GOLD PROSPECTING AREAS OF NEW SOUTH WALES
Compiled by: David A. Cooper
The history of gold in payable quantities in 1851 was the means of encouraging a vigorous prospecting campaign, which led to further discoveries of valuable gold ores, and, subsequently, of important ore deposits containing valuable metals such as silver, lead, zinc, tin and copper.
The romance attending the search of gold and the expectation of fortunes thus to be quickly made, attracted pioneers and immigrants of the most desirable type to Australia, and thus assisted to stabilize, in the most material manner, the beginnings of its young nationhood.
To the period of marked prosperity into which the mining industry of New South Wales thus entered, the output of gold contributed in greatest measure, the value of the production of this mineral reaching a maximum of £2,660,946 in 1852.
The total production of gold in New South Wales to the end of 1927 was 14,968,346 ounces fine, valued at £63,581,454 or less than one-sixth of the value of the total output of all minerals produced in the state.
To the best of our knowledge the first reference to the occurrence of gold on the Australian continent is furnished by the Daulphin Chart (a map of Australia), dated 1530 to 1536, preserved in the British Museum, London, and which is believed to have been reproduced from earlier Portuguese charts. On this map the northwestern coast of the continent is named ‘Costa d’Ouro’, meaning ‘Gold Coast’. However, the first authentic record of gold discovery in Australia is given in a field-book of Assistant Surveyor James McBrien, and now in the possession of the Lands Department, Sydney.
In 1823 McBrien was engaged in the survey of a road along the Fish River, between Ryal and Bathurst. At one station in his traverse he records the following note:
“At E (E. signifying end of survey line) 1 chain 50 links to river and marked gum tree. At this place I found numerous particles of gold in the hills convenient to river.”
This locality is on the north side of the Fish River, 3 miles east south east of Locksley railway station on the main line from Sydney to Bourke. A considerable quantity of gold was won in later years from the soil in the neighbourhood by the process known as ‘surfacing’.
In the same year it is stated that a convict, working in a chain gang on the roads near Bathurst, was flogged because a rough piece of gold was found in his possession, which the overseer said he felt certain was obtained from melted jewellery. It is most probable that the man did pick up a small nugget, for he was not likely to have had jewellery to melt down, and gold was not wanted then. It was also said in 1830, a piece found of gold was found somewhere on the Fish River.
In February, 1841, an enthusiast in Geology, the Rev. W.B. Clarke, master at King’s School, Parramatta, called attention to the fact that gold was procurable from certain Australian rocks, which he found in Winburndale Creek, near Bathurst, and west of Hartley, near the head of Cox River, not far from Mount Blaxland. In 1842 he again discovered gold on the Wollondilly.
Subsequently many references to the occurrence of gold in New South Wales were recorded, but it was not until the year 1851 that the case for a widespread and thorough prospecting campaign was presented properly to the public. In April of that year there was enacted at Ophir a scene which was destined to place Australia upon the stage of national greatness, and the events which preceded the discovery read as romance.
Edward Hammon Hargraves returned from the goldfields of California in January, 1851, impressed by the resemblance of the geological formations of the goldfields of California with those of the district around Lewis Ponds Creek, near Orange, which he had visited 17 years previously. In February, Hargraves proceeded to Gulgong and called at a hotel on the old Bathurst-Orange road, kept by a widow named Mrs. Lister, whose husband Hargraves had known years before. He then obtained the services of young John Hardman Australia Lister, promising that if he would guide him to Emu Creek, Lewis Ponds, and Summer Hill Creek he would show him where to find gold. They proceeded to a spot 2 miles above the junction of Lewis Ponds and Summer Hill Creek, and on the 12th February, 1851, Hargraves washed out six pans of earth, obtaining a grain of gold in each, with the exception of one.
Later, Hargraves and Lister were joined by James Tom of Springfield, and they proceeded to Burrandong, returning up the bed of the Macquarie River. A little gold, known to miners as ‘colours’, was obtained in many places. Hargraves then visited the Wellington – Dubbo district and, in the meantime, John Lister and James Tom visited the Turon River where they found a nice speck of gold.
About the middle of March, 1851, Hargraves explained to Lister, James Tom and William Tom (a younger brother) how to make and use a cradle similar to that used in California. The cradle was finished before Hargraves left the district, and in Lewis Ponds Creek he demonstrated to the others how to use it. This cradle is now in the possession of the Royal Historical Society at Sydney, and a model of it is on view at the Mining Museum, George Street North, Sydney.
Hargraves returned to Sydney about 20th March, 1851, while, during the remainder of the month, the Tom’s, by the use of the cradle, obtained 16 grains of gold in Lewis Ponds Creek.
In April, 1851, Hargraves notified the Colonial Secretary that he knew of the existence of gold over a considerable extent of country and offered to indicate the localities for a reward of £500. This proposal was not entertained.
About this time James Tom left Springfield for the Bogan River district to take delivery of some cattle. Lister and William Tom proceeded to the junction of Lewis Ponds and Summer Hill Creeks, near Orange, and there between the 7th and 12th April, 1851, they obtained about 4 ounces of gold, which was the first payable gold discovered in Australia.
Within a month there were a thousand persons engaged in mining along the Summer Hill Creek, and the news of the discovery of payable gold spread with amazing rapidity. Great excitement prevailed in Sydney and Melbourne, thousands deserting their employment to rush to the diggings. The authorities of the day were apprehensive of the grave consequence, which would result from any disorganisation of the normal life of the community.
Prospecting operations were commenced throughout the country with the result that a number of the principal goldfields, not only in New South Wales but also in Victoria, which were discovered in the same year.
When the occupation of the pioneer prospectors ceased, they turned their attention to agricultural and pastoral pursuits and assisted materially to build up these great industries which now contribute such a great and increasing proportion of our national wealth.
Hargraves was granted a reward of £10,000 by the Government of New South Wales for his discovery, and was appointed a Crown Lands Commissioner. The Victorian Government gave him also a sum of £2,300.
The work of six days in April, 1851, was a fitting climax to months of patient search, in that the result has been the means of attracting population to our shores, of placing before the pioneers the great potentialities of the land of their adoption, of encouraging a flourishing mining industry, and of speeding up the development of the great pastoral and agricultural areas throughout the continent.
GENERAL INFORMATION ON SURFACE & ALLUVIAL DEPOSITS
When the gold contained in reefs, veins, and lodes is set free, it is spread out over the surface of the soil, where some of it may remain. The deposit thus formed consists of a mixture of angular pieces of quartz, country rock and gold, together with fragments of quartz gold (specimens). Such deposits are worked by stripping, the gold being recovered by sluicing or puddling. These operations may expose the reefs or veins, which supply the gold.
In arid climates, as in the northwestern part of N.S.W., where the absence of water and the low surface relief prevent the removal and later concentration of gold into leads, the gold may be found resting upon reefs and scattered over the surface in their immediate vicinity. In some places the removal of sand by wind effects concentration of the gold, coarse and fine gold being found together. The gold shows wear due to the abrasive action of windblown sand. Where this type of deposit is found, the gold may be recovered by dry blowing.
The greater proportion of the gold set free from the weathering of reefs is washed into the sands and gravels of adjoining watercourses to form alluvial deposits. In some places it may be carried by streams to intermingle with other minerals in ‘beach sands’.
Broadly speaking, once it finds its way into streams, the coarser gold sinks rapidly to the bedrock, while the finer gold is swept on to be deposited further downstream where the grade of the stream beds is not so great and the rate of flow, in consequence, relatively gentle. Owing to local conditions and variations in the rate of flow there are, of course, exceptions to this general rule.
On its way downstream the gold may be held behind boulders or projecting rocks, or it may find its way into gutters, hollows, and cracks in the bedrock. The prospector will also observe that stream deposit sand and other material on the ‘inside’ of curves. Rich deposits of alluvial gold are likely to be found at and near the bedrock in such places.
The nature and grade of the rock bottom play a big part in determining the amount of gold retained. Usually bottoms of pipe-clay, decomposed clayey rocks and granite are favourable for retaining gold, but if the bottom is hard and smooth the gold is generally swept further on in the direction of flow of the stream. The same thing occurs on the outside of bends where the current sweeps swiftly round. Bars of the bedrock, which strike across the direction of flow of a stream, act as natural riffles. It should be remembered that riffles not only provide a means of holding the gold, but that they cause momentary slacks in the rate of flow of the stream and allow the heavy mineral content, including gold, to fall out of the current. For this reason, a concentration of gold is commonly found on the downstream side of a bar, particularly if the bars are widely spaced and dip upstream. If the bars are closely spaced their direction of dip is not very material, since the tops of the bars check the rate of flow and the crevices between them form an efficient trap for the gold to fall into.
Narrow stream channels lead to a rapid rate of flow and absence of gold values. The swirling and grinding action in potholes also leads to poor values in many cases, so that what appears to be an ideal catchment for gold is frequently disappointing.
As time goes on, streams tend to flow more gently and to deposit silt and clay further from their mouths. Thus the goldbearing sands and gravel become buried, mainly under deposits of clay and sand from which gold is absent, or present only in small quantities. Thus, though alluvial deposits may contain gold from grass roots to bedrock, in most places it does not pay to treat more than a metre or so at the most, of the gravel and sand above the bedrock.
After the formation of an alluvial deposit as described above, the stream may have a varied geological history. It may be forced to change its course, thus destroying part of an older deposit and forming a new one.
It may cut down deeply below its old bed, leaving gravels on terraces many metres above the new streambed. The stream may be destroyed altogether by its valley being filled with lava (usually basalt) and forming what is known as a basalt-covered deep lead. The majority of deep leads in New South Wales are covered, or partially covered, with basalt. The older leads may be cut across by new streams forming still other alluvial deposits.
OTHER TYPES OF GOLD DEPOSITS
Gold-bearing deposits have been worked at a great number of localities in New South Wales. The largest proportion of gold produced in the state has been won from alluvial deposits and quartz reefs, but a large quantity has been obtained from the treatment of pyritic copper ores, mined particularly in the neighbourhood of Cobar. In addition, gold has been recovered in the treatment of ores essentially mined for their silver, lead, and zinc contents, principally from large, replacement ore-bodies at Broken Hill.
For the purpose of consideration of the sources of supply of gold it has been found convenient to arrange this information under headings according to the mode of occurrence of the gold-bearing deposits.
MODES OF OCCURRENCE
The principal types of ore deposits containing gold may be classified according to origin, as follows:
Detrital deposits or ‘placers’ composed of gravel and sand, compacted or uncompacted, resulting from the erosion of rocks, which enclosed gold-bearing material.
Lodes or veins composed usually of quartz or quartzose rock, occupying fault planes, fissures, and joints. ‘Stockworks’ are included here. (see section on ‘Lodes or Veins’)
Saddle reefs and veins formed between bedding planes.
Deposits resulting from the replacement of sedimentary rocks, especially parallel to bedding planes, by sulphide minerals with which gold is associated in many places.
Deposits formed along the contact of igneous intrusive rocks.
Impregnations of gold in stratified deposits such as: slate, quartzite, and volcanic tuff.
Impregnations in igneous rocks such as: granite, serpentine, and felsite.
‘Pipes’ or ‘Pipe Veins’ occurring in siliceous granite.
Irregular deposits, such as masses of ironstone containing gold.
In some instances ore deposits containing gold possess features of structure and mineral composition which indicate that they have been formed under conditions which do not permit or classification under any one particular group. They are combinations of two or more of the types, enumerated above. For example, the ore body worked in the Occidental Mine, near Cobar, is in part, a replacement of crushed material along a fault or crush zone, in part a replacement of slates in the vicinity of the crush zone, and in part a series of ‘pressure lenses’ within the crush zone.
