The township of Red Castle was predominantly a gold rush town in the 1850’s, and many Croatians who resided in this town worked in mine claims, hotels, and shops. One particular gold discovery which was controversial, was discovered by Andrea Franatovich in1859. This particular gold discovery has subsequently been recorded as the first payable gold in the region. This discovery was made at the Balmoral diggings in Red Castle. However, Franatovich was not the only Croatian who had claims in Red Castle. Another Croatian Mate Lussich, had a mining company called Lussic and Co, which was listed on mining company register. He originally came from the island of Brac. Subsequently Lussich went on to name one of his claims as “New Dalmatian Reef Mine”. Another prominent resident of Red Castle formerly from Croatia, was Antonio Geronovich who owned a hotel called “All Nations Hotel”. He remained in Red Castle until his death, and was buried in the Redcastle cemetery, After his wife’s death she also was buried at the same cemetery. Geronovich’s children were all girls who were educated at the Redcastle primary school. One of his daughters married and continued to reside in Red Castle, and sent some of her children to the same primary school.
1859. John Clarke, who owned a hotel at Seymour, appears to have been the first to prospect in the vicinity of Redcastle. He had been quartz mining at Compton’s Creek Station, between Redcastle and Seymour, in
1857 … [He was first seen] at Redcastle in about March 1859, with a Burdan crushing machine.
The Commission decided that John Clarke’s find at Redcastle did not constitute a payable goldfield, as it had been soon abandoned. Andrew Franktovich told the Commission that he had found the first payable gold at Redcastle and supported his claim by producing a letter signed by Mr R.H. Horne and dated 31 January
1860 which granted to him and his three mates an increased claim of 200 yards on Jones’ Reef. The Commission decided in his favour and gave him the reward.
May 1859. It seems … that John Clarke … did in fact find the first gold at Redcastle, at Staffordshire Flat, three miles east of the later town, early in 1859. Many others came, but the whole field was unpayable until [Andrea] Franktovich discovered the first rich gold [in December].
1859-1898. The reefs in this district were opened in the year 1859, and were in full work till 1864 when the majority were abandoned … As a rule when a fault or break was met with in the reefs it was abandoned, also when water was met with in the shafts, the only style of machinery in use being the ordinary windlass, which could not cope with it. Two batteries were erected, one of 8 heads, half-a-mile north of the township, at the Redcastle Creek by Mr Collins, in 1859.
c.1860. Lands Dept Map. Village of Redcastle, surveyed by P Chauncy: J. Clarkes steam crushing machine (Section X11)
c. 1860-1893. In the early days there were three crushing plants in Redcastle, namely Clarke’s, Collin’s, and Russell, Neilson and party’s, Harrisons and Co.’s being afterwards on the site of the plant of the last named. At Staffordshire Flat there was only one crushing plant, Mr S. H. Mitchell’s, which is still there (1893), and was recently rented by Bradley & Co., and where they crushed stone from the Why Not mine.
June 1867. Table of quartz crushed for the quarter includes: Clarke’s machine, Redcastle.
September 1893. A lease of tailings for crushing of the early days has been taken up by Messrs H. R. Palling and S. H. Mitchell on the site of Harrison’s and Co’s. old battery at Redcastle, where there are many thousands of tons of tailings, a quantity of which sent to Bendigo recently for treatment yielded over 1/2 an ounce to the ton.
March 1901. Redcastle Company. Erecting machinery for extraction of gold from tailings.
July 1901. Redcastle. Ore extraction works complete. These are erected on Clarke’s old battery.
April 1902. Cyanide works at Redcastle being erected by Mr G. Hyndman are rapidly approaching completion.
April 1902. What was formerly known as Redcastle Gold Recovery Co., which is entirely in the hands of Mr
Hyndman, has the erection of a windmill on the Niagara claim completed. Vats are being erected.
September 1902. Cyanide works at Redcastle now completed.
August 1903. Work resumed at Redcastle cyaniding works.