Hello again from Jack and Jill in WA. As we look back through the diary it is great to be able to assure you that, no matter how many prospectors come and go around the old mining centres, no one gets all the gold!
When we last wrote, we had just set up our first camp, and spent a few hours swinging the detectors. Jill was still to unearth her first nugget.
This was not the first visit to this site, and we were quite surprised how many more small nuggets could be retrieved now with the latest Minelab GPX 5000 metal detectors. Over the years we have traded up each time a new machine was released. We have never been disappointed in the upgrade and have always been able to find enough gold to cover the changeover cost. However, we know that not everyone has the same experience – there are so many factors influencing success – learning to master your detector, the amount of time you spend on the goldfields, using an appropriate coil for the situation, recognizing potential auriferous ground, and an element of sheer good luck! For us, each day produced something yellow, with the best daily tally being 25 “sub grammers” and a 6 gram nugget for Jill being the best find for that location. Incidentally, our friend camping in the same area dug down 35 cm for a half ounce piece we had missed amongst some of the small bits.
Adding to the enjoyment of our winter excursions has always been the outback scenery, and, at the second camping place, we decided to visit an advertised nature reserve, boasting outback accommodation in an old shed. However a severely eroded creek crossing presented a challenge Jack was not prepared to risk, even in a 4 wheel drive vehicle. “Plan B” soon presented itself as we explored various tracks, and came across a couple of old mineshafts and the remnants of an early miner’s camp, consisting of a fireplace and the usual paraphernalia left lying around. The surrounding area, with its gentle slopes, liberally scattered with quartz and ironstone rocks, looked likely ground for alluvial nuggets, and we decided to “swing the coil” for an hour before returning to the caravan. Except for the deep shafts, there was no evidence of gold having been found on these hills, so we were quite excited when Jill snagged a .2 gram piece in the first 10 minutes.
Although small and insignificant, it fuelled our enthusiasm, and Jack headed for the nearby creek and was soon rewarded with a number of nuggets in and around the gutter, including a 1 gram piece sitting exposed on a rock bar in the middle of the dry creek bed. Jill continued to work across the slope, regularly turning up small nuggets. The best find for the day weighed 4 grams.
This was indeed a memorable occasion!