Smythesdale and Scarsdale
Gold was discovered at Smythesdale, 19
kilometres south-west of Ballarat, in 1853. Today you can go back in time
to the Police Camp historic precinct and visit the old
bluestone police station lock-up and historic court house.
Relics of Smythesdale's gold-mining
history can be found in one of Victoria's best preserved gold
mining sites, the Jubilee Mine historic reserve, 11 kilometres
south of town on Jubilee Road. Relics include old cyanide vats,
mullock heaps, brick walls, and water races rusting in the silence
of the bush. Nearby Scarsdale, four kilometres away, features a
circa 1861 hotel and historic town hall.
Get out the lycra and pump up your
tyres. Take a bicycle ride along the 53 kilometre-long
Ballarat-Skipton Rail Trail and you can just about hear the steam
engines puffing and hissing, as they once did when hauling their
freight between these two towns.
You'll pass open paddocks and eucalypt
forests, native grasslands and bush alive with birds and
wildflowers. You'll pedal past the former Chinese settlement site
at Nintingbool, numerous railway remains, an impressive trestle
bridge near Newtown and historic towns including Smythesdale,
Scarsdale and Linton.
The trail starts in Ballarat on the
corner of Gillies Street and Gregory Street West, adjacent to Lake
Wendouree. A self-guided tour brochure 'Ballarat Scenic Bikes
Rides' is available by calling Ballarat Visitor Information on 1800
44 66 33.