Along Blundells' track you pass by Banks Reef where during the 1880's
horses were used to transport rock down into the mine. The practice
of using horses was common in many mining areas. The animal was lowered
into the shaft often hundreds of feet, in a sling with their hind legs
drawn close to their bodies, sent down tail first. Stables were built
in the shaft and horses could expected to live down there with only
candle light for years, even foaling while down there. One local who
lived nearby recalls the animals being blind by the time they returned
to the surface, yet newspaper reports claim the horses were happy living
in the mine.
One of the earliest sub divisions of the Charlotte Plains (the name
given by the first graziers to the whole district), the name Laanecoorie
is Aboriginal for 'the meeting place of the old man kangaroo'. As far
back as 1864, when the first state school was opened, Laanecoorie was
a lively community with dances on moonlit nights so people in gigs and
buggies could see their way home. Laanecoorie Weir started in 1889 and
took three years to build, but the great flood of 1909 burst the weir
sending 18.3 million cubic metres of water down stream, causing sever
damage to all towns down stream. Even as far away as Timor the hotel
had water flowing straight through the bar. The weirs capacity has diminished
over the years, due to Cairn Curran and Tullaroop being built upstream,
however it still supplies water to most of the district's towns and
is a great spot to relax, swim, or canoe.
On the way to Waanyarra you will pass the Mortons' Old Hotel. The Mortons
were one of the earliest pioneering families to settle at Jones' Creek.
It is believed that Michael Morton was transported to Australia (Van
Diemens Land) as a convict in 1847. It is not known how they ended up
at Jones Creek, but they lived here at the hotel/general store until
1921, when they moved a short distance up the road. In Lynne Douthat's
book 'The Footsteps Echo', she relays a story of Christmas at the Mortons,
which gives a wonderful impression of life for the districts pioneering
families. 'My brother and I always went to our Grandparents a few days
before Christmas to help with the preparations…..we helped grandad trim
the 'Old Man' bush along the path….and Grandma whitewash the cellar
which housed… wonderful homemade Hop Beer, Ginger Beer and cordials
which had been brewing sometime and were offered to all from far and
wide that came visiting….One of our favourite pre-Christmas tasks was
papering the 'Dunny'...cutting out pictures of cows, sheep, bulls and
show girls….we delighted in making the place a show place. The task
was not complete until extra squares were cut and hung up on string.
(Recollections of Norma Dickson).