June 2000


  1. Editorial
  2. Future Directions - Gold Net Australia Online - Brad Williams
  3. Great Gold Fields of Victoria - Cecelia Roberts
  4. Hsin Chin San - Jim Foster
  5. South Australian Gold - John Gladdis
  6. Pyrenees Gold - Jim Foster
  7. Ben Hall - Bushranger - Part 5 - Craig Wilson
  8. Flecks - Snippets of interesting info
  9. Pioneer Women - Craig Wilson
  10. Man and Gold - Part 4 - Jim Foster
  11. Strikes - Recent Finds
  12. Global Positioning Systems - Sue "Goldie" Reynolds
  13. A Day Trip - Jim Foster
  14. World Gold Council - The Future - Katherine Knight
  15. Next Lode - What's in next month's Gold Net Magazine


After several months of research and negotiations - Gold Net Australia Online - is taking a new direction.
From next month the magazine will be a FREE publication.

Our loyal clientele will have priority access, using your same user name and password. NOTE: The new login will not require an email address. The site will change somewhat in appearance. These changes have been kept to a minimum. No further billings will occur after the 15th June 2000.
However, the focus will change from being a full magazine dealing with Australian Gold issues - to a tourist orientated magazine for international visitors who wish to detect and sluice this fabulous country for gold.

Information contained in each issue will relate more to what Gold Net Australia Online has to offer the international visitor - and will include general information about this wonderful and diverse country.
The magazine will reduce in size - allowing us to concentrate on providing a highly professional service to clientele.

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Clay "Silver" Currence, as our sole agent in the USA and Canada. "Silver" is about to visit Australia and will be visiting ALL the gold tour locations whilst here. Upon his return to the USA - "Silver" will promote our Gold Tours at Trade Shows and through other advertising mediums within the USA and Canada.

A number of other tour products are being developed - and will cater for a diverse range of clients needs.
Our tours will cater for those who would like to "rough it", in the bush - to those who would prefer quality motel accommodation - all the way.

Our first article this month deals in more detail with our new direction. We are sure you will appreciate the simple format of the new magazine and the content will remain, informative, reliable, and focussed towards international visitors.


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.

Gold Net Australia Online
Box 533,
Kent Town 5071


          by Brad Williams

Gold Net Australia Online commenced in February 1999, essentially as a gold magazine promoting Australian gold to the world at large. Australia being such an auriferous place hides a wealth of opportunities for detecting and sluicing throughout vast tracts of this highly auriferous island continent.
Presenting these opportunities to the world at large has been a pleasure, and in promoting opportunities that exist no where else in the world, the interest created as a result has been exceptional.

To this end - Gold Net management has moved to make a commercial decision and promote effectively the fabulous gold fields that still exist in this country and are available for ALL to see and participate. It should be noted that with the opening up of Exploration Leases in Western Australia, vast new auriferous ground is opening up for all to detect.
Well over 36 million acres of auriferous country - which is essentially untouched, is now available and gold is there for the taking in the Golden West.

Jim and Cheryl Foster - Click to enlarge Gold Net's Editor, Jim Foster, is presently in Western Australia along with his lovely wife Cheryl, and in their first week detecting - found about 7 ounces of gold. Jim and Cheryl are keen to share their experience and knowledge and are an integral part of Gold Net.
In fact it is hard to keep focused on producing the magazine each month - as we all like to get out into the "donga" (outback) and get into the grand yellow stuff.

However - we will keep the magazine functioning albeit in a reduced form, and concentrate on providing quality gold tours throughout this magnificent country, using the very best, of the best prospecting this country has to offer.

For some time, behind the scenes - there has been a great deal of activity in organising and establishing the tour routes - concentrating on the most productive areas this country has to offer the gold detectorist - and gold panner.
Coupled with this we visit world class tourist sites that display what the gold history of this country is all about.

So lets takes a look at what these tours offer:

International visitors entering through Melbourne get a glimpse of this vibrant cosmopolitan multi cultural city. The 3.5 million inhabitants revolving around the hub of this economic powerhouse. A day or two to recover from jet lag and take a look around sets the scene for the beginning of this great adventure into the Gold Fields.

At Ballarat just a short distance from Melbourne we visit Sovereign Hill, the replica of an old gold town from the 1850's. The Australian Gold Museum is right alongside and we visit there as well. In the evening we attend "Blood on the Southern Cross". The story of the only civil uprising, where blood was shed, at the Eureka Stockade, Ballarat in 1854.

Cheryl Foster - Click to enlarge During the next few days - we detect and visit some fabulous historic gold towns, and visit some great Australian characters.
Staying at historic Bendigo at the Shamrock Hotel in the centre of this provincial city and detecting some of the world's best gold fields is indeed a great pleasure.
We visit the Central Deborah Gold Mine and have lunch 300 feet underground. Much the same as the old miners did 150 years ago.
Interspersed with visiting these great tourist sites we are detecting using the very latest Minelab 2200D detectors - with a choice of either Minelab or Coiltek coils.

Eventually leaving the Victorian gold fields - we travel by air-conditioned bus to Goulburn in New South Wales - and visit some fabulous old gold sites while en route. Lunching at the world famous Beechworth bakery, we visit some gold sites here before making our way to the Shoalhaven River. At this gold rich river, we are instructed by Martin Marks - the current Australasian gold panning champion who will display some of the best gold recovery sluices available in the world today.

Eventually into the largest city in Australia - the Olympic City - Sydney. A day or two here before heading back home.
In all, a highly rewarding and fabulous golden adventure. It should be remembered that what you find in the way of gold, you CAN take home with you.

Our other trip to Western Australia is much more towards a frontier. This vast State is larger than all of the US States combined east of the Mississippi.
We fly from Melbourne to Perth and then to Kalgoorlie, where the history of the town is explored before we head for Leonora to the north - where no less than 30 million acres can be detected. This is frontier country.
Although returning to a motel each night - the great expanse of this country is very evident in this location. A GPS and water are essential in this country. Gold has poured forth from this ground for over 100 years and over 200 tons is produced annually from the big mines in the area.

While you are with us - you will be pampered and tutored by some exceptional characters - many who make their living as professional prospectors. We do provide at least one experienced instructor for every five who visit whilst in the field. This applies both for detecting and sluicing.

Now although these tours are organised and we stay in quality motels - more diverse tours, catering for all levels of excitement and incomes and well under construction. Stay tuned for great golden adventures down under!

Clay "Silver" Currence, has been appointed as our agent in the USA and Canada. As Silver is visiting here in a few weeks - he will take back to the USA a full knowledge of the entire tours and will be able to offer first hand advice on visiting this great golden country.

We commend these fabulous tours to you. You are assured of a great welcome and a great time. Take a golden trip down under and enjoy the experience of a life time.


Gold Net Australia Online
Gold Tours
GOLD! Year 2000 Tours
Discover Australia´s Fabulous Golden Wealth
In Australia´s Outback
DETECT / SLUICE / PAN Australia´s
Take a golden break down under.

Visit Australia´s fabulously wealthy gold fields.

Detect and sluice to your hearts content in some of Australia´s best gold areas.
Includes access to some private land.

Take home all the gold you can find.

Mine Hosts - Gold Net Australia Online CEO
Brad Williams

Gold Net Australia Online Editor
Jim Foster

Stay in 3 star plus accommodation * *
Twin Share Accommodation
( * High quality accommodation is used on our tours)
( * Highest quality available in some remote areas
may not rate 3 stars)

Be tutored by Australia´s most professional
detector - sluicing - panning - operators.

We provide 1 tutor per five operators. *
( * If tutors required)

Visit some of Australia´s best gold tourist sites and mines.

All meals included. *
( * Except lunch on free days)

Price includes flights to and from major world centres.

