Have you ever considered a gold prospecting trip to outback Western Australia?
Not sure what to expect? Where to go? What to take? Is there any gold still to be found?
We have been asked to share our diary of day to day life on the goldfields over this winter. We plan to remain anonymous, and have chosen the “nom de plumes” Jack and Jill. This seems appropriate as we have “climbed up the hill” many times each week in search of any remaining nuggets scattered amongst the ironstone and quartz rocks which typify the WA goldfields.
Now, to go back to the start of this adventure! With caravan and 4 wheel drive loaded, and high expectations, we crossed the border into South Australia and camped at a roadside stop for the first night. For Jill, much of the first day was spent mentally confirming that nothing necessary was left behind. Yes, Miners’ Rights, maps, medication, water containers, detector spares, tools, tyre repair kit, and various replacement parts for the vehicle, were all present. Jack’s thoughts were centred around the comparative cost of diesel this year, and which days we would have a tail wind, to reduce fuel consumption. Generally speaking, the increase proved to be only marginal. The top price we paid was $1.94 at Belladonia.
Due to the abundance of wild life – kangaroos, wombats, emus, and camels, we chose to drive only in daylight hours, and by the third night, were almost to the WA border. As usual, fruit and vegetables, honey, nuts, polystyrene boxes and seeds could not be taken into WA, and this year, car mats were inspected for grass seeds, as well!
The fourth night’s roadside camp was between Norseman and Kalgoorlie, and by the fifth night we were on the goldfields, a few hundred kilometres north of Kalgoorlie. One of the first things we noticed was that not all of WA’s wildflowers wait for spring – some were already flowering in May.
The only minor hiccup for the trip was Jack leaving the water buckets at a service station in Kalgoorlie after removing them from the van boot, to use the hose and replenish the water supply. This would not have been worthy of note, except that the outback town en route had neither buckets, nor replacement cassette toilet chemicals, which had been stored in the buckets.
With much anticipation, the Minelab GPX 5000 metal detectors were set up, and our gold prospecting holiday had begun. The first day proved fruitless for Jill, but Jack could boast of two small pieces weighing in total .7 gram. It was encouraging however, to meet up with a friend who had been swinging his metal detector in the area for a couple of weeks, and had been quite successful – yes, there is still gold to be found in WA.
By the way, he mentioned that we were the first people he had spoken to for two weeks.
We will keep you up to date, as the trip unfolds. Hopefully, the “big one” that we all dream about, will be part of the next instalment.