GOLD IN PERMIAN CONGLOMERATES
In the neighbourhood of Tallawang, to the north of Gulgong, gold in payable quantities was obtained in 1875 from conglomerates, which form the base of the Upper Coal Measures. Yields of 1 to 15 dwt and nuggets of 5 ounces in weight were won. While it is likely that similar gold-bearing conglomerates may be found to occur elsewhere the existence of payable gold in these rocks, over considerable areas, is hardly probable.
TERTIARY ALLUVIAL LEADS or DEEP LEADS
The same processes, which now cause erosion of the rocks exposed at the earth’s surface, were active in past geological ages. In the Tertiary period rainfall probably was greater than at the present time, and the cutting power of streams much stronger. Likewise the quantity of material deposited along stream channels and in depressions was considerably in excess of the more recent accumulations.
The ‘leads’ here considered represent the valleys of old rivers, which formed drainage systems in Middle to Late Tertiary times.
Associated with the gravels occupying the beds of these old streams are nuts and leaves, fragments of fossil wood, trunks of trees, and occasional specimens of freshwater shells. The gravels themselves are very water-worn and well rounded, presenting a marked contrast to those of Pleistocene and Recent drifts, which are sub-angular, owing to their having undergone less abrasion by the action of running water.
A thick layer of basalt covers many of the ‘leads’, and the depth of the drifts below the present surface in consequence is considerable, ranging to several hundred feet. Hence, the common term ‘deep leads’. Moreover, the gold-bearing gravels in many places contain large bodies of water, and, therefore, the difficulties in the way of recovery of the gold are very great, and, in very many instances, quite beyond the means of small working parties of miners.
The first ‘deep leads’ worked in New South Wales were discovered at Forbes in 1862, the gold-bearing drift being followed from shallow ground. It is recorded that 235,043 ounces of gold were won in less than 12 months from a number of small claims. The depth of the gold-bearing alluvium was in many places considerable on the north lead, particularly where a shaft exposed very water-worn drift at a depth of 400 feet.
The relatively low relief and a thick mantle of Pleistocene and Recent alluvium in the neighbourhood of Forbes rendered difficult the tracing of the old stream valleys. Some of the well known Tertiary leads within the state that have been worked, are those at: Adelong, Albury, Braidwood, Corowa, Grenfell, Gulgong, Gundagai, Kiandra, Rockley, Rocky River, Temora, and Tumbarumba.
CRETACEOUS ALLUVIAL LEADS
In the far northwestern portion of the state ‘leads’ in part buried beneath rocks of Upper Cretaceous age, known as the Desert Sandstone, occur at Mount Browne, Tibooburra, and The Peak, the last named locality being situated between Kayrunnera and Tarella Stations, on the road from Milparinka to Wilcannia.
From evidence obtained at Mount Browne and Tiboooburra, where the leads probably rest upon Lower Cretaceous rocks, the age of the deposits is regarded provisionally as Middle Cretaceous.
Some very rich yields of gold were obtained in shallow and deep workings at Billygoat Hill, near Mount Browne.
RECENT and PLEISTOCENE ALLUVIAL DEPOSITS
The rocks exposed at the surface of the earth are undergoing continual decomposition, and are being broken down under the influence of weathering and stream action. Detrital material is accumulated in the more low-lying areas, and particularly along stream channels. In this manner gold contained in gold-bearing rocks and quartz reefs is removed and concentrated by reason of its weight in the lower layers of alluvium, and, more commonly, in coarse gravels and pebbly drift.
The newest alluvial deposits thus formed are termed ‘Recent alluvials’. In some instances the shallow drainage channels were filled completely, and the gold covered by accumulations of sediment, while, in other instances, the deposits occupy the beds of large existing rivers such as the Macquarie or the Shoalhaven Rivers.
An older group of deposits known as ‘Pleistocene alluvials’ occupy somewhat deeper channels than those mentioned above. These channels were filled with gravel, sand, and clay, and the recovery of the gold necessitated comparatively deeper sinking.
Recent and Pleistocene alluvial deposits being the most accessible were the first to be discovered. Rich returns were obtained from them in the early days of gold mining, but, although they occur in connection with most goldfields where gold-bearing reefs exist, production from these sources is now unimportant, with the exception of relatively small quantities furnished by dredges at localities such as Adelong and Araluen.
Formally it was impracticable in many instances to extract by ordinary methods the gold contained in gravels occupying the beds of present day streams, mainly owing to the presence of large bodies of water. This difficulty, however, was overcome by the introduction of dredges. Dredging for gold commenced in 1899 on the Macquarie River near Stuart Town. The total output of gold by dredges to the end of 1927 was 580,784 ounces fine, valued at £2,451,974.
LODES or VEINS
This type of ore deposit includes lodes or reefs occupying fault planes, fissures, and joints. True fissure veins are those in which the lode material occupies the space between the walls of faults and fissures. They are usually tabular in shape, and relatively narrow in cross section. The angle of dip is variable, and the ore is arranged in many places in chutes within non-productive lode material.
In places a great number of planes of separation or of weakness in sedimentary or igneous rocks occur filled with quartz or other gangue minerals containing gold. These form what are known as ‘stockworks’, and are so arranged that the whole mass, in certain cases, may be mined profitably.
The principal constituent of the gangue of gold-bearing lodes is quartz; calcite is a common associate, while barytes and fluorspar are present in some veins. In the Hawkin’s Hill veins (at Hill End), the gold, where richest, was associated with potash mica instead of quartz. In the oxidised portions of lodes: limonite, cuprite, malachite and azurite (copper carbonates), are found in many places.
In the sulphide zone, below water level, gold is associated commonly with either iron pyrites or mispickel (arsenopyrite), and to a less extent with galena, copper pyrites (chalcopyrite), zinc blende (sphalerite), pyrrhotite, and stibnite.
In some places the gold occurs in fragments and films through solid quartz, but is found more usually in the upper portions of lodes, in the cavities left by the decomposition of pyrites. Below water level the gold is found both in the free state and in the sulphide minerals.
The occurrence of large masses of gold in lodes: At least two notable discoveries of large masses of gold from lodes have been recorded within the state. The largest of those masses, known as the ‘Byers and Holtermann Nugget’ was found at Hill End in 1872. The dimensions were: Height 4 ft 9″, Width 2 ft 2″ and weighed 630 pounds, and contained, approximately £12,000 worth of gold. This specimen is the largest yet recorded in the world.
One day during the month of July 1851, a mass known as ‘Kerr’s Hundredweight’, was discovered at Hargraves by a native shepherd named Jimmy Irving, who had been in the employ of Dr. William John Kerr, of Wallawa being on the high land lying between the Macquarie River and Meroo Creek, about 85 km from Bathurst and 29 km from Mudgee. The specimen was broken into three pieces, the largest of which was about a foot in diameter, and weighed 75 lb. gross. This piece contained over 700 ounces of gold. The total weight of the gold from the three specimens was 106 lb.
SADDLE REEFS (and Deposits arranged parallel to Bedding Planes)
Many gold deposits in the state are arranged between, or parallel to, the planes of bedding of sedimentary rocks. The ore bodies may be composed of quartz with subordinate amounts of calcite and pyrites in places or may be formed of a number of veinlets of quartz separated by bands of altered shale and sandstone. In some occurrences, the gold values are not confined to the quartz alone, but are present also in the altered rocks in a manner such that the whole width of a bed may be mined profitably. Certain members of the Hawkin’s Hill Reefs at Hill End are of this type, although the ore bodies appear to represent replacement of slates in part.
‘Saddle Reefs’ are peculiar types developed in folded rocks on the crests of anticlines or arches and at the bottoms of synclines or troughs. The forms occupying synclines are known as ‘inverted saddle reefs’. The ore bodies of these types are due partly to the separation of bedding planes by pressure and partly to replacement. In some places, as at Bendigo, several ‘saddle reefs’ and ‘inverted saddle reefs’ in vertical succession have been exposed in mine workings.
The most remarkable gold-bearing ore body yet worked in New South Wales, namely the Mount Boppy lode, is disposed in the form of a ‘inverted saddle reef’ in part. Several ‘saddle reefs’ are known to occur at Hill End, Tambaroora, and Hargraves.
In many places large ore bodies have been formed by the removal of the original constituents of rocks by mineral-bearing solutions and the precipitation of new minerals by a process of substitution or replacement. The action has taken place generally under conditions of considerable heat at great depths below the earth’s surface.
Replacement deposits occur in New South Wales in many localities, particularly in the Central Western and Western districts, as at Cobar and Broken Hill. They are developed either along zones of great strain, with faulting in places, or in rocks adjacent to such zones which have been crumpled and drag-folded by earth movement. These replacement deposits occur mainly within ancient rocks, which have suffered much alteration. The ore bodies are arranged in the form of large lenses within zones of strain or as masses of irregular shape in crumpled beds.
Gold may occur in the free state in a gangue composed mainly of quartz or siliceous material, or may be present in ore bodies mined specifically for such metals as copper, as at Cobar, or silver, lead, and zinc, as at Broken Hill. In the latter examples the gold is associated intimately with sulphides of copper, iron, lead, and zinc.
Contact deposits are formed at or near the contact of an igneous rock and one, which it has intruded. The older rock or one which has been intruded is usually sedimentary but may be igneous in some instances.
The ore deposits have been produced by the action of mineral-bearing solutions and vapors accompanying the intrusive mass, a considerable amount of alteration being developed within a zone around the margin of the intrusion. In many places new minerals are formed, of which the composition represents a compromise between the constituents of the invading magma and those of the invading rock. Structural alteration is produced also, and is reflected in areas of fracture and minor faulting, with zones of shear or crush in places, as at Cullinga.
In general, contact ore bodies are very irregular in form and size, and are separated by zones of altered rock. In gold-bearing ores of this class the principal gangue is usually quartz or siliceous material, with relatively small quantities of calcite and pyrites, arsenical in part. The ore deposits of Lucknow and Cullinga are examples of bodies formed at or near the contact of an igneous mass.
IMPREGNATIONS IN SEDIMENTARY ROCKS
In New South Wales this type of deposit is relatively unimportant as a source of gold. Gold occurs, in many places, disseminated finely throughout rocks of sedimentary origin, in such proportion that the whole thickness of the bed may be worked profitably. A certain amount of alteration, chiefly to silica or siliceous material, is present in places.
In addition to free gold, a considerable quantity of gold is associated intimately with iron pyrites. Enrichment in restricted masses is common. An example of this is the ore bodies found at Lyndhurst and Yalwal.
IMPREGNATIONS IN IGNEOUS ROCKS
Free gold in a very fine state of division, and, in association with iron pyrites also, is known to occur in igneous rocks of various types throughout the state, but the production from these sources is relatively insignificant, although it is believed that some of the gold won from alluvial deposits, notably at Rocky River, Young, Major’s Creek, and Araluen, has been derived from the disintegration of neighbouring igneous masses.
In certain localities payable gold has been obtained from mines within masses of igneous rock. Mention may be made of Bushy Hill (near Cooma), where the gold occurred in serpentine; of Wolumla, and Pambula, where the gold was associated with a rock known as felsite; and of Poverty Point (near Timbarra), where granite is the host rock of the gold.
“PIPES” or “PIPE VEINS” OCCURRING IN SILICEOUS GRANITE
This type of deposit is not important as a source of gold in New South Wales; the amount won from ‘pipes’ being only a few ounces. The ‘pipes’ are suggestive of twisted cylinders of quartz and other siliceous material arranged near the contact of siliceous granite and other rocks such as basic granite or sediments.
Gold has been recorded in ‘pipes’ at Mount Metallic (near Whipstick). Here, there was one ‘pipe’ known as the “Gold Pipe” that was mined for gold (in gossan) but unfortunately, it also contained a considerable amount of manganese and oxides of molybdenum and bismuth. The other area was at Timbarra (near Drake).
