Hustlers Reef Gold Miners Heritage Walk

22 Niemann Street, Bendigo VIC 3550, Australia

Hustlers Reef Gold Miners Heritage Walk

22 Niemann Street, Bendigo VIC 3550, Australia

Staff Pick
19 m
1.25 km
Easy

Renewed as a living memorial, you can walk your dog off-leash & learn from 6 new signs that tell the story of the site from the 1850s, including the community restoration campaign.

Hustlers Reef Gold Miners Heritage Walk

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Summary

Renewed as a living memorial, you can walk your dog off-leash & learn from 6 new signs that tell the story of the site from the 1850s, including the community restoration campaign.

Description

A relatively easy walk to enjoy the views, local wildlife and the visible remnants of Bendigo’s gold mining history.

Start your walk from the corner of Milroy Street and Hustler Road, heading north up Hustlers Road to enter the reserve from the west side. As you approach from this aspect you’ll get the full effect of the large stone memorial installed by the Friends of Hustler's Reef Reserve.

The site features 3 memorials, 2 stone and 1 living. There are seven granite slabs for the men killed in an explosion in 1914, with an explanatory plaque. Another commemorates the 100s of women who lost their husbands on the Bendigo Goldfields. The ongoing re-vegetation of the site acts as a living memorial to the 900 underground miners killed by accidents during Bendigo's underground gold mining era.
The reserve is named after Thomas Hustler, an ex-convict who established a mine on the site. It closed in 1921, but there are still 20 kilometres of underground workings below the surface.

In total, 2000 people have died on these goldfields in mining-related accidents, the last as recently as 2001. 1000s of others were injured and unable to earn a living. As you walk through this site, take a moment to consider their stories in more detail.

GREAT EXTENDED HUSTLERS MINE DISASTER:
Late at night on Saturday May 2nd, 1914 an explosion on the 13th level - 1053 feet underground (or 321 metres) - killed every man working on that level and injured men working in the levels below. The description in Monday’s paper was graphic.

“The sight of the seven bodies at the morgue was ghastly. They were still in their working clothes, or rather, what had not been blown away by the explosion; still begrimed by the black dust that adhered to them during their work where the flesh had not been reddened by blood." (Bendigo Advertiser, 4 May 1914.)

At the time of the disaster, there was no compensation scheme for injured or killed workers, so that the families of the killed men and those men who suffered lifelong illnesses were left with no means of support.

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Points of Interest

1. Remains of Great Extended Hustler's Reef Goldmine - machinery foundations.

The mine opened in 1865 and closed in 1921. It was a kilometre deep and extended 3kms outwards beneath Bendigo. The remains are the foundations of mining machinery including stamping batteries.

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2. Memorial to the 7 men killed on 2nd May 1914.

In May 2008 the Friends of Hustlers Reef dedicated this memorial to the men who died in 1914.

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3. Box Iron Bark Living Memorial Revegetation.

The Friends of Hustler's Reserve continue to work to clear invasive weeds and re-vegetate the area with local indigenous plants, reinforcing eroded paths by using existing materials.

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4. Remains of Great Extended Hustler's Reef Gold Mine.

It's been significantly cleaned up since this 2013 photo but is a good example of the remains of Bendigo's mining heritage that can be seen throughout the town.

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5. Gentle rise

Light scrub covers most of the mounds of tailings and mullock throughout the area, providing shelter for a variety of native birds. The Bendigo Bird Guide is linked below.

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6. Memorial to Goldfield Widows.

Situated at the Eastern end of the Reserve is the memorial for the 100’s of widows whose husbands died in mining accidents or from miners phthisis (silicosis).

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7. Boundry Arms Hotel.

An excellent local pub with a good selection of beers and modern menu, as well as an extensive display of old photographs rom Bendigo's mining heydays.

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8. Explore further for beautiful homes & views

Extend your walk out of the Reserve to follow the curve of Moore St, and see beautiful old homes and clear views of Bendigo. If you're able, head into town to climb the Poppet Head in Rosalind Park.

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9. Crash site of paper plane

Someone crashed a huge iron paper plane into their front yard! The sculpture is a local novelty. No photo out of interest for the homeowner's privacy but I do recommend a look - kids will love it!

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10. Remember - Frederick James Chinn.

Born in Bendigo in 1888 he was the eighth child of Annie Yates and James Chinn. Frederick was 26 years old and unmarried. He was buried at Kangaroo Flat Cemetery and his headstone can still be viewed.

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11. Remember - William Ryan.

Also 26 and unmarried he left behind his parents John and Jessie.

12. Remember - William Crowther Blair.

The oldest of those killed in the blast. Born in Ballarat he was forty years old when the explosion widowed his wife Catherine and three children.

13. Remember - Matthew George Forster.

At 28 Matthew left behind his wife Maud with two children. Although she remarried two years later and moved to Collingwood, she eventually returned to Bendigo to be buried with Matthew.

14. Remember - Herbert John Thomas.

At 30 Herbert was 8 years younger than his father John when he was also killed in an explosion at Hustler's. Herbert was 15 & had 4 siblings.His wife Ethel was left with 3 children when he died.

15. Remember - Leslie Duncan Martin.

Leslie was 23 and the youngest of those killed. He was buried with his older brother Murdock who had been killed nine years earlier aged just 18 at the Clarence United Mine.

16. Remember - John Henry Campbell.

The explosion left 31 year old John's wife widowed with two children and after his death, she delivered their daughter Ida. Margaret went on to bury Ida with John just five years later.


Features

Seating available Seating available
Dog off-leash area Dog off-leash area
Historical interest Historical interest
Local treasures Local treasures
Art and culture Art and culture
Nature trail Nature trail
Park / Garden Park / Garden