Motif Merry Christmas

December 2000


  1. Editorial

  2. Minelab's G.P. Extreme - Brad Williams
    We give the new Minelab detector a rigorous test

  3. Great Goldfields - Today - Larry Lahey
    We look at the best producing gold fields for 2000

  4. Profile - Rita Bentley - Brad Williams
    A fascinating Profile of a Lady Who is Fighting For Your Rights

  5. Coils Ain't Coils - Sue "Goldie" Reynolds
    A look at coil technology

  6. Paddy Hannan - Prospector - Jim Foster
    As Related by Paddy Hannan Himself

  7. Flecks - Snippets of interesting information

  8. Strikes - Recent Finds

  9. Next Lode - What's in next month's Gold Net Magazine


1.  EDITORIALGold Nugget
Gold Net Australia Online extends to all our members the compliments of the season. May this Christmas be enjoyable to you all, and the New Year bring your hopes and dreams closer to fulfillment.

Just a few items of general interest in this edition. From time to time we find that some prospective members do not provide us with correct E-mail details. As a matter of policy we do require an E-mail contact. We need this to advise you if there are difficulties with the site. During the last two years we have only had to advise members on one occasion when the server went down for an extended period. However, we only use this in emergency situations and have previously given an undertaking that your email addresses will not be on sold under any circumstances. We do respect your privacy.

We also receive requests from email addresses that are incorrect, and our replies are returned by the mail Daemon. So please ensure you email addresses are correct - or include a phone number opr snail mail address, so we can contact you.

We are also pleased to report that Ian Aitken is remaining with Minelab after all. Wise move Minelab

The Gold Expo is getting a head of steam up - and we are very hopeful of having quite a selection of exhibitors - which will include Minelab and Coiltek. Other exhibitors are welcome and we do anticipate an excellent attendance at this inaugural event - both by exhibitors and by the prospecting fraternity.

Our Editor - Jim Foster has just returned from North Queensland.
We are still negotiating behind the scenes to present many more interesting concepts through this medium. Progress can be painfully slow at times - but be assured we will keep negotiating to bring more and more to you as time progresses.

Once again enjoy your Christmas and we look forward to seeing you in 2001.


Email: [email protected]

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Gold Net Australia Online
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         by Brad Williams

One always has pre-conceived ideas when testing a new detector. Perhaps that comes with using a particular type of model detector. So it was that venturing off with a new Minelab GP Extreme those old ideas remained firm within the mind.

Perhaps it was because the SD Series from Minelab , the 2000, 2100 and the 2200, were in a sense all somewhat similar. The 2000 was the catalyst that triggered an enormous resurgence in detecting and when the 2100 came along, that surge continued. Personally I really liked the 2100. It was sensitive and I found good gold with it. When the 2200 was released there was divided opinion, as the learning curve in understanding this machine and getting the most out of it was quite extensive.

However it soon became evident that the 2200 was really getting good gold and in somewhat flogged ground. Additionally with the arrival of the Coiltek coils, this machine excelled, and the performance just got better and better. I now personally use a 2200 with the Coiltek UFO coil wherever I can. I find that combination - stunningly successful.

I digress however from the task at hand. In using the GP Extreme, initially I found I battled to find my feet - so to speak - and should have read the instructions more carefully, but like most I simply put it together - turned it on and off I went. Initially I thought that I had a dud machine in my hands - as it was so different, and I just couldn't get the thing to do what I had expected.

I should have read the instructions first - but I didn't and that was to my detriment, as I wasted quite some time fiddling around trying to get it to work the way I expected it to behave. It certainly is a different machine.

Once the ground balancing has been done the machine performs best in "Fixed" mode. Only when in extremely mineralised ground should the "Tracking" mode be used. This is opposite to the 2200D.
However this necessitates regularly switching from fixed to tracking mode to keep the ground "in balance". It's just one of the quirks of this machine that must be done to ensure it performs perfectly.