IRREGULAR DEPOSITS (Such as: Masses of Ironstone containing Gold)
Small deposits of gold-bearing iron ore were worked at Mount Allen (near Mount Hope). The presence of gold was not detected until a considerable quantity of iron ore had been removed for use as a flux for siliceous copper ores smelted by the New Mount Hope Copper Mining Company.
Gold in a very fine state occurs in accumulations of “black sand” concentrated by wave action on beaches along the New South Wales coast. Full details of this will not be covered here, but for the record, the only payable work was at McAuley’s lead south of Evans Head, between the Richmond and Clarence Rivers.
PROSPECTING FOR ALLUVIAL GOLD
After reading the ‘Geology of gold and the various types of deposits’, it is now time to provide the following information which will provide the prospector some assistance in locating some gold of his or her own.
A careful reading of descriptions of alluvial deposit formation should give the intending prospector a good idea of where these deposits may be expected.
Attention should first be paid to all watercourses; if the colours of gold are obtained, the prospector can proceed to test all likely places in the vicinity. Probably the best plan is to work upstream from a given point, testing the bed at all likely places as mentioned above. The gravels exposed in the stream bank should all be tried and sinking ‘test holes’ to bedrock should test all flats. In this way old stream channels may be detected. These should be prospected across their whole width. It may be that gold will be found more or less evenly throughout a large body of wash. This may not pay if worked by a gold pan or cradle, as it could become rather time consuming, but the use of a sluice box would enable the prospector to process larger amounts of material or by any other more advanced method. However, if you have the time and patience there is nothing to stop you doing it slowly by the methods described earlier….just enjoy yourself…. that’s what recreational prospecting is all about!
A dish or two should be panned from all pebbly layers encountered, and the prospector should make sure that, so far as conditions permit, all holes are bottomed. If colours are obtained in the wash, the bedrock should be broken up to a depth of about 300 mm and the pieces so obtained well scrubbed or scraped to remove any clay-like material adhering to it.
Where there has been the deposition of two or more layers of gold-bearing wash, the prospector may encounter a clayey bottom. This may be a ‘false bottom’, and should be tried for at least 300 mm. Usually, in this instance, if the true bottom has been reached pieces of the decomposed bedrock will be found. Two or more false bottoms have been found in some places, the best values being on the true bedrock.
From working alluvial deposits in and near present day streams, the prospector may gain experience to recognize and work in a similar way, the high-level gravels. However, much more experience is required in order to work basalt-covered deposits and other deep leads.
There is the possibility of obtaining payable gold in the drainage channels leading down from high-level gravels or basalt-covered deposits of auriferous (gold-bearing) drift. As weathering processes disintegrates the drift, the contained gold is concentrated in the drainage channels.
Please make sure that you fill in any holes or trenches to prevent injury to stock and people and to minimize soil erosion.
TREATMENT OF GOLD
In the early days of gold mining in New South Wales attention was given exclusively to alluvial deposits, the gold being recovered in pans, cradles, or sluice boxes. These methods are still used on small claims. In later years large and important deposits of sand and gravel, containing free gold, have been, and are being, worked by dredges, the alluvial material being sluiced or dredged and fed into sluice boxes, where the gold is caught on various forms or riffles or other devices.
With the advent of reef mining the ore was crushed by hand or in batteries, and the product washed for the recovery of free gold. Usually the residues from the first concentration were treated by amalgamation; compounds of gold such as tellurides; and ores in which the gold is present in very fine particles, were treated by cyanidation, chlorination, or smelting according to their nature, and various other considerations. Complex ores, such as those mined at the Mount Boppy and Occidental Mines, were subjected to a process involving fine crushing and cyanidation.
For those of you who are not familiar with some of the early treatment methods, the following information may be of interest.
In alluvial workings, where water is plentiful, gold was recovered by ‘washing’ the material in gold pans, cradles, or sluice boxes. In the larger and more important deposits the gravel and sand was generally sluiced or dredged and fed into sluice boxes, where the gold is caught on various forms of riffles or other devices. A great variety of sluices, elevators and dredges were in use.
In places where the water supply was limited, a system of concentration known as ‘dry blowing’ took place. This was done by the means of sieves shaken by hand, or by various appliances having some sort of bellows attached to provide an ‘air blast’ to remove the dry dirt. However, these crude pieces of machinery lost much of the fine gold by this method.
Where cemented gravels and clay materials were encountered (before this was treated by any of the above methods described), the gravels required preliminary crushing (then in some cases, soaking) prior to concentration by a simple ‘washing’ process.
Ores in which gold exists in the ‘free’ state in grains of moderate size were treated firstly by simple concentration, and portion of the gold contents recovered. The finer particles of gold may be lost in the application of this method.
The residues from the first concentration of ores of the above type, together with ores containing gold in a finely divided state, may be treated by amalgamation, a process in which mercury is added to the crushed ore. The gold-amalgam was separated from the gangue by contact with a metal plate coated with mercury. The gold-amalgam adheres to the amalgamated plate, and is removed at intervals by scraping.
Refractory ores, or those which contain substances injurious to mercury, and preventing amalgamation; compounds of gold, such as tellurides; and, ores in which the gold is present in very fine particles, are not amenable to amalgamation on a commercial scale. These are treated by cyanidation, chlorination, or smelting, according to their nature, and various other considerations.
In the cyanidation method solutions of potassium or sodium cyanide pass through the finely crushed ore, dissolve the gold, and drain into vats or tanks. Several solutions may be allowed to ‘attack’ the ore before metallic zinc in the form of shavings or dust is added to precipitate the gold. Zinc is removed by immersion in dilute sulphuric acid or sodium bisulphate, the remaining slime containing a higher proportion of gold.
In chlorination, the ore is roasted firstly and then treated with a solution of chlorine in water. The ore and solution are contained in open vats or rotating barrels, the chlorine gas being evolved either in a separate generator or in the barrel itself. The gold is precipitated from the solution by ferrous sulphate or sulphuretted hydrogen, and the resulting product refined.
Certain sulphide ores and complex mixtures of sulphides, mined principally for such metals as copper, lead, silver, zinc, and antimony, and composed of galena, copper, and iron pyrites, zinc-blende and stibnite, contain gold in intimate association with the base metals. Such ores are treated usually by smelting or electrolysis, or a combination of both methods. Gold is recovered in refining the bullion or the precipitant remaining after the electrolytic process.
A considerable quantity of gold has been obtained in this manner as a by-product from the treatment of copper ores from Cobar and some other localities, and of silver-lead ores from Sunny Corner and Broken Hill.
N.S.W. GOLD LOCALITIES
ADELONG: Situated 14 km west of Tumut. Payable gold mineralization, both reef and alluvial, was first discovered in 1857. Adelong ranks as one of the major-producing districts in N.S.W. The initial discovery of gold took place in 1857, the find being located on the crest of Victoria Hill and representing the weathered capping of the Old Hill Reef. Alluvial gold, both in Adelong Creek and Golden Gully (on the eastern flank of Victoria Hill to its boundary with Adelong Creek) is also believed to have been discovered about the same time. It is estimated the total production of alluvial gold from Adelong Creek and its tributaries at and below the township of Adelong to its junction with the Murrumbidgee River, to be in the order of 13,485 kg. It is interesting to note that most of the gold was found in the coarser gravels.
A considerable quantity of gold has also been won by reef mining. The lodes occur in granite and quartz porphyry. Several dykes of mica-lamprophyre intersect the granite mass and have been met in many places in the mine workings. The granite is intrusive into slates and other metamorphic rocks of Silurian age. The whole area has been faulted in a remarkable degree. The presence of faults has complicated development work considerably in several mines.
The principal ore bodies are arranged as a series of lenses along fissures occupying faults, and having definite walls. In many places the lamprophyre dykes occupy portion of the lode channel and are replaced partly by siliceous material and sulphides carrying gold. Several branches and spurs have been exposed in the workings and, in many places; branches re-unite with the main channel, enclosing large masses of country rock. The lode material is composed of quartz with a sulphide of iron, zinc, and a little copper; iron pyrites predominating. Very little free gold is visible in the quartz; it is associated commonly with the sulphides.
Some gold has been won from irregular masses of quartz and networks of quartz veins within partly replaced granite. These masses and ‘stockworks’ contain gold-bearing sulphides.
There were a number of several lines of reefs worked within this area. One important reef in granite was the Victoria Hill near Adelong, whilst the Great Victoria and the Gibraltar Consolidated produced much gold. Many other reefs in the district were worked including the Adelong, Annett’s, Bangadang, Caledonian, Challenger, Currajong, Flagstaff, Lady Clare (Donkey Hill), Lady Mary (Gap Reefs), Mt. Adrah, Perseverance, Proprietary, Sawpit Gully, Victoria, Williams, Wondalga. Some of these are shown on a separate map. Gold dredging also took place in the district especially at various spots along Adelong Creek.
ALBURY: Reef mining took place at Walbundrie (64 km NW of Albury) and Jindera (14.5 km NW of Albury) as well as at Black Range. At the latter location, deep leads were worked at the red and White leads from a depth of 300 mm to 61 metres. Some other deposits in the area were also worked for gold but it occurred with sulphide ore, which does not warrant further mention here. Reports indicate that several interesting ‘deep leads’ in the country around Cumberoona and Rotherfield could be worth prospecting.
ALECTOWN: Several reef mines operated in this area and produced much gold. Unfortunately any further information on these are unobtainable.
ARALUEN: Alluvial mining in the Araluen Creek and its tributaries (Major’s, Sheep Station, Deep and Bells Creeks) started in 1851 and according to the Rev. W.B. Clarke at that time, activity was centred on rich but small limited patches of gravel on the upper rock bar bound tracts. Activity later appears to have been centred on sinking on leads in the vicinity of Araleun township in the 1860’s. However, by 1875 the richer leads were worked out and the chief work carried out was by stripping off the clay and sand overburden which was later sluiced. Dredging was also carried out at a later stage. It is still envisaged that the ground covering part of the base of Sheep Station Creek and Araluen Creek would still be viable for gold prospecting. The reason for this is: the ground is shallower but more bouldery, which was more difficult to work than that near Araluen. For this reason working would be harder, although the gold values would undoubtedly be higher. Reef mining also took place at Bells Creek on the Braidwood side of Araluen Mountain, whilst small-scale mining took place at the Banner Mine. It is believed that the steep rough ground on the eastern side of the upper reaches of the Deua River (about 9.5 km below Araluen) and around the Araleun Valley could still reveal further gold-bearing reefs.
ARDLETHAN: The areas around Cowabbie and Yeranjerry have been prospected for gold in the past, however, records show that some good gold returns came from Mallee Hen Mine at Murrill Creek.
ARMIDALE: (see also ‘Uralla’). Gold has been found in the alluvial watercourses in the vicinity of Puddledock (19.3 km NE of Armidale), Cameron’s Creek, Tilbuster (11.2 km north of Armidale) and Armidale Gully including a deep lead at Brooklyn with varying degrees of success over the years. Limited reef mining took place at near Tilbuster where the principal mine was the Great Britain as well as the Phoenix Mine at Rockvale. Other areas where mining took place was at Sydney Flat, Mount Welsh near Rocky River about 16 km southwest of Armidale.
AVISFORD: (see ‘Hargraves’).
BAKERS CREEK: (see ‘Hillgrove’).
BARMEDMAN: Approximately 500 km SW of Sydney) Reef mining took place in a number of locations in the district namely the Ada, Fiery Cross, Jackson Company, United Barmedan Mine and the White Cross. However, a lot of these mines were abandoned due to water problems. At Kildery (32 km west of Barmedman) a number of veins from a few centimetres to many metres wide within the slate and quartzite, produced some rich gold, the best of which, was at the Mystery Reef. The country around Kildery and that around Mandawah could warrant further investigation by the prospector.
