I’ve been digging at the Gympie GPA for a few months now. Getting away on weekends or rainy days, when work has been cancelled. There has been more than enough colour in my river sluice, to keep it very exciting. I’ve has pieces of Clay “Cutty Pipe” dating back to the 1880’s, old glass and porcelain fragments and of course there has been the gold.
The discovery of gold heralded the origin of mining in Queensland. Mr. Stutchbury, the Government Geologist of New South Wales, found gold near Port Curtis in 1853, and later in 1856, traces were reported on Canning Downs, near Warwick.
Reports of gold discoveries soon followed at numerous sites including Canoona ( 35 miles north of Rockhampton ) and nearby Crocodile Creek in 1865. Each discovery set off a new rush and a scramble to register a mining lease.
Queenslanders were already in a state of excitement when, in October 1867, James Nash announced his discovery of gold at Gympie. Nash’s announcement of a payable gold field came at an opportune time, for Queensland was in the throes of a severe economic crisis.
Four miners and a winch underground at Gympie Goldfield, c 1897.
Within 6 months, 15 000 men had travelled from the surrounding towns and reports of an ounce per pan were common. The largest nugget found in Queensland came from Gympie. Weighing in at 30 kilograms ( 975 oz ), the Curtis Nugget, was named after it’s finder George Curtis. It had been unearthed in February 1868.
The Gympie GPA, follows Deep Creek through it’s gully. It cuts through ground containing the “Columbia, Smithfield, Monkland, Nevermind and Russel Reefs”. All these reefs have been worked, but something is always left behind for us, the fossicker. The big pieces of gold are long gone…. or are they.
This is the GPA area in it’s hay day. The rail bridge is still there and in use, as are the mullock heaps. I’m working an area just downstream from one of the mollock heaps, maybe some of the gold I’ve found has come from the tailings from the mine shaft.
Nice little pieces still show up regularly. I suppose one, little nugget, every two or three trips, is the average. My last dig netted me two pieces, that were about half a gram each.
I make the trip from Brisbane. I leave early in the morning and drive back in the afternoon, it’s about 90 minutes each way. A lot shorter time than travelling south or west to Warwick.
Gympie Goldfield produced 4, 084, 720 ounces of gold….. and still counting. I’m going to add to the total tomorrow. Good luck to all the treasure hunters out there.