Elaine

From Hotels of Ballarat

Elaine is a small community about 28kms south east of Ballarat

Background[edit | edit source]

In the 1850s the area was known as Stony Rises.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

The first post office opened in 1859 and the railway arrived in 1862.

In 1889 the Geelong Advertiser included this report on the history of Elaine:

ELAINE. (FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT) Friday. Although Elaine as a mining centre has, like many other old gold fields of the past after yielding large and small fortunes to the pioneers, become low enough to be classed as a worked out diggings, it still shows evidence of vitality. Like its prototype Steiglitz, which is once more exhibiting energetic action, Elaine is again beginning to make progress. Several claims have been marked out, and application for leases made. Notwithstanding the enormous amount of gold extracted from a very limited area, not one half of the auriferous country has yet been prospected. Unfortunately the majority of the old hands left on the field are not blessed with sufficient means to explore the reefs, which are known to exist from Mount Doran downwards. Outside capitalists are probably deterred from risking their money in a locality, which has been operated upon by the diamond drill, without finding payable ground. But in putting down one bore of about 3 inches in diameter, on about 10,000 acres of golden country, it can easily be understood that the chances of finding gold was very problematical. From the configuration of the country, its geological formation, its position almost in a straight south line from the famous Learmonth-Egerton country, it cannot fail in the near future to become as lively a locality as it was during the old "Post Office" and "Minerva" days. It was only by a mere accident that the field was discovered, some navvies working on the Geelong and Ballarat railway - "old diggers most probably," liking the appearance of the country, tried the surface with the result of gold ranging from dwts to 56 ounces being obtained. Only alluvial was thought of in those days, but by and bye the Post Office reef was opened up with splendid results, others followed up with more or less profit ; the discovery of the "Minerva" was the result of a pure accident. An old Dolley's Creek miner, the late Mr Alex. Millan was returning home after a day's fossicking, when he was attracted by the promising appearance of the wash dirt and quartz thrown out of a shallow hole not more than three feet deep. He took a parcel home and crushed in a mortar, the result being satisfactory, he together with Mr August Hoelscher took up a claim, and within a weeks time came upon the great "Minerva" which in later days yielded over £50,000 worth of gold. Mr Hoelscher retained his half of the claim all through, but Mr Millan disposed of half of his interest for a mere song, the purchasers being Mr T. Davies, still of Elaine; and J. Watts, who took his money home and invested it in real property in his native city of Glasgow, where he is now enjoying the fruits of his "mascot." Many other "piles" of different dimension were accumulated in those days. Even now there is a claim working which has given something over £5000 to the easy going brothers, who spend their spare time in developing its hidden treasures. There does not appear to be any reason why these instances should not be repeated over and over again. Fortunately the mining community have been successful in keeping the ground for them selves, although attacks innumerable, under all sections of all Land Acts, since 1865, have been made on the surface in the way of selections. The whole field is now proclaimed a state forest, a portion of it permanently reserved, so that for all time it will be available to the miner. A fairer field for research does not exist within the colony of Victoria, and if it had only been a "thousand miles away" it would have been all turned over before now. In the meantime many families are making an excellent livelihood by the fire-wood industry. Thousands of tons are being sent from the Elaine station monthly to Ballarat, Geelong, and Lara, the latter neighborhood absorbing a very large amount of billets for lime burning purposes. The making of the line from Lara to Ballan by way of the Anakies, if it ever is made, will relieve the Elaine station of the greater portion of the traffic.[2]

Elaine was described in October 1873, when the original gold rush had passed:

After this the district, like Rip Van Winkle, went to sleep a few years, woke up slightly when 2 oz to the ton was crushed from the Barb, but never was really lively again until the old reef claims began to yield the fruit of renewed energy. This in the shape of Mr A. Hoelscher, who is deserving of great credit for the resuscitation of the old ground from utter oblivion or absorption under the 42nd section, which, so far as mining is concerned, means precisely the same thing, The first fruits of the labor which was paid for by that gentleman was the discovery of the payable nature of what is now known as the Post Office Reef, situated immediately behind Mr Montgomery's establishment. Starting from this northward, there are no less then five whims now in full work. These give a sort of status to the township, which otherwise consists of Mr Hoelscher's public house and store and the Post Office, which latter ls not by any means the most creditable public office in Victoria. There is certainly a melancholy-looking dam, and a few dilapidated looking huts in the distance but, speaking generally, the township is not cheerful to a stranger.[3]

Hotels in Elaine[edit | edit source]

List of hotels[edit | edit source]

People[edit | edit source]

Lists of people[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1873 'ELAINE.', Leader (Melbourne, Vic. : 1862 - 1918), 3 May, p. 21. , viewed 19 Dec 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article197928883
  2. 1889 'ELAINE.', Geelong Advertiser (Vic. : 1859 - 1929), 14 September, p. 2. (Supplement to The Geelong Advertiser), viewed 18 Dec 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article150622794
  3. 1872 'ELAINE', The Ballarat Courier (Vic. : 1869 - 1880; 1914 - 1918), 3 October, p. 3. , viewed 18 Dec 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article191569387

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]