All accommodation - meals - and other incidentals included in price.
(e.g. Licence and entry fees - internal flights - tours etc.)

Nothing more to pay. As close to an all inclusive package as you can get.

Use the most sophisticated technologically advanced metal detectors in the world today. Every guest is issued with their own detector for the duration of the trip. All of our equipment is at the cutting edge of technology.

Sluice with the most advanced, Australian developed gold recovery equipment.

Enjoy hospitality you only dream of - while drinking in the fresh air and beauty of Australia´s vast gold fields.

Be entertained and amused by some of Australia´s great bush characters.




Numbers per tour are restricted - to ensure personal attention.

NOTE: Tag along tours - means you tag along and join us
in your own vehicle and accept your own expenses.
We provide tuition and guidance and may provide access to
some private ground - if available.


NOTE: All Tour details may be subject to change without notice.

Tag along Tour
"Tag along" means; join us in your own vehicle and accept your own expenses.
We provide tuition and guidance and may provide access to some private ground - if available.
Commencing... ...from... Period Price per person
13 March Bendigo, Victoria
6 days AU$ 300.00

All Inclusive Tours

Commencing from Look right
Look down
Prices include air fare from International locations
Los Angeles, USA
US Dollars
London, UK
UK Pounds
Paris, FR
Frankfurt, GER
Deutsch Mark
Rome, IT
Enter via Melbourne, the Victorian Golden Triangle and New South Wales. Exit Sydney. $6,450 £4,245 42,300F 12,900DM 12,107,555L
Enter via Melbourne, the Victorian Golden Triangle and New South Wales. Exit Sydney. $6,450 £4,245 42,300F 12,900DM 12,107,555L
Enter through Sydney/Melbourne. Tour The Golden West, Western Australia.
Exit Sydney/Melbourne.
$6,985 £4,575 46,680F 13,765DM 13,111,825L
Enter via Melbourne, the Victorian Golden Triangle and New South Wales. Exit Sydney. $6,450 £4,245 42,300F 12,900DM 12,107,555L
Enter via Melbourne, the Victorian Golden Triangle and New South Wales. Exit Sydney. $6,850 £4,545 44,850F 13,700DM 12,834,500L
Enter through Sydney/Melbourne. Tour The Golden West, Western Australia.
Exit Sydney/Melbourne.
$7,420 £4,850 49,500F 14,590DM 13,898,550L
Enter via Melbourne, the Victorian Golden Triangle and New South Wales. Exit Sydney. $6,850 £4,545 44,850F 13,700DM 12,834,500L
Enter through Sydney/Melbourne. Tour The Golden West, Western Australia.
Exit Sydney/Melbourne.
$7,420 £4,850 49,500F 14,590DM 13,898,550L
Enter via Melbourne, the Victorian Golden Triangle and New South Wales. Exit Sydney. $6,850 £4,545 44,850F 13,700DM 12,834,500L
Enter through Sydney/Melbourne. Tour The Golden West, Western Australia.
Exit Sydney/Melbourne.
$7,420 £4,850 49,500F 14,590DM 13,898,550L
Enter via Melbourne, the Victorian Golden Triangle and New South Wales. Exit Sydney. $6,850 £4,545 44,850F 13,700DM 12,834,500L
NOTE: All tour details are subject to change without notice

Postal: PO Box 533, Kent Town S.A. 5071
Brad Williams      Ph: International 61 8 0417 848 910
Email: [email protected]
Jim Foster            Ph: International 61 8 87257093
Email: [email protected]


         by Cecelia Roberts

During the 1850's some of the most productive gold fields found in the world poured forth gold in unbelievable quantities. The nuggets found in this highly auriferous ground included the largest in the world, the "Welcome Stranger".

Those of us who detect for a hobby, have our special places and our pre-conceived ideas as to exactly where the gold really came from. I held those views too, but recently when I did some research, I found that where I thought the gold was or had come from displayed a very limited understanding of exactly where it did come.

It should be recognised that although what is disclosed are the official figures, the real figures are more likely to be close to double these figures. The government collated figures are from actual gold sold and or recorded officially.
Perhaps the greatest surprise to me was that Bendigo in Central Victoria is by far the greatest gold producing area in the Golden Triangle. I had mistakenly thought that Bendigo and Ballarat were similar in gold produced. In fact with Bendigo producing a whopping 684 tons and Ballarat just 161 tons, the gap is astonishing. Perhaps that's why I spend more time in the Whipstick these days.

But among other gold fields that hold surprises are the Castlemaine - Chewton area at 180 tons, and Stawell, with 90 tons - and still producing.
The Dunolly area only ever produced 6.3 tons, while St. Arnaud that underdone auriferous area I often scratch around in produced 13 tons, even more than Maryborough at 12 tons.

Something of interest to the detector enthusiast is that both Beaufort and Haddon produced over 7 tons - totally from alluvial production.
Outside the Golden Triangle the area of Chiltern - Rutherglen produced 47 tons, mainly from alluvial and Beechworth - Eldoraro 40 tons, again mainly from alluvial diggings. Undoubtedly what is provided in the graph below will enlighten and provide a far greater insight into just where the gold really is. By no means is it all gone as plenty will tell you, as they reap the rich rewards that are still there for the taking.

This is a great guide for detectorists - it not only provides an insight into just where the gold was found right from the beginnings of the gold rush period - but gives a good guide into the alluvial deposits and their volumes throughout the great gold fields of Victoria.
It is amazing to realise that officially over 1800 tons of gold has come from these gold fields to date. Bearing in mind that this is a totally conservative figure - possibly about 3,000 tons have come from this ground to date. For me - I'm going to get my share - and soon.









Woods Point




Gafneys Creek








St. Arnaud




Mt. Wills
































Glen Willis

Little Bendigo







Buckland River



Snake Gully


Diamond Creek




































John Dyer's


Gold Diggers Safaris
John Dyer
The Prospector's Friend





From the People Who Show You How and Where:

PO Box 169, Toronto, N.S.W. 2283
22 Barina Avenue, Kilaben Bay N.S.W 2283
Phone: 02 4959 6188
Email: [email protected]


4.  HSIN CHIN SAN             
         by Jim Foster

Anyone who has used a metal detector to search for gold or coins in the eastern goldfields has found, or at least seen, old Chinese coins. These coins were left, strewn around the diggings, by the thousands of gold hungry Celestials who streamed into Australia last century. I have personally found many of these coins on goldfields all over Victoria. The detector club I belong to, the South Eastern Detector Club, researched part of the old Chinese Trail from Robe in S.A. and found several caches of these coins that numbered in the hundreds. Although the coins were practically worthless they started me wondering about the people who lost them. Who were they? What parts of China did they come from? How did they get here and what motivated them to endure the incredible hardships?

I found most of the immigrants from China's Kwangtung Province, which is near the Pearl River Delta. This area is south of Canton and west of Macao. Tucked away in low-lying valleys and foothills, there were hundreds of towns and villages, most of which had populations in excess of a thousand.

Chinese Cemetery - Beechworth - Click to enlarge A few years before the Australian gold rushes, many Chinese from the cities of Macao and Canton had gone to the Californian gold rush. News travelled slowly in old China, but when word of another great gold find was heard, a great wave of eager gold seekers rushed outward from the hinterland, intent in making their fortunes. Fortunes they could never hope to make at home. But not just anyone was allowed to leave their village and rush off after gold. The Chinese were extremely conscious of the role the family played in holding together the fabric of society and they took steps to ensure that families would benefit from any gold found by the eager emigrants.

To maximise the benefits to a village or town, the Elders would select from all the volunteers wishing to try their luck on the diggings, those they thought most suitable for the task. Youth and intelligence were the most desirable attributes in any potential emigrant. But to ensure his roots were planted firmly in the village, a married man would be given first preference. Single men were not barred as many were betrothed from childhood and a marriage ceremony could quickly be arranged before departure.

