Forest Reefs is barely more than a crossroads today, with the hotel the one remaining commercial building.
Who would have thought that this was once a thriving mining area of more than 500 people, dozens of mines and shafts, wine shanties, hotels, three churches, a school and many shops and other businesses.
Orange and District Historical Society's next mining meeting, to be held at the Gladstone Hotel on Tuesday, August 25, will focus on the mines and the people in this once thriving area.
The larger and more famous mines include the Great Extended, the Ballarat of NSW (developed by Henry Newman of Lucknow fame), the Little Emma, the Ironclad, the Austral and the Lumpy Lead.
Like the other mining areas east and south of Orange, Forest Reefs went through many ups and downs depending on economic conditions.
Gold was first discovered in the district in the1860s and mining steadily progressed until 1870 when the Lumpy Swamp (Beneree) Goldfield was proclaimed. During the 1870s larger companies were formed and employed expensive machinery to mine and pump on a large scale. The peak of activity was in the late 1800s before declining
in the early 1900s. Mining never ceased, however, and as late as the 1950s some gold was still being extracted. Exploration licences over the area have never lapsed and are currently held by the Cadia operator, Newcrest Mining
There will be two speakers at the meeting eminently suited to tell the Forest Reefs story. On the geological side there will be consulting geologist Max Rangott, who was previously involved with exploration in the area. To tell the social history will be historian and teacher Trevor Pascoe, whose family have lived in the area for more than 130 years, some having worked in the Forest Reefs mines.
Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting, which starts at 7 for 7.30pm. Entry is $3 for society members and $5 for non-members to assist in the important work of the society in preserving the district's history. A light supper will be served after the meeting.
If you would like to attend, please RSVP to Phil Stevenson on 6362-3257, mobile 0402 412 188 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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