Home of Australia’s richest qrt mile – Hawkins Hill
World’s largest gold specimen discovered – Holtermann Specimen
“The story of the Hill End-Tambaroora Goldfield is one of triumph and tragedy, of sudden riches and grinding poverty, of humour and sadness, of hopes deferred and the realisation of dreams. It is one of selfless service and grasping avarice, with much that is sordid and much that is splendid in human nature, coming to the surface in 1872 when the fame of Hill End’s gold-encrusted reefs extended throughout the world…”
- Harry Hodge, The Hill End Story
The historic village of Hill End and the surrounding region has a history as rich as the gold that was first discovered there over 150 years ago. The 19th century gold rush saw Hill End, and the nearby Tambaroora, boom.
Alluvial gold was first discovered in Tambaroora (5 km north of present-day Hill End) in 1851, and there were 150 miners on the site within a month. The first stamper battery in Australia was set up around 1856 by the ‘Old Company’ which employed Cornish equipment and miners. This stamper battery was located near the township of Tambaroora, reinforcing Tambaroora’s position as the major gold settlement. By the early 1860s it had a population of some 2000 people, and Hill End’s boom was yet to follow.
In 1872 photographer Beaufoy Merlin was commissioned by wealthy mine owner, Bernard Holtermann, to photograph Hill End at the peak of its prosperity. The ‘Holtermann Collection’ of some 637 images is held by the State Library of NSW; www.sl.nsw.gov.au/find/picman/comb.cfm, (from ‘select a collection’ choose ‘Holtermann Collection’ and then type in ‘Hill End’). Merlin’s works can also be found on signs located throughout the village itself.
Recommended Hill End History sources:
- Frontiers of Gold – Brian Hodge
- Gold and People, Recollections of Hill End 1920′s to 1960′s – Bruce Goodwin
- Hillendiana – Donald Friend
- Hill End; An Historic Australian Goldfields Landscape – Alan Mayne
- Hill End Gold – Malcolm Drinkwater
- Remembered with Pride – Mark Hammond
- The Artists of Hill End – Gavin Wilson
- The Donald Friend Diaries, (Vol. 2) – Donald Friend
- The Hill End Story, Books 1/2/3 – Harry Hodge
- Valleys of Gold – Brian Hodge
- Gold & Sliver – Keast Burke