The family and family life was all. These ties had to be maintained at all costs to ensure the emigrant sent as much money as possible home to his family and would eventually return himself, bringing, it was hoped, his wealth from the goldfields of Australia, the land they called Hsin-Chin- San or "New Gold Mountain." In Australia, the Chinese were looked upon as being of an inferior, race when in fact they represented the cream of the "Middle Kingdom," as the Chinese called their homeland. They were young, intelligent and many were tradesmen of one kind or another, but they were also victims. Victims of their own countrymen and later of every other race represented in Australia at that time. Being mostly poor people, few Chinese could afford to emigrate on their own resources so they went to the people who ran the credit-ticket system.

There were many variations on the credit-ticket system but generally the broker paid for travel fares and put up enough money to set the potential gold digger up with all his requirements to find gold. In return, the emigrant undertook a lien on his services until the debt was cleared. Backed by relatives, perhaps with land, or the personal guarantee of the village elders, he worked long and hard to pay off his debts. It was when he undertook this lien that the emigrant became vulnerable to dirty tricks. Arriving at Canton or Hong Kong, the emigrant was forced into a barracoon. Here he would stay until he was shipped out. The barracoons were dirty, crowded, and full of opium pushers and gambling con-men placed there by the credit-ticket broker. If the emigrant could be induced to take to opium he would forever after be supplied, at a price, by the broker. A customer hooked for life.

Great Auriferous River - Click to enlarge The gamblers played a variety of games and cheated at them all. Their aim was to cheat the emigrant out of his cash and induce him to borrow more from the broker to pay his gambling debt and pay his way on the diggings. Having come this far, few prospective gold diggers hesitated to borrow more when their funds had been cheated from them. When it finally came time to ship out, the emigrants often found that they were forced into ships that had been operating as "blackbirders," for the Americans. It must have been with a great deal of horror that these poor Chinese found themselves treated as slaves, forced into tiny spaces between tiered decking, they had to lay in the stinking hold for week after week. Confined in the holds and half starved to weaken their resistance, they were often not allowed out until they reached their destination. The only time their lot improved was when one of their number died, increasing the available space when his body was thrown overboard.
Not all the ships, or brokers, were like this, but too often they were.

The ship Anielia weighing 340 tons and carrying 270 passengers, sailed into Melbourne after 254 days at sea. She had exceeded her passenger allowance by I00 persons. Captain Moore of the Amelia was fined, in addition to costs, 225 pounds. Half this amount was paid to the passengers, who had been fed only rice on the voyage.
There had been 17 deaths on the voyage and 20 passengers had to be detained at the Point Nepean Sanitary Station. Heavier fines could have been imposed if the jurisdiction had not been limited to Victorian waters. Action could only be taken from the time the pilot took command of the vessel. Many captains on the China run were prosecuted for similar offences but many more got away with it. The outcry eventually became so great in both China and Australia that regulations became much tougher and were enforced more rigidly. Eventually, paying passengers were treated as such, but even so, the sea voyage never became a luxury cruise for the Chinese immigrants to the Australian goldfields.

The Victorian government, alarmed at the seemingly unending flow of Chinese, implemented a IO pound a head landing tax on the Chinese to try and stem the tidal wave of Chinese gold seekers. But by this time, there were enough Chinese, both in Australia and China, who knew enough to devise a scheme around the problem.
At first some ships were diverted to N.S.W., and then to Adelaide as neither colony had imposed the landing tax. Finally, most ships landed their loads of Chinese at Robe on Guichen Bay in South Australia. Not all the Chinese landed at Robe but over 16,000 landed here and trekked overland to the great gold fields of Victoria.

In total about 50,000 celestials make this perilous journey - many never to return to the homeland and the families they left behind. Some went mad and were kept in lunatic asylums that were built, and were a normal part of the government buildings erected. Others married and remained to found dynasties of their own in this great land. But the vast majority eventually returned home, their great trip to Hsin-Chin-San, the New Gold Mountain, was over.


Troy Oz Gold Safaris - The Adventure Of A Lifetime

The Adventure Of A Lifetime
Go for the Adventure of Seeking Your Golden Fortune with Experienced Guides in the Rugged Goldfields of Western Australia

Goldfields Road "G'day" from W.A.! - and "Troy Oz Gold Safaris". We offer "Tag-Along" and Full Package tours around the rich goldfields of Western Australia. Our tours are based in Leonora, Western Australia, the centre of the Eastern Goldfields and home of some of the richest alluvial gold areas in the world.
The owner/operators of "Troy Oz Gold Safaris" have a combined experience of 20 years electronic prospecting in West Australian bush. So we can offer you plenty of choice alluvial spots along with that all important "local knowledge".

You can experience the rugged beauty of the Australian bush, the splendid isolation of camping under the stars of the "Southern Cross", the rich history of the of "the old diggers" who discovered gold here in the 1890's and of course the chance to find your own gold - and you get to keep everything that you find!

You will be visiting a few known alluvial areas but we also emphasise prospecting for new patches - when you hit one of these then the adrenaline really flows!

The "Tag-Along" tours are our most popular way of prospecting for gold. We provide the guides, metal detector tuition, advice and a safe approach to travelling in the vast and rugged West Australian bush. You provide your vehicle, camping accommodation, your detector, food, fuel and you do your own cooking. A full list of suggested requirements can be provided by us.

Package Tours include transport from Kalgoorlie to Leonora, your transport out into the bush, camping and cooking equipment. Pick-up in Perth can be done by special arrangement or we can assist with your bookings for transport from Perth to Kalgoorlie. You provide a sleeping bag or "swag" and an adventurous spirit.

"Tag-along" tours begin and end in Leonora. Both tours are twenty one days but we can arrange a tailored package to suit you if required. Hire of metal detectors can be arranged subject to sufficient notice of your requirements.

While you're thinking about the adventure of a lifetime and longing to get away from it all, take a look at our website and view some of the nuggets found by us recently. Do you think there's some out there with your name on 'em?

Fossicking Nuggets

You can contact us via email or via our postal address:

"Troy Oz Gold Safari's"
PO Box 7053, Safety Bay
Western Australia, W.A. 6169
Telephone: +61 8 9527 6448
Facsimile: +61 8 9527 6025

Email: [email protected]

Royal Flying Doctor Radio Call Sign:



        by John Gladdis

Adelaide is a city of just over one million people. A delightfully laid out city with a climate hard to rival anywhere in the world. Perhaps it gets a little hot here through summer - but in winter if it gets below freezing at all - it's the exception, not the rule. Most winter days are about 15c (60f) - so winter is an excellent time to detect through the Adelaide Hills. Essentially this country although not exceptionally auriferous still held a good quantity of gold, and still does, even if most of it is now on private holdings.

The majority of the locations are contained within the lower Mount Lofty Ranges, adjacent to the city of Adelaide - that sprawling metropolis of just over one million people, which is the capital of South Australia. The lower end of these ranges stretch southwards to the Fleurieu Peninsula, and to the north to the Barossa Ranges, that skirt the world famous Barossa Valley - noted for its fine wines.

Detecting at Echunga - Click to enlarge The Adelaide Hills contains no less than 15 recognised gold fields. However it could be said that not all were jeweller shops - and the gold was elusive and at times hidden deep in the deep brown soils and hidden under thick quartz. The two main gold fields are at Echunga towards the south of the range and at the Barossa more to the north. Adjacent to and dotted throughout the hills the other 13 areas produced varying quantities of the yellow stuff.

