As you read this the entire hierarchy of Gold Net are in the Australian Bush - undertaking the huge project of finalising some exciting new tour products. We have all been working hard to provide to the fossicking tourist what this fabulous country has to offer to all who take the opportunity to visit. As well as covering gold field sites - and numerous tourist attractions - we have travelled from Melbourne to the Victorian Golden Triangle - and visited some fabulous gold sites on the way. I don't mind telling you we had some grand times detecting along the way. Someone got lucky and found a 10.5 gram (1/3 oz.) nugget on day one. We plan to travel across the entire country stopping off at the head of the Great Australian Bite, where the magnificent Right Whales frolick near the cliffs - before heading across the Nullarbor Plain to the Western Australian Gold Fields. It is here that we will meet up with Jim and Cheryl Foster, who have been in the gold fields for a couple of months detecting. It has been a fabulous opportunity to gather material and photos - and videos to assist in promoting these great tours.
I don't mind telling you - we are having a ball.
I hope that sometime soon you can join us - down under - in this great land of wonder.
Email: [email protected]
All material in this magazine is copyright and may not be reproduced in any part or form whatsoever without written permission from the publisher.
2. WHAT IS - AUSTRALIA
by Laurelle Murphy
Just what is Australia? Where did the people come from? How do they live?
The growing pains of the young colony were extensive. Support from England was at times lacking, and the appointed Governor's soon recognised the best method of providing for the colony was to provide for itself - and many worked towards this end, encouraging free settlers and granting them large tracts of land to graze and raise stock and crops. In itself this was generally successful - except for times of drought when both water and food were scarce.
With the gold discoveries of the 1850's came the renaissance. A renewal and population explosion that stretched the colonial administration to breaking point and beyond. People came from all over the world to this mountain of gold, and populations exploded throughout New South Wales - and the newly proclaimed District of Port Phillip - now Melbourne.
Over the next 50 years Australia developed into 6 States and two Territories.
Along the eastern sea-board, the central State of New South Wales - to the north - Queensland, and to the south Victoria. Further South across Bass Strait - the Island State of Tasmania - formerly Van Diemen's Land.
From its beginnings democracy was sought after, fought for by argument, and won in the same way. With a "White Australia Policy" firmly in place, the national identity became cemented with the contribution Australia made with the troops provided for the Great War of 1914 -1918. It was at this time that Australia became a unified nation.
The political system in Australia is complex. It has three tiers. A federal government - that controls federal matters - e.g. defence, monetary controls, Immigration, and taxation. The Federal Parliament has two houses. A House of Representatives, and the Senate. The leader of the House of Representatives - is the Prime Minister, and the controller of government in this country. The Senate acts as a House of Review - and there is equal representation from each of the 6 States.
At State level - there is generally a lower house and an upper house - which acts in a reviewing
capacity. This is the case in every State except Queensland - where the upper house has been abolished.
Australia's population until the end of the Second World War was almost entirely white. The "White Australia Policy" remaining firmly in place with only European settlers permitted, until almost the 1980's when some relaxation was made to accommodate refugees from the Indo China War in Vietnam that Australia participated in. There are now people from over 60 countries settled in Australia. There is strong debate continuing as to the rationale of allowing vast numbers of refugees into this country. However it can be said - that Australia has made a substantial contribution to accommodating refugees.
A highly tolerant country, Australian's believe in a "fair go". Most will accept unpalatable government decisions - but at times, when politicians overstep accepted boundaries - the flow of negative letters and talk back radio comment usually achieves the desired effect. We are fortunate that in Australia - a very orderly society exists. Although elections are fiercely fought - with argument and debate - the results in the end are never questioned - with an acceptance that the people have spoken.
Australia is a very western and modern society. Among the most inventive of people on earth. Australians are responsible for developing the guidance system that is presently used in every major airport in the world today.
There are however, two things that stand Australia alone as a unique land.
Firstly it's fauna. The uniqueness of wildlife in Australia is as diverse as it is unusual. From the Kangaroo - to the Duck Billed Platypus - to the Koala - the wildlife is unique on the globe - and is seen nowhere else.
