Chapter Thirty One.
Egypto-Phoenician Mines of Victoria and Tasmania.
In Chapter Twenty Eight we barely touched upon the activities of the Bronze-Age miners in Victoria and Tasmania. The ancient mineral-seekers could hardly have overlooked these states, and penetrating their coastal rivers, the expertise of Phoenician miner-colonists would surely have born fruit, as these men literally “sniffed out” good mineral and gemstone-bearing deposits, as historical writings demonstrate.
Mystery rock scripts found on the coast near Warrnambool during the gold rush days of the 19th century, unfortunately not preserved by early European settlers, might have told us more.
The Hopkins River enters the Southern Ocean here, winding deep inland to the Ararat gold-bearing district, and overland exploration by the ancient mineral seekers would have introduced them to the mineral and gemstone-rich fields of Ballarat and Bendigo, once camels and horses were transported down the coast by ship from New South Wales bases, after a coastal colony had been established at the mouth of the Hopkins River.
There is also the probability that vessels, having ventured along the Murray River beyond its junction with the Darling, would have found offshoot systems that would have carried them deep into Victoria’s western goldfields; such as the Loddon, which branching off the Murray at Swan Hill, would have taken the ancient miner-colonists into the Castlemaine district; or the Campaspe River, branching off the Murray at Echuca, which would have carried vessels past Bendigo southward beyond Castlemaine and reasonably close to Ballarat.
Of course in the times we are dealing with, these rivers would have been far deeper than today. The above hypothetical routes are not without reason, for over generations farmers and others have turned up the occasional mystery rock inscription, ancient Palestinian or other pottery fragment or ancient bronze arrow head etc.
The early European miners during the 1850s often came upon open-cut mining operations in remote gold and copper bearing country near Ballarat, Bendigo and elsewhere in western Victoria, which appeared to pre-date European colonisation by many centuries. Ancient pestles and mortars were dug up by surface mining operations near Maryborough which puzzled their discoverers.