BARRABA: At Tea-tree (16 km south of Barraba) an alluvial lead, resting on slates and covered by recent deposits of basalt, extends for about 604 metres long by 15.25 metres wide by 600 mm deep produced rich coarse gold. A rich gold reef was discovered at the Pioneer Reef with the Tea-tree (sometimes called Ti-tree) field. However, records show that the average depth of sinking at this location was between 18 to 21 metres. Other areas in the district where reef gold has been won was at Wood’s Reef (Woodsreef), Crow Mountain and the Easter Gift Reef located in the serpentine belt which extends for nearly 80 km. Within this belt many small but rich gold shoots occur. Gold was also found in Ironbark Creek and at Gulf Creek and Newry.
BATHURST: Both reef and alluvial gold was discovered in several localities in the Bathurst district. The alluvial gold was found in depths ranging from 3 to 9 metres at St. Anthony’s Creek, Hard Gully and Clark’s Hill. It also occurred and was worked in Clear Creek, Winburndale Creek and along Wiseman’s Creek approximately 32 km SE of Bathurst. Gold was also won at the Kirkconnel Estate a few kilometres from Yetholme.
A considerable amount of reef mining took place at the Napoleon Reefs near Glanmire; the Mount Conqueror Mine at Peel, which is approximately 19 km north of Bathurst. Near O’Connell the Breakfast Creek Mine was worked, and along Clear Creek: the Blue Lode, Clara, Last Chance and other small reefs were mined. Several other reef deposits at Mount Ovens, Mount Grovenor, Mt. Pleasant, Butler’s Creek and Cheshire Creek operated in the area.
BATEMANS BAY: Alluvial gold can be found in this district in several places, the best known areas are the Clyde River and Brimbramala Creek whereas the reef deposits are located south of Batemans Bay on the western side of the Prince’s Highway near Mogo. This area has also been noted for alluvial deposits of gold, where it occurs as rich coarse gold in creeks and gullies. In some places the ground has experienced deep sinking. Gold can also be found in a number of narrow veins in the granite near Bimbimbie.
Whilst you are in the Batemans Bay area, don’t forget to drop in and have look at “The Goldfields Park” at 476 Tomakin Road, Tomakin. It is situated halfway between Batemans Bay and Moruya. (Turn off at Mogo and travel east along Tomakin road.)
Here, they have gold tours at 11am and 2pm on weekends and school holidays, or by appointment. See the original ’hand dug’ gold mine and the 120 year old crusher. You can also get gold panning tuition. There are lots of other amenities available including camping and on-site vans all near the beach. For further information phone (02) 4471 7381.
BEGA: This old gold mining area can be reached approximately 436 km south of Sydney. Here at the Vimy Ridge Mine, much rich specimen gold was found near the surface and later when reef mining took place, gold was found to occur in small short shoots. Other reef mining took place at Tanja and Wapongo. Alluvial gold was worked at Cohen’s Lake and Clark’s Creek approximately 16 km due east of Bega. In the nearby Candelo area many reefs were worked at McCarthy’s Creek. North of Bega, the country around Cobargo, gold has been reported to have been found in slate country (approximately 13 km east of Cobargo) at Coolagolite.
BENDEMEER: At Mt. Tara, approximately 16 km east of Bendemeer, numerous quartz reefs in slate were worked in the early days. Little recorded information can be found as to its richness.
BINGARA: This is an excellent goldfield, which is more or less gold-bearing. The creeks and gullies all yield good prospects, and rich patches are occasionally found in or near the serpentine. Most of the ground is shallow and it is worthwhile using a detector here. The gold diggings can be found on either side of the Narrabri Road about 9.5 km WSW from Bingara. This was an early goldrush town. Most of the gold has also found on the old abandoned shallow alluvial leads at Bobby Whitlow, Snob’s Hill, Hall’s Creek, Spring Creek, and Upper Bingara. Several alluvial and reef deposits of gold were mined at Gouron Gouron Creek. At the Upper Bingara goldfield the remains of the Chinese workings can be seen including the old Chinese cemetery. Possibly the most noted mine in the area was the All Nations Mine, which was first prospected in 1860 (and closed in 1948) this mine is situated on the southern outskirts of Bingara. While you are there, inspect the 10 head stamper, erected in 1890, believed to be the largest and oldest in existence in the goldfields of New South Wales.
BINNALONG: (see ‘Murrumburrah’).
BLAYNEY: Alluvial gold deposits at Flanagan’s Gully, Brown’s Creek and in nearby creeks around King’s Plains (9.5 km from Blayney) were worked, mainly those that ran from where the Confidence Lode was situated. Other gold mines of note were the McPhillamy’s Hill Mine, Last Chance Mine, Forest Reefs and the Brown’s Creek Mine. Another area, approximately 5 km north of Newbridge, much alluvial and reef gold were won at Sugarloaf Mount and the Dry Diggings.
BODALLA: This was a gold camp in the 1860’s originally known as Gulph Goldfield. A road can reach it from Bodalla and then crossing the Tuross River at Euroboalla.
BOMBALA: (see ‘Delegate’).
BOONOO BOONOO: (see ‘Tooloom’).
BRAIDWOOD: (see also ‘Jembaicumbene’ & ‘Shoalhaven’).
(Re: Jembaicumbene) Records show that fine colours of gold were obtained in 1851 from the Jembaicumbene Swamp. The majority of the gold, however, was obtained from was layers on the bottom or on ‘false bottoms’ of black clay. Working was carried out over about 13 km of Jembaicumbene Creek, up from its mouth, over an average width of 365 metres. While the alluvials are up to 12 metres thick, the average thickness appears to be about 4.5 to 6 metres with 0.6 to 0.9 metres of gold-bearing wash on the bottom. The principal methods used were sinking on the richer leads and ‘open paddock’ workings and ground sluicing of the remainder, whenever sufficient water was available. Dredging became the principal means of obtaining gold after 1900 until 1917 after which only minor fossicking has taken place.
Although production figures from the Jembaicumbene Creek area are not available, the amount of work apparently done suggests that it must have accounted for much of the Braidwood total. The known reefs in the drainage basin are very few and small, suggesting that minor mineralized veinlets in areas of the granite have shed most of the gold into the system.
For the record, the dredges that operated in this area were carried out on the Jembaicumbene Creek Flats, and at the western end of Jembaicumbene Swamp just above the Shoalhaven River.
(Re: Shoalhaven River) The presence of gold in alluvials throughout the area has also been known since 1851. Workings at that stage was confined to the banks and bed of the Shoalhaven River and some of the smaller tributary creeks. The gold encountered appears to have been very fine and widely distributed although seldom in workable concentrations. Localities at which activity was concentrated include: Bombay, Columbo Flat, Warri, Pipeclay Diggings, Back Springs and Limekiln Creek. At Limekiln Creek confluence with the Shoalhaven, water for hydraulic sluicing (?) was supplied from Reedy Creek. On the whole however, the principal working method employed up to 1900 was ground sluicing.
The Mines Department in 1893 on the extensive high level terrace alluvials on the west bank of the Shoalhaven River between the Bombay Crossing and Reedy Creek carried out a comprehensive survey. The survey delineated an area of alluvials about 3,400 hectares in extent with depths up to 46 metres. In the southern part of the area (712 hectares) the average thickness was estimated at 9 metres giving 75,000,000 cubic metres of gravels and drift with an average yield of about 0.125 grams of gold per cubic metre. A number of shafts showed the gold to be confined to the bottom and also one or more ‘false bottoms’ while the average weight of the colours panned was 0.000125 to 0.00025, the largest colour encountered weighing 0.00175 grams. In 1900 ground sluicing gave way to dredging and only a little alluvial fossicking has been done since.
Again, for the record, a dredge operated in the Shoalhaven bed near Columbo, another on the higher terraces on the western side of the Shoalhaven River (exact position is unknown) and a further dredge working the Shoalhaven in an area above the Warri Bridge on the Braidwood-Goulburn road from 1909 until 1913. Finally a gravel pump operated on Reedy Creek during 1935 to 1937 when 2.86 kg of gold was won from 28,160 cubic metres of wash.
A little reef mining took place in the area and according to the available records, the only auriferous reef worthy of mention being Stalkers Reef. This reef near the Jembaicumbene townsite, prospected between 1913 to 1919 when shallow sinking revealed ore assaying 124 grams per tonne. Mineralization consists of base metal sulphides and gold-bearing pyrite in a muscovite mica gangue. However, no production records are available.
BUCCA (UPPER): (see ‘Coffs Harbour’).
BULAHDELAH: This area can be reached 270 km north of Sydney. At one time, rich but narrow lenticular gold reefs were mined near Coolongalook. Other reef mines that operated in the area were the Golden Butterfly, Currecki, Coraki and the Big Wonder. However, not much early information can be found on the operation of these mines.
BUNGONIA: (see ‘Goulburn’ and ‘Shoalhaven area’).
BURRAGA: This town is situated 283 km west of Sydney. Gold was found here in shallow and deep leads from an area from Isabella to the Abercrombie River. At the Mount David Mine (16 km north of Burraga) various quartz reefs were worked, also at Mount Crookwell.
CANBELEGO: (see ‘Mount Boppy’).
CANBERRA DISTRICT: Early alluvial gold mining took place on the Molonglo River in the vicinity of Queanbeyan and upstream. The discovery of some small auriferous quartz reefs was worked to shallow depths in the 1890’s around Hall and Ginninderra. Alluvial gold was also won from the Goodradigbee River to the west. Gold returns however, indicate that sluicing operations carried out in the 1880’s and between 1913 and 1915 on alluvial ground at Brindabella were not particularly successful. Some fossicking operations were reported in this vicinity in the 1920’s. To the east of the A.C.T., some small gold mines operated in the past at Sutton, Bywong and Michelago. To the north of Captain’s Flat, alluvial gold mining took place at Gooda Creek, Parish Jeir, County Murray, from 1896 to 1897; Dairy Creek (11 km SE of Gundaroo and Brook’s Creek (Shingle Creek), both of which are in the Parish of Purrorumba.
CAPERTREE: Records show that good gold was obtained from the Capertree River especially if the river is dry (water can be obtained a few feet down). At Blackfellow’s Ring, at the junction of Bogie and Oakey Creeks, and at the Nuggety and Sandy Gullies, in the Capertree Valley, coarse, water worn gold has been found. One nugget found at Sandy’s Gully weighed 30 ounces.
CARCOAR: (see also ‘Lyndhurst’). Records also show that gold was won in this area from the St. Jude Mine at Wire Gully, the Great Western Mine and at Galley Swamp.
CARGO: (37 km from Orange) The ore deposits of Cargo consist of irregularly-shaped and narrow zones of rocks altered along the courses and dykes of peculiar type. Quartz is conspicuous by its absence, and the so-called ‘reefs’ are of the nature of irregular impregnations of very variable width. Copper, iron pyrites, and gold occurs within them.
The principal mine of this field was known as the Ironclad, the main shaft of which was sunk to a depth of 98 metres. Other mines worked were: the Dolcoath, Golden Clad, Cargo Consols, Commonwealth and Essex. Very little mining appears to have been done on this field since 1904.
COBAR: Many of the mines in this area were worked for its copper deposits. However, an interesting area approximately 40 km north of Cobar, gold has been worked from the replacement deposits in sedimentary rocks at Mt. Drysdale and Mount Billagoe, the main mines being the New Eldorado and Mt. Drysdale. The geological formations of this area comprise altered slates, sandstones, and conglomerates, probably of Silurian and pre-Silurian age. Small quartz reefs outcrop in places but these are not gold-bearing.
COBARGO: (see ‘Bega’).
COFFS HARBOUR: Gold has been found in the Coffs Harbour area, as well as at Coramba, Nana Glen, and, Upper and Lower Bucca.
