Posts Tagged ‘Gold’

Other husband's spend their weekends watching football. Oi.

Other husband’s spend their weekends watching football. Oi.

 

One of Mrs Wellthisiswhatithink’s favourite leisure activities, Dear Reader, is to grab a gold pan and head to the streams around Ballarat and wade around looking for flecks of alluvial gold. This is always more fun if it’s done in cold, steady drizzle, or blazing mid-summer sunshine.

"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.”

So far she has managed to find four mosquito bites, an old Coke can, and a husband who prefers to sit on the bank eating ham sandwiches and taking photos of the meadow flowers with his iPhone.

But this would obscure the fact that others are more lucky, especially those peculiar bods wandering around with a stick with a plate on the end of it and a pair of headphones.

Grumpy husband unearths 2.7kg gold nugget

Grumpy husband unearths 2.7kg gold nugget

A Victorian man is $141, 000 richer today thanks to his wife.

Kerang resident Mick Brown had just given up smoking and was in such a bad mood his wife told him to get out of the house to give her some space.

A seasoned prospector, Brown decided to let off some steam by searching a patch of land near Wedderburn. Wedderburn is a rural town in Victoria, Australia on the Calder Highway, 214 kilometres north of Victoria’s capital city, Melbourne.  It is mainly a farming community but its early residents were gold miners and prospectors.

One of the main attractions for tourists is Hard Hill Reserve where, with a bit of imagination, one can feel a sense of what it was like in the ‘old days’ living in tents on the goldfields. Apart from gold, a number of Eucalyptus stills used to operate in the district and a replica still has been situated on the site and is fired up, by arrangement, for tourist buses. On site is one of the original batteries for crushing the ore and removing the gold. A puddler is also on site and a demonstration of it working can be seen during the annual Gold and Heritage Festival held round about the end of February and the beginning of March. The town  is a popular spot for hopefuls with gold detectors who are still finding the occasional nice nugget.

But  42-year-old Mick did not expect to find anything having scoured the area many times before without success.

It was his lucky day.

Just 15 centimetres below the surface Brown struck gold, unearthing a 2.7 kilogram nugget.

“I thought, ‘bugger me, it is, it’s bloody gold,” Brown told local media.

“I just dug it up, 87 ounces of the good stuff.”

He has affectionately nicknamed his find “Fair Dinkum” which is Aussie slang for “real”.

Asked what he would do with the money, Brown said he planned to pay off his debts and buy his children a spa. Good luck to him.

Now we just have to persuade Mrs Wellthisiswhatithink that a weekend’s light gardening in the suburbs is more likely to yield more long term personal satisfaction than standing in a stream miles from anywhere, swatting flies.

To learn more about “fossicking” (love that word) in Victoria, head here:

http://www.energyandresources.vic.gov.au/earth-resources/recreational-prospecting-and-fossicking

Some of the other big nugget finds in Australia can be seen here:

http://www.sbs.com.au/gold/story.php?storyid=113

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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