PAGE 128 I LAKES COAST VISITOR GUIDE BEMM RIVER GIPSY POINT MALLACOOTA EDEN PAMBULA MERIMBULA TATHRA BEGA BERMAGUI Youngsters will have fun stepping back in time with Kids’ Discovery Days at the goldfield. Get a feel for the hustle and bustle of Bermagui’s Montreal Goldfield during its chaotic days of the 1880s with a tour through what is today a peaceful forest. The golden beach Travel seven kilometres north of Bermagui to discover a place that was once a golden beach - literally. When a Canadian with an eye for metals discovered gold in September 1880, a relatively short-lived gold rush sprung up and took over the area named Montreal Goldfield. Within weeks of the discovery prospectors came from the New Zealand and New South Wales goldfields to try their luck, a town quickly springing up including a blacksmith, three hotels, grocery stores, a newspaper, and even a school that once had more than 40 students. Some used a blanket and the power of the tides to collect the heavy metal from the beach while others did it tough and headed inland, digging shafts to the buried river bed and alluvial gold below. More than $14 million worth of gold was mined in under three years, the Montreal Goldfield yielding nearly 250kg. It is an intact example of the alluvial diggings of the 1880s and the only goldfield in Australia that goes into the sea. Today it is an amazing place that trained volunteers provide guided tours through for a unique experience for all ages. It is extremely peaceful - a far cry from the chaotic moonscape days of the gold rush era. Youngsters will have a great time at the Montreal Goldfield this summer with two Kids’ Discovery Days on January 2 and 9, as they get the opportunity to take a trip back in time. Along with a short tour of the goldfield, young participants will write a Miner’s Licence with pen and ink, dress up in 1880s period costumes, learn how to pan for gold and make and play children’s games. There is a small cost for these special days with children to be accompanied by an adult. Both Kids’ Discovery Days will commence at 10am and run through until noon. For further information contact the Bermagui Visitor Information Centre. Entry to the Montreal Goldfield is by guided tour only. Dogs on leads are welcome.