Water races (and a French woman) determined whether a miner won gold or not
Impounded in the Crown Dam, the trapped river water served as a reservoir to maintain supply to water races for individual gold miners and later to drive company water wheels for quartz crushing machines at nearby Simmons Reef. When the Blackwood ‘rush’ peaked in the spring of 1855, there were some 13,000 diggers seeking gold along the course of the Lerderderg River and the streams feeding steeply into it. The inaccessibility of the V-shaped valley resulted in small teams of miners dominating during the 1850s.
- Margot Hitchcock, Some History of Simmons Reef, Blackwood, Morning Star Press (2007).
- Margot Hitchcock, ‘Pioneer – Pauline Bonfond,’ Blackwood Publishing web page (2013).
- Robyn Annear, Nothing but Gold: The Diggers of 1852, Text (1999).
- John Sherer, The Gold-Finder of Australia, Clarke, Beeton & Co. (1853).