Southern Cross Mine Davenport Village Mt Hotham.
Immediately below the Eiger ski club, in full view of many of the surrounding lodges including Arrabri Ski Club, is the remains of the Southern Cross mine. It was established around 1890 by the Grimsley brothers from Harrietville. They had earlier tried their luck with the Baldy mine, on the Loch side of the Mt Hotham summit.
Whilst the brothers soon sold it, mining continued through till the 1930’s. The mine had 2 adits or entrances, with shafts running deep under the Eiger Ski Club. Just below the Eiger is a ventilation shaft, now covered by steel mesh. The adits further down the hill remain open.
Near the entry to the lower adit and it’s mullock heap was a small 4 head battery, used to crush rock and extract the gold. It appears to have been erected and used in the pre-WW2 years and was removed around 1941. It was driven by an early 1920s 4-cylinder petrol engine, the sump and part of the chassis still remain. Remnants of tram carts can also be found in the creek below.
It is easy to cast one’s mind back to a different time and imagine what life must have been like for these early Hotham residents. The mine was situated on a steep hillside, and just walking around must have been laborious.
There are various flattened areas that may have been the site of buildings and even some evidence of rock walls. Otherwise, apart from the mullock heaps and adits there is not much that remains.
Even less remains of the Baldy mine. The entrance to the shaft was long ago filled in and all that remains is a shallow hole in the ground less than 100 metres down the slope from the Hotham summit. The 25cm wide reef prospected up to one ounce of gold per ton and several tons were carted down to Harrietville to get crushed. However, the value of gold dropped to a point where it became uneconomical so the brothers turned their attention to their other reef further south.
Leaflet (version1.1.) prepared by Matt Guggisberg mob 0447 726 443
History written by Matt Guggisberg.
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