I found on occasions that ground noise was quite intense when the coil was lowered onto the ground, but by raising the coil off the ground about an inch, the noise level dropped, and it didn't appear to have much effect on the depth that could be obtained either. I perhaps would have liked to keep the coil lower as that is what I am used to - but on occasions this machine just didn't like sliding over the ground, and keeping it up a little, it performed much better in highly mineralised ground. However, most of the time it worked very well on the ground.

Minelab's GP Extreme - Click to enlarge An excellent feature in this machine is the outstanding sensitivity of this detector. It worked extremely well using a slow sweep technique as most detectors do in any case. But listening intently the signals given when slowly scanning were clear and precise. I found it worked better with the "Signal" control at a low level, as when it was turned up high the threshold was becoming unstable. I usually like the "Signal" setting at a lower level in any case - just to suit my hearing, so it doesn't annoy me when detecting for long periods.

What became evident very quickly with this detector was the stability and depth capabilities, once it was operated as the makers' intended. It certainly is a different machine to the SD series that Minelab have.

I didn't just make these observations about the GP Extreme on my own. Discussing this with several well known hobbyists and professional detector operators who are much more skilled in their use than I. I found they too had some difficulty in grasping the idiosyncrasies of this new device, but once mastered their praise was universal.

I respect the words of such mentors as John Gladdis and Cliff Watters, and both have personally tested the Extreme and independently given quite glowing reports of the GP Extremes abilities.
John Gladdis believes this is an excellent gold detector. It is the nicest sounding gold machine he has ever used, and the targets are very obvious.
The control box contains some exceptional "goodies", not seen in other machines.

In testing the Extreme I tried several Minelab coils and all worked extremely well. However I took several Coiltek coils along too and I can advise that ALL gave exceptional performance. Personally I liked the Coiltek UFO with this detector. A number of Coiltek's professional testing team have swapped over to the Minelab GP Extreme, but have retained the Coiltek Coils. Never the less the technical wizardry of this outstanding detector is indeed a coup for Minelab, who once again has shown the world that Aussie expertise is right at the cutting edge, and is well ahead of the pack in most instances.

The price tag of this detector is not cheap, but the results for the serious detectorist are obvious and the gold recovered should more than compensate in a few months or less, but expect to dig some deep holes in the meantime.

In summary - the GP Extreme is a leap forward in technology and gold recovering ability. It is different - but it works exceptionally well in all terrains.
It will be a winner for Minelab. Merry Christmas


         byLarry Lahey

Gold is where you find it. But just where are the best prospects these days - and how does one go about getting the gold that still lies in the ground. Well the answer to that question is incredibly complex - so we can only deal with the subject in general terms - as if we knew where the best gold was NOW - I wouldn't be here writing this narrative. I would be out there getting the gold as hard and as fast as I could.

The great gold fields of Victoria and Western Australia were by far the most prolific in gold production. Today that still holds true. Good gold IS still being found in Victoria and Western Australia.

Geographically Victoria has gold fields that are very close to well settled areas. The centres of Ballarat, Bendigo, Maryborough, Dunolly and Wedderburn to name a few still produce gold in quite acceptable quantities.
It really depends on a number of factors. Firstly the equipment being used, and secondly the skill of the operator. Thirdly, the knowledge of the operator in selecting an area that has a well researched history that indicates the depth and type of gold previously recovered there.

The last element to the equation is technology. We have seen what the SD series of detectors have done for Minelab, and as a result for the gold prospector with a metal detector. It is known that over $100,000,000 in gold was recovered within a year when the Minelab SD2000 was first released.
In recent times the advent of Coiltek coils into the market place have substantially stimulated gold recovery in Australia. As each new coil is released, increased interest is shown, and very recently with the advent of Coiltek's UFO, some spectacular finds have been made with this outstanding coil in recognised gold fields.

