Colahan’s Lost Reef
Copyright 2000 By Paul Clacher
Several years ago I was fossicking in the St Arnaud area when I heard
of a story of a lost reef. I have since come to call the lost reef, COLAHAN’s
Reef. During that time I was handed a story (by courtesy of Ella Ebery
and Jessie Cameron) about “The Reef That Was Found and Lost”. An excerpt
of that story reads, “John COLAHAN was a native of Ireland, who selected
land at Redbank in the very early days. COLAHAN established a hotel known
as ‘COOLAVIN’. COLAHAN pursued the occupation of Farming.” There was a
fire on COLAHAN’s property, which burnt down his “chock and log” fence.
As a result “John COLAHAN set out to inspect the damage.”
“Wending his way home, he noticed a line of quartz
reef, and examined it with interest. With an axe he chipped off a piece
of Gold about 2 ½ inches in thickness and 1 ½ inches long.
Further examination of the reef showed a vein of gold 1/3 of an inch wide.”
Shortly after the find, COLAHAN still being a conscientious
Farmer attended to ploughing one of his fields. It was during this ploughing
COLAHAN was fatally injured. His obituary in the St Arnaud Mercury dated,
18/5/1895 stated that on 16/5/1895, COLAHAN was ploughing with 3 horses,
which bolted, and he suffered a fractured spine. A local told me that COLAHAN
was actually hit in the ribs with the shear of the plough blade, which
also fractured his spine.
COLAHAN was rushed to hospital but before he died
he attempted to explain to the Priest, the Golden Reef and its location.
It is interesting to note that the Priest reportedly did actually go into
the forest looking for the reef, but became hopelessly lost and a mojor
search was raised to find the Priest. Needless to say he did not find the
reef. I understand the reef has never been found and if it has it is a
very well kept secret. I am also told that John COLAHAN gave the piece
of the Reef to his daughter along with a vague description as to where
he located the reef. It is my understanding that his daughter may have
given the gold to a local fossicker by the name of “Harry”, whom I also
understand dedicated his retired life to finding the reef. I could talk
about “Harry” but that’s another story.
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