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Harvesting water on a Victorian colonial goldfield

PETER DAVIES, SUSAN LAWRENCE and JODI TURNBULL
Australasian Historical Archaeology
Vol. 29 (2011), pp. 24-32
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23388975
Page Count: 9
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Harvesting water on a Victorian colonial goldfield
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Abstract

Water was vital to almost every aspect of gold mining in the colonial period, but many areas had limited access to reliable water supplies. Miners responded by building substantial reservoirs and lengthy races to capture, store and distribute water to mining claims. In this paper we present a case study of the archaeology of water management on the Creswick alluvial goldfield in central Victoria. During the 1850s and 1860s, miners at Creswick constructed numerous dams and several hundred kilometres of races, many of which are well preserved on the goldfield today. The remains indicate the ways in which miners came to terms with environmental limits and created landscapes of water management. The integration of archaeological evidence with a range of historical sources into a GIS system reveals the rapid development of water networks and the complex relationships between water users.

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