The dry winter had worked against the wildflowers, but 130 people who registered for the fourth annual Wildflower Walk in the forest near Whroo on Sunday, enjoyed a marvellous pre-spring morning.
Following a circuit which included the once-busy streets and roads of Whroo, the walkers, armed with maps, photo-sheets of local blooms and history snapshots to study at numbered points, completed the walk in the bright sunshine.
With local orchids and native blooms in low numbers, and even the wattle well down on recent years, the interest turned to the Balaclava mine, the sites of old water wells, the puddling machines, the cyanide vats, the cemetery, and the Aboriginal water-hole.
Organiser Nick Buzza said, “It was pleasing to get 130 registrations, and the positive responses from locals, former locals and visitors to the district.”
Nick was appreciative of support roles played by Eloise, Steve Arnold, Liz and Greg Buzza, Heather Wellington and Whroo residents Damian and Helen Grigg, who enabled walkers to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee.
Whroo began as the Wet Diggings in 1853, and was very briefly home to close to 10,000 people who rushed to the gold-fi nd, while others tried the Dry Diggings at what became Rushworth. With so little water available and gold only gathered by the fortunate, the unsuccessful soon rushed off to fossick elsewhere, while some joined with others to sink deep shafts in search of the elusive metal.
Owners of hotels dug wells and created underground tanks lined with bricks and, in some cases, local stones. Several were visited as part of the walk. As a Rochester visitor said, “If these wells were built in the 1850s, you have to admire those skills, over 160 years later.”
It will take early spring rain to entice a few more wildflowers this year, but they will be back in 2019.