Central Victorian Goldfields

Fourteen Ounces | Jessie Boylan | 2013

The discovery of gold in the Victorian Goldfields attracted an unprecedented population and caused an enormous housing and economic boom in the region, but since the end of the Australian gold rush the Central Victorian Goldfields have been virtually silent for half a century. What’s left are hundreds, if not thousands, of disused mine sites, ghost towns and multiple scars on the landscape that tell a story of colonial Australia and its destiny.

Fourteen Ounces traces the contours of the Central Victorian Goldfields and records the social, economic and environmental legacies of the minerals boom in Victoria.

Starting with the discovery of the first saleable quantity of gold, fourteen ounces, by James Esmond in Clunes in 1851, this work looks not only at major sites relevant to the gold rush days, but smaller sites, now overgrown in forests, acting as if they have always been there, and larger sites that are now sheep and cattle grazing fields, melding with the contemporary landscape that remains.

[This photographic series was supported by the Mining Legacies Project through the Mineral Policy Institute. It is just the beginning of a long exploration of the social and environmental legacies of the mines of the Central Victorian Goldfields. The exhibition was first shown at the Colour Factory Gallery in Fitzroy, Victoria, in July 2013.]