On this page you will find:
- all the information you'll need about how to find your site, and
- the equipment and techniques to get it out of the stream.
Finding a Goldfield
Research, research and more research! That is the key my friends! Whether you get your information from the Mines Department, the local farmer or from a prospecting club, it doesn't matter.
When I first went out looking for gold I made sure I went to a spot that I knew people had found alluvial gold before. This means that I had a fair chance of being in the right place to start off with. If you're not where the gold is...you may as well give it away.
So how do you find your first gold bearing site?
First stop is the local bookstore or library. Find out what you can here, more often than not, the information found will be very general and not refer to specific locations. This is alright though, just take note of an area that was worked previously that is close to you and is reasonably well known (eg. Ballarat, Kalgoorlie, Bathurst, Palmer River)
Next step is to find in specific information about the site you have chosen.
My favourite stop is the Mines Department that can be found in your capital city.
Get to know your way around and make friends with the counter staff who are usually very happy to help. The
information that you get is very specific and accurate, unlike many of the gold tales often told. ( A friend once told me
a gold mine is a "Hole in the ground owned by a liar" :) )
The information you will get will include:
- The date the area was gazetted as a goldfield.
- Locations of shafts, adits and mines
- Gold Production figures
- Gold Type (alluvial, reef, deep lead etc..)
- Current lease holders
- Future prospects
- Detailed maps
Yep that should do it !!
While you are there ask about the prospecting laws to make sure it is alright for you to go ahead and go searching. Some States have laws that prohibit you from gold panning unless you get Prospecting Leases, Miner's Rights or Fossicking permits. If you can, find out who owns the property you plan looking on and give them a call in advance.
If you're lucky enough to live in Queensland or Western Australia a bloke called D. W. De Havelland has published some books about Gold Prospecting in these States from the information in the Mines Department. While his book is excellent, he has left out some of the more obscure sites that could be worth investigating.
If you want a copy od Dave's book you could try some of the gold prospecting stores in your state. The series is called:
"GOLD AND GHOSTS"
by D. W. De Havelland
Hesperian Press, 1987
I often refer to mine as the Gold Prospector's Bible.
Finding a suitable location within a goldfield
Okay you're on your way and find a place like the picture below
Look carefully and imagine you are a piece of HEAVY gold.
Where would you be?
(Hint... In the Crevices, Nooks and Crannies)
How you get the gravel out doesn't matter. You have all your tools now and need to invent the best way. First get all of the top material off as the gold is on the bottom. Sure you can try to pan it off if you like. If you find some at this stage then you are doing alright.
Use the yabbie pump to get down to the bottom quickly to see if there is gold at the site you are looking. I can't stress enough the need to get all the way down to the bedrock.
Sieve off the excess material, and be sure to check the sieve before you throw the large gravel away. There could be a large nugget there! This once happened to a friend who thought he didn't need to look in his sieve as he had not found large nuggets at that spot previously. The fellow who was with him noticed it as he was walking past and pointed it out. It is now worn as a necklace around his girlfriend's neck and is about 4 grams.
Make sure that all the gravel is removed and all the crevices are clean before you leave. If there is even a small amount of "Gravel" at the bottom of a crack or crevice then that will be the gold you have left behind! Put on the skin diving mask and look around.
The first time I did this I nearly drowned. I had left three nuggets wedged in the bottom of a crevice I thought was clean.
Unfortunately I can't "visually" show you how to pan here, but you can always practice with some lead sinkers.
If you are going out for the first time it would obviously be best to try and go with someone who has found gold before so they can show you how to pan.
How To Pan For Gold
Click on the nugget to go back to The Aussie Prospectors Page"