Leonora - in the Golden West - Click to enlarge In Western Australia, the recognised gold fields around Kalgoorlie, Leonora and Laverton, continue to give up outstanding quantities of gold.
Today, perhaps the WA goldfields are the most prolific producers of good quality gold nuggets. I can make that statement as most of the large nuggets that have appeared in Gold Net Magazine this year have come from W.A.
Most of these have been recovered by expert operators, using high quality gear, like the Minelab 2200D and with the big Coiltek coils. Again in recent times the Coiltek UFO - has exploded in popularity and consequently gold getting ability.

It was of note this year that several professionals and semi professional detector operators remained in Western Australia well into December, before the heat finally drove them to leave - as good gold was being claimed daily with the UFO. And I mean handfuls of nuggets - not just small nuggets.
I can report that one operator somewhere in WA recovered over 190 ounces in two days in one patch using the UFO. Unfortunately I don't know exactly where it was. In fact I only know it was in Western Australia. Such is life.
There is little doubt that during 2000 the best producer of gold has been the Leonora area of Western Australia. There have been some spectacularly large nuggets from that area - with consistent performance all year.

The two areas in Victoria that have produced well again this year have been Maryborough and Dunolly. Both of these regions in the past were producers of large nuggets and although not with the frequency of Leonora, some very large nuggets have once again come from these two popular areas.
Again most of the big ones were found using the Minelab 2200D with large coils, in particular the Coiltek UFO.
Great Gold - From Maryborough - Click to enlarge Those new coils on what is known as "flogged" ground - where literally dozens of detectors have been over the ground, have found spectacular gold once again using new technology.

Even Watts Gully just out of Adelaide produced a 10-ounce nugget this year. I know this ground has been thoroughly "flogged" by numerous detectorists.
Using a UFO earlier this year, I recovered small gold from Watts Gully, in an area I thought would produce nothing, due to it being in "flogged" ground. How wrong one can be - and how quickly perceptions change when a little gold is found. I plan to go back soon with a UFO and clear out that little patch, or big patch as the case may be.

In sluicing and panning operations the Shoalhaven River continues to spew forth gold with monotonous regularity. Several creeks and waterways in the Bathurst, Oberon area also gave up excellent quantities of fine gold. These waterways have a habit of continually producing consistently every year, year after year after year.

Now I don't profess to know all the best areas for gold - but in general what I glean from within the industry is conveyed to you honestly and with sincerity.
I most definitely will be in the Maryborough - Dunolly region in January, scratching around with a UFO. In the meantime Watts Gully will get a visit - maybe this weekend. Merry Christmas


4.  PROFILE - RITA BENTLEYGold Nugget             
         by Brad Williams

I have often heard Rita Bentley described in the following terms. Capable, intelligent, tenacious, exacting, affable, delightful, articulate, and gracious. All of these descriptions are indeed quite accurate, as Rita is quite a lady.

Born in the UK, Rita travelled to Australia as a young teenager with her parents and older sister. Arriving by boat in Melbourne in 1965, Victoria has been her home ever since. The family moved around Melbourne on several occasions - so high school as such consisted of 4 different schools in almost as many years.

After leaving school, employment was obtained at Williamstown Navel Dockyards, in a clerical department. After 5 years working in this position Rita joined her now husband in a real estate venture.
It was while involved in this capacity that an investment was mentioned to Rita which involved the gold industry and from this seed grew an interest in gold that has remained to date.

In 1983 Rita and her husband David, obtained a Miners Right Claim in the Wedderburn area, and on weekends would bulldoze an area and detect it using a Whites metal detector. This enterprise grew so successfully that in time the real estate business was sold and Wedderburn became home during the week, and the Melbourne home became the weekender.

Rita Bentley - President PMAV - Click to enlarge In those early days gold was abundant and the enterprise was enjoyable. It was not just providing a living it was also a pleasurable hobby that made money. Although living in a caravan in the Wedderburn Caravan Park - life was thoroughly enjoyable.

I have never been able to find a large nugget myself - but Rita can boast to having found 2 x 14 ounce nuggets herself - while husband David has found a 43 ouncer. While working full time at gold recovery Rita has found thousands of nuggets. Mostly small nuggets, but never the less - thousands.

