In search of the Quicksilver Mine
On the banks of one of Victoria’s wild rivers, we seek the Quicksilver Mine and the wilder folk who worked it.
The Jamieson River flows west out of the Victorian Alps. Fast, clear water over a tan and amber mosaic of rounded stones that slows at every bend into deep black pools. No one lives along its banks for most of its length and no road runs alongside it. It is one of our few wild rivers, running unseen in a sinuous mountain valley the way rivers once did.
Up near its headwaters, after one of the country’s wildest drives, is one of its best walks; a section of Mitchell’s Bridle Trail once known as the Quicksilver Track. You drive up out of the village of Jamieson along the Licola Road towards Mount Skene. The road is closed by snow in winter and I was once trapped on it by fallen trees after a summer storm, until a toothless butcher emerged from a 1960s Land Rover with a chainsaw, took the top off a stubby, and happily cut me free, telling me: “Mate, never go nowhere without a saw and a sixpack.”