History on the wall at Montreal Goldfield

THE rich history associated with the Montreal Goldfield has come to life in a series of six professionally designed and constructed interpretative panels.

Mounted on the wall of the museum shed, the panels spell out how the land was inhabited and used by the local indigenous peoples before explaining all the happenings of the 1880s gold rush, including the disappearance of government surveyor Lamont Young at Mystery Bay, and even the geological processes that allowed the gold to accumulate.

In 1880, Canadian Henry Williams discovered alluvial gold in shingle on the beach 7km north of Bermagui and the Montreal gold rush was on.

Within three weeks, 2000 miners were on the field.

Coincidentally, the museum and historic walk currently records around 2000 visitors annually and that is increasing every year.

Montreal Committee heritage officer Judi Hearn has done all the research about the goldfield over the years and it was a visiting museum adviser that suggested she put that knowledge down on the panels as a way of adding to the visitor experience.

The panel’s and the committee’s recently completed film about the Mystery Bay mystery means the museum can entertain even those not agile to go out on the 250m gold field walk.

A $9500 grant for the panels was secured from the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities through the 2012-2013 Your Community Heritage program.

The idea was to enable the sharing of community heritage stories and Judi said Montreal’s project was entitled: “Sharing the story of Montreal Goldfield and the Bermagui Mystery (1880s)”.

Judi’s husband Bob meanwhile has been getting the necessary council and other approvals for the toilet and storeroom extension that was only finished last week.

“With that, the panels, the film and the stamper, 2013 was an extremely busy year,” Judi said.

The Montreal Goldfield is located 7km north of Bermagui on the Wallaga Lake Road and there are daily walking tours at 2pm.

Find out more about the goldfield and its history at www.montrealgoldfield.org.au

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