The quartz battery adjacent to the old Calder Highway in Taradale is a silent reminder of the extensive mining activity that was a feature of Taradale for around one hundred years.
Although a find of alluvial gold in Taradale was reported in 1851, it wasn’t considered large enough to warrant miners stopping on their way to Forest Creek and Bendigo, until a more substantial find was made in 1852. The larger find inspired a rush to the area which sparked the development of the Back Creek crossing site into the township of Taradale. Mining continued in Taradale until the closure of the New Phoenix mine in the 1960’s.
Taradale has been subjected to alluvial and deep lead mining, the evidence of which is scattered throughout the area in the form of mullock heaps, old mine shafts, debris, abandoned equipment and gully erosion around some creeks.
The most visible relics of Taradale’s gold rush heritage are the North Phoenix Mine poppet head and the Quartz Crushing Battery. The North Phoenix Mine site is on private land and not open to the public but visitors are welcome to inspect the quartz battery site which is presently managed by the Taradale Historical Group on behalf of the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.
The present quartz battery shed was built around 1936/37 in order to process quartz from a newly sunk shaft some distance north of the building and to crush rock for other local prospectors. The battery is believed to have been erected on the site of the Plutus mine crushing plant which operated from 1890-1903 and was in turn adjacent to the original 1858 Phoenix mine shaft.
Visitors are invited to peer through the windows to see the intact concrete infrastructure including drains, channels, engine blocks, launder drain, timber Wilfley table and the 2nd hand 8 head stamper said to have been brought over from Maldon which remains in the building.
An inspection of the interior of the battery can be organized by contacting the secretary of the historical society, Peter Price on 5423 2104 . Peter can also be contacted for any enquiries about the use or history of the battery site and gold mining in the Taradale area.