The first gold found in South Australia was found at Montacute - now a suburb of Adelaide, in 1846. Although small in quantity and quality it encouraged others to seek gold throughout the Adelaide Hills, and in 1852 at the height of the Victorian gold rushes, payable quantities were found at Echunga. Today the Echunga area still gives up good gold, and the small creeks that flow from this area into the Finniss River, still carry good quantities of good gold. In all the Echunga gold field has given up over 100,000 ounces and as previously stated there is still good gold there.

The Barossa gold field was opened up rather late in 1868, and produced an estimated total of 100,000 ounces. The gold here was hard fought for and was mainly at depth. At Para Wirra National Park there is a very well laid out trail that follows the gold reefs down the side of Victoria Hill and even further down to the Belle of Barossa Mine, and the Royal Phoenix North Tunnel. Deep Shafts - Echunga Gold Field - Click to enlarge If travelling from Lyndoch or Sandy Creek along Middleton Road, the area on either side of this road reflects highly auriferous signs and undoubtedly this stretch of ground will undoubtedly give up more gold if you can get onto the private ground.

The Angaston gold field was relatively small and gained fame in 1896 when gold was found just south of Angaston. The largest pieces of gold here were less than one ounce, and total production was only about 1,500 ounces.
All of the Angaston gold field is on private ground and although I have detected some myself only a few small pieces were found.

Birdwood, situated towards the back of the Adelaide Hills, had about 170 individual mines and produced a total of about 20,000 ounces. Gold was first found in this region in 1869. Most of the gold was at depth but in 1894, 800 ounces of alluvial gold was obtained in 3 months north east of Mount Torrens.

The Deloraine goldfield is north east of Kersbrook and although the majority of gold was found at depth it adjoins the Mount Crawford State Forest, which contains the famous Watts Gully field - that is still giving up gold.
A total of about 33,000 ounces was found here.

The Forest Range gold field was first rushed in 1854 and produced in total about 6,000 ounces. Successful prospecting was carried out here for over 30 years. Gold was still being recovered here as late at 1930 in commercial quantities.

Woodside Gold Field - Now Rich Farmland - Click to enlarge Gomersal gold field is a small area just west of Tanunda in the Barossa Ranges. A small but productive area gave up some 750 ounces. Moppa gold field some 6 miles directly north gave up about 500 ounces and the Mount Rufus gold field - again some 8 miles north, gave up about 50 ounces.

Lobethal gold field situated just west of the town produced about 400 ounces. A little further south at Woodside near Inverbrackie, deep mines gave up about 23,000 ounces, and even further south near Oakbank, home of the biggest picnic race meeting in the world a further 400 ounces was taken from alluvial diggings.

The Para Wirra goldfield near Gawler certainly holds more gold. It is a highly auriferous area and although records are somewhat scant - it is estimated that over 20,000 ounces came from this area. The Lady Alice Mine, now part of the Humbug Scrub Wildlife Reserve, produced over 6,000 ounces of gold. It is well known that gold still lies here in quantity, as it does within the National Park adjoining. Pity we can't get in there with a detector.
There are other diggings at Willunga, Deep Creek Conservation Park and on Kangaroo Island, where about 1200 ounces was recovered.

What is obvious from the above is that the Adelaide Hills has more than a sprinkling of gold throughout. The detectorist essentially overlooks this area, and almost always heads for Victoria or the more ambitious to the Western Australian gold fields. Clearly many of these areas have probably never had a detector over them, and with a little effort - gold is there for the taking.



PH: FAX: (08) 8283 0222

Email: [email protected]
Web Site:

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         by Jim Foster

On the western edge of the harsher rounded ridges and peaks of the Pyrenees Ranges. Gold was found in many of the gullies and creeks that drained the ranges, both to the east and the west. The eastern side of the watershed was the richest. Names such as Avoca, Moonambel. Redbank, and Fiddlers Creek became well known as the crowds of diggers following the new rushes surged here and there to the tune of every whispered rumour and suspicion.

Avoca was perhaps the first of the Pyrenees diggings to be opened. Gold was found there late in 1853 and soon there were hordes of prospectors roaming the nearby hills oblivious to the fact that gold had been found on the opposite side of the range as far back as 1847.
A shepherd by the name of William Richfould was finding gold in specimens and some water-worn nuggets along Heifer Creek not far from the stopover township of Navarre. In disposing of his gold he became the subject of suspicion by his fellow workers who began to watch him closely and follow him to his secret source of gold.

Pyrenees Detecting Country - Near Barkly - Click to enlarge As he had collected some very valuable specimens he now left his place of employment and journeyed westward to the Grange (Hamilton) where he met a Mr Armstrong, an employee of the Mr S.G. Henty of Portland. He was induced to visit Portland and disposed of his gold to merchants there who sent it to Tasmania as Californian Gold.
Richfould then took up employment as a shepherd with Mr. Beilby and shortly after showed him some smaller pieces of gold he had retained. He refused, however, to give any information as to the source of his gold. But in July 1849, he divulged his secret to Mr. Beilby on his pledge to keep it secret. unless its publication were necessary by public emergency, or he, the discoverer, died.

Shortly after this Richfould left the employ of Mr Beilby and returned to the scene of his discovery, the easy collection of gold no doubt being more enticing than the lonely, thankless task of shepherding. Little was heard of his movements after this but his death was shortly afterwards reported in the Mt Gambier district.

Beilby kept Richfould's secret, more in worry of what a rush for gold might do to the fledgling colony's rural economy than anything else, but with the discovery of gold in NSW, and the subsequent immediate and enormous drain on Victoria's manpower, he was forced to consider the terms of the agreement. The NSW gold rush attained the status of a public emergency, for Victoria at least.
In June of 1851, Mr Beilby informed the government of workable deposits of gold in the Navarre district and the ranges of the Pyrenees. Mr La Trobe, the government official to whom Mr Beilby had corresponded, was at first incredulous but later was enticed into a joint exploration with Beilby to prove the existence of the goldfield.

The investigating party included a returned Californian digger, Mr David Armstrong, Captain H.E.P. Dana and a contingent of native police. However, for various reasons, the expedition's departure was delayed and in the end, forestalled by the news of the discovery of the Clunes goldfield.
In 1858, eleven years after the shepherd Richfould made his discovery at Navarre, gold was again found in the vicinity of Navarre, at a place that was to he called Barkly.

Pyrenees Sunset - Click to enlarge The Barkly goldfield proved to be a rich one. The diggings extended for a distance of about seven kilometres, beginning up in the ranges at McKinnons Gap, down to the Main Wattle Creek. At the height of the rush in November 1861 the field supported 10,000 people. Barkly today is a quiet rural pastoral area nestled up against the western edge of the Pyrenees Ranges. There is no business centre at Barkly, just a hall and some tennis courts. The old diggings, most of them topped with white pipe-clay, are nearly all on private property, but permission can be gained to search if one asks. On the other hand, short shrift is given to those found on private property without permission. They will be told to remove themselves in no uncertain terms. The western edge of the Pyrenees is probably at its best in autumn through to early spring. It his to be one of the prettiest goldfields in Victoria and well worth a visit at any time.
Barkly can be reached from the Sunraysia Highway by turning off at Redbank north of Avoca, and taking the road over the range. This route gives tremendous views over the picture-postcard countryside as it winds over the hills. Care must be taken at any time on this road but more so in wet weather. It is not suitable for caravans when wet.


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         by Craig Wilson

The Hall gang had been operating throughout the highlands of New South Wales when, where and how they wished. The undermanned, under mounted and certainly out gunned police did what they could with limited resources to capture the gang - but as the boldness and sheer audacity of the bushrangers became more brutal public support was at last turning against them. The murder of Sergeant Parry was clearly a turning point in public support for the antics of the notorious gang.

