Heathcote

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Signatures of William Creelman & John Jones from the 1853 Bendigo Goldfields Petition
William Creelman & John Jones, McIvor Times and Rodney Advertiser, Friday 30 June 1865, page 3

The McIvor gold digging were mainly located east of Heathcote and were isolated from the Bendigo. They were scattered diggings that extended through Costerfield to Rushworth. They were in Box-Ironbark eucalypt forest areas. When mining began timber cutting became extensive, the timber being used for both mining and firewood. In the absence of gas and electricity, wood was used domestically and commercially.

The McIvor Shire was proclaimed on 23 December 1864 and had an area of approximately 1295 sq.km. The McIvor Shire was mainly amalgamated with Greater Bendigo in 1994. Parts of the Shire were also amalgamated into Mitchell Shire and Strathbogie Shire.

There is a specimen of gold from the McIvor Diggings in the British Museum. The label on the featured gold specimen in the British Museum shows Mt Ivor however, there is no such place in Victoria. This could easily be a transcription error or a misreading of a historic typed label and someone thought that the "c" was the lower part of a "t" and hence the error. The gold specimen may be from the general "McIvor gold diggings" area or more specifically from McIvor Creek or McIvor Great Lead near Heathcote.

On 20 July 1853 a shipment of gold from the McIvor Diggings, that was being sent to Kyneton for ultimate transport to Melbourne by a Government gold escort, was robbed by six bushrangers and one female (although the total number of thieves involved is questionable. The haul was 2,223ozs of gold and ₤700 in banknotes.

Twenty four days later one of the bushrangers (George Francis) reported the men (including his own brother Joseph Francis) to the police and then committed suicide by cutting his own throat.

The trial was concluded by 17 September 1853. Justice was swift in the colony! Three of the bushrangers (George Melville, George Wilson, William Atkins - or Atkyns; Atkens) were hanged in Melbourne Gaol on 3 October 1853 (within 16 days of conviction), the female (Agnes Atkins - or Atkyns; Atkens) was released and the leader (Joseph Grey) was never caught.[1][2]

See also McIvor Diggings