George Willan may be associated with Willan's Reef, running about 100 yards to the south of the old Argyle Gully Reef in Heathcote, near Eaglehawk. The reef was worked around 1865 to 1879. Willan and Longmore discovered the reef which was later taken over in part by brothers E. and T. Hird. It was an extraordinarily rich reef in the 1860s. From one bucket of specimens from the reef, upwards of 700 oz was obtained. It is thought that about £14,000 worth of gold was taken from the claim in the short time it was being worked.
Later Willan and Longmore sank a shaft a little further to the east and struck a reef at 15 ft. The first crushing produced nearly 1000 oz. After the best of the claim (apparently) had been worked out, Willan and Hird bought out the claim. They later sold interest in the claim to Jude of Bourke Street, who erected a battery in August 1865. The partners sunk a shaft to 230 ft, followed by a drive of 230 ft. After expending as much as they had already made, they sold the claim and the machinery.
By 1891 the shaft at Willan's Reef had been mined down to 450 ft. The one crushing still gave 177 oz of gold. The reef was still being mined as late as 1900.
McIvor Times, various editions, quoted on Heritage Victoria website http://heritage.vic.gov.au/PDFS/HGMS/plotted_histories/north_west_victoria/Heathcote.pdf, accessed 17/2/2004.