3. BEN HALL - BUSHRANGER - PART 6
by Craig Wilson
W ith the murder of Constable Samuel Nelson at Collector by the Hall gang. police redoubled their efforts to capture the gang. Only a few now supported the gang as the tide of public opinion had clearly turned against them throughout the colony. It was now evident to all that they were a blight on the landscape of the colony and had to be brought to justice. Time was running out for the Hall gang.
On January 31st the gang again stuck up Warn's station on the Crookwell. After this they held up several travellers on Cunningham's Plains. The Hall gang continued its felonious course throughout the early part of 1865, holding up and robbing travellers, hotels and mail coaches at random.
In one incident near Springfield station south of Goulburn, four young brothers, the oldest being 20 and the youngest 14, were accosted by the gang. Although fired upon the young men stoutly defended themselves firing back at the bushrangers. Taking cover behind the trap in which they had been travelling they stoutly defended themselves. Withdrawing into the scrub when the horses bolted after being hit by shot, the youths travelled back to their home across country and there armed themselves with pistols as they had expended all their ammunition.
Gilbert at one stage taking deliberate aim at one of the youths as he fled only to have the race horse, (Young Waverly) he was riding throw his head up as he pulled the trigger killing his mount instantly. He was trapped by the leg when his horse fell on him. Escaping from under the horse Gilbert took aim but did not fire - the youth probably being out of range. This act of bravely finally made the bushrangers the laughing stock being defeated at the hands of mere boys. The ridicule continued.
On February 18th the gang stole two racehorses from a property at Molonglo near Queanbeyan. The police and their network had now established that the gang was still in this region and on February 22nd information came to hand that the gang might be staying at the home of Thomas Lawler a known harbourer. The police party although travelling all night arrived at about 7.30am and found that three beds occupied overnight could not be accounted for by those staying overnight. The police knew they were closing in.
The police believed the gang to still be in the area, and suspected that they would try and stay with Thomas Byrne, another known associate of the gang. Known informants of the gang were located at the nearby Breadalbane Hotel. The four men were sought out and held by police while the main police party moved towards Byrne's home. The gang had supped with Byrne and had then moved to the barn to sleep the night.
The police arrived in the early hours of the morning and surrounded the house. As they approached two of the police passed close to the open barn door, and one decided to look inside. As he did both Gilbert and Dunn opened fire, with both constables returning the fire. One of the troopers, Wiles was wounded in the hand and the leg, but both officers kept firing.
Other police had secured the bushrangers horses and eventually the three felons made a dash for the scrub through the front door. The last of the three, Hall was hit as he ran and fell, but he picked himself up and the three escaped in the early morning light into thick bush with the police in pursuit. The heavy boots and trappings of the troopers slowed them considerably. Mounting and following their tracks they searched unsuccessfully for some hours before finally giving up. They had been on the go for over 48 hours and they and their mounts were spent.
Sir Frederick Pottinger had not been re-instated and he decided to travel to Sydney to try and seek redress in Sydney, and so it was that on March 5th whilst travelling to Sydney the coach made a scheduled stop at Wascoe's Inn in the Blue Mountains. Whilst remounting the coach a pistol that he was carrying apparently caught on some part of the coach and the weapon discharged, severely wounding him. Sir Frederick Pottinger subsequently died of this wound on Sunday April 9th.
On March 4th the Hall gang positioned themselves at Geary's gap on the Sydney side of Goulburn with the intention of robbing the Gundaroo mail coach. As they arrived early they began their usual bailing up and robbing of innocent travellers. The mail coach approached and was duly robbed.
The trio stole three horses from stables near Murrumburrah on 7th March and two days later they held up Albert Vale station where they stole three more horses. On the 13th March the Hall gang attacked the Araluen gold escort.
The other two constables immediately engaged in an outflanking movement and attacked the bushrangers from the side trapping the gang in a cross fire. Returning fire the bushrangers retreated up the hill to their horses and escaped just as a large party of armed miners came up the hill to assist in protecting their gold. Fortunately Constable Kelly survived.
The gang continued to hold up travellers, hotels, stations, and stores plundering across a wide area. The government had a this time resolved to rid the colony of the bushranger menace once and for all.
At this time the rewards for the capture of the Hall, Gilbert and Dunn was 1,000 pounds each. An enormous sum in those days, and with the Felons Apprehensions Act invoked a strong contingent of would be bounty hunters was forming to do their civic duty.