Numerous small gold mines have been worked in the vicinity of Coramba, Nana Glen, and the upper reaches of Tallawudjah Creek (19 to 32 km NW of Coffs Harbour). The most important mine was the Coramba King situated in the Parish of Moonee, County Fitzroy, about 1.6 km east of the Coramba Railway Station. The orebody is a lenticular quartz vein in altered claystones and tuff, ranging in thickness from a few centimetres to 2.1 metres in which sulphides of iron and arsenic occur.
At Upper Bucca (16 km NW of Coffs Harbour) the Beacon and Reward mines are also situated in the Parish of Moonee, County Fitzroy. In these mines several lenticular veins have been mined, the two most important being known as Taylor’s Reward and Perseverance. The former was developed for a length of 152 metres with thicknesses ranging from a few centimetres to approximately 1.2 metres. The Perseverance vein was usually no more than 30 cm in thickness and was worked over an appreciable length. The greatest depth attained appears to have been 61 metres. The maximum annual output, obtained by Beacon Gold Mines Ltd. in 1897, was 5,980 tons of ore crushed for a return of 8,916 ounces of gold.
Between Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga, gold-bearing quartz veins similar to those at Coramba, Nana Glen and Upper Bucca occur. The Sea Breeze Mine (11 km north of Coffs Harbour) two lenticular quartz veins in altered sediments about 1 chain (20 metres) apart were worked. The western vein has been traced over a distance of 122 metres by shafts and potholes. The vein material ranges in thickness from a few centimetres to 1.07 metres. The ore consists of quartz with oxides and sulphides of iron in places. Values are said to range from 15 dwts. to 3 ounces per ton. To the end of 1938, 652 ounces of gold had been won the average grade of ore exceeding 1¼ ounces per ton.
The Golden Arrow Mine alongside the Coffs Harbour-Woolgoolga Road (13 km from Coffs Harbour) also had two veins from a few centimetres to 1.2 metres in width and 9.2 metres apart, which were worked. However, the full extent is not known but it is believed that the gold values were as high as 2 oz. 12 dwt. per ton. During 1931-33, 248 tons of ore were crushed for a total yield of 410 ounces of gold, but little work has been done since that time.
CONDOBOLIN: Many quartz reefs in slate from 1.6 to 6.5 km north of this town were worked, some showing good results, but were later abandoned due to water problems. Gold was also found in ferruginous veins of volcanic rocks at Mineral Hill 67.5 km north of Condobolin. Other reef mines in the area such as the Alma Reef were worked at Baratta (or Mowabla) approximately 27 km NW of Condoblin, as well as reefs at Carlisle and Cugong.
COOMA: (see also ‘Kiandra’). According to the early reports, it states that during the summer months Piper’s Creek, in the Snowy Mountains (19 km from Mount Kosciusko) is worth prospecting as quite a lot of gold was found there. The Thredbo Diggings, on the Crackenback River, about 19 km from Jindabyne is also worth a try. According to the official reports, this field consists of a wide alluvial flat, which is covered with drift material to a depth of from 2 to 6 metres. The gold occurs in patches. Similarly with Bark Huts and Boggy Plains goldfields. The Bushy Hill district east of Cooma is well worth prospecting.
COOTAMUNDRA: (see ‘Cullinga’).
COPELAND: (see ‘Dungog/Gloucester/Hunter River area’).
COPMANHURST: This area encompasses the upper parts of the Clarence River and its tributaries to the west, which is gold-bearing to some extent. However, reef gold has been found in several localities around Solferino and Lionsville. Possibly the most known mine was the Garibaldi Mine (near Lionsville, but now rather inaccessible) was worked originally for gold, but was well known for its Iceland Spar (calcite) deposits in its later years. Records show that the most noted mine in the area that produced some rich gold was the Mountain Maid Mine. Nearby at Baryulgil and the Sir Walter Scott Mine at Cangai both alluvial ground and gold-bearing veins were worked for small returns.
CORAMBA: (see ‘Coffs Harbour’).
COWRA: Over the years alluvial gold has been won at Grabine as well as the Abercrombie and Lachlan Rivers. Reef mining took place at Mt. MacDonald (some 21 km south east of Woodstock) where half a dozen mines were worked. However, production records for these cannot be found. Other reef mining is recorded at the Blue and Red Jacket mines which can be found about 3 km north of Canowindra. Possibly the most known (unnamed) mine in the area was at Scrubby Rush which can be found halfway between Woodstock and Mt. MacDonald where several reefs produced on an average of ½ ounce of gold per ton.
CROOKWELL: At Red Ground which is approximately 9.5 km NW of Crookwell, partly eroded basalt covers an old river bed and about 21 metres of gold-bearing wash. Several gold-bearing leads under the basalt also occur in the vicinity of Laggan, which is about 11 km NE of Crookwell. Another location at which some coarse alluvial gold was found was near the Binda Road about 22.5 km from Crookwell.
CULLINGA: The Cullinga Goldfield situated 14.5 km south of Wallendbeen, was also worked for gold. The ground comprises of altered sedimentary rocks, amphibolite, serpentine, and porphyry. The altered sediments are made up of silicified and indurated claystones and limestone altered in great measure to marble with which the amphibolite and serpentine is associated. The alteration has been due to contact metamorphism induced by the intrusion of the mass of porphyry lying to the east of the belt of sediments.
The ore bodies are irregular in shape, and the grade of ore variable. Production was mainly from the Christmas Gift group of mines and also from the Democrat mine. The gold occurs in the free state, even where associated with sulphides. The ore was usually crushed, amalgamated and treated by way of cyanidation. Exact records of output are sketchy but it is thought that these mines were rich in some cases.
At Muttama, 16 km south of Cootamundra, rich pockets of gold were obtained from reefing. Gold was also reported and found at Berthong and Ironbong.
DALMORTON: In the neighbourhood of the village of Dalmorton, 48 km SW of Grafton, a number of quartz veins traverse slate country. These vary in thickness from a few inches to 1 to 1.2 metres. The principal localities from which auriferous reefs have been recorded are: Mount Remarkable, Mount Rea, Tower Hill, Mount Poole and Quart Pot Creek. Some reefs have recently been worked, the most important being the Mount Remarkable Mine. It is also recorded that other mines worked in the area include the: Argosy, Black Slate, Chandlers Creek, Excelsior, Golden Hill, New Era and Perseverance mines. Details on these are rather sketchy.
At Jackass Creek it is possible to walk beside the water for about two kilometres into the heart of the bush. A further kilometre on, there is a cleared area to the left where cars can pull off the road. A foot track leads approximately 500 metres into the bush where there are old gold mines that were worked between the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.
Ruins of houses and old brick chimneys in the paddocks signal previous human habitation throughout this district – the war memorial and a road sign are all that remain of the township of Dalmorton.
DELEGATE: Gold mining has been rather limited in this area. However, records show that some of the gold was recovered from alluvial sources, some of which by the early chinese miners. One of these areas includes Bohundra Creek near Nimmitabel. Reef mining was carried out in an area west of the Delegate River in an auriferous belt known as Brown’s Camp (approximately 9.5 km east of Delegate) extending 6.4 km along the border to near Currawong Creek and northerly for about an equal distance. This belt extends into Victoria. Nevertheless, such streams in the Delegate area receive attention from time to time, from fossickers panning for gold in the Bombala, Little Plains and McLaughlin Rivers, Maharatta Creek, Saucy Creek and Bohundra Creek. Small gold reefs at Tingy’s Plains (22.5 km east of Delegate) were worked, but as the records show, gold was found in limited quantities.
DORRIGO: (see also ‘Tyringham’ and ‘Moleton’). The only mine of any consequence in this area is the Bobo King Mine, (the other mine, which does not require discussing is the Black Bull Mine where the gold in the main, was associated with arsenopyrite). This locality known as Bobo, recent prospecting has revealed the occurrence of auriferous quartz veins in tuffaceous sandstones. Some deposits take the form of intricate systems of quartz veins, which ramify through country rock in an irregular manner. Although high gold values occur in the veins themselves, the latter are too small to work individually and the material has to be worked en masse. Narrow lenticular veins have also been worked in this neighbourhood and small parcels of ore treated.
The Bobo King Mine is about 22.5 km northerly of Dorrigo, Parish of Bobo, County Fitzroy, situated between Flaggy Creek and Bobo Creek consisting of several subparallel veins of quartz with branching spur veins traversing a band of tuff for a distance of 8 chains (160 metres). Gold is present in the free state and in association with arsenical pyrites. Between 1936 and 1938, 194 ounces of gold was won from this mine.
Alluvial gold also found in this district includes those at Blick’s River and Sheep Station Creek (near Tyringham), at Cloud’s Creek, Blackbull Creek and along the Nymboida River.
DRAKE: (see also ‘Tooloom’). Drake is located about 51 km east of Tenterfield. Gold was found to be in many of the mines in this area and extracted from ores mined from several lodes, which occur in rocks of Permian age. In some places the ore bodies contain copper and gold, while in others these two metals are associated intimately with lead and zinc, together with small quantities of silver. The vein material is composed mainly of mixed sulphides, principally iron pyrites and quartz. The ores of copper are chalcopyrite, black sulphide, and oxides, the copper content of the vein material approximating 4 or 5%.
The ‘country rock’ consists of rhyolite tuffs, breccias, and agglomerates, together with lava flows. In certain cases dykes of igneous rocks form walls of the lode, while in other cases the lodes appear to be related to the occurrence of such dykes in their vicinity. The mines were worked originally for gold, but later on, copper was the essential product.
The main mines that produced some amounts of gold were: Red Rock, Adeline mine, Golden Drake Mine, Mascotte Mine, Mount Carrington, Poor Man’s Friend, Rainbow, Pioneer, Kyloe, The Lady Mary, Border Chief Mine, Lunatic and other mines on the Boorook Field. Further details on these mines will not be discussed here, as it doesn’t seem worthwhile.
However, early information gleaned, provided the following information which may be interest to the prospector: It is recorded that: “…. a Mr. George Rivers obtained £60,000 worth of gold from the Lady Jersey Mine some years ago ….” (circa early 1900’s). This particular field was never thoroughly explored, and warrants further attention. Rich patches of gold occur in quartz veins in slate at the Pretty Evely Diggings, 22.5 km from Drake.
A departmental report states: “In the parish of Ellerslie a deposit of auriferous drift covered by basalt occupies a mountain range near the Clarence River. The sides of the range are very steep in places, and the gullies leading from them have been worked for alluvial gold and found to be rich, though narrow. The circumstances point to the conclusion that there exist in this locality several miles of basalt – covered gold-bearing drifts – which are well worthy of being prospected”. The Lady Jersey Mine can be found on the Long Gully Road from Drake which leads to the Rocky River.
DUNEDOO: Records show that several small alluvial patches at Tucklan were worked for gold and that ‘beds’ of patchy gold-bearing conglomerate occur at Stringy Bark.
DUNGOG / GLOUCESTER / HUNTER RIVER AREA: Alluvial gold has been won in this area at Copeland (Back Creek), Burneal Creek, Rawdon Vale, Tucker’s Creek and the head of the Bowman River and Craven Creek.
The principal mining centre of the district is Copeland situated 16 km by road, westerly from Gloucester. Mr. Saxby first discovered gold in the Copeland district in July 1876 at Back Creek close to the site of the present township of Copeland. As a result of this discovery, miners flocked to the locality and the population rapidly increased to 1,100 persons, of whom 800 were miners. Four stores and three public houses catered for their wants.
The shallow alluvium along both branches of Back Creek were found to contain gold, but unfortunately the deposits were soon worked out, the bed of the creek was narrow, and the gold contents low. The amount of alluvial gold won during the year of discovery was only 1,500 ounces, and then fell away rapidly, only 150 ounces being won during the following year. A number of specimens were obtained – one of which weighed 8 ounces from the Left Hand Branch near the Rainbow Reef and several others including a nugget of 35 ounces near the reefs on the Left Hand Branch. The method of working was by sluice boxes, the depth of wash dirt varied from 300 mm to 760 mm and 600 mm to 1.2 metres wide.
