Bannockburn Sluicings are a desert made by water, large scale water blasting for gold. The walk in the Bannockburn Sluicing historic reserve is 4 km and will take you around 2 hours on an easy track.
Visit the remains of the dams, water races, rock tailings and caves left untouched since the last of the gold miners. This spectacular man-made landscape that can be explored on foot or bike via various tracks. In 1862 Cromwell came alive when Gold was discovered in Baileys Gully.
In the map above, if you zoom in on the walk, you’ll see all the following track points and their location. Each point has photos along with a description about each one.
From Cromwell get onto the Bannockburn Road drive over the bridge at Lake Dunstan, 5.9 km. Take the first road on your left, Fenton Road 200m, then drive to the Bannockburn Sluicing Historic Reserve, 1900M. There is no toilet or water at the car park.
The start of the Bannockburn Sluicing Historic Reserve was to the left of the notice boards. Within minutes we came to a turnoff to the left, we turned right and headed to Stewart Town via Bailey Gully and onto the sluicing face where all the interesting info was. I thought is was the most interesting section of this walk. It would be a good idea to take a torch if you would like to have a walk around one of the tunnels.
The walk to Menzies Dam was ok, there was a very short hill climb back up the main terrace where you could look down to the valley and understand the size of the sluicing operation and see up close hundreds of grape vines growing away in the sun.
In 1868 John Menzies and David Stewart built the dam to sell water to the miners so they could use hydraulic sluicing. They made more money than the hard working gold miners.The Menzies Dam would freeze over in the winter so the miners would have a break from gold mining and try their hand at ice skating and curling.
Stewart Town was started by the two gold miners who become water men, John Menzies and David Stewart. From the old stone house you can see still standing how they ran their water business. The two men were very generous and helped out with the building of Stewart Town as much as they could. In 1883 David died of a heart attack and John fell to his death 1984 while walking home at night.
This is still there, walk over and have a look. He would have been a busy man repairing broken tools and mending leaky water pipes. The smithy would have made more money than the gold miners, just like John Menzies and David Stewart. From the smithy back to the car park will take you twenty minutes and it is down hill most of the way.
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