Riding around the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park, it’s hard to imagine the industry that went on here in the 1850s.
According to Victoria Parks’ notes on the park, a newcomer to the area during the rush described the countryside as looking like “a great cemetery in which all the graves had been opened and emptied of their contents”.
There’s still plenty of evidence of the gold rush that lured tens of thousands of migrants to seek their fortunes – mine shafts, water races, stamp battery ruins and huge piles mullock (waste rock).
But the bush has come back and the park is a very pleasant place to spend a few hours pedalling about and discovering its history.
And there may yet still be gold out there. At one point I rode over a bridge over a creek and down in the water were a couple of guys panning for gold.
I started the ride from Castlemaine, about a two-hour drive north from Melbourne and a great base for the ride.
This was the first trip out for my new GoPro too, after the disaster with my old one while kayaking at Pittwater.
The vision looks good on my computer but doesn’t appear to have uploaded well to YouTube. If anyone’s got any tips for improving the appearance of video, I’d welcome it.