A Historic Village

St Bathans was once a busy gold mining town dating back to the early 1860’s when gold was first discovered. It began life as canvas town but soon grew to a population of 1000 in 1864, supporting 40 businesses, 14 of which were hotels. Today the town has ten permanent residents. Many buildings remain from the mining days Including the historic Vulcan Hotel, the Post Office, School ruins and churches for you to discover and explore.

The Vulcan Hotel was established in 1864 and is the only business still in operation from the mining days. It occupied several buildings in St Bathans, each of them being lost to fires, before moving to it’s current site in the old Ballarat Hotel which was built in 1882. The walls of this hotel boast many photographs of St Bathans in it’s heyday.

The two storied Kauri Post Office building was built in 1909, replacing an earlier cottage style Post Office on the same site. Further displays of the old days can be seen here with original fixtures still in place. It has had a varied life since the Post Office closed in 1937, including temporary use as a school and private residence.

The famous Blue Lake, popular in summer for swimming and water sports, was formed by mining activities, operating what was then the highest vertical hydraulic elevator in the world. There are a number of walking and tramping tracks for you to enjoy while taking the amazing vista. Relics of mining activities can be found along these tracks.

Gold Mining Information

The Glory Hole

The Blue Lake started out as Kildare Hill at a height of 400 feet which has been mined and washed out to sea to leave us this spectacular Blue Lake.

Today, the pit at St Bathans has been flooded and named Blue Lake. The pillars of sluiced white-quartz gravel and the blue water are an interesting feature, enjoyed by waterskiers and holidaymakers

Sluicing Guns

These water canons where used to wash the material down to the hydraulic elevators which then removed the material from the the bottom of the hole to the top and across the sluicing boxes.

The Sluicing boxes then captured the gold

Hydraulic mining was a variation on ground sluicing where the water was shot through a nozzle at high pressure onto the face of the cliff, thereby washing away tons of gravel, dirt, and ounces of gold.

Hydraulic Engineering

Hydraulic elevators were used to reach the alluvial gold that were covered by gravel. The elevators worked like giant vacuum cleaners, sucking a slurry of gravel and water up from the bottom of the Glory Hole.

A historic gold mining town

Step back in time and enjoy the historic town without the crowds.


Once a busy Gold Mining Town.

Population of 1000 people supporting 40 businesses 14 of which were hotels

Now it is quaint historic town that’s barely changed since the gold rush days.

Extreme Environment

Temperatures from -15 to 35 degrees

They certainly were built tough back in the day

The motto for the area is “A World of Difference” 

Farming in the industry of today

A typical traffic jam in St Bathans

A sight to be seen.

Why not give some gold panning a go while you are here, you just never know your luck.