History of Young With Brian James - The Burrangong Community

Remains of gold mining beside Burrangong Creek.
Remains of gold mining beside Burrangong Creek.

The Burrangong community is a scattered community west of the town of Young on the Milvale  Road. It was never a village, but there were many hotels and shanties scattered around the area when it was part of the Burrangong Gold Fields.

Numerous small creeks and gullies are tributaries of the main Creek which is the Burrangong Creek. Poverty Gully, Milkman's Creek and Dairymans Creek are some of these.

Evidence of the extensive gold mining which was carried out in the area is still evident today. Travelling west passing Rockdale Road and crossing the main creek you can see on both sides of the road a large area of land which has been mined by the sluicing method.

A lot of sluicing was carried out on  Spring Creek and Little Spring Creek which runs into the Burrangong Creek. This area is now an industrial area and evidence of gold mining is fast disappearing. Krebs Lane is one area that is still showing the remnants of various types of gold mining.

Turning down Chillingworks Road, you again cross Burrangong Creek, and the mounds of dirt and remains of diggers holes are visible mainly in the area of the old rifle range.

Further, on you come across a massive excavation on the left-hand side, this is where a large area was mined by the sluicing method. Adjacent to this area is where the Chillingworks was built.

When the Demondrille to Blayney railway line was constructed a siding was established, and a shed erected. This siding was given the name Burrangong; a school was eventually built here, a Catholic church was established on land donated by Mrs Quinn.

A protestant union church was built on the Chillingworks road on land donated by George Whiteman. 

Mr Tonkin built a building on the corner of Chillingworks Road on the original 40-acre lease granted to Mr Lowery whose daughter married Mr Tonkin.

The Birch family bought the property in 1912, and Madeline Birch decided to open a store in the front portion of the building.

Some people have suggested that this building was a hotel, but as far as we know, this was not the case.  

Thomas and John Tonkin came to Young from Adelong and were gold miners. After the gold petered out, they did contract work with horse and drays.

Thomas ran a Sunday School at the Burrangong Mines, and Mrs Tonkin ran a school on the Temora Road where they resided. Their four daughters were loyal supporters of the Methodist  Church and were involved with various aspects of its operation.

Adelaide did the housekeeping as well as being involved in several church groups. Florence was an Infant School Teacher and foundered a girl’s club. Lida went to New Britain as a Nurse and was stationed in the Braining Mountains and led a difficult and dangerous life, returning to Young to nurse her ailing mother.

Gertrude was a piano teacher and was a church organist for sixty-three years.   The Tonkin family lived in Thornhill Street just over the Thornhill Street bridge. 

Historian Brian James contributes his column to the Young Witness on behalf of the Young Historical Society.