Sunday, November 2, 2008

Donkeywoman's Gully - go on, find it, I dare you!

Yep, go on; hop onto Google Maps and see if you can find Donkeywoman's Gully in Victoria (or any where else for that matter!).
Give up, yet?
*tapping foot, looking at watch*
Oh, alright, it was properly known as Lamplough.
Yes, you will find it on Google Maps.
No, you won't find a seething metropolis there.

Lamplough was another town born from the galloping blucher boots of miners thirsting after gold, and into Donkeywoman's Gully they trotted in November 1859 when a couple of Welsh brothers stumbled over the glittery stuff.
In it's early debut stages as a mining field Lamplough went by the moniker Clare Castle Diggings, named after the solitary pub in the area (which was near local miners tents - good marketing!).

When the word went out about the gold find they came running from all directions literally, swelling the population of the tents around the pub from 4 miners to 500 overnight, to 3,000 the next day and then 10,000 in the following two days.
Within a month the National Bank had a branch opened there, the streets were covered in gravel to control the dust,a post office was built, the police had a camp, the streets had been surveyed, they even had their own newspaper being published.
Soon it had the usual baubles any self-respecting town decorated itself with ; general stores, pubs, billard halls, churches, schools, theatres, a police court with the usual array of barristers, brewery, bowling green, and Uncle Tom Cobbley and all.

But just as quickly as it had sprung up, Lamplough began disappearing; with new gold strikes found further afield barely 1 year after it had become established overnight Lamplough was pulled apart at the seams with stores, churches, schools and all buildings torn down to be erected on the next big paying gold diggings.

16,000 people populated a town that has left barely a sign it ever existed.
There's a few houses scattered willy-nilly along the Sunraysia Hwy but Lamplough and its Commercial Street, that stretched for a mile with pubs, pubs, grog shantys, general stores, more pubs and every kind of business, has long since departed.
The bush has reclaimed Donkeywoman's Gully.

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