Day Tours From Bendigo - Melville Caves
Bendigo is situated in the perfect position for taking day tours in the wondrous countryside as there is so much varied and exciting things to do and see.
Bendigo is to the north of Melbourne and to the west of Bendigo about 65km is the fabulous Kooyoora State Park which includes the stunning Melville Caves.
The Melville Caves are a collection of huge granite boulders sitting on the top of a massive granite tor in the Kooyoora State Park.
They have become infamous as the hiding place of notorious bushranger Captain Melville as he was thought to have used the spaces between these giant boulders as his hideout.
If you would like to take a look at our Melville Caves itinerary then <<click here>>
Jaara Aboriginal People
This area was originally inhabited by the Jaara Aboriginal people who used the rock formations as somewhere to shelter and live, utilising the natural springs and wells for their water supply.
Around this area scarred trees indicate the removal of material by the Jaara for the use of shields and bowls. There has been many items recovered to prove the existence of the former inhabitants including; spear-heads, chisels and quartz flakes.
The first known whites in the area was the party of Thomas Mitchell in 1836 and an early settlement is dated around the 1840Ã¢ÂÂs. Gold was discovered just north of the caves near Wedderburn in 1852. The resulting Gold Rush drew prospectors to flood into the region and with them came many small holdings.
During this time an opportunist bushranger names Frank McCallum aka Captain Melville is believed to have used the caves for less savory purposes than the predecessors.
He made good use of the high elevation the huge boulders gave him over the flat plains below, along which gold-bearing coaches travelled. He conducted frequent raids all over western and south-west Victoria and is fabled to have once made off with five billy-cans full of gold. They are rumoured to be buried at Mount Arapiles near Horsham.
Melville was captured on Christmas Eve in 1852 and was found dead in his cell five years later.
During the period between 1852 and 1883 the region yielded 369 nuggets weighing over 1.5kg. One of the most famous nuggets was a massive 49.5kg and was named after the prospector Blanche Barkly at Kingower. There were two other nuggets over 30kg found at Rheola just south of the caves.
The White Swan Quartz Mine operated in Kooyoora State Park during World War II, producing industrial Quartz.
And in 1980 the Caves were listed as a geological monument, and also in the same year a 240 gram nugget was found and that started a minor gold rush which in turn produced a 2.4kg nugget.
Kooyoora State Park offers opportunities for sightseeing, walking, rock-climbing, picnicking, nature studies and camping. Fossicking and gold detecting is only permitted in certain areas.
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