While in this great gold bearing region David and Rita took out other gold leases at Dunolly and Talbot, and worked the Dunolly lease. However at the Talbot lease bureaucratic interference, for want of a better word, held up progress and delayed planned progress for 2 years. This delay clearly caused David and Rita to reconsider their position and although they would have liked to continue with their gold enterprise, recognised that the time had come to revert to alternate methods of making a living.

In 1989 they upped stakes and moved back to Melbourne, where they bought into a refrigeration business . The clear necessity to generate an income was evident, and bureaucrats were a clear stumbling block.
Since that time the business has flourished.
Fridge Seal is at :- 7 Linton Street, Moorabbin.. Ph: (03) 9555 0977
Fridge Seal Web site: Fridge Seal - where worn fridge seals are replaced and where new seals are manufactured.
As Rita has a pivotal role within the organisation - you know who to ask for if need a new fridge seal.

Rita has been involved at an executive level with the PMAV (Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria) since 1989. Initially holding the position of Secretary / Treasurer. Holding the position of Vice President on two occasions, and President for 3 terms, Rita's contribution to this organisation and the hobby detectorist and minor has been enormous.

The PMAV submission to the Environment Conservation Council was largely Rita's work, and many countless hours of research and working on the submission were donated by Rita to prepare a thoroughly researched and sensible submission. Having read the submission myself, it clearly presents a balanced representation of the real facts relating to the Box Ironbark debate.

Among the promotions undertaken mainly at Rita's instigation was a group of Liberal Politicians who attended the box ironbark area in a mini bus and who were shown in detail exactly what detecting was all about. Many of these politicians were "enlightened" by the experience. On the other hand the Labor government has yet to take up the invitation. However, Rita is still working tirelessly on that endeavour.

At a recent meeting with Steve Bracks - the Premier of Victoria, Rita was able to show the premier quite a large nugget. The reaction from the premier was entirely positive. I am sure that this tenacious lady will continue to fight for the rights of all PMAV members, in her capacity as President.

Rita has two children - a boy 12 and a girl 10 - and is of course married to David. The PMAV is indeed in good hands. Rita is indeed - a sensational Lady. Merry Christmas


5.  COILS AIN'T COILSGold Nugget
        by Sue "Goldie" Reynolds

In recent times technological advances in metal detector coils has improved out of site. Not only have they changed shape in many instances - they have also grown in size - and some outstanding products have resulted. This article specifically deals with the Minelab SD Series of detectors. As the technology relating to these products dominates the Australian detecting scene.

Essentially there are two types of metal detector coils, Monoloop and Double D. The former being the most sensitive, but these coils also emit far more ground noise in mineralized ground. Double D coils emit less noise in mineralized ground and generally are still capable or "finding" gold in mineralised patches which contain "hot rocks". This is particularly evident with the SD 2200 as the discriminator function assists to sort the gold from ground mineralization and ferrous junk.

Mineralization in auriferous ground is one of the great annoyances in metal detecting. In highly mineralized areas, like Golden Gully, at Wedderburn and Queens Reef, Moliagal, I have dug up several "hot rocks", that sounded so much like gold. Only the most experienced of detector operators who have worked this ground for long periods develop the ear to discriminate between hot rocks and gold. For me, I dig all targets, regardless. I have also dug up quantities of red clay soil that sounds like gold. It can be quite disconcerting at times, and I am not alone in telling you that this is a regular occurrence, especially if you are not totally familiar with an area.

Monoloop Coil - Click to enlarge Each coil produced is designed for a specific purpose. It is wrong to assume that just one coil will deal with all circumstances in all situations. Most manufacturers provide mid range coils with their detectors when sold, and they offer a further range of coils that can be purchased additionally to cover all circumstances.

In general coils that are small in circumference find gold closer to the surface, and are good at getting smaller gold, while coils that are larger in circumference find larger gold nuggets at greater depth. Although this is a general rule - some coils recently developed are excellent at both tasks, and are good general purpose coils.