This resulted that in 1877, many of the auriferous reefs were discovered and worked. The mines occur in a belt of country, 6.5 km long, between Copeland and Bowman River. Gold with a little pyrite occurs in shoots within quartz veins traversing hard sandstones and shales. The thickness of the reefs is variable ranging from a few centimetres to over a metre but some of the more important veins have been worked to depths in excess of 120 metres. Gold values range from a few grams to as much as 458 grams per tonne.
The reefs may be divided into those on the Right Hand Branch of Back Creek and those on the Left Hand Branch, the reefs at Bowman Falls and those on the Bowman River.
Details on these are as follows:
(a) RIGHT HAND BRANCH: The principal reefs in this locality are known as: The Rose and Thistle, Prince Edward, Bengal Tiger, Lady Matilda, Buckley’s Reef and Miller’s Reef.
(b) LEFT HAND BRANCH: The principal reefs here are: Lady Belmore, Centennial, Lord of the Hills, Town and Country, Hidden Treasure (This reef was discovered in 1877 by Cameron and party. It bears nearly north and south and is well defined, with walls of blue slate, the average width being 600 mm. To the end of 1886 this mine had yielded 9,501 ounces of gold from 5,039 tons of quartz crushed – an average of 1 oz 18 dwt.). Other mines include: Star of the South, Mountain Maid, Rainbow, Melbourne, Mechanics, Prince Charlie, Homeward Bound, Morning Star, Lady Lizzie and Rosetta.
(c) BOWMAN REEFS: These reefs were named: Queen of Beauty, Germania, The Mint, Birthday, Federation, Gladstone, Golden Spur and John Bright.
For those of you who would like to do some research on these mines and reefs, I refer you to consult a copy of the following Annual Reports which were produced by the Department of Mines (N.S.W.). (a) Report of the Barrington Goldfield by C.S. Wilkinson, 1878, pp. 159-164 (b) Hunter and Macleay District; Report of the Mining Warden, 1879 pp. 172-183.
A considerable number of other reefs have been discovered within a radius of 32 km from Copeland at Rawdon Vale (Kerripit), Cobark and at Boranel Creek. The most important ones that should be looked at are the Rawdon Vale or Kerripit Leases about 7 km upstream from Rawdon Vale Post Office and about 21 km west of Copeland. The leases are situated principally in a gully running down from the range dividing Barrington River and the Rawdon Stream. The other place that could be worth investigating is the Boranel Creek Leases which are situated on a small creek on the north side of the Barrington River about 10 km above the junction of the Cobark and the Barrington. The reefs carry gold, pyrite and galena with some reefs 150 to 200 metres wide showing gold throughout.
Other mines in the area include the: Mt. George Mine (6.5 km north of Copeland), The Dead Bird Mine or Wild Cattle Creek (23 km from Copeland) and the I.X.L. and Federation Mines (10 km west of Bowman (Craven Creek). For further information see the: Report on the Federation, Mt. Owen, and other mines in the Gloucester District, J.B. Jaquet and V. Ferrier (Annual Report, Department of Mines, 1920, pp. 45-47.
Alluvial gold has been reported from Mt. Moonie, 10 km north of Cobark Station and at Two Creeks near the Barrington River.
Gold also occurs at the headwaters of Commonwealth Creek, 27 km from Gloucester. The deposits are in the form of siliceous replacements of claystones and the quartz reefs carry gold, pyrite and a little calcite. The reefs are grouped into two (2) zones. The western zone includes the Southern Cross, Kin San and Claystone’s mines while the eastern zone embraces Parish’s and Bridge and Neuton’s Mines. A detailed report on this area is given in the Annual Report of the Department of Mines, 1934; “Gold Mines and prospects, Commonwealth Creek, Gloucester District” by E.J. Kenny, pp. 81-83.
Within the Dungog area, gold has been won from Cherry Tree Hill, 8 km east of Dungog (3 lines of reef), Little River (3 km from Dungog), Lawlers Creek, Monkerai, Wangat and at The Sugarloaf which is 7 km from Dungog.
In the Hunter Valley, gold occurred at Moonan Flat (Dry Creek and Kangaroo Creek), Denison (4 km NE of Scone, Omadale Brook and at Stewarts Brook (8 km SE of Moonan Flat. A detailed report on this area is published in the: Records of the Geological Survey of NSW, Volume 15 Part 2, pp. 109-162; “The Upper Hunter Gold Field” by S.R. Lishmund, 1973.
Gold was discovered in 1960 by J. and S. Wright on Portions 72 and 78, Parish Tomalla, County Hawes, near the junction of Tomalla Creek and Pigna Barney River. The gold occurs in narrow quartz veins intruding altered dolerite. Two reports of this find appear in the Technical reports of the Department of Mines, Volume 8, 1960. They are: (a) “Gold occurrence at Tomalla, near Moonan Flat, N.S.W.” by R.E. Relph. (b) Sampling Results at Gold prospect, Tomalla, near Moonan Flat, N.S.W.” by C.L. Adamson.
The silver-gold deposits at Coolongolook could also be worth looking at. However, the reefs at this locality occur in slate and although some have been worked to a depth of 90 metres both the width and gold value vary considerably. The more important reefs from this locality are: The Mountain Maid, Curreeki, Who’d-Have-Thought-It, Lady Mary, Great Wonder, Little Wonder, Golden Bar, Mountain Widow, Rose and Thistle, Suttor and Golden Star. Details of these are not covered here.
EDEN: (see ‘Yambulla’).
FORBES: (see ‘Parkes’).
GLEN INNES: Some good alluvial gold was won at Skipper’s Gully and Bear Hill. However, the gold which was recovered was won in the course of tin dredging, as was the case at Oban and Nine Mile Creek and the Rocky River near Glen Elgin.
Several reef mines were worked in the area especially those at Nolan’s Creek namely Bear Hill, Butchers, Starlight Reef at Oakwood Gully; and the Welcome Stranger which is located about 55 km SE of Glen Innes.
Other areas where the early prospectors obtained gold was at the Sara River, Mogg’s Swamp and at Backwater.
Gold can be panned at Kookabookra, which is 49 km S.E. of Glen Innes on the Pinkett Road. Turn right at the tennis court before the Sara River Bridge. Follow a vehicle track for 100 metres to the fenced fossicking area through the gate. You also have the chance of finding topaz, quartz crystals and sapphires too. Unfortunately camping is not permitted here.
GLOUCESTER: (see ‘Dungog/Gloucester/Hunter River area’).
GOULBURN: (see also ‘Shoalhaven area’).
The Nerrimunga Goldfield, Parishes Inverary and Nerrimunga, County Argyle, is the only area in this district, which has sustained the interest of the reef and alluvial gold miner. Throughout the area to the east of Bungonia and Windellama and southwards to Oallen Ford, Ordovician shales, slates and quartzites are traversed by many quartz reefs, stringers and shallow quartz “blows”. About 100 reefs had been worked to shallow depths and abandoned by 1875. The average depth reached in the better prospects was said to be about 30 metres, and the deepest the 90 metres shaft on Prospector’s Reef. Most important subsequently were Manton’s Reef, 11 km S.E. of Bungonia and Kangaroo Reef, 5 km south of Manton’s Reef.
In 1908 the Mining Registrar reported that Manton’s Reef and Kangaroo Reef had been continuously worked. The ore, when of sufficiently high grade, was sent to Cockle Creek for treatment. Plans were made to erect a battery at Manton’s Reef but the prospects were not good enough to warrant this expenditure. By 1913 the main shaft on Manton’s Reef had reached 120 metres. Plans to deepen the shaft to 150 metres were held up by the war. Thereafter the mine was worked intermittently by J. Armstrong in 1917 and by C. Denis in the 1920’s and early 30’s. The production in 1923 was 425 grams of gold from 32.5 tonnes of ore and in 1927, 850 grams of gold were won from the mine.
Alluvial deposits in the area were worked over an unusually long period. The gradients of the watercourses, 460 metres and more above the Shoalhaven River were steep and the early practice of sending waste down the gullies had filled natural waterholes, so that alluvial deposits for the most part could be washed only during wet periods, or with stored water. In 1906 a party of six miners who had excavated dams for dry weather conditions washed continuously throughout the year for fair wages. During such dry periods the miners generally worked the bars exposed on the Shoalhaven in low water conditions. Stockpiling of wash material for wet weather sluicing conditions was also general practice.
The alluvial deposits were in part those normal to an auriferous area and in part the high level gravel deposits which extend for many kilometres along the Shoalhaven River from the vicinity of Bombay Crossing and Callen Ford to Bungonia (where within reach of water they have been worked).
In 1936, it was reported that the gold in the deposits around Spring Creek, Bungonia was distributed through great thicknesses of the gravels as extremely fine particles, which proved difficult to recover. Production from Dunk’s Leases between 1936 to 1938 showed 1713 grams of recovered gold.
Prospectors have from time to time found coarse alluvial gold in the vicinity of Tiranna, 8 km SE of Goulburn and from near the Hanworth Post Office. No reefs have been discovered in this area and there are no details concerning operations in this neighbourhood. However, several basalt-covered leads in the Crookwell district have been prospected but no further information can be found as to the results.
It is interesting to note, that gold, diamonds and other gemstones have been found in other locations such as: Rotten and Spring Creeks (16 km WNN of Crookwell), Upper Tarlo and Wheeo. At Red Ground (10 km NW of Crookwell, auriferous wash at a depth of about 20 metres was exposed as part of a Tertiary, basalt covered lead.
GRENFELL: This goldfield is 440 km west of Sydney. Gold was originally discovered near Grenfell in 1866. Both alluvial and reef mining operations took place here. The rocks in the neighbourhood comprise slates and quartzites of Silurian age, which have been intruded by igneous rocks such as granite and porphyrite. Within the latter the more important reefs are developed, but smaller lodes have been worked within the granite. Wherever the reefs were observed to pass from the porphyrite into the neighbouring slates, the gold values were found to decrease appreciably. The porphyrite has a width of 100 to 500 metres and a length of 2.8 km.
The principal mine, known as the Grenfell Consols, developed and mined O’Briens Reef to a depth of 228 metres, the gold values being an average of 1 ounce per ton. Other reefs worked in the area were The Victory, Homeward Bound, Frenchman’s, Enterprises, Welcome Home, Band of Hope, Lawson’s Golden Point, White Rose, Perseverance, Prussian, Young O’Briens and the Oriental.
GULGONG: 29 km NNW of Mudgee. Mr. S. Stutchbury (1852) first discovered gold in the Gulgong district in the neighbourhood of Guntawang. He reported gold on the summits of several ranges around Guntawang and also noted its occurrences in a Permian conglomerate near the junction of Wyaldra with the Cudgegong River. Remnants of these Permian rocks occupy erosional hollows in Silurian claystone along the Cudgegong River. The gold taken in the past from Slashers Flat (Cudgegong River Crossing) and at Cloudy Bay, 3.2 km further downstream was derived, in part at least, from the conglomerates overlying the older Silurian rocks. Great areas of these rocks have been eroded and their gold contents have contributed to the alluvial deposits in the upper reaches of the Cudgegong and Turon Rivers and also to the easterly flowing streams such as the Capertee and further south the Cox’s River. A similar conglomerate was worked in situ at Clough’s Gully, near Tallawang, and Tucklan to the NE of Gulgong in the 1870’s and 1880’s when just on 483,170 ounces of gold was won from this area including some very large nuggets. It is also interesting to note that the population of this area in 1872 was over 20,000.
The leads worked in the Gulgong area were Adams, Black Lead, Caledonian, Canadian, Combandry, Happy Valley, Home Rule, Nil Desperandum, Perseverance, Shallow Rush and the Star, underlie the creek flats, which head into the low range of hills extending southwards from Gulgong. Most of the gold won was deposited in the Tertiary period when land was more elevated and the dissection of the small reefs and gold leaders throughout this area. Extensive deposits of gold-bearing gravels resulted.
