Cock’s Eldorado Dredge

Eldorado Bucket ChainEldorado Bucket Chain

I think a quote from Park Victoria’s Heritage Story of the dredge sums up this machine best:-

The Eldorado dredge squats like a huge metal monster on a lake of its own making near Reedy Creek. Its engines are dead and its body is slowly rotting away, but its sheer size is amazing.

Even though it is a dredge and they can get large like boats etc.  I would have to classify it as one of the largest single historic earth moving machines in Victoria.  The lake it operated within was only to support the machine and the water was used for processing the ore.  The dredge was built on site at Eldorado Victoria by Thompson’s Engineering and Pipe Company (Castlemaine Victoria) and started operation in 1936.  Its method of operation was simple it resided in its own Lake and basically carved away at the dirt at the front of the machine and discharged the waste at the rear.  The Dredge was moved forward via winches.  Basically it moved through the soil with its own body of water around it.

  • Main Positioning Winch Drum

Photos taken on 14th May 2015

The statistics of the dredge:-

64 metres by 50 Metres
2,142 tons
900 Hp (total) using 14 electric motors
6,600 Volt Power Cable. (third most power usage in Victoria after Melbourne and Geelong)
110 buckets each weighing around 1.6tons and 12 cubic feet.  Max depth 30 metres

In the 18 years in full operation (24 hours a day 6 days a week) it  was able to produce over 70,000 ounces of gold and 1,383 ounces of Tin and moved around 30,000,000 cubic metres of soil.

Cock’s Eldarado Dredge is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and looked after by Parks Victoria.


References and further information:-

Eldorado Dredge Heritage Story
Welcome to ElDorado website