On December 22nd Hall and two others held up a lemonade vendor at Illalong robbing him and his companion. Two others were robbed in the same vicinity.
On the evening of December 26th Edward Morriss the owner of a general store at Binda saw three men approaching on horseback accompanied by three women travelling on foot - carrying side saddles as they approached.
The women were Ellen Monks, aged 17, her sister Margaret aged 19, and Christina McKinnon, who was 25. The latter, having become Hall's paramour.

The three women entered the store and a few minutes later the three men Morriss has previously had seen came in and shouted "Bail up."
The three women now actively supported the bushrangers. Hall and Gilbert were known to Morriss. After robbing the store, the entire entourage including Morriss' wife and children were marched down to Hall's Inn where a dance was in progress. Morriss tried unsuccessfully to encourage the men present to rush the bushrangers without success. At about 2am Morriss managed to escape out a back window - Gilbert firing a number of shots after him.

Christina McKinnon - Click to enlarge Hall was furious and stated he would burn his store to the ground. Supported by the women, Hall and his gang went to the store and after the girls had recovered their sidesaddles, Hall set fire to the store. While the store burnt Hall and McKinnon and Ellen Monks and Gilbert disappeared into nearby scrub re-appearing about 15 minutes later. As the store burnt to the ground the gang departed as did the girls on foot towards the spot they had left their horses. The loss to the Morriss family was over 1,000 pounds. The gentleman that Morriss was, refused public donations to help him recover his losses and he rejoined the police force. This behaviour on the part of Hall clearly puts to rest any suggestion that he was the "Robin Hood" of the era. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Christina McKinnon and Ellen Monks were arrested and charged with assisting the bushrangers and were committed for trial in Sydney. Hall and his gang concluded 1864 by robbing a Mr. David, an auctioneer from Yass where they relieved him of some 109 pounds, and a quantity of cheques.

As was the practice at the time each community held race meetings and horse racing was a well organised and well attended sport even in those early days. So it was that on the 5th and 6th of January 1865 that a race meeting spanning the two days was to be held at Wowingragong, near Forbes. The police commander in the area, Sir Frederick Pottinger rode in the last race of the first day. Hall and Gilbert certainly attended in the vicinity of the race meeting and rumour got back to Pottinger that the bushrangers had stated that if he rode the next day they would cut him out and deal with him.

Pottinger took this seriously, and placed men in plain clothes around the track. In the race Pottinger lagged so far back the bushrangers could have easily cut him out. They did not appear however. This action on the part of Pottinger, rather than bringing him rewards, brought the wrath of the police hierachy down on him, as it was considered highly improper and was against regulations to enter a public race being on duty.
The Inspector-General of Police McLerie, suspended Pottinger as a result.

The reaction from the local community at Forbes was almost without precedent with support coming from all sections of the community including the newspapers. A petition was taken up and was strongly supported. The Burrangong Argus, in their editorial stated, "Sir Frederick has distinguished himself with courage and the paper would back up the petition with all their heart, believing that the dismissal of Sir Frederick Pottinger at any time would not be justified by results and that at the present time it would be most disastrous."

Sir Frederick Pottinger - Click to enlarge Hall and his gang continued their highway robberies with zeal. Knowing that their most potent enemy was now removed from the scene their boldness grew. On January 10th the gang held up a groom and stole two race horses he was exercising near Murrumburrah. On January 18th the gang robbed Ford's Inn near Tuena. On January 19th the gang robbed a hard working settler named Christie. Christie was a poor man and the pickings were slim. On January 21st Gilbert stole a race horse from John Warn's station near Crookwell.

On 24th January the gang attacked the mail coach coming from Yass to Goulburn. On board were two constables escorted a lunatic, and upon being fired upon returned fire using their rifles. Gilbert returned fire but the bushrangers apparently thought better of the attack and rode away. A short time later they robbed Beans Inn near Gunning.

On January 26th the gang held up and robbed no less than 10 travellers just south of Goulburn. A party of police, who happened upon the scene, drove off the bushrangers. A few hours later they turned up on the road just outside the town of Collector. Here they took 5 prisoners who happened along. With the prisoners before them they rode into town about 6pm. Dismounting outside the Commercial Hotel, they entered the premises and robbed all present. A young girl, noting the events ran to the local lock up keeper, Constable Nelson, and informed him of the bushrangers presence.

Taking up his muzzle loaded rifle he strode up the street towards the hotel and when he neared, was challenged by Dunn. Nelson kept advancing.
When about 25 yards away Dunn fired at him with a single barrel shotgun hitting him in the left chest. As he slumped to the ground Dunn drew a revolver and fired again hitting the brave constable in the head killing him instantly.

Nelson has been accompanied by his young son Frederick, and as he ran from the scene Dunn fired at him. Hall and Gilbert came from the hotel towards Dunn, and upon seeing the Constables body approached it - took his weapon and Gilbert then robbed the poor mans body. None of the bushrangers showed any remorse for their actions and in fact returned to the Inn where they stowed their booty and then rode away.
Constable Nelson had eight children and his wife was 6 months pregnant.
This callous act on the part of the bushrangers sealed their fate. be continued


8.  FLECKS ! - Glints from here and thereGold Nugget


The saga of the Dimitrovskis Nugget appears to have drawn to a close. As advised in the May 2000 edition the legal saga over the ownership of this nugget has been a long and complex journey over the last five years. It has clearly been a journey which tested the resolve of a number of the participants, including the police, the Crown Solicitor's Office, and a number of others, who had an interest in the proceedings.

Having been to the highest court in the land - the High Court of Australia - and back again, for re-hearing by the original magistrate, Mr. Bloemen in Marble Bar - in the North West of Western Australia - the legal journey appears to have been completed. With the dismissal of the police charges against the finders, once again by Mr. Bloemen, the Crown Solicitors Office again appealed the decision. Mr. Bloemen found in his judgement that the Dimitrovski's evidence was honest when they claimed they found the nugget on their own tenament.

Leave to appeal had to be granted by a Supreme Court Judge in these circumstances, and after hearing argument for and gainst - Justice Graeme Scott delivered judgement last month.
In this judgement Justice Scott said that the interests of justice would not be served if the case was allowed to go any further, and leave to appeal against Magistrate Bloemen's decision was disallowed. The Western Australian Crown Solicitors Office had 21 days to appeal the Judges decision, but decided to drop the matter - and proceed no further.

Consequently - ownership of the nugget - which has been the subject of long and complex litigation now appears to have been won by the Dimitrovski's.
It is hoped that the realised value of the nugget - is not overtaken by the legal costs.

It should be understood that this action relates to the criminal prosecution - and private legal action is still an option for other claimants. Time will tell.


         by Craig Wilson

Much had been written describing the gold fields of the grand era in Australia during the two decades from 1850 -70, but little has been detailed of the trials and tribulations that all had to endure and suffer as they pioneered this great country. In particular the women of the era stand alone as great stalwarts at a time where great prosperity, was accompanied by unspeakable hardships.

These women came from all walks of life. Some born and bred in Australia, but a good percentage from more sophisticated European societies. The trials and tribulations they suffered and endured and in most cases conquered, is a testament to their pioneering spirit, tenacity and sheer guts and determination.

Accompanying their husbands into the gold fields as a good many did, her first task was to help construct some type of mean dwelling that would provide shelter to keep them warm and away from natures moods. In many places in Australia, timber and water was scarce, so selecting a suitable site for a dwelling was difficult in these locations. The dryness of the gold fields particularly in the summer months was always a concern, and certainly locating suitable water was of paramount importance.

Early Pioneer Home - Click to enlarge Most structures had some sort of hearth for cooking, which was constructed of locally sourced stones. As timber was used for the construction of these early dwellings most had a substantial hearth to reduce the risk of fire. However, these dwellings were prone to fires and many lost their lives in such circumstances. Most could only be described as mean hovels, but they did serve a purpose. The roofs were constructed of all types of materials - with a favourite being bark peeled from stringy bark trees. If this material was no available, brush roofs were used. Remarkable these kept the inside of the dwelling relatively dry.