For example the Coiltek 10" elliptical monoloop - is often used by those who find the larger heavier coils too difficult to swing for extended periods. Older people, in particular find the smaller coils, might not necessarily find big nuggets at depth, but surface gold can be found with monotonous regularity and as it is close to the surface, is easy to dig.

Conversely the professional would more likely be seen with the 24" coils that find larger nuggets at greater depth. Although this is not always the case, in general this is not uncommon.

Personally I do prefer monoloop coils, and in particular I really enjoy Coiltek's UFO. This coil is elliptical in shape, and is relatively light in weight and is a highly versatile coil, finding small surface gold and also finding larger nuggets at greater depth. Perhaps I sometimes suffer from an attack of the "lazies" and don't change coils as often as I should, but this coil is pretty good in most ground.
However, in highly mineralised ground I will swap to the Coiltek 14" Double D Coil - that has excellent gold finding capabilities. When tired I often use Coiltek's 10" elliptical, as I find the light weight of this little gem rests tired limbs. At the same time it finds small nuggets with monotonous regularity, and sometimes at astonishing depth.

Coils are generally made of a Luran - S ABS Composite material - or plastic type material - if you like. Within each coil there are windings of copper wire. In a monoloop - the wire follows the outer circumference - with the copper wire being wound around several times. On the double D configuration, the copper wiring is wound in two D formations, that overlap but still in general follow the circumference. (see diagram).

Double D Coil - Click to enlarge What differentiates performance between coils often relates to the quality and quantity of the wiring configuration, coupled with the thickness and composition of the copper wiring in general. Manufacturers are reluctant to reveal trade secrets, but a good deal of R & D is undertaken in this field to obtain outstanding results that have pushed gold finding coils to a new level.
Understanding the way a coil reacts in certain circumstances is at times difficult to understand, even to the "experts". Extensive R & D is undertaken by manufacturers to ensure that the very best available products are available to all.

As time progresses it will be interesting to see in which direction coil technology moves. There is still some work required to find a good quality coil suitable for salt lakes, such as those experienced in Western Australia. Perhaps eventually someone, somewhere, might develop a metal detector where the operator simply turns a dial to "Gold" and that is the only sound that is heard through the ear phones - or appears on ones spectacle digital screen.

That technology is certainly somewhere in the future. For the time being we shall just have to wait for that giant leap ahead, which will inevitable come as man progresses with technology. In the interim I shall just keep battling along with my group of 8 coils and my Minelab SD2200. But then maybe I should get the new GP Extreme.
Now that's food for thought. Merry Christmas


         by Jim Foster

An eyewitness account of Paddy Hannan himself and the story of his discovering Kalgoorlie, by John Kirwan, who knew the man who discovered the fabulous Golden Mile, the richest mile on earth.

To visit Kalgoorlie today it is hard to imagine this city of over thirty thousand people, with the Super Pit gold mine and all the other industry, being a dry wilderness. But until the arrival of Paddy Hannan 1893 that is what it was, a dry-as-dust wilderness.

Paddy Hannan was born in the Parish of Quin, County Clare, Ireland in 1842. He came to Australia when he was twenty one years old. In disposition he was quite unlike the jovial, riotous type common among mining communities. Though not a total abstainer, he preferred to retain his senses and could not be induced to go beyond the limits of that which temperance prescribes. This did not elevate his popularity among his fellows, but he seemed not to mind.

Hannan was well known to me. He was of less than average height, of medium build, with bright, beady eyes, a long beard and a ruddy complexion.
While a pleasant and genial fellow he was not garrulous nor a good conversationalist. He was kindly, quiet and reserved. His education was that of the ordinary Irish peasant boy educated under the national school system, but his handwriting is excellent, and his letters are singular for their clearness of diction. But he was without imagination or a sense of humour. The romantic side of gold seeking did not appeal to him. The story he told me of his great discovery was simple and direct. It was:

Paddy Hannan - Click to enlarge "I arrived in the colony in March 1889, and was at Parkers Range, about forty miles from Southern Cross, when Bailey reported the discovery of a rich reef at Coolgardie. I joined the rush.

