Clay Pipe Factory.


Had a great day in what will now be known as “The Clay Pipe Factory”.

Another piece of “Cutty Pipe”, coming out of the same dig site. I think I’m digging a trench, that has been worked by the old timers. I have clay right through the middle of the hole, with pieces of burnt wood mixed through it.

Either side of the hole, has good quality gold bearing material. Note to self…. stop digging the clay, chase the gold bearing material.

Both sides of the hole have highly mineralized ground.

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Red, brown and black…. couldn’t have more going on if it tried.

It was quite on the gold field today. I had the place to myself. So I just took my time and enjoyed the day. A few rain storms passed through, not enough to worry about.

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Gold pieces and broken cutty pipe.

Plenty of gold in the last clean out. It does lift the spirits, to see the gold shining bright in the sunlight. Hard to believe anyone could mistake fools gold with the real thing. (click on the picture to enlarge)

Bright gold on the V-mat.

Bright gold on the V-mat.

A good day out. Looking forward to the next trip.

 

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Platypus and gold.


I’ve just returned from a day trip digging gold. Got a few small pieces of gold, but most interesting was the Platypus, that tried to sneak pasted me when I wasn’t watching.

The Platypus was having a hard time getting up stream through the flow of water. I’m not entirely sure these creatures are graceful in the water, but out of the water, in the current…. not graceful at all. Looked like it was trying to do the back stroke. Hard to miss from less than two metres distance.

By the time I picked up my phone to get a picture, the Platypus had disappeared. I spotted it 20 metres up stream and ran up onto the bank to get a few dozen photo’s. All of which , mostly just show ripples in the water.

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For anyone who does not know what a Platypus looks like, it’s a Small creature similar to a Beaver, except it has a Ducks bill and lays eggs as it’s young.

Platypus-sketch

Found only in Eastern Australia. So that was a highlight of the day.

As usual Queenslands second last day of Summer was hot (34 degrees). Nothing unexpected there, I do hope the weather cools off rapidly. Maybe a nice 25 degrees.

There was some small pieces of gold, that lifted the spirits. Five bits went 0.2 grams, total.

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It was a good dig, about four and a half hours, digging . Over two hours of traffic on the way home. Came to a complete stop on the highway about six times, but all things considered, a good run for Sunday afternoon. Cleaned up the gold at home, because I left my “SNUFFER BOTTLE” at home. 20160228_164909_002

Next weekend, Autumn, cooler weather…. who am I kidding…. I’ll give it another go…. just so I can show you another photo. What will you be doing?

Note to self, get better organized…. don’t forget “SNUFFER BOTTLE”.

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Finds while digging.


I do quite often come across unusual things while digging for that yellow stuff.

Australia Day had me sweating like crazy, hot and humid. I set up the river sluice and went to dig some of the cobble layer that we have been working for the last few trips. Two buckets of dirt and I was soaked with sweat, felt like I had just stepped out of the shower. There is always room for a little more in the bucket, no matter how full the bucket is. So grabbing two loose lumps of dirt, the first went into the bucket….. The second made me stop and look. From the angle I was looking at, my first thought was it’s dog poo. It was off white, like bleached dog poo, that’s been in the Sun. Pointy on one end……

It was half way over my shoulder before I pulled up, on it’s way to “Deep Creek” forever. Something stopped my arm in mid flight. I looked again…. I turned it over….. It was hollow on the other end. It was a clay pipe bowl.

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Shock, surprise, a little excitement…. well a lot of excitement. Zero buckets of dirt through the sluice and a really great find.

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Notice the shield on the bowl. For sure a makers mark…. something easy to put a date on…. come on 1800’s, yeah.

After some fruitless searching on “Google” learning nothing useful, I asked friends. More precisely another WordPress blogger, “Brisbane Digger”( brisbanedigger.wordpress.com ). Strangely my bottle digging friend had no idea of any info on clay pipes, I thought for sure that would have paid off with quality information. Back to the mighty “Google”.

There is a site run by U.S. Parks and Wildlife on how to identify and date clay pipes. That did not help me at this time. Obviously there are a lot of clay pipes in the U.S. found everywhere??? I don’t know.

I found a site in the U.K., run by a lady, who makes replicas, for period reenactors, movies and television series. Heather Coleman, was a wealth of information and photos.

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5″ Cutty pipe, found in Gympie, QLD.

 

 

So that is the pipe I found, lightly cleaned, to show detail. Pictures went to heather@dawnmyst.org. Along with some hastily blurted questions. I shall repeat Heathers reply, it was everything I hoped for, could not have been better.

 

“Hello Ivor

The pipe bowl you have found I would normally date between about 1865 and 1925, a tighter time frame might be about 1880-1910.

I think the origin for this one would be either English or Scottish manufacture. It was likely a short pipe of about 5 inches long with a straight stem and ideal to hold in the mouth while smoking and working hands-free. So it could well fit in with the workings there but might not be at the time of arrival but during the time when digging was going on I would say yes.