4. PROFILE - JOHN GLADDIS
by Jim Foster
John Gladdis could only be described as a happy and caring character. His contribution to the gold industry in Australia is extensive - and his knowledge of detecting is second to none. Presently General Manager of Coiltek Pty. Ltd., John's life has woven a thread through gold related activities for over 30 years.
Now John cannot remember when he first became interested in gold, but from a young age, he was involved with his life long mate Des Lewis, and together they used to fossick, dry blow and sluice the lower Adelaide Hills. In particular the creek lines at Glen Osmond, Brown Hill Creek, and through the myriad of creeks that feed the River Torrens, before it runs through Adelaide. John would admit that this enterprise was enticing, and alluring but never extensively successful. But the gold bug was there.
In 1979, John's wife Gail, bought him a Detex Detector for his birthday.
He was ecstatic at the prospect of having a metal detector - but will now admit that three years later he found his first piece of gold with that machine.
It was 1982-3 when John began to really hit the jackpot with gold. He joined the Southern Seekers Detector Club at this time and undertook many field trips to Victoria where his knowledge of gold and gold fields leapt. Spending time in the Victorian gold fields he found the obligatory metal cans - buttons, and of course the occasional piece of gold. With painstaking research and simple hard work - his knowledge and understanding of the gold fields grew.
By now the gold bug had really struck John, and interspersed with his gold field activities he was working full time as a Quality and Residential Engineer for the Mitsubishi Corporation at Tonsley Park. In all, his employment with this company lasted 17 years, before he moved on to greener pastures, working for about 4 years with Australia Post, as an Engineer in the Transport Department.
In 1986 Minelab brought out the Gold Seeker 15,000 - and purchasing this detector - John was immediately successful in finding even more gold. Developing his skills further - and wishing to impart his knowledge to others, he began conducting gold seminars and conferences, in conjunction with Doug Stone, the well-known author and tour operator.
During 1987 John became both a dealer for Minelab and a full time prospector. This sojourn into the world of the professional gold seeker turned out to be more of a chore than a pleasure. After 6 months the joy of looking for gold was no longer there, and being away from his family interstate a good deal of the time this enterprise was abandoned, at least as a full time profession. I might add that although the project was successful in gold recovery other factors closed this chapter on John's life. Clearly the love for his family, in particular wife Gail and their two children was overwhelming in deciding his future course - closer to his family.
In 1994 John went to work for Minelab on a part time basis for a four-year period, where he undertook field surveys and assisted in developing the outstandingly successful Minelab 2000, 2100, and 2200 range. During this period the field trips continued to Victoria and other auriferous areas throughout Australia where John's experience and expertise with these new detectors became legendary.
In 1998 John moved to Coiltek as General Manager - and with John Kah began developing a range of coils suitable for the Minelab range of metal detectors. The success of the developed products was instantaneous and spectacular, and can clearly be attributed to a union between CEO John Kah and John Gladdis, that has proved outstandingly successful.
John G. (as he is known - at least at work) is presently involved in Mining and Exploration Leases in both northern South Australia and the Northern Territory, with a small consortium who are seeking commercial gold fields in these underdeveloped regions. Some promising sites are presently under investigation.
John's commitment to the gold industry has spanned over 30 years to date.
What lies ahead for John is still to be decided. But with the success of Coiltek, and with new ventures planned for the future the contribution to the gold industry will undoubtedly continue.
5. GOLD AMONGST THE WILD FLOWERS
by Jim Foster
The summer of 1999/2000 was one of the wettest on record for Western Australia. With the rain came prodigious growth. Grass grew where it hadn't been seen for decades. Salt bush and blue bush grew thick and tall over the latarite flats, but by early May most of the tracks around the eastern goldfields had dried out and were again passable to cars and caravans.
I could find very little history on Murrin Murrin but I did hear a couple of good stories. A lady who now lives in Laverton said she lived as a girl in the old Murrin hotel. The so-called chimney at the turn-off to the main Murrin diggings and opposite the rail siding is actually a corner of a brick wall of the hotel. With the Murrin rail siding on the now dis-used Laverton line just across the road she saw most of what went on in the town. One thing she could remember was that when the weekly supply train stopped at Murrin Murrin siding scores of prospectors would emerge from the bush to pick up supplies and have a bit of a spree in the hotel. They would then fade away into the bush, not to be seen for at least another week.
