Devon Taylor

The Ghosts Have Never Left – Victorian Gold Rush Towns and the Stories They Could Tell is a recently published book by John and Marie Watt in which they seek to capture in words and infrared photography the gold rush history of 21 Victorian towns, all of which are now either small, minute, or non-existent.

Whilst exploring, photographing and researching these towns over the course of several years, Marie and John came to realise that each and every one was connected in some way with an important but often obscure or little known slice of Victorian history.  Twenty one of these stories are briefly recounted, emphasising the fact that whilst gold drove the creation and growth of the towns, they have all been part of a much richer story.

One example from the book concerns the history of the Coliban water scheme and its importance to gold mining in the vicinity of Chewton.  The scheme, which is operational to this day, delivered water from just south of Malmsbury to Bendigo, Castlemaine and Chewton, over a distance of 70 kilometres.  One section of the Mt Buninyong to Bendigo Goldfields Track, south of the Sandhurst Reservoir, follows the channel and provides a fascinating cross section of the extraordinary engineering required to deliver the project.

Reference is made to specific locations, helpful visitor centres, websites and walking guides to enable further exploration by those wishing to do so.  The book is printed in Victoria and can be obtained from Paradise Books in Daylesford.