Natural springs occur when something in the underlying geology allows groundwater to percolate through the surrounding rock layers. They provide a reliable water source even in times of drought, and can power up the local ecological hotspots.
In 1871 when the geological map of Beechworth was being drawn, the understanding of why springs occurred on the Goldfields, was just starting to be realised.
This is a contact zone where the 380-million-year-old granite pluton makes contact with the surrounding older siltstones, shales and sandstones. A fault line runs between these two bedrock masses, encouraging the springs to form. Over the past several hundred years, vast quantities of bedrock have been weathered away, while leaving little trace of its passing.
However, sometimes natural basins form, where sediments can settle and grow into deep alluvial beds. This very thing has occurred along Spring Creek, where sedimentary layers between 20–60 feet thick have accumulated over the past 4 million years.
Enriched with gold washed out of the surrounding granite, these alluvial deposits achieved fame from 1852 onwards as the Spring Creek Diggings sprang to life.
Gold and tin however were not the only precious resources to be drawn from the ancient sediment beds. The presence of rich, easily accessible clay deposits on this site meant that bricks were being made and laid here at Beechworth by 1855.