Later in Tertiary times a regional subsidence of the land gradually lessened the stream gradients and the carrying power of the water being reduced, the auriferous gravels in the watercourses became covered with finer rock materials, sand and clay, while the area of gold deposition moved upstream and into the gullies. Alluvium or a mantle of weathered rock material generally covers gold-bearing reefs at this erosional stage so that gold is added very slowly to present day stream deposits.
These shallow deposits were thoroughly worked during the 1870’s and 1880’s. They have received intermittent attention since. Most of these deposits led down to deeper gold wash which was often extraordinary rich and most of the great production from the Gulgong area came from such deep leads, worked down to depths of 61 metres.
The upper reaches of the creeks accessible from the Gulgong-Mudgee road appear to offer the best opportunities for fossicking at shallow levels. Road signs probably indicate heading south from Gulgong, the Victorian, Grecian, Three Mile, Magpie, Springfield and Rapp’s Gully leads are passed and being of historic interest. Ford’s Creek lead converges to within .4 km of the road, being about .8 km to the west of the Springfield or Rapp’s Gully crossing. Old mining leases extended well into the upper reaches of Ford’s Creek.
A lead was worked between portions 65, 68, 69 and 18; Parish of Galambine, County Phillip, the creek being accessible from the Slasher’s Flat (Cudgegong River Crossing) and the Guntawang – Cobbora road.
Several reef deposits were worked in the Gulgong areas notably at Red Hill, Salvation Hill, Louisiana and the Three Mile.
GUNDAGAI: Approximately 400 km SW of Sydney. The goldrush period in this area took place from 1861 to 1875 when a total of 134,456 ounces of gold was won. This was principally found in alluvial patches and leads at Big Ben, Brummy’s Hill, Stony Creek and Jackalass. The rocks in the neighbourhood comprise slates and conglomerates of Silurian age, associated with quartz porphyry, diorite, and serpentine. In many places the rocks exhibit features of strong crushing and shearing. It was found that the main gold-bearing ore bodies are of three main types being (a) Normal quartz veins occupying fissures in crushed sediments. (b) Lenses of slate replaced by chalcedonic quartz. (c) Deposits formed at or near the contact of serpentine and sedimentary rocks.
Gold was mined at Mt. Parnassus in 1894 near the town. Other reef mining nearby (known as the ‘Emu line of reef’) took place at the Morning Star, Mount Potter and Turn of the Tide mines. Other mines that operated in the district were the Bark Hut, Booth’s, Bongongolong, Bushman’s, Clark, Eureka, Kimo, Long Tunnel, Princess Marina, Tarrabandra, Spring Flat and the Standard Mine. Ruins of the Prince of Wales gold mine can be found at Jones Creek near Reno, some 8 km NW of Gundagai.
GUNNING: Alluvial gold has been found in this region at Blackney Creek, Dairy Creek and Jerrawa approximately 11 km from Gundaroo. Prospective reefs have also been noted at Blackney Creek. Gold can also be recorded in the locality near Dalton some 19 km NW of Gunning.
GUNTAWANG: (see also ‘Gulgong’). This old gold mining area can be found 4 km SW of Gulgong. Gold was discovered here in 1851. Nearby in 1870 at Red Hill and Home Rule in 1872 both approximately 9.6 km SE of Gulgong, gold nuggets up to 170 ounces were reported. Gold was also found at 2 Mile Flat, approximately 19 km W of Gulgong.
HARGRAVES: This was once a prosperous township situated on Louisa Creek, a tributary of Meroo Creek (24 km in a direct line SW of Mudgee). In July 1851 an aboriginal shepherd in the employ of Dr. Kerr found a large mass of gold and quartz, weighing about 136 kg and containing a hundredweight of gold on the western side of the village of Hargraves. This began a “rush” to the area and the subsequent discovery of many rich alluvial deposits along the creeks and gullies in the area, especially Meroo Creek, Louisa Creek, Louisa Ponds Creek, Long Creek, Dalys Creek, Clarkes Creek, Campbells Creek and Oaky Creek.
The Meroo Creek that passes to the north of Hargraves and through Avisford was extensively worked from 1850 to 1900 and was re-worked in the 1930’s with satisfactory results. Gold has been found along most of its course and in some places, there have been some very rich finds.
In this locality is where the Maitland Bar Nugget weighing 10.8 kg and worth £1,700, was found plus another three nuggets later on.
The entire length of Meroo Creek was worked, particular attention being paid to the creek and its tributaries about Merindee, near the junction with the Cudgegong River, the Avisford-Hargraves section and in its upper reaches near Windeyer. Between 1929-1939 production was 1,800 ounces of gold. Long Creek, from Pyramul to its junction with the Meroo, was also rich.
Louisa Creek, a tributary of the Meroo, joins with Daly Creek, near the northwestern boundary of the town of Hargraves and is about 11 km long. Large quantities of gold have been found in its banks and along its course. The Main Axis Reef is found between these two creeks.
Long Creek, another tributary of Meroo Creek, has yielded gold along the whole of its 16 km length. In the early days the ground was very rich containing 124 grams to the dish! The nuggets found weighed from 311 to 530 grams.
Dalys Creek is about 6 km long; also a tributary of Meroo Creek, rises in the range south of the town of Hargraves was very rich when first prospected. Gold was found in the flats near the creek, as well as in the creek, and to a depth of 4.6 metres.
Clarkes Creek rises in the Poiga Mountain Range and follows a northerly course to the junction with Long Creek. The gold found in or near Clarkes Creek was very coarse and free from alloy. The nuggets found weighed from 31.1 grams to 1.2 kg.
Production from the Hargraves area from 1929-1939 was approximately 3,800 ounces of gold, largely from the efforts of a considerable number of alluvial miners.
During the 1930’s, increased attention was paid to tributary streams which headed in Wallaby Rocks and the associated height of land with its prominence Round Mountain to the east, Bocoble Mountain, capped by Permian rocks, the basal conglomerates being auriferous. The conglomerate well prospected has been found unpayable, but its erosion has resulted in the gold contents being naturally sluiced into such watercourses as German Gully, Green Gully, Redbank and Campbell’s Creeks.
At Richardsons Point, near Windeyer, it is recorded that between 125 to 156 grams of gold was washed per bucket.
The gold-bearing reef deposits on the Hargrave field occur in slates which are interspersed with beds of submarine volcanic tuff containing rounded pebbles and well preserved fossil (crinoid stems) remains. On the eastern side of the field there is a large granitic dyke. Sills of granitic material have intruded the slate layers and the slate shows evidence of alteration near the contact with igneous material. The slates vary in colour, being bluish-grey or bluish-black where unweathered and occasionally greenish-brown. Slate is the predominant rock type, but sandstone, tuff, andesite and quartz-feldspar porphyry have been also recorded as host rocks for gold. Many of the gold deposits are not directly associated with igneous rocks. They tend to occur as gold-bearing quartz veins in slaty metasediments. While gold occurs mostly in a free state in a quartz gangue, it also occurs with some sulphide mineralization. Some of the reefs are rich in pyrite and/or arsenopyrite. Two types of reefs occur in the Hargraves – Windyer area, namely “saddle reefs” which curve in the shape of an area parallel to the bedding and non-saddle reefs which are generally transagressive to the bedding.
However, much of the gold mined in the Hargraves area occurs in “saddle reefs” and are described as saddle bodies of quartz filling the cavities in anticlines and synclines (especially the former) of folds, in which the reef material conforms to the strike and dip of the enclosing strata. They occur in sharply folded sedimentary rocks, the constituent beds of which have opened out in the process of bending. This separation often occurs along the junction of two kinds of rock (e.g. slate and sandstone), thus producing cavities mostly in the upper beds bear the centre of the anticlines. Such cavities are later filled with the quartz and gold mineralization. Saddle reefs consist of three parts, known as the ‘cap’ and two ‘legs’. The cap in true saddle reefs occurs in anticlinal arches, being the upper flat-lying portions. The legs are the steeply dipping lateral extensions, which gradually pinch out away from the cap. On the main line of reefs at Big Nugget Hill, ten such ore bodies have been proved in vertical sequence. Attempts to exploit these deposits at depth have not yet been successful. Six lines of reef are known to exist. Prospecting chances exist also along Tucker’s Hill where the Hargraves beds are repeated.
The Big Nugget line of reef can be traced from Louisa Creek on the north across Big Nugget Hill to the Blackfellows Reef on the south. The most important mines occur on Big Nugget Hill, where several shafts have been sunk to depths of up to 52 metres. The caps of two large saddle reefs come to the surface on top of the hill, but this gold-rich quartz has long since been removed and crushed. The Great Nugget Vein Company crushed thousands of tons of this rock in 1853, some of it being very rich and yielding 933 grams per ton. The Faith Rewarded Mine, Lizzie Watson workings, Spratt and Miltons Mine, Warry and Stewarts Lease, Dr. Street’s Mine, Alma Mine and Blackfellows Mine are all found along this line of reef. “Kerr’s Hundredweight Nugget” was found on Big Nugget Hill.
The Florence line of reef, another anticlinal arch, runs parallel to the Big Nugget line of reef and is 76 metres east of it. The Florence Mine was the most important along this line, although it was abandoned because of water in the mine. There were many very rich alluvial workings along this reef.
The Frenchman’s line of reef, about 30 metres east of the Florence line of reef, is on a third anticlinal arch containing caps of saddle reefs. The Frenchman’s Mine was the most important along this reef.
Happy Dicks line of reef runs parallel with the reefs mentioned above and pass through Happy Dicks Hill.
There are some reefs at Hargraves, which are not saddle reefs. The most important of these is the Eureka, which for its size has been the richest on the field. The workings are situated about 550 metres NW of big Nugget Hill. The reef strikes 010, and dips at a low angle to the south cutting across bedding planes of the slates. It contained a large quantity of gold and some very rich bunches of arsenopyrite.
The Scotch Hill reef, 366 metres west of the Big Nugget line of reef has outcrops of quartz extending for more than 1½ km. Very rich alluvial fields occur near Dalys Creek along this line of reef. Numerous nuggets ranging from 31.1 to 1.6 kg were found in this area prior to 1875.
Tucker’s Hill, a narrow steep-sided elongated ridge is located 3 km NE of the town of Hargraves. For a portion of its length, the crown of the hill coincides with the cap of an anticlinal arch. At the northern end of the hill, the quartz cap of a saddle reef curves over the crown of the hill. Old Sawyers reef is just to the east of Tucker’s Hill. There were many mines and shafts in the area, including the Band of Hope, Foleys Tunnel, Lucks All Mine and Hogans Tunnel.
In 1875 the District Mining Registrar estimated that over £40,000 had been spent at Tucker’s Hill on development and machinery. Mr. Tucker put in a 120 metre tunnel but found nothing payable. During 1872 the Band of Hope Company put in another tunnel which was also unsuccessful. This company constructed an engine and battery and a tramway which was 1.5 km long, running from the engine to the mouth of the tunnel. Discovery of valuable reefs at Tucker’s Hill in 1888 caused considerable excitement in the area. A number of leases were applied for and a company formed to work the Lucks All Lease. In 1902 there was another revival of quartz mining in the Tucker’s Hill area, with several new veins being discovered. It was reported that Hogan and Ah Jack of Tucker’s Hill crushed 67 tonnes of rock, which yielded 7.2 kg of gold. The following years they obtained 9 kg of gold from 120 tonnes of rock.
The Eaglehawk line of reef, near Clarkes Creek has been traced for 3 km north and south. There are many mines and shafts along this reef, which is about 250 mm wide and dips to the east. The quartz in this area has yielded up to 93 grams of gold per tonne. The earliest record of workings in the area is 1863. It encompasses the Catherine Mine, Eaglehawk Broken Hill Mine, Gully Claim, South Hill, Jubilee Reef, Eaglehawk Gully, Henrietta Claim and the Eaglehawk Mine.
