Scholar
  43. Macklin, M. G., Lewin, J., and Jones, A. F. (2014). Anthropogenic alluvium: An evidence-based meta-analysis for the UK Holocene. Anthropocene 6: 26–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. May, P. R. (1970). Origins of Hydraulic Mining in California, Holmes Book Company, Oakland.Google Scholar
  45. Morse, K. T. (2003). The Nature of Gold: An Environmental History of the Klondike Gold Rush, University of Washington Press, Seattle.Google Scholar
  46. Mrozowski, S. (2006). Environments of history. In Hall, M., and Silliman, S. (eds.), Historical Archaeology, Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 23–41.Google Scholar
  47. Nathan, E. (2007). Lost Waters: A History of a Troubled Catchment, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  48. O’Gorman, E. (2012). Flood Country: An Environmental History of the Murray-Darling Basin, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  49. Office of Mines (1884). Mineral Statistics of Victoria for the Year 1884, Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  50. Ortloff, C. R. (2009). Water Engineering in the Ancient World, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  51. Petchey, P. (2014). The archaeological interpretation of the New Zealand stamp mill. Australasian Historical Archaeology 32: 3–13.Google Scholar
  52. Peterson, L. (1996). Reading the Landscape: Documentation and Analysis of a Relict Feature of Land Degradation in the Bendigo District, Victoria, Monash Publications in Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  53. Phillips, G.N., Hughes, M.J., Arne, D.C., Bierlein, F.P., Carey, S.P., Jackson, T. and Willman, C.E. (2003). Gold: Historical wealth, future potential. In Birch, W.D. (ed.), Geology of Victoria, Geological Society of Australia Special Publication 23, Geological Society of Australia (Victoria Division), pp. 377–433.Google Scholar
  54. Powell, J. M. (1989). Watering the Garden State: Water, land and community in Victoria 1834–1988, Allen & Unwin, Sydney.Google Scholar
  55. Rockman, M. (2003). Knowledge and learning in the archaeology of colonization. In Rockman, M., and Steele, J. (eds.), Colonization of Unfamiliar Landscapes: The Archaeology of Adaptation, Routledge, London, pp. 3–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rohe, R. (1983). Man as geomorphic agent: Hydraulic mining in the American West. Pacific History 27: 5–16.Google Scholar
  57. Rohe, R. (1985). Hydraulicking in the American West: The development and diffusion of a mining technique. Montana: The Magazine of Western History (Spring 1985): 18–35.Google Scholar
  58. Royal Commission (1859). Report of the Royal Commission Appointed to Enquire into the Best Method of Removing the Sludge from the Gold Fields, Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  59. Royal Commission (1885). Royal Commission on Water Supply. Further Progress Report, Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  60. Russell, G. (2009). Water for Gold! The Fight to Quench Central Victoria’s Goldfields, Australian Scholarly, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  61. Secretary for Mines (1910). Annual Report of the Secretary for Mines for the Year 1909, Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  62. Seddon, G. (1994). Searching for the Snowy: An Environmental History, Allen & Unwin, Sydney.Google Scholar
  63. Select Committee (1864–65). Report from the Select Committee on Castlemaine and Sandhurst Water Supply. Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  64. Sinclair, P. (2001). The Murray: A River and its People, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  65. Smyth, R. B. (1980). The Gold Fields and Mineral Districts of Victoria, Facsimile of 1869th ed, Queensberry Hill Press, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  66. Spude, C.H., Mills, R.O. and Sprague, R. (2011). Eldorado! The Archaeology of Gold Mining in the Far North. University of Nebraska Press and the Society for Historical Archaeology.Google Scholar
  67. Strang, V. (2004). The Meaning of Water, Berg, Oxford.Google Scholar
  68. Strang, V. (2015). Water: Nature and Culture, Reaktion Books, London.Google Scholar
  69. Surveyor, M. (1865). Reports of the Mining Surveyors and Registrars, Quarter ending 31st December 1865, Parliament of Victoria, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  70. Teisch, J. B. (2011). Engineering Nature: Water, Development, & the Global Spread of American Environmental Expertise, The University of North Caroline Press, Chapel Hill.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Thorndycraft, V., Pirrie, D., and Brown, A. G. (2003). An environmental approach to the archaeology of tin mining on Dartmoor. In Murphy, P., and Wiltshire, P. (eds.), Environmental Archaeology of Industry, Oxford, Oxbow, pp. 19–29.Google Scholar
  72. Tracey, M. M. (1997). No Water – No Gold: Hydrological technology in nineteenth century gold mining – an archaeological examination. In Kerr, R., and Tracey, M. M. (eds.), The Australian Historical Mining Association Conference Proceedings 1996, Home Planet Design and Publishing, Canberra, pp. 1–11.Google Scholar
  73. Tvedt, T. (2014). A Journey in the Future of Water, I.B. Tauris, London.Google Scholar
  74. Van Beuren, T. (2004). The ‘Poor Man’s Mill’: A rich vernacular legacy. IA: The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archaeology 30(2): 5–24.Google Scholar
  75. White, R. (1995). The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River, Hill and Wang, New York.Google Scholar
  76. White, P. J. (2003). Heads, tails, and decisions in-between: The archaeology of mining wastes. IA: The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archaeology 29(2): 47–66.Google Scholar
  77. Wilson, E. B. (1907). Hydraulic and Placer Mining, 2nd ed, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  78. Woodland, J. (2001). Sixteen Tons of Clunes Gold: A History of the Port Phillip and Colonial Gold Mining Company, Clunes Museum, Clunes.Google Scholar
  79. Woods, C. (1985). Beechworth: A Titan’s Field, Hargreen Publishing Company, Melbourne.Google Scholar
  80. Worster, D. (1985). Rivers of Empire: Water, Aridity & the Growth of the American West, Pantheon, New York.Google Scholar
  81. Wynn, G. (1979). Life on the goldfields of Victoria: Fifteen letters. Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society 64(4): 258–268.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Archaeology and HistoryLa Trobe UniversityBundooraAustralia

Personalised recommendations