Fosterville, a gold mining town, is in undulating ranges and 25 km north-east of Bendigo. It was an isolated gold bearing place, a few kilometres west of the Campaspe River. Immediately south of Fosterville is Mount Sugarloaf.

The locality was originally named Ellesmere, where gold was discovered in 1852. Extensive mine workings began more than 40 years later in 1894, and the place was named Fosterville after it was visited by the Minister for Mines, Henry Foster MLA (1889-1902). A water supply channel was constructed in 1895 for the treatment of mine crushings and township lots were marked out. Several companies and individuals operated mines and by the end of 1896 there were 800 mine employees. A school was opened in 1898, and Anglican and Bible Christian church services were conducted. While mining continued the township had recreational activities such as a brass band, a literary and debating society, a rifle club and two friendly societies.

The water channel was used for dairying and agriculture when the mining declined in the early 1900s. The alluvial lead beside watercourses is suitable for high quality cropping.

In 1903 Fosterville was described in the Australian handbook:

In 1953 the school was closed. Gold prospects were not entirely forgotten, as in 1988 an environmental effects report was published on a proposed gold mining venture by open cut methods at Fosterville, working about 16 sq km. By 1998 the Perseverance Corporation’s mine was producing about 40,000 ounces of gold a year from oxide mineralisation with prospects of further gold from sulphide mineralisation. Underground mining began in 2006.

The Adelaide Vale homestead (1853) in Axedale Road is listed on the Victorian heritage register. A mud brick farm house ruin dating from the 1890s in Epsom-Wellsford Road is more typical of Fosterville’s early farm life. There are three vineyards in the Fosterville district.

Fosterville’s census populations have been:

census date population
1901 575
1911 164
1933 77
1947 54

Further Reading

Marjorie Shaw, Our goodly heritage, history of Huntly shire, Huntly Shire Council, 1966

Emma Thiselton, Fosterville collection, 2003