|The rugged landscape of the Strathbogie State Forest offers a variety of recreational
opportunities including bushwalking, horse riding, trail bike riding and 4WDriving. It has an interesting heritage associated with the mining of gold, particularly alluvial mining and early Chinese settlement. Walking amongst the giant boulders at Lima East, taking in the view from Rocky Ned and camping under the stars at James Reserve are highlights of a visit to this area.
History of mining
Gold was first found at Hells Hole Creek in 1851. This was shortly after gold had been discovered in Victoria for the first time.
During the gold rush in 1860, alluvial mining occurred in the bed and banks of Hells Hole Creek as well as Glen, Dry, Tallangallook and Brankeet Creeks. The rush lasted only for a short time with the area all but deserted by the end of 1861, many of the miners headed for Jamieson.
The Dry Creek Sluicing Company was set up in 1860. This company was instrumental in providing the water required for alluvial mining in this area. In the late 1860’s and early 1870’s, sluicers returned to the area. At its peak, production of alluvial gold was reportedly around 6,000 – 7,000 oz per annum.
Dry Creek was thriving during the early 1870’s, and had a store, school, post office, hotels, gambling houses, soap factory, bakery and a population of mostly Chinese miners. Gold production diminished towards the turn of the century and only small operations continued. Hydraulic sluicing and bucket dredging continued on the lower Dry, Tallangallook and Glen Creeks until the 1930’s.
Quartz crystal has also been mined in the Strathbogies and two crystal mines are still operational within the forest. The crystal is used for piezo-electric applications including radio transmitters. The largest hand cut crystal in the world, the 1.7kg ‘Crystal King’ was mined in the Strathbogies. Visitors are not permitted at or around the crystal mines.
Places to visit
Note: Take care when exploring these areas as mine shafts and adits can be obscured by vegetation.
Wild Dog Rocks
This large and impressive rock outcrop is well worth exploring. Access is along a short 4WD track off Ferraris Road. Picnic facilities are provided.
Located on North Creek, the campsite sits amongst the tall gums in the southern part of the forest surrounded by remarkable boulder formations. Whilst enjoying your stay, explore the lower rocky reaches of the picturesque North Creek.
Tallangallook – Dry Creek Historic Area
The main goldfields along Hells Hole and Tallangallook Creeks are within the Historic Area. The Tallangallook Mine Picnic Area is a good base for exploring. You may discover old batteries and evidence of the alluvial mining in the form of heaps, shafts and chasms – please take care.
This sluice hole lies at the head of Hells Hole Creek, part of the Dry Creek Goldfield. It’s existance was first documented in 1912. Picnic facilities and information signs make this a pleasant roadside lunch stop.
Situated on the Moonee Moonee Creek, this pretty site provides an excellent location for a picnic (no camping). A short but steep walking track rewards walkers with spectacular granite boulder formations.
James Reserve is a large, scenic camping site on the banks of Moonee Moonee Creek. Access to this popular destination is via Lima East Road.
Rocky Ned Walking Track
Return 1.7 km (1 hour)
Gentle hills, formed track, some obstacles
No experience required
Rocky Ned Walk is accessed via Police Track or Goodes Track. The walking track starts on the boundary of the pine plantation and the state forest. It is a short pleasant walk through open woodland with fantastic views provided from the rocky ledge at the top.
Lima Falls Walking Track
Return 1.2 km (1 hour)
Short steep hills, formed track, some obstacles
No experience required
Access to the walking track is through the pine plantation, follow the road signs. A short, steep but pleasant walk from the carpark takes you to the Lima Falls, a small, pretty
waterfall on White Gum Gully Creek.