Rivers of Gold

During the nineteenth century, the gold-mining industry deposited large quantities of soil in rivers across South Eastern Australia. This project uses industrial archaeology, geomorphology and environmental chemistry to find out what happened to the rivers as a result. How much soil was moved?  Where is it now on floodplains and in river beds?  How far downstream did it get?  Do the mine sediments contain contaminants that might be dangerous to people, plants and animals?

Increasing our understanding of the impact of mining on rivers in Victoria gives us a window into the long-term consequences of human activities and how they contribute to reshaping the Earth’s systems. It also leads to:

  • better management of catchments
  • more effective strategies to revegetate and control erosion
  • better information about implications for public health
  • improved management of Aboriginal cultural heritage.

The project work focuses on three Victorian river catchments:

  • Ovens River
  • Goulburn River
  • Loddon River.

Other stakeholders