Definition of shaft

  • A pit. A hole sunk in the ground. A rectangular or square pit sunk on a reef or on a gutter.

– The Gold Fields and Mineral Districts of Victoria, 1869.

More information

A mine shaft is a vertical access passageway to an underground mine. A shaft allows miners to enter the mine and ore to be hauled out using lifting technology such as a poppet heads, whims or windlasses.

Perhaps the most well known and obvious remnant of the region’s mining operations, mine shafts can be found almost everywhere throughout the Victorian Goldfields, with many dating back to the 1850s gold rush.

Some remain open, some have been capped off (either in modern times or long ago), and others have developed dangerous ‘false bottoms’.

Examples of mine shafts in the Victorian Goldfields

Some examples of mine shafts in the Victorian Goldfields: