Frequently Asked Questions
How did the name Warrandyte originate?
It has long been thought that ‘Warrandyte’ could be translated as ‘that which is thrown’. The Wurundji dreamtime story: how Bunjil, the Great Eagle, the all-powerful, ever-watchful creator of the world, had once gazed down upon his people from the Star Altair and seen their wrong-doing. Awaiting their return, with a mighty crash of thunder, he hurled down a star to destroy them. Where star struck created the (Warrandyte) gorge we see today. Bunjil’s people always remembered the spot. They called it Warrandyte, the place where Bunjil had hurled down the Star to punish his people.
Source: Warrandyte Diary.
Was Warrandyte always known by that name?
Warrandyte was called Anderson’s Creek after James Anderson who in 1839 had a cattle and sheep station in the area where the creek, that still bears his name, meets the Yarra River.
The name Warrandyte was first employed in 1841 when surveyor T. H. Nutt named the district from Anderson’s Creek to Croydon as “Parish of Warrandyte, County of Bourke”.
In 1856 the township itself was laid out and named “Township of Warrandyte, County of Evelyn”. However, the name was not formalised until 1908.
Between 1841 and 1908 both names, Anderson’s Creek and Warrandyte were used to the confusion of many. This confusion was enhanced when the Lilydale railway line was opened in 1882 and the station at Croydon was called Warrandyte Railway Station until 1884, when it was renamed Croydon.
When was gold discovered in Warrandyte?
The first recorded official discovery of gold in Victoria was at Warrandyte together with one in the Pyrenees, both declared on July 16, 1851.
The Warrandyte discovery was made by Louis Michel and his team. A cairn has been erected at the spot in Anderson’s Creek and the locality was named The Victorian Goldfield in honour of the new colony of Victoria which had been inaugurated on July 1, 1851.
Earlier discoveries in Warrandyte said to have been made from as early as 1841 but were not reported.
What is the history of gold mining in Warrandyte?
Alluvial gold, discovered in the gullies in July 1851, was almost depleted by the end of that year. The search was revived in 1854 when prospecting began in the Yarra River and tributary creeks. This resulted in the diversion of the river at Thompsons Bend (The Island) in 1859 and through the Pound Bend tunnel in 1870. Quartz mining commenced in 1852 by small partnerships of two to three people who sank shafts up to 30 metres deep. Later, companies were formed, and they used heavy crushing machinery to get gold out of the quartz. The largest of these was the Caledonia Consolidated Gold Mining Company (no liability) that, from 1904 to 1908 employed as many as 250 men to recover 2600 ounces of gold. The main shaft of this mine was sunk to a depth of 187 metres and the mine was worked on 6 different levels. It closed in 1913.
The Pound Bend Tunnel
On February 8 1870, a public company named the Evelyn Tunnel Mining Company was formed. The object was to create a tunnel through the narrow section where the Yarra River turns back on itself and divert the river through it. This left five kilometres of river bed which could be mined for alluvial gold. The tunnel took three and a half months to build. It is 196 metres long, six metres wide and four metres deep. The company encountered many problems, including having to remove up to 14 metres of silt prior to sluicing. The returns approximated the costs involved and as a result the company never paid a dividend and was wound up in September 1872.