Early in June, 1893, news arrived at Coolgardie of a good discovery at a place called Mount Youle. Parties left Coolgardie in search of that find. A few days after the report had been received, my mate, Thomas Flannigan, and I left Coolgardie. We left on June the seventh. We would have left earlier but could not obtain horses and were delayed a few days. We were lucky enough to pick up some animals in the bush ten or twelve miles from Coolgardie. The other parties going to Mount Youle were mostly travelling with teams. Only one or two of the prospecting groups had horses of their own. We were a separate party, as we wished to be free to travel when we liked. We could also by this arrangement, if we choose, prospect any country during the journey.

A very large number was in the main party going to Mount Youle. Only Bailey's claim was working at Coolgardie, and the alluvial had become exhausted just about the time we left, hence the strong desire amongst the men to reach a new find.

On June 10, three days after leaving Coolgardie, we reached what is now Kalgoorlie. The other parties had gone in the direction of the reported discovery, but it was only to find later that the report had been false.

Well, as I have said, when we came on June 10 to Mount Charlotte, my mate and I decided to stop and prospect the country round about. To us it looked country where there might be alluvial. We found colours of gold and then got good gold at the north end of Mount Charlotte to down south of Maritana Hill.
There was another man by the way, Dan Shea was his name, to whom we gave an equal share in our venture.

We soon realised that we were located on a valuable field. Alluvial gold was in abundance. We got scores of ounces. It was agreed that I should go to Coolgardie and apply for a reward claim. I left Flanagan and Shea to watch our interests, and on June 17 stated for Coolgardie. I got there on Saturday night.

Paddy Hannan's Country - near Kalgoorlie - Click to enlarge The news of our find soon got abroad. There was a good deal of excitement. Hundreds of men set out for the scene. The flats and gullies all about our reward claim became alive with diggers dryblowing and finding gold.

The water difficulty, which had been unusually great, was solved. Rain began to fall as I was on my way to Coolgardie to report the find, and continued for some time. The fall was fairly heavy. It was exceedingly welcome to us all and relieved the shortage from which we suffered. The downpour left plenty of water in rock holes and lakes. The supply lasted until November.
Where the ground was too wet for dryblowing the men dried the ground with fires and so could work their claims".

Above is the story of Hannan's discovery as told to me by Hannan. It was an apparent afterthought that made him think it worthwhile mentioning that when he left to apply for the reward claim the three men were down to only two quarts of water. "But for the rain," he remarked, "I don't know what we would have done." Merry Christmas


7.  FLECKS ! - Glints from here and thereGold Nugget


This year we thought we would get personal and make some awards for contributions to the industry. There are only two awards this year.

Personality of the year


Company of the year

Without hesitation the personality of the year goes to John Gladdis. Not just for his contribution to Coiltek and their success this year - but for the way John has consistently assisted all who ask - without question. John's assistance to Gold Net Australia Online this year has been inestimable and we sincerely thank him for that assistance.

Company of the year goes to Coiltek Pty Ltd - whose contribution to the industry this year in producing a number of outstanding coils stands alone in stature. Congratulations John Kah on a job well done.

Merry Christmas


8.  STRIKESGold Nugget
        Recent Finds

NovemberDunolly7 oz
NovemberNear Leonora17.5 oz
NovemberMaryborough - Vic11 oz
We will only publish information that has been authenticated. This is by no means a comprehensive list as many quality finds are not disclosed. - Ed.

7 oz Nugget


9.  THE NEW LODE - Next Month's Issue

  • Great Prospectors - Tom Cue
    We profile this grand old Prospector and his finds.
  • Selling Your Gold
    How and where to sell your gold finds
  • Coming to the Land Down Under
    What I expected in Australia and what I found
  • Profile - Barrie Johnson
    We profile the owner of Barrie Johnson Detector Service - Wedderburn - Victoria
Merry Christmas


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