|Inglewood was an important gold mining centre during the Victorian Gold Rush of the 1850s and 60's. |
Gold was first discovered in 1859 by Alexander, Joseph and Thomas Thompson and Joseph Hanny, and upon notification of the discovery some 16,000 diggers flocked to the area. By January 1860 a new field a few miles south of the original was opened up by Potter, Irvine and McKean, and dubbed New Inglewood. This is the site of the present township.
By mid-1860 the population on the field was estimated to be greater than 40,000, ranking among the biggest rushes in Victoria’s history.
The population soon dwindled as the easily won alluvial deposits became exhausted, but as early as 1859, quartz reefs had been discovered, which resulted in the permanent settlement of a few thousand miners and businessmen.
The initial returns from the quartz reefs were quite remarkable. From the Columbian, 22 tons of stone crushed gave a return of over 2300 ounces of gold, one of the richest patches of gold recorded in the colony of Victoria. Numerous other reefs including the Maxwell’s, Jersey, March and Morning Star gained renown for their rich yields. In November, 1860, there were 4,500 men employed in quartz mining, more than any other field at that time.
In 1861, the town was proclaimed a municipality, and in 1863 the Borough of Inglewood was established. Self-government continued for 100 years until the Borough was annexed to the Shire of Korong.
In December, 1862, one of the most destructive fires recorded in the colony to that time occurred in the town’s main thoroughfare. A greater portion of the commercial precinct was burned to the ground, with damages estimated at over £100,000. The ultimate result of the fire was a transition from bark and canvass establishments to more substantial brick and iron structures, many of which remain today.
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