Montreal Goldfield


Useful Information

Location: 7km north of Bermagui, Sapphire Coast Region. On the far south coast of NSW, between Narooma and Merimbula. (-36.383615, 150.071193)
Open: All year daily 14.
CLosed 25-DEC, Good Friday.
[2020]
Fee: Adults AUD 7.50, Children (5-15) AUD 5, Children (0-4) free, Families AUD 25.
Groups (+): Adults AUD , Children (5-15) AUD .
[2020]
Classification: MineGold mine
Light: n/a
Dimension:
Guided tours: L=300m, D=75min.
Photography:
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible for 80% of the trail.
Bibliography:
Address: Bermagui Visitor Centre, 1-3 Bunga Street, Bermagui NSW 2546, Tel: +61-2-6493-3054.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1880 gold discovered on a beach north of Bermagui by Canadian Henry Williams.
1880-1883 short-lived goldrush.
1990s museum established by a team of volunteers.

Geology

An alluvial deposit between 10m and 12m thick. The gold bearing rocks were weathered on the nearby volcano and the debris transported to the sea by a river. The bigger and heavier particles in the water were dropped when the river had a lower slope close to the sea. Later the whole river slowed down, most likely due to a climate change and less rain, and only small particles, mostly clay reached the sea. As a result almost all the gold is found in a coarse gravel zone at the base of the deposit, which is covered by a thick layer of clay.

The gold was formed in granitic magma intrusions. While the magma cooled gold bearing quartz veins formed, called quartz reefs by miners. The rock was eroded and the intrusions now form the mountains Mount Dromedary, Little Dromedary, Montague Island and Camel Rock. The gold here most likely originates from Mount Dromedary.


Description

The Montreal Goldfield is located on a beach north of Bermagui and the only goldfield in Australia which extends into the sea. Their joke is that this was the only beach-mine in Australia. The only other such mine in the southern hemisphere is Greymouth in New Zealand.

During a pretty short goldrush from 1880 to 1883 nearly 250kg of gold were unearthed using primitive methods, like picks and shovels. The miners excavated vertical shafts through the clay to reach the wash or wash layer at the bottom, some of them still exist. However, they are not accessible, so this show mine has no underground tour, only a view into some shafts from the surface. There is a wooden boardwalk which extends into a bigger shaft and allows a view into the horizontal tunnels the dug into the wash.

The tour is completed by an explanation of the machinery, winches, simple stampers, and washing cradles. The ore was crushed and then the heavier gold washed. There is also a small museum with documents and photographs.