Less than a kilometre from the Murrin Murrin town site is the Minara Station Homestead. A local historian told me how the then station owner wanted to build his homestead by the creek but the spot he wanted was already occupied by a group of Afghans running a market garden supplying the town of Murrin Murrin. As they were working their gardens on mining claims he was unable to move them on and they didn't want to sell. After some time he hit upon an idea that might work. Purchasing a truck load of pigs he set them loose on the track past the Afghans gardens and let it be known he was starting a piggery next to the gardens. The Afghans, being Muslims and being bound by their religion against having any association with swine promptly gave up their gardens and left the district. Or so the story goes.
At time of writing, Keep It Dark, and the area south along the east side of the Red Castle road for several kilometres was under lease and access was not possible, but 2001 is another year and it would pay to check with the Mines Dep. as to what leases are current, as this is darn good ground.
With such a good season the wild f lowers had been encouraged to flower in the Autumn and we saw some magnificent displays. One small purple flower was so prolific that at times we waded through a wonderful purple haze. Many varieties that we had only seen in spring the year before were flowering on every slope and in every gully.
SMORGASBORD FOR BIRDS
With the extra vegetation came a huge increase in insect Iife that the birds took full advantage of. Butcherbirds, so fat that they were almost round, half-heartedly looked for another sharp mulga twig on which to impale their latest prey. Murray magpies, mynah birds, and other feathered insect hunters sat around most of the day looking decidedly smug and replete, only swooping down now and again for another feed of the living smorgasbord.
6. BIG BIG NUGGETS
by Sue "Goldie" Reynolds
Big nuggets are a normality in the Australian Gold Fields. Well, at least that's what we are told - but just how much of this is truth and how much fiction.
Were these nuggets really found - and if so - are large nuggets still being found today?
The director of Mines Victoria, Mr. E.J. Dunn wrote in 1912.
The great gold-fields of Victoria however have given up enormous nuggets, and even perusing the records of those that are known - the weights and numbers, are mind boggling. Of all the nuggets recorded in these particular gold-fields, those weighing over 1,000 ounces were relatively spread out.
Perusing records is quite interesting - and it is of interest to note that of all records kept, detailing large nugget finds (over 500 ounces) - the most prolific area for producing large nuggets was Ballarat, followed closely by Kangderaar, with Moliagul and Dunnolly following in that order.
The most dominant area in producing large nuggets over 100 ounces is Dunolly - with at least 65 recorded. Both Ballarat with 50 and Kangderaar with 42, follow closely. Tarnagulla with 18 and Moliagul with 17 follow. Kingower with 15, and Wedderburn with 12 show a significant contribution. Almost no other areas have produced large nuggets in any quantity, at least over 100 ounces.
It is of note that Maryborough has only 10 nuggets in this bracket - but today is noted for the number of quality nuggets it is still producing. Perhaps a lot were missed last century. Ironically the area of Dunolly is still producing quality nuggets - perhaps not over 100 ounces - but certainly up to 40 ounces at regular intervals.
Of interest is the fact that a favourite detecting stop, the Talbot - Amherst area produced very few large nuggets, but today produces more than a good share of the gold still recovered from gold fields.
Of the nuggets under 100 ounces - Dunolly is by far the most prolific producer, with a recorded 175 nuggets found between 20 and 100 ounces.
Ballarat with 65 and Wedderburn, with 45 follow closely. Of interest is the fact that the Bendigo area - although being the prolific producer of gold in the region could only manage 18 nuggets in this category and most of these were from the Whipstick.
Several well-known areas - like Ararat and Avoca are well behind with just 11 and 5 respectively. I do point out that these figures only relate to nuggets that were located pre 1912.
So armed with this information you can understand just why so many detectorists head for Dunolly - as it was, and still is a prolific producer of large nuggets. In fact this area totally dominates the statistics of nuggets anywhere in the world.
7. FLECKS ! - Glints from here and there
8. STRIKES Recent Finds
9. THE NEW LODE - Next Month's Issue