Inside the only divisions were by hessian bagging sewn together and painted with whitewash to provide some privacy. These pioneering women then made the dirt floor as even as they could and stored their few possessions and in most cases started a family. Pregnancy in those early days was a difficult time for a woman. Perhaps not during the pregnancy itself, but as doctors were scarce in those times and their knowledge fundamental a considerable number of women lost their lives during childbirth. These women knew these risks but still accepted them gladly.

Most were attended by a midwife during childbirth, as it was accepted practice. No drugs as there are today, no clean hospitals, and in a great many cases, just their husbands to tend to them as they gave birth. They were tough, and in most cases retained their femininity, as can be seen from the photographs of the era. The mortality rates from childbirth were extremely high - not just for the women but for their unborn infants. If you visit some of these old cemeteries you will find a large number of headstones that detail these death rates. Some of these gravestones make compelling reading, and provide a substantial insight to the difficulties of the times.

Pioneer Home - Click to enlarge The fireplace within these homes was of great importance to the entire family. As well as providing the source of heat in the winter, it was where all food was cooked, water boiled, and where the family spent most evenings. This was the hub that the pioneer women created to nurture and protect her family. As time progressed if she was lucky a Colonial Oval made of cast iron replaced the open fire. This was a giant step forward for her, as with an oven there was much more flexibility in what she could do with the stove including control the heat.

As these dwellings were in general open structures, and not completely sealed to outside elements, a daily routine was required to keep the dirt floor clean of debris and food scraps that enticed insects to a food source. Coupled with this the ever present dust during summer required a daily necessity to entirely dust the house and sweep unwanted dust outside. Early photos often show a straw broom propped outside, indicating it was a well used tool.

It was a woman's work to keep the essentials of the home in place. It was her duty to daily collect water, and either purchase or gather food for her family. The most pressing difficulty in Australia was water. It was often necessary for her to walk several miles to collect water, not just for drinking, but for washing, and for cooking purposes as well. If she was lucky a wooden water barrel would be placed outside the dwelling, and filled be her daily.

Many women sourced and foraged through the bush for food and butchered animals to provide the necessaries for their young and growing families. Most grew vegetables near their homes to provide. In the gold fields there was an element of support as store holders quickly moved into these areas and provided a great deal of the necessities of life - at a price. Sharing resources was a common practice and a vital necessity for survival.

In a lot of cases although men were primarily involved in digging for gold their women often stood alongside them and shared the work load, particularly in the early gold rush days. This was not a common occurrence but some women provided total support to their men in undertaking this role as well as looking after their homes. They would dry sieve the gold and generally do those tasks that did not required heavy manual labour in the fields. There were some tough women out there, and many stories of their sacrifices abound.

Perhaps the most disastrous situation that arose from time to time was the difficulties that arose when serious diseases and epidemics swept through communities. With very little support from medical resources and no drugs to assist, many women lost children and in some instances, their own lives, while tending for them, catching the disease themselves.

As her children grew there was a necessity to educate them and if schools were not nearby it was her duty to provide the necessary instruction to ensure her children had a future. Providing the total necessities for her growing family herself was indeed a labour, but a labour of love for these great pioneering women. I salute them for what they as a group accomplished.


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10.  MAN AND GOLD - Part 4
             by Jim Foster
From the earliest of days gold has had value. Even if it was that a nugget made a handy missile heavy enought to stun a small animal. It soon became valued as personal ornaments and it is thought that gold was probably the first metal to be smelted and beaten into objects that could be usfully utilised by people.

By the time nations had arisen most of the easy gold was gone, the most obvious choice was then to mine the rich quartz reefs that had shed the free gold. But hard-rock mining was hard and dangerous work that free men did not choose to do. The answer was to use slaves. These were expendable, their lives, while valuable had less value to their captors than did the gold they could mine. Lacking metals hard enough to crack the brittle quartz one of their earliest methods of mining gold from the host reef was to light a fire up against the face of the reef. Stoking the fire day and night until the reef was super heated was another job for the slaves, but then came the real danger. So dangerous was the next step that only slaves of low value were used.

Sour wine was to be poured over the red-hot quartz reef from large skins. Standing on scaffolding just above the reef the slaves would release the wine so it sluiced down over the reef, exploding into clouds of steam as it contacted the rock. Thermal stressing of quartz often produces a violent reaction, an explosion of sharp edged quartz shards will explode outward like the shrapnel of many hand grenades exploding at once. Slaves often died a horrifying death from either breathing in the superheated steam, being sliced to bits by flying quartz shards, or from falling onto the hot quartz, often a combination of all three. As civilisation progressed and better metals were discovered mining of gold became safer, but only maginally so. With better metals and a greater knowledge of geology mining methods allowed the following down of gold bearing quartz reefs and deeper alluvial leads. Now it wasn't so much death from flying quatz shards that threatened lives but falling rock, bad air, and in-flooding water. For slaves the method of dying differed from earlier times but they still died in large numbers and still in horrifying circumstances.

Ancient Germanic Gold Bracelet - Click to enlarge Ealy civilisations such as Phonecia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, spread out over the then known world gathering gold for the coffers of their nations. Gold that was to be used to pay their armies to conquer more people and land, land where more gold could be mined. They used the conquered people as slaves to gather the riches of their own country and carry it away. It has often been said that gold is the root of all evil, as quoted in the bible, but this is not really true. It was said that gold was the root of all evil, but only because the more valued coins of the day were gold. It was actually meant that money was the root of all evil, not gold itself.

As mans knowledge of metals and mining methods grew, mining became safer. And by the time the great goldrushes of California and Australia came about mining was considered much safer. Hard-rock mining was still an uncertain science but better and safer methods were being employed. It was only places such as in Russia, China, and some third world countries that prisoners were being forced to dig for gold. As the world moved into the twentieth century gold mining had become almost as safe as any other employment. With the introduction od heavy machinery it was no longer as hard as work as it had been. Even underground hge trucks and mining shovels did the hard work. Now, as the millenuim clock ticks over, much of the underground work is being done by remote control and it it is rarly that a miner dies from an accident. In fact, today, a miner is often safer underground than he is driving home from work. Many mines now don't even have underground drives, they mine by the open cut method, huge, yawning, pits that drive day by day ever deeper searching for more and more gold. Of all the gold ever mined since the first ingot was smelted much of that gold still remains in circulation today. As new gold is mined and smelted so too is old gold jewellery, often stolen, resmelted. Gold that once adorned Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, and the crowned heads of Euope is still in circulation. That simple gold wedding ring you wear as a symbol of love may well contain gold that Cleopatra wore on her last night on earth, but the poison of the asp will be long gone.


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I finally unearthed a beautiful 20 oz nugget. Further nuggets from 0.5 gram upwards have also been located at regular intervals. I am the envy of my fellow prospectors."

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11.  STRIKES       Recent Finds

MayW.A.70 oz
MayW.A.14 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.

70 oz Nugget 14 oz Nugget



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              by Sue "Goldie" Reynolds

Many of us carry and use a GPS (Global Positioning System) when searching for gold. In most instances we use it as a navigational aid - to log a site where we have found some gold, and simply use the aid to mark the site so we can return at some time in the future. Additionally we use it as a navigational tool in conjunction with topographical maps to find specific locations. We know it works by satellite technology - but very few of us realise the complex web of technological facilities that actually makes this fabulous system work for our benefit.

