Crowds gather to strike gold in Pine Creek

Jul 5, 2022

In 1871, Pine Creek was the centre of the Northern Territory’s largest gold rush. Over a hundred years later, the community once again came together to celebrate the historic event with a two-day festival.

With the 2021 event cancelled due to COVID-19, the community welcomed visitors from across the country to the historic gold mining town.

A community photography and art exhibition kicked off the weekend on 1 July at the Station Masters House, showcasing the creativity and artistic talent of the local area.

Gaye Lawrence, the secretary and treasurer of the organisation behind the festival, the Pine Creek Heritage and Tourist Association (PCH & TA), said bringing locals and visitors together after being cut off for so long during COVID had the whole community “buzzing”.

“There are some really great entrants in this year’s art and photography competition, and I’m so excited that we are going to be able to show them off in the exhibition opening,” Lawrence said.

“A massive thanks to the local member for Daly, Dheran Young, for providing the $1,000 cash prize for the winning artwork, and two $100 awards for the junior photography prize.”

A public fireworks display, hosted by the Northern Territory Government, celebrating Territory Day followed from 7pm, bringing a large crowd of locals together, even despite the cold and windy weather.

The second day brought Pine Creek’s rich gold mining history into focus, with festival goers trying their luck in the competitive gold panning heats, or opting for a more relaxed affair in the practice panning event.

Practice panning

Damper making, market stalls, food and drink also featured during the day, with a family friendly live music performance finishing off the weekend at the Pine Creek Hotel.

In recognition of the rich Chinese heritage of the Pine Creek area, the Chung Wah Society dancers performed throughout the day.

Chung Wah performers wowed the crowds

Yvette Williams, the elected Victoria Daly Regional Councillor for Pine Creek and board member of the Pine Creek Heritage and Tourist Association, said the festival was the perfect way to celebrate the town’s rich history.

“The weekend is absolutely a dry season highlight, and it’s been so great to see the community come together to throw the event,” Williams said.

“Victoria Daly Regional Council are very proud to back community-led events such as the Pine Creek Gold Rush Festival and will continue to do so for years to come.”

Damper making competition

This year’s festival was proudly sponsored by Victoria Daly Regional Council, North Australian Laboratories, BACCHUS Resources, Australia Post, the Lazy Lizard Tavern, Pine Creek Railway Resort, United Pine Creek, Kirkland Lake Gold, Mr Edward Ah Toy, Pine Creek Auto Repairs, NT General Store, Top End Prospecting, and Pine Creek Auto Repairs.