Our first prediction of 2013 – there’s gold in them thar hills!

Posted: January 17, 2013 in Popular Culture et al
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Fossickers in Nerrena Creek. ...

Nothing’s changed all that much in hundreds of years …

"Did you find something, did ya? Did ya?" "No guys, it's time for lunch." "Oh."

“Did you find something, did ya? Did ya?” “No guys, it’s time for lunch.” “Oh.”

A little while ago, The Wellthisiswhatithink Clan enjoyed a delightful weekend away paddling around in creeks near the Victorian town of Ballaraat, panning for gold.

This activity was combined with some good grub and a trip to the theatre (to see a version of Oklahoma with nudity, no less, which was frankly a little more than peculiar) so if we didn’t turn up any gold the weekend wouldn’t be wasted.

This apparently mildly insane hobby (the gold rush in Victoria having ended some 100+ years ago) is nevertheless great fun.

It gets one out of the house and into some of the prettiest countryside around, and gives one an understanding of the travails of the men who flocked to the area in the 19th century, and it can even yield a few specks of gold in ones pan.

If you don’t want to just head into the wide blue younder clutching your pan, the wonderful recreated-history village of Sovereign Hill at Ballaraat is deservedly one of Australia’s “must see” tourist destinations.

They even have a stream into which real specks of gold are seeded every day … enough patience, and you’re pretty much sure to end up a-hollering and a-whooping.

Some keen prospectors head out into the real bush every weekend, a wild and unquenchable fire burning undimmed behind otherwise mild-mannered eyes. The passion has even spawned its very own word – fossicking – a word which is known only in Australia and Cornwall in the UK, and which is applied particularly to digging through old tailings or the worked out areas of previous “strikes”, and in general means to hunt around for something, with an implied sense that finding whatever it is one is hunting for is somewhat unlikely. The term probably comes from the old English word  fussock, which means to bustle about somewhat aimlessly, from the same root as the word “fuss”.

Very nicely done that man. Jealous, much?

Very nicely done that man. Jealous, much? Reports suggest yesterday’s find is worth a cool A$300,000.

Anyhow we can surely expect the amateur prospecting to take an upturn now that one delighted fossicker using a metal detector has found a massive nugget just some 60cm below the surface at an undisclosed (well, dur) location somewhere near Ballaraat.

The nugget, weighing in at an impressive 177 ounces, is valued at almost A$300,000, and that’s with Gold at $1,600 an ounce and rising. If the prospector can hang onto it for a little, that figure will probably go up. (See the story about Gold Repatriation below – if central banks continue to withdraw their gold from America back to their own shores, it is possible the total sum of Gold in the world may turn out to be somewhat less than imagined, and scarcity, as we know, means price rises.)

Anyway, should you be temped to grab a prospecting kit and head to the hills, be encouraged by the fact that the find is not as bizarrely unique as it sounds. A monster gold nugget weighing 3.66kg was discovered in the same region last year. That nugget, named the Destiny Nugget by the discoverers, was said to be one of the largest nuggets to be discovered in Victoria in the past 10 years.

I bet I know where the Clan will be heading this weekend … time to pack the gumboots, I guess.

Ballaraat Courier and others

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  1. […] Our first prediction of 2013 – there’s gold in them thar hills! (wellthisiswhatithink.wordpress.com) […]


  2. jvdix says:

    There’s been gold in the area for a long time, no?

    (Found in a posting of Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Boscombe Valley Mystery” with illustrations at http://www.artintheblood.com/bosc/boscentrance.htm)


  3. jvdix says:

    Ooops – here’s the link to the map:


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