The origins of using satellites as a navigational aid can be traced to as early as 1945, when a science fiction writer used the theory in his writings. Later, during the Vietnam conflict satellite technology developed rapidly and it was well known that using this facility, satellites could spy from the sky with remarkable accuracy. US spy satellites could read Russian newspapers in Moscow as they came off the press - and no doubt Russian satellites had a similar capability. Recognition of the fact that spy satellites had such a capability resulted in most US Federal Agency buildings having their windows blacked out, in the early 1970's.

GPS - Satellite - Click to enlarge The US Military continued to develop this technology and it effectively came on line as an all weather guidance system - for all US Defence personnel.
The actual accuracy of the military capability is secret - but suffice to say the accuracy is far greater than that provided to private companies, and eventually to the owner of the hand held GPS. In any case, the accuracy provided is more than sufficient to be a highly effective tool as a navigational agent.
The PPS (Precise Positioning System) - the military operated side of the satellites is used by the US Military - other Allied Militaries - some US Government Agencies, and selected civil users.

Now how this system works is a highly sophisticated and well-organised global system. At any time there are 24 satellites, orbiting the earth on 6 planes, with 4 satellites on each orbit, spaced 60 degrees apart, and operate on an inclination of 55 degrees, to the equator. They are configured so that at any one time from any point on earth between 5 and 8 satellites are visible. These satellites are located at a height of 20,200 km. from earth and orbit the earth each 12 hours. At times there are more than 24 satellites in orbit as older vehicles are taken from service and replaced.

Each satellite transmits two microwave carrier signals. The L1 frequency (1575.42MHz) carries the navigational message and the code signals. The L2 frequency (1227.60MHz) is used to measure the ionospheric delay by PPS equipped receivers. GPS systems need 4 satellites to decide a position on earth. The first three are used to decipher location with the fourth used to evaluate time. Known as X, Y, Z and Time. Navigation in three dimensions is the primary function of the GPS.

The Master Control facility is situated at the USA Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado. This master control facility, is supported by a massive global network of monitoring stations. At this time there are 236 stations world wide monitoring these 24 satellites. Among these stations, there are some who collect data, others analyse, and invariable provide to the world collated data on line within 24 hours. There is a hierarchal system applying to these facilities. Tracking stations collect raw data, which are forwarded to the Operational Data Systems facilities, called a Receiver Index Exchange (RINEX) Formatted data is then forwarded to the Regional or Global Data Centres. Data not used for global analyse are archived and are made available for on line access at Regional Data Centres.

GPS Nominal Constellation - Click to enlarge In Australia, there are stations at Alice Springs, Ceduna, Cocas Island, Darwin, Hobart, Jabiru, Perth, Canberra, Tidbinbilla, Cape Ferguson, Mingenew and Dongara, supporting and monitoring the system. Data collected supports a wide range of scientific and engineering applications and studies.

The signal that we receive as private citizens using this system is deliberately degraded. We are provided with a signal that is accurate to about 100 metres. As those of us know who use a GPS - the accuracy is often about 20 metres, and I for one am quite happy with that degree of accuracy. The system was initiated in the early 1980's the final satellite configuration was not completed until March 1994.

Although initially developed as a global positioning system, recent developments have included providing material and data for improving and extending the International Earth Rotation Service. Terrestrial Reference Frame, monitoring deformations of the solid Earth, and variations in the liquid Earth (sea level, ice sheets etc.), and in variations of the Earths rotation, determining orbits of satellites and monitoring the ionosphere.

Coupled to these initiatives are the private companies who manufacture and sell hand held GPS systems to the public. We are familiar with Garmin and Magellan GPS systems and use them without a second thought to the technology that supports this amazing system. So next time you turn on that GPS - just recognise that what you have in your hand is not just a great system to find your way around Terra Firma - it is a great gift.


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    13.  A DAY TRIP
                   by Jim Foster

    The insistent buzz of the alarm drilled deep into my brain seeking out my consciousness and giving it a kick-start back to wakefulness.
    With a groan I swung a leg over the side of the bed as a resounding thump silenced the insane electronic buzzing that had woken me from a deep sleep. Regretfully I dismissed the faint memory of a slightly erotic dream and pulled my detecting dungers on and drew the belt tight. When fully dressed I tip-toed around the bed to re-set the alarm for the benefit of my wife who, bless her, had to go to work later in the day. Glowing red numerals announced the time of day as 4.30 a.m. Setting the alarm for 7.30 a.m. I glanced towards my wife's face expecting to see her sound asleep. Instead, one eye gleamed balefully at me through the pre-dawn gloom. She never had to say a word, that one eye was saying enough. "Wake me again," it was saying "and you'll die a horrible death."

    After a quiet and nervous breakfast I grabbed my detector and with silent step made my way outside to wait for Rob, who was picking me up. Exactly on time, 5 a.m., Rob pulled up and I threw my gear into his car. We were off for a one-day trip to the Victorian goldfields. Living in Mount Gambier South Australia, it's a good 21/2 hour run to the nearest diggings, the Ararat and Stawell fields. These diggings are not renowned for their big nuggets but we had found a hill that had been surfaced below the cement cap where the diggers of old had missed large numbers of small pieces of gold. I say "pieces", as one would have to stretch one's imagination to great lengths to be able to call them nuggets.

    Jim Foster - with his Hot Rock  - Click to enlarge The drive was fairly eventful as a lot of wildlife was still up and about at this early hour and once, Rob had to nearly stand the car on its nose to avoid running down a dopey kangaroo that insisted on zigzagging along the road in front of us. 7.30 a.m. and we pulled up at the hill we were to prospect.
    It took an hour and a half for the first piece to show up. I was carefully covering the side of a heap and a faint signal heralded a tiny piece of gold about an inch and a half down in the clay. A few yards further on and I had another, I was onto a patch. Most of the gold on the hillside seemed to be patchy, sometimes a stray piece showed up by itself but most times if you found one bit you found several.

    From 9 a.m. till 10 a.m. I found a total of five nice little pieces. None of them were any size but every one of them looked great as they came out of the ground. The hillside was hard and dry, so hard in fact that I found I was bruising my knees when I knelt to search for the targets the detector said was there. Very little rubbish is on that hill and almost any signal will be either a .22, a lead shot, or it will be gold. The lead shot is thick in places and very hard to find. A round number six shot is tiny and will roll away as you try to pick up the dirt it is in. It will slip between your fingers and bounce down the slope amongst the quartz and ironstone pebbles ensuring you waste a lot of time searching for it - but it could be a tiny bit of gold so you keep looking - and cursing - as it eludes you once again.

    By 10.30 a.m. I had satisfied myself there was nothing left on that patch and had just sat down for a rest when Rob came around the hill from where he'd been searching. He'd had no luck and as it had been a long time since breakfast, we decided to work down the hill towards the car. I picked up another little piece on the way bringing the total to six. We were just finishing lunch when along came Ted Pullen, an old friend of ours wielding his detector. As Ted had had no luck I elected to give him a few clues on the finer points of searching for tiny bits of gold.

    At first I thought I'd find a few lead shot and show Ted how to separate them from the dirt but no matter how hard I looked I couldn't find one shot. At last I got a solid little signal and looked down thinking to see a shot lying on the surface. It wasn't lead, it was a nice shiny little bit of gold that winked back at me. Calling Ted over I showed him the general area and asked him to run his detector over it. No worries, he soon found the gold. I pulled another 2 pieces off that patch but unfortunately Ted never found any of the pieces he walked over, I didn't find them either until I got desperate a couple of hours later.

    One of Jim's Small Nuggets - Click to enlarge With 9 pieces in the bag I could see a possibility of overtaking the club record of I I pieces set by Rob earlier in the year but by now the sun was beginning to bite. Despite the waves of heat beating back off the red clay making the quartz glisten and reflect the sun's rays into my eyes, I began to work at my best speed and put my brain into top gear, remembering where every patch had been found on that hill.

