The Miners Church is an authentic link to the goldrushes. The Ballarat goldfield was discovered by Thomas Hiscock in 1851 approximately 1km due north of the church. This rush petered out but a further rush in 1856 saw 10 000 people living on the hill to our north. In 1859 the Buninyong Gold Mining Co began mining the Scotchmans Lead (buried river) and they took out 40 000 ounces of gold (approximately $50-60 million 2000 value). This huge mine employed horses and even an underground train to remove the ore. The huge mullock is all that remains. It was reopened in the 1930’s depression as The Rand Mine. Quartz mining also took place at the famous De Soza Mine.
The Church itself, designed by J.A Doane was the church of the Cornish miners who lived and worked this area. Their wooden miners cottages are all gone, burnt or moved into Ballarat. The bricks are locally fired, soft “dough boys” and the walls are one and a half bricks thick so the building does not need air conditioning. The building is simple in design as reflecting the down to earth approach of the Methodists. The ceiling and floor are Baltic pine.
Next to the church is the country school, a one room country school which closed after 99 years and 9 months service. It closed as it had only 1 pupil. The School House is now a games room for our visitors. The garden also contains the tram shelter that sat in Sturt Street Ballarat until the tram ceased running in 1972. The only other shelters of this style that I know of are opposite the Shrine in St Kilda Road and beyond Parliament House. In the Church you will find maps, photos and written documents that will tell you the story of the church and Scotchmans Lead in more detail.
The village itself had a store, a pub, a hall, a cricket ground and tennis court. A walk is available to show you the sites. Basically all that is left of the historic mining village of Scotchmans Lead to mark the work, joy and suffering of these people is this Wesleyan Church.
The present owners, your hosts, Doug & Julie, converted it into a family home in the early 1980’s