Although gold was known to exist in Australia
from the 1830s, it was in 1851 when a man named Edward Hargraves sparked the Australian gold rushes with his historic find in Bathurst
NSW. By 1852, the volume of immigrants arriving on the back of the gold rush was greater than the number of convicts who had landed here in the previous seventy years.
Many of the gold fields around the country toiled by our early pioneers can be found today in various states of ruin, yet some have become amalgamated into modern mining sites. Some areas are no longer gold producing, whilst in many others the very same sites are still producing large finds. Techniques may have changed, but the gold is still there to be found.
Whats Out There to Prospect?
Prospecting typically involves the use of metal detectors, hand tools, pans or sluices in the search for gold, gemstones and other minerals. Australia
is the second largest gold producer in the world, most of it from underground ore bodies operated by large multi-national mining companies. Australia
is also a major producer of just about every other mineral and metal on earth. Targets for prospecting include: gold, tin, iron ore, diamonds, copper, lead, uranium and rare earths such as tantalum, a major component of mobile phones but there are literally hundreds more. Each target has its own signature, its individual ‘tell-tale’ and its own method of discovery. Of these, gold is probably the most appealing to the beginner, the easiest to research and the most convenient to sell. Australia
today attracts large numbers of hobby gold prospectors, predominantly with metal detectors. With prospecting being a generally accessible activity (check legislation and access restrictions in each state), it is a hobby that goes well with camping, and caravanning and could be a great way to spend your leisure time if travelling around Australia
It should be remembered that almost all of today’s major gold mines originated as a result of a prospector's discovery. Prospectors are flexible, travel light and are open-minded. They’ve led where mining companies have followed.