James William Esmond
Born Enniscorthy, Wexford, Ireland 11 April 1822,
Died Ballarat, 3 December 1890 (68 years)
Historical Context of Gold Mining Operations in Clunes Region

James William Esmond

Esmond - acknowledged to be:

- Discoverer of first gold in Victoria in commercial quantities, at Clunes 1851.

- Awarded Esmond's Grant : first gold mining lease in Victoria, which was found to contain the very rich New North Clunes gold mine.

- A digger who participated (and survived) at the Eureka Stockade.

Clunes occupies an important place in the European settlement of Victoria. Together with Warrandyte, it shares honours as the site of the first gold discoveries in Victoria. In March 1850 William Campbell discovered gold on land at a site close to the 'first battery site' approximately 100 metres north of the ford across Creswick Creek at Camp Street. On 29 June 1851 James Esmond began operations with the first commercial gold mining venture in Clunes. All these historic places are on private land owned by some shareholders of this Company.

From the 1850s through to 1893, Clunes was one of the very important gold production locations in Victoria, During this period it is known that gold in excess of 1.2 million oz was produced at Clunes.

The township of Clunes still presents the visitor with vestiges and legacies of its gold mining past. The town retains many of the original gold mining era buildings. Whilst urban design work has been undertaken in the town centre to add amenity and complement the heritage values of the precinct, there is considerable potential to increase tourism and to significantly add to the prosperity of the Township and the region, in association with revelations about gold as yet un-mined.

Investigations by a series of previous explorers indicated that there may be potential to reactivate gold mining operations on private land north of the town. This opportunity presents a new vision for Clunes, which in part reflects its now famous historic beginnings as a pre-eminent gold mining location.


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