Goldfield Chimneys

Over the last few months I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the bush checking details for our forthcoming walking guide, The Goldfields. Having now walked several hundred kilometres of trails I’ve become increasingly fascinated by the 150-year-old stone chimneys which litter much of the region. These crumbling structures appear in the most unlikely places, often a couple of hours walk from the nearest road. I’ve come to value sitting next to these chimneys and letting myself wonder as to those who long ago sat in this very place, warming themselves by the flames, perhaps cooking a kangaroo or mutton stew. In most cases these chimneys had been constructed by gold miners and perhaps much of their talk had centred around the hope that tomorrow would be the day that they would finally strike it rich. And maybe these fireplaces had also seen the reflections of gold nuggets, caressed by the calloused hands of happy diggers. The original timber buildings that enveloped these chimneys long ago vanished, having almost certainly fallen victim to the periodical bushfires that swept the area. Or maybe they just collapsed and were swallowed up by the forest from where they had originated. But the chimneys, constructed from local sandstone, still stand, defiant against the unfolding years and with only the memories of the dead to keep them company.

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