Spring Creek bricks and the asylum 

Beechworth and Surrounds

One of the greatest insights we can draw from the 1872 geological map of Beechworth is the overview it gives us of the key elements of the Spring Creek precinct.

Here we can see how the early gold field diggings of Pennyweight Flat, Madman’s Gully, Chinaman’s Flat[sic] and Silver Creek relate to each other under the umbrella arch of Spring Creek. The place at Cadman’s Point beside the Spring Creek Falls where gold was first found in early 1852, is also easy to find.

On the hill overlooking the precinct, the new Beechworth Asylum can be discovered. Upon its opening in 1868, it became one of the largest buildings erected in Australia at the time, incorporating over 3.2 million bricks in its construction. If laid end-to-end one newspaper article explained in 1865, these would extend for a distance of 450 miles.

Luckily, these bricks didn’t have far to travel and were obtained just a few hundred yards away to the rear (north) of the building. The brickpit that was dug in the process also features on the 1871 map.

Given this pit’s location in the heart of the Spring Creek goldfield sediments, this possibly makes the asylum bricks the most valuable, gold rich general building blocks ever crafted in Australia.