The Golden Lily, Golden Gate and Coronation mines, which are located south of Windeyer, along Long Gully and Clarkes Creek were some of the richest and longest producing mines in the area. All three mines are on a vein, which varies in width from 150 to 680 mm and strikes north-south.
The Blue Spec Mine was discovered in 1905 along Oaky Creek. In 1910 the Mount Boppy Company who extended the shafts, installed machinery such as a winding plant and battery bought it from Mr. Pilly. In 1912 they treated 1103 tonnes of stone and extracted 4.4 kg of gold. However, the grade of ore was considered to be too low to continue work and in 1913 the complete plant consisting of boilers, engines and a 10 head stamp battery was sold and installed near the shaft of the Main Big Nugget shaft in Hargraves.
The Homeward Bound line of reef is situated 3 km NW of the town of Hargraves, near the road to Maitland Bar. Rich quartz was found near the surface and some mine shafts were put down to 27 metres.
The Great Western Pioneer line of reef is near Maitland Bar and north of the Meroo River. The width of the vein averages 250 mm. Gold was found on the surface as well as in the four shafts which were put down before 1875. Sailors Gully, the Queen of Sheba Mine and the Little Wonder Mine are located along this line of reef. In 1934 a 200 mm wide vein was discovered in the Little Wonder Mine which, subsequently, produced 1.1 kg of gold from 36 tonnes of rock.
A fossicking area can be found at Hargraves situated next to the bridge over Louisa Ponds Creek, just past the school on the right hand side, on the Mudgee approach.
HILL END: The Hill End – Tambaroora Goldfield is perhaps the most famous gold district in New South Wales situated 85 km NW of Bathurst. In 1870, a population of over 30,000 miners (and having 52 hotels), was the second largest city in NSW at that time. In 1872, Beyers and Holtermann found the famous “Holtermann Nugget ” weighing 630 lb (285.7 kg).
The ore deposits of the Hill End district occur in three main types:
(a) Veins parallel to bedding planes in old rocks, mainly comprised of schist, phyllites, slates, and altered sandstones (b) Irregular masses of quartz along the unconformable junction of younger and older rocks (c) ‘Saddle reefs’ in the younger rocks.
Of these, the first group is the most important by far, comprising the whole of the reefs worked at Hawkin’s Hill in the early days, and from which the largest quantity of gold has been won. The reefs appear to be composed of a network of veins and veinlets of quartz in beds of slate. The slate between the veinlets is partially replaced and silicified in many places. In general, the veins are more or less parallel to the bedding planes of the enclosing rocks, and together with the slate form collectively a reef in which the average gold values may be sufficiently high to permit of profitable mining of the full width of the slate bed. In some places there is evidence of movement on a large scale, particularly along the course of the reefs. Several cross-courses have been recognised, some of which are of the nature of faults, which have displaced the reefs, but the extent of movement is apparently small.
The quartz composing the veins has resulted partly from direct crystallization and partly from replacement of slate. Fragments of unreplaced slate enclosed within quartz are a common feature in the ore bodies. The gold occurs in defined chutes, having a limited extension in all directions. The principal gangue mineral is quartz, but in one remarkable instance, namely, that of the Mica Vein, exceedingly rich gold-bearing material has been mined from the chutes of ore in which the gangue is composed almost entirely of muscovite (or white mica). Calcite is a common constituent of the ore, and small quantities of iron pyrites, arsenical pyrites, zinc-blende, and galena are present.
The ‘saddle reefs’ in the younger rocks appear to represent the forcing apart of bedding planes on the apices of anticlines by the entry of ore material. They are thickest on the crest of the fold and generally thin rapidly along each limb. The quantity of gold won from these deposits is very small, and they are relatively unimportant as ore bodies, the gold contents being poor and sporadic in distribution.
In essence, to sum up, the primary gold deposits of the Hill End field are typically quartz reefs in slate interbedded with sandstone. Most of the veins are parallel to the bedding planes of the sedimentary rocks. Some veins, however, are crosscutting and occupy fractures or fault zones. Within the veins, gold distribution is irregular and rich values were encountered in the upper or near-surface sections of the veins, which suggests that these rich gold values are the result of secondary enrichment, with gold having gone into solution and been redeposited in the zone of oxidation.
The gold reefs that proved to be payable, occur within a narrow belt of country about 9.6 km in length and 1.6 km wide. Hawkin’s Hill (as previously mentioned) was one of main areas worked, and it is said, that it was most probably one of richest.
Other areas worked include: Chamber’s Creek, Cornelian, Craigend, Golden Bar, Golden Mile, Marshall’s, Monks, Monte Christo, Ophir, Perseverance, Princess Alexandra, Randwick, Red Hill, Rose of Australia, Rowleys, Star of Peace, Valentine, Welcome and Wythe’s.
Rich deposits of alluvial gold were worked at Hill End and Tambaroora in the early days but are practically exhausted. The richest lead was probably the Golden Gully, which connects the two towns. The Turon and Macquarie Rivers, which flow to the south of Hill End, have been extensively worked also. Notable localities include: Boiga, Dirt Holes, Dun Dun, Green Valley and The Pyramul. It was recorded that about 6,000 ounces of gold was produced between 1929-1939, three quarters of which came from alluvial sources.
A fossicking area at Tambarooka (now a ghost town) can be found 67 km from Mudgee and is situated at the point where Tambaroora Creek crosses the road.
HILLGROVE: Gold was first discovered at Garibaldi (see ‘Copmanhurst’) while mining for antimony. Subsequent gold-bearing reefs in the area were found at Big, Middle and Little Reefs, Cosmopolitan, Eleanora, Hopetoun and Sunlight. This was one of the major goldfields in New South Wales, with a recorded production of over 15,000 kg of gold. The gold is in association with antimony or in association with with pyrite and arsenopyrite. The most productive mine was the Bakers Creek at the bottom of Bakers Creek gorge. (This old settlement and some of the old buildings can still be seen at the bottom of the gorge). The nearby Clarkes Gully Mine, currently being worked, is a gold deposit in a network of quartz veins, stringers and stockworks in very altered granite. Numerous smaller reefs include the North and South reefs, as well as the Baalgammon, Carrington, Comet, Endeavour, Enterprise, Freehold, General Norman, Golden Gate, Starlight, and West Sunlight reefs.
The town of Hillgrove should not be missed by the historian as the Hillgrove Heritage Signposting Project have provided signposts showing where most of the commercial activity took place during the period 1880 to 1920. The work was restricted to the southern section of Brackin Street. They show where the hotels once stood as well as stores of many different types, the post office, chemist, printery, tobacconist, refreshment room, cordial factory, Mechanics Institute plus many cottages and the like.
When I visited here in March, 2003, I counted over 40 different location signs. There is also a museum, which can be inspected showing many artefacts and different types of machinery that were used in the locality. Don’t forget to drop into the cottage and sample their devonshire tea and many other goodies plus there are lots of local crafts available for sale. They also have a souvenir booklet called ‘A Historical Walking Tour of Hillgrove’ for $2.20 which shows you where everything used to be. Believe me, Hillgrove is a treasure hunter’s dream!
HOLBROOK: This town, about 520 km on the Hume Highway from Sydney, some small reef and alluvial gold mining took place. These included the Old Gibraltar and the Perseverance Mines were worked in ‘slate country’ near Little Billabong. Very little information can found on these activities.
INVERELL: Small amounts of gold have been found in the alluvials at Copeton and Staggy Creek. North of Inverell at Bonshaw reports of gold have been reported. However, no further information can be found on this occurrence.
JEMBAICUMBENE: (see also “Braidwood’). This area was noted for much alluvial gold won by suction dredging. However, a gold reef called Stalkers Reef, near the town was worked between 1913 to 1919. The gold was associated with base metal sulphides and auriferous pyrite in muscovite mica gangue and assayed at 124 grams per tonne.
JUNEE: This old gold mining area can be found 460 km SW of Sydney. The quartz reefs in granite known as the ‘Junee Reefs’ are to the north of the town. These included Doctor’s, Dust Holes, Rockdale and Wallet’s reefs. At a location known as Spiller’s Gully, gold was won from a mica schist occurrence. To the southeast of Junee, both reef and deep alluvial ground was worked for gold at Eurongilly and Wantiool whilst considerable mining took place at Illabo and Old Junee.
KANDOS: Very rich specimen gold has been found from a locality at Tara, near Ilford.
KEMPSEY: Gold to a minor extent has been recorded at Carrai but no further information has been recorded.
KIANDRA: The Kiandra gold deposits lie some 500 km south of Sydney. The main alluvial ground that was worked occurs at Bullock Head Creek, Four Mile Creek, Six Mile Creek and Nine Mile Creek. Pollock’s Gully situated at the township site was rich with both partly water worn and ragged gold. At Whipstick Flat (also near the township) produced much rich gold and nuggets from 25 lb down to many 8, 4 and 3 ounce ones. At the adjoining area of Surface Hill, gold nuggets weighing12 lb, 9 lb, and 5 lb were found plus many other ones weighing from 50 to 9 ounces. Jackass Flat in the same locality was also worked for gold. At nearby Scotts Creek, very rich water worn gold was won. Other areas worked include Racecourse Creek, Tumut River, near the head of the Eucumbene River and New Chum Hill. Gold was also found at Township Hill, being a large flat-topped hill immediately to the west of Kiandra. It is interesting to note that several large gold nuggets were recovered near reefs in the river slopes just below Kiandra. This area could be worth checking out with a metal detector! Another gold-bearing reef located close to the alluvial ground was at the Three Mile.
LAKE CARGELLIGO: Some gold has been reported from the country around Lake Cargelligo (570 km west of Sydney) where the main occurrence was at the Fosters Reef gold mine where a large quantity of reef gold was crushed. No further information can be found.
LITHGOW: Some alluvial gold has been found near Rydal at Cox’s River and Solitary Creek. However, the main gold mining area in the Lithgow district was at Sunny Corner, which commenced in 1875. It was soon found that silver and copper were the main economic constituents of the ore. Production was continuous until 1896 and then intermittently until 1922 when the mines closed.
Principally Silurian shales, claystones and quartzites underlie the region. The rocks have suffered moderate folding and faulting and Late Devonian granites and acid to intermediate porphyries have intruded them. In the vicinity of the Sunny Corner mine workings, claystone is the main rock type present. Numerous narrow quartz porphyry dykes occur along fault zones and it seems likely that the silicification of the claystones is a product of the igneous activity.
Scattered workings occur within a zone about 1.2 km long and .3 km wide. The Sunny Corner Mine is situated in the centre of the area which was worked to a considerable depth up to around 105 metres. The gold averaged 3 grams per tonne. In two other tunnels that were worked at the mine, reports of chalcopyrite and galena were encountered.
Other mines in area include: the Bob’s Creek Mine 400 m SSW from Sunny Corner, where a faulted quartz reef was worked for gold, the assays varied from 10.5 to 12 grams per tonne. At the Big Hill Mine (1.2 km WNW from Sunny Corner) reef mining also took place. Assays of 15 grams per tonne were recorded. At the McDonald’s Mine (1.2 km west from Sunny Corner) a quartz reef in claystones was worked. However, various sulphides were encountered but the gold values proved higher. Results show that gold of between 16.5 to 20 grams per tonne was recovered.
Two reefs, 4.8 km NNW and 4.8 km NW being the Dunn’s Reef (Quartz reef in claystones) and John Bright Mine (Quartz reef in porphyry) respectively, were worked. Up to 140 grams of gold per tonne were assayed.
Other reef mines in the area such as the Silver Hill Mine, Verdun Mine and Sure Gift Mine were worked but the gold values here too, were rather low.
LUCKNOW: Approximately 11 km SE of Orange on the Mitchