Trip Leader: Roger Feegard
When: 25/4/2013 to 28/4/2013
Participants: Roger and Jan Freegard
Learn how to prospect for gold.
After an early start from Perth, we eventually formed our main convoy of seven cars and proceeded to Southern Cross to meet up with John Stamps and Tony and Stella.
We all headed off to Bullfinch, a town abandoned after the gold mine closed. There were still a few people in residence with the Hotel up for sale, and the only visible sign that the swimming pool existed was a battered sign at the entrance to the site. Sadly the whole area was reduced to a pile of rubble, a sad reflection from the glory days of active mine production.
Continuing out of town we drove on good dirt tracks towards Golden Valley. On the way we came upon Don who was a regular prospector from SC. He very kindly showed us how he pan’s for gold and also how his vibrating bellows separation unit worked.
Locky tried his hand at panning for gold and found that coordination of hand and eye was a lot harder than he thought. He was given a small slither of gold for his efforts. (The only gold we saw in the whole weekend.) Don came prospecting regularly for a day or a two at a time and slept in the back of his UTE.
Further up the valley we stopped for some lunch and John took us to an empty mine shaft complete with kangaroo skeletons. From there we explored an ancient battery and its derelict Settlers cottage which was originally well built with stone walls and insulation of wood between them. By now the afternoon was going on so we made our way to the camping spot already occupied by John’s friend Will who was a regular week end prospector.
Once we were all set up with camp fire burning away we enjoyed Happy Hour and a small drink or two.
Next day dawned bright and sunny and everyone started to sort out their prospecting gear. Help was there in the form of John and Will, so we were all soon sorted and off we went around the area near camp. Gradually we all drifted back to sit under a tree for morning coffee with tales of finding wire, bullet cases, and nails, alas no gold yet. We drifted off throughout the afternoon, but still no gold! However a good evening was had by all beside the well stocked camp fire.
Next day we decided to go to the next tenement that Martin had logged into his Oz Explorer. This was about a 20 minute drive through some picturesque bush. We parked under the trees near a dry river bed and all went off in different directions, again full of hope. Alas this area did not even produce any nails, wire or bullet cases, so we went back to camp for lunch.
Over the two days in camp we did side trips to the Mt. Jackson homestead which was derelict, however there were some foodstuffs left in a cupboard for weary travellers. Also a visit to a dam nearby which showed signs of horses, cows and other animals coming there for a regular drink.
The prospecting trip although being non productive in gold nugget discoveries, proved to be enjoyable due to the new experience had by all. Craig and Sam are we all believe converts to the new hobby and will no doubt be spending many great weekends away trying to discover that first elusive golden nugget. Wendy has discovered her new skills in wielding a pick axe for hours on end and excavating vast areas of virgin landscape.
Lessons learnt from these few days away are that planning of your prospecting sites is so important, Visiting the Department of mines and ensuring the areas you intend to prospect are “Pending Sites” Ensure the coordinates for the tenement are logged into your navigation system as we were twice visited by the owner of the adjacent tenements to ensure we clearly understood where we were to prospect.
We would like to thank John Stampalija for his valuable input into this enjoyable trip, proving that buddying up for trips does make it just that much easier on time and effort for the people involved.