The shield symbolism is common on pipes from England and the shields with cross-hatching like this come in several shapes, sometimes shields, sometimes a clover shape, sometimes a heart. They are thought to mean loyalty in working mens groups. Some come with heart and hand symbols which might be connected with Ireland ( the Hand of Ulster symbolism which I think is political ). So your pipe might be Irish. Some pipes for Irish people were made in England and Scotland as you know many Irish emigrated around the world.

The pipe will not date from before 1860. Have attached images of some examples I have seen.

Hope this helps

Heather.”

These are the images Heather sent with her email.

Lots and lots of helpful and useful information.

It was a hot, humid day, wet with sweat, excited and feeling like an archaeologist. I moved plenty of gold bearing material. Then it rained, and rained. Wet with sweat, washed and dripping from the rain, I did my last clean up, and headed home.

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A Cutty pipe from the 1800’s and the days take of gold.

A good day digging. Hope someone else finds something great and shares it.

Only in Queensland.

Next time…..

 

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Gympie Public Fossicking Area.


I’ve been giving this place a good run over the last three weekends. You can not just wash a pan full of dirt, and expect to find a pan full of gold. Like every thing in life it’s a struggle. Effort equals reward.

Two days…. moving a lot of dirt.

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As the photo shows…. there is gold there, if you are willing to work for it. That may be a sapphire between the two clunkers. Both sizeable pieces of gold come in at 0.2 grams each.

It’s the middle of Summer here in Brisbane, hot, and unpleasant, to be digging a hole. But that is the crazy hobby that I love so much. It’s such a rush to find a chunky piece of gold. I’ve been using my river sluice in “Deep Creek” to process more material. Cleaning up only after 8-12 buckets of dirt. Deep Creek has plenty of water to operate a river sluice.

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It’s very nice to see small pieces of gold in the rubber V-mating, in front of the sluice. Drives you to push more material through your sluice. Last Sundays effort….

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It looks like Queensland gold is as bright as ever. ( That big piece looks a bit like a map of Queensland. )

Thank you to everyone who reads and comments to my stories. Your feedback is welcome. Keep digging.

 

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Golden Escape In Queensland.


A quick two day break…..

A lot of buckets of gravel…..

A couple of blisters….

Made some new friends…..

Found some colour…..

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The chunky pieces are 0.2 grams each. Maybe the blue stone is a sapphire, maybe not. Plenty of fun anyway. It might be time to revisit “The Lost Irishman Mine”. It would be good to get out more and complete one of my big goals. Find enough to make an one ounce gold bar. All the gold was recovered in a river sluice. So keep digging….. ask for advice…. and you can find some colour too.

Stay safe.

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Durikai Fossicking Area.


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.

A windlass over the mineshaft.

A windlass over the mineshaft.

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.

Guiding Star mine

Guiding Star mine

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.

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Rocky outcrops, natural gold catchers.

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.

Use the natural breaks in the rocks.

Use the natural breaks in the rocks.

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.

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Where to Gold Pan? ( North )


There are a few locations around Brisbane to try gold panning. All require a road trip of at least three hours travel time.

These spots are designated fossicking areas or allow fossicking as an activity, on their properties. First I’ll look to the north. Gympie fossicking area is located in the middle of Gympie. Accommodation is readily available in motels throughout the area. I don’t know what camping is available close by or what caravan parks might be like. I haven’t stayed in Gympie overnight.

Gympie fossicking area

Gympie fossicking area

Gold in this part of Deep Creek was derived from weathering and erosion of several reefs in the vicinity, namely the “Columbia, Smithfield, Monkland, Never Mind and Russell reefs.” Pockets of gold may have been missed by early miners or gold could have been redeposited through flooding, over the years since the gold rush.

While in the area, do stop at the Historical Museum and find out about “The Golden City”, that saved the Colony of Queensland. Museums location is on the map.

Northwest of Brisbane, along the D’Aguilar Highway, to the township of Nanango, and the “Seven Mile Diggings”. There are several caravan parks in the area. The fossicking area can be driven to in a car, but the tracks inside the fossicking area are far to rough for anything but a 4×4. If you don’t want to drive over the rough terrain, walking is the other option ( maybe a bike? ). Take lots of drinking water.

Seven Mile Diggings

Seven Mile Diggings

Water for panning can be found at Yarraman Creek. There is a nice flat area on the creek, that people camp on, a decent sized swimming hole was at the same location at my last visit to the area. Try under large rocks in Yarraman Creek, and at the bottom of gullies running down towards the creeks.

Fossicking licences are required in Queensland. They can be purchased from…… Queensland Mines Department, Brisbane Gold, Information centres at Gympie and Warwick. Gold pans can be purchased from Brisbane Gold ( online or over the phone, and shipped to you.) I have seen gold pans in BCF, once. Anaconda at Morayfield has gold fossicking equipment. Pans can be bought at the Historical Museum at Gympie and the information centre. Sometimes pans can be found in army disposal stores as well.

I’ll write about locations to gold pan to the West and South in a later post.

Good luck panning, hope you find some colour.

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