Sixteen members of the Batemans Bay Bushwalkers Club set off on a beautiful spring day last week to visit three historic gold and silver mines close to the township of Moruya.
Silver and gold was first reported in the area at Candoin Creek in 1839 however it was not made public for fear of sparking a gold rush.
However word did eventually get out in the 1860s and the first silver mine was opened.
This mine yielded not only silver but also gold to a lesser extent.
The ore was heavily impregnated with sulphides so it was sent overseas for both sale and processing.
In later years the ore was able to be treated at a smelter in South Australia and an unsuccessful attempt was even made to treat it locally in Moruya.
A concrete roaster was built but abandoned soon after, in 1914. This roaster was the first stop and it was amazing that it was still in a remarkably good condition, having stood there for just over a hundred years.
The group continued on to visit another mine site where a ten head stamper, various sheds and a miners cottage were all located in reasonably good condition.
Extensive mullock heaps and large holes reminded them of just what a thriving area it would have been in the day.
Following morning tea at the site, the walkers commenced a lovely track along Candoin Creek. Myrtle trees had shed their leaves which provided an attractive carpet to walk upon.
They then left the creek and followed a ridge where they arrived at the third mine site.
This site contained many artefacts and infrastructure from the mining era.
Of particular interest was a boiler that had been part of HMAS Sydney (WWI) which was decommissioned in 1928 and scrapped the following year.
After spending some time investigating the area it was time to head back down the ridge to the creek where a pretty lunch spot was waiting.
After lunch the group followed the creek where further diggings were spotted and then it was time to walk up a gully and back to the cars to complete an interesting day's walk.