Gulgong’s latest icon is the Gulgong Gold Experience at Red Hill which was opened in June 2016.
Construction commenced on the shaft in 2015 after the committee received a grant for $400,000 from the Cobbora Transition Fund which was matched and continued by the Mid-Western Regional Council.
The site of the mine is where Thomas Saunders first found gold in April 1870. The visual displays and exhibits takes you back to that time.
The volume of the pyramid at the front of the entrance represents the amount of gold extracted from the Gulgong Goldfields. 1870-1875 12,240Kg. 1875-1940 3,499Kg valued at $943,848,500 in 2016.
On 2 April 1870, Tom Saunders discovered gold on Red Hill and so began what has often been referred to as, ‘the last of the poor man’s gold rushes’.
By June of that year 500 people were on the Gulgong gold fields and by 1872, when the first official census was taken, it was estimated that the population of Gulgong and its satellite villages was approximately 20 000.
Gulgong was gazetted as a goldfield in 1866 with small finds, but when Tom Saunders, one of Richard Rouse’s shepherds, discovered gold at Red Hill (now an education centre in the town) the Gulgong Gold Rush began.
Five Hundred miners flocked to the town in six weeks and by 1872 there were 20,000.
The town became a municipality in 1876. But by 1881, the rush was over and the population was down to 1212 and the economy based on wheat and wool.
Although the town began to dwindle as the rush went further afield, much of what the people left behind still stands, and the town has been classified by the National Trust since 1975.
Golden Experience: The Gulgong Gold Experience is opened seven days a week from 1pm to 3pm.
On entry, visitors are given an insight into life on the gold fields with the enlarged Holtermann photograph of a puddling scene, along with an original dray.
The underground theme is carried on through the replica underground mining tunnel which is tunnelled into the back wall with interesting features to explore and stories to be told.
For those who are a little more adventurous, panning activities are available. As gold is far too difficult to find we have two mixes, a gem mix and a gold souvenir mix which costs $5 per bag including pan hire.
Visitors who purchase one of these bags are guaranteed to find something special.
Once you have learned the art of panning you will be capable of panning in areas where you are more likely to find gold. So come along and have some fun swirling and washing. Gulgong Gold Experience is located on Red Hill Mining Precinct. Visit www.gulgonggold.com.au.