    Taking a wide loop over the top of the hill I found only one piece and that was a stray without a friend to be found. By 3 pm I was looking for every tree and the welcome shade thereunder. Sticking to the shady spots and venturing into the harsh sun only to cross from one shady patch to another I worked my way across the hill face.

    Ten pieces I had but I couldn't turn up another for the life of me so I headed back towards the gutter where I'd found the three pieces immediately after lunch. On arrival I dropped onto a patch of number 4 lead shot. Diligently I recovered every bit of shot - there must have been dozens - and then was on another patch of gold. Every signal it seemed was gold. In no time I'd passed Rob's best score and was setting new records.

    Movement over the shoulder of the hill caught my eye. Rob was back at work. I knew he'd been down to the car for a drink and a rest while I'd continued -working. I wandered over to where I could see he'd been very carefully working a small bank. "Any luck?" I asked, knowing he was onto a patch. "A bit," he said grinning but not looking up from where he was pin- pointing a target. "How many?" I asked, worried by that grin. "Oh, I dunno" he stalled, stretching out his moment. "I lost count - five I reckon," he conceded at least, shooting me a shrewd look. "How many have you turned up?" "Well," I said, "You've got a new record to chase, 16," 1 informed him, savouring my victory. It wasn't often I got in front of Rob.

    Back over to the gutter and down the other side, working slowly and carefully, covering every inch as I listened for those faint signals from the tiny scraps of gold. One more turned up, then only a hot-rock. I kicked it out of the way and it skittered down the gutter. Later, I found it again. Again I kicked it out of the way and continued. Then I had a moment of doubt, it had seemed a sharper signal than last time. I turned back and picked it up. It was a lump of conglomerate about the size of the palm of my hand. Carefully I looked it over, nothing. Dropping it I hit it with my pick and it broke into three pieces. No signal from the first one, or the second, but a good solid signal on the third bit and I knew there was something in that rock other than ironstone. Carefully searching the face of the stone I finally made out a nugget embedded in the surface of the rock.

    Eighteen pieces I now had but the heat of the late afternoon sun was beginning to tell, I had been going to go for 20 but as I hadn't had a drink, since midday I was feeling like lead and my throat like old flannel. "Got any more?" I asked with a thick tongue. "Two," came the laconic reply. "You?" I nodded. "Two. You had enough?" He flicked away a hot-rock he'd just dug. "Yeah, I reckon 25 bits between us is enough for one day, don't you."

    I hardly heard the last bit as I was heading down slope at a pretty rapid rate with my mind already arriving at the drive-ill bottle shop at the nearest pub. We arrived home at 10.30 p.m. that night, very weary but with two new club records in the bag. I had found the most bits of gold ever found by one of our club members in one day. I had also found the least weight for the most pieces of gold. I'm not too sure about the last, whether I should be happy about it I mean, but it sure was a lot of fun digging all those tiny bits of yellow stuff.

    Rob has a very good set of scientific scales that we use for these tiny scraps and when we had weighed up we were surprised at the results. My heaviest piece weighed in at a mighty 200 milligrams and the lightest at a mere 40 milligrams. Total weight came to 1,565 milligrams or just over 11/2 grams.
    Rob's smallest weighed in at an incredibly tiny 15 milligrams while his heaviest was 155 milligrams. Total weight, 600 milligrams. Total combined weight for the 25 pieces, 2,165 milligrams.
    It was, as Rob said on the way home, "A good day out," I can see a few more day trips coming up in the near future.


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                 by Katherine Knight

    Last month we reported what Mr. Robert Pringle, the World Gold Council Corporate Director, Public Policy and Research said at the Australian Gold Council conference earlier this year. His comments regarding the future of gold are also well worthy or reporting.


    "I believe that the Washington Agreement will be renewed in some form at the end of the five-year period. It may not be in exactly the same form. But the Washington Agreement demonstrated that the central banks concerned are now aware of their responsibilities to the gold market and to gold producing countries - and we shall, I promise, ensure that they do not forget these. Indeed it is possible that central banks outside the original group may formally join it.

    How much gold will the banks concerned decide to put on the market the next time round? This will depend on two factors. How much they want to sell or lend, and their assessment of what the market will stand. Some analysts believe that most central banks secretly want to sell their gold. I have argued again and again that this is not so. Some Agreement countries may indeed want to sell more. But in the many years I have been following and talking to central banks and governments I have seen no evidence that this is true generally. Many central banks still believe in gold.

    Tutankhamen's Golden Coffin - Click to enlarge Further, let us not forget that some central banks will be buyers. We believe that there are strong arguments for some central banks in key emerging markets to increase their stocks of gold. Apart from the traditional arguments as to why this should be so - that gold is no one's liability, that it has always held its real value over the very long-term, that it is beneficial to public confidence, and that it can be used in an emergency - there is evidence from analyses using modern portfolio theory that suggests some of them would benefit from holding more gold. We are starting a prolonged programme to put these arguments to certain central banks.


    It is probably prudent to expect that central bank sales will exceed central bank purchases over the next 20 years. But the core holders will continue to hold on to their gold. The decline in net holdings will continue to be gradual, managed and co-ordinated. This slide shows a range of possible outcomes. None of these, I suggest, should cause undue alarm to the gold markets even if they are accompanied by some net increase in lending.


    What then does all this mean for gold's future? My answer is that it all depends on ultimate demand - demand from the consumer and investor.
    Demand for gold is currently very strong. Our figures, which cover around 80% of gold demand in the world, show that demand in 1999 was an all-time record, bouncing back strongly from the dishoarding experienced as a result of the Asian crisis in 1998 and 7% higher than the previous record in 1997. And with the world economy showing robust growth prospects for demand are good.
    On top of this will be the effect of continual deregulation. Gold does not have the benefit of a level playing field around the world and in many countries, regulatory impediments prevent demand from reaching its potential. The Council in recent years has devoted a large portion of its efforts to achieving this level playing field and will continue to do so.

    Then there is investment demand. In the United States we have had a very encouraging success with our institutional investment programme for the last three years. We know of 30 institutions which between them have purchased some 160 tonnes of gold - an investment of around $1.5 billion. This may be small beer in the context of a $10 trillion US pensions industry but it is a great start. These purchases have been motivated by gold's role as a portfolio diversifier - its negative correlation to equities and bonds. It is much more liquid than many alternatives.

    For these and other reasons we have decided to expand out institutional investment programme and we have appointed a new head of institutional investment to lead this effort around the world.
    Another possibility - and I will go no further at the moment than saying it is a possibility - lies with the internet and the development of electronic money. The whole concept of electronic money is still in its infancy but it opens up opportunities for the development of completely new currencies that would succeed if they were perceived by potential users to be sufficiently sound and well managed. Gold backing would seem to be an ideal guarantee in many ways and one or two projects are already underway or preparing for launch.

    My conclusions are straightforward. Net supply of gold by the official sector will not be on a scale likely to negate the potentially dramatic and profound impact of the industry's own efforts to boost ultimate demand. As long as those efforts are well-judged, consistent and sustained, they can shift the emphasis away from supply from the official sector in favour of demand as the most important driving force in the gold market.

    The influence of official stocks on sentiment in the gold market, which has dominated discussion in the past 10 years, will inevitably decline in the long run. This is because the share of the total above-ground gold stock held by the official sector is declining, as all newly mined gold goes into private hands. The fate of gold is in the hands of the gold mining industry! No other market participant has such a profound interest in its overall well-being"


    15.  THE NEW LODE - Next Month's Issue

    • What is - Australia
      A look at the unique place Australia is.
    • Ben Hall Bushranger - Part 6
      The continuing saga of the famous Australian Bushranger
    • Profile - John Gladdis
      We look at the General Manager of Coiltek


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