Holiday break at Christmas is a great time to get out for a dig. This year has been pleasantly cool, with the temperatures below 30 degrees most of the time. I’ve been out for two days so far. Loving it.
Durikai is about 30 kilometres west of Warwick, with three large fossicking areas open to the public. Durikai State Forest, north area, south area and Durikai West area. I’ve visited the northern area mostly, because it’s accessed straight off the highway. To easy to get too. But I’ve checked out the other two areas as well. The southern area is the most difficult to get to, but still easy access.
All three areas are within the Warwick Gold field. An area full of gold deposits, stretching into New South Wales, which were mined in the old days by both Europeans and Chinese miners. The area is full of history, like old mining equipment and hard rock mines, Puddlers and the easy to spot Chinese diggings, which look like the five pips on a dice. Once the gravel level was reached, the gravel was removed from under the dirt above, leaving the unwanted material in place, then the holes were moved over and the process repeated.
These sites are a great educational tool, showing everyone how mining was undertaken by the old timers. The amount of work put into chasing gold is staggering. And everybody wants to give it a go, now and back then.
The Thanes Creek Fossicking area is also close by. I took the opportunity to stop in for a look while I was in the area. There is plenty of water at Thanes Creek to fossick with, so head towards Mount Gammie and try both Thanes Creek fossicking area and Talgai State Forest Fossicking area, near Pratton.
This is a good option for finding some colour. If you have ever turned up somewhere new and thought, where do I start…. this is it. Rocky outcrops are perfect for catching flood gold. Nooks and crannies for the gold to hide in, when the water flow is broken up by the rocks. And you can look up on the sides of a gully, you don’t have to get into the bottom of the gully, where everyone else has dug all the good colour up already.
What you should look for is a rock that is fractured already. I call it book leaf rock, it’s like the pages of a book, all stacked against itself. Each sheaf of rock will come off, leaving a thin layer of dirt and gravel. Collect it all and wash the rock in a bucket of water. You end up with a lot of stone, but it is the best way of catching any gold stuck to the rocks. this is an example of the rock I’m talking about. The gold loves the holes between the rocks. Sometimes the gold will be visible on the rock as it’s removed, that always gets the excitement up.
Always try to finish cleaning whatever hole you have started, no point putting in the effort and not quite finishing. This hole I washed down with water and used a sauce bottle to suck out the crack at the bottom. Got some nice colour from the bottom.
Half the fun is getting there…. Soon finding gold is the only thing that matters. Even for the kids.
Give it a try.