Black Lead and Scotchmans Lead

Black Lead was a gold-mining village south of Ballarat, situated on the Leigh River/Yarrowee River and 3 km west of Buninyong.

It took about four years after the initial mining of alluvial gold on the Ballarat diggings for exploration for deeper gold to occur in the Buninyong district. The Black Lead was one of the first to be found (1856), and the name arose from the dark colour of the soil and rock in which the lead was worked.

An Anglican school was opened in 1857 as the area became settled. In 1865, Bailliere’s Victorian gazetteer recorded six quartz crushing mills at Black Lead, along with three hotels and an estimated population of 1050 people. Mining activity appears to have declined soon afterwards, as the census population in 1871 was 218 people and there was no further census report until 1911 (68 people). The school closed in 1876.

Black Lead became a farming district, and the main reminder of its existence was the post office which ran until 1956.

Scotchmans Lead is south-east of Black Lead and south-west of Buninyong. It was discovered in April 1857 and became a small mining hamlet. It had the Lady Franklin and Buninyong Gold Coy. alluvial companies and the Eclipse Quartz Coy. A Presbyterian school (1859) was vested in the Board of Education in the 1870s, and continued until 1958. Bailliere's Victorian gazetteer (1865) stated that there were two hotels at Scotchmans Lead and estimated the number of miners at 120. The 1871 census counted 691, and no other figure was published.

Further Reading

Peter M. Griffiths, Three times blest: a history of Buninyong and district 1837-1901, Buninyong, 1988