Mafeking

Just beyond the Jimmy Creek Picnic Area, on the other side of the road, the unsealed Jimmy Creek Rd turns off to the left. It leads to Mafeking.

Some small sawmilling companies worked this area for timber in the 19th century but the area is of interest today because of a short-lived goldrush which occurred in 1900. The landscape was devastated by the goldminers who removed the wattle, tea-tree and bracken fern in the search for gold. The stringybark forests were lopped to supply bark and timber for miner’s huts, mining stays and fuel. Some old trees remain, along with fern gullies and regenerating forest.

There is an attractive picnic area, a campground and an information board but this area is definitely unsuitable for children as there are a number of dangerous mineshafts.

Brownings Walk (one hour return) takes in some remaining historic features. A pamphlet is available from the Grampians National Park Visitors’ Centre at Halls Gap. It identifies various features of the walk, including an old-growth stringybark, a regenerated gully, the site of the first claim, tail races, old shafts, a dam embankment used for water storage and open-cut minesites which were worked by means of hydraulic sluicing. A jet of water was directed onto the face of a cutting to dislodge material. The earth was then shovelled into a contraption known as a ‘Tom’ which consisted of two boxes laid atop one another. Water was directed into the upper box where a grate trapped the coarser gravels, stones and rocks while the finer particles of gravel, sand and gold fell through to the second box. There a series of bars or ripples at the bottom of the box helped trap fine gold particles while the water and lighter material ran off as overflow.

South of this point there are a number of attractions associated with the Grampians Tourist Road and Victoria Valley Road (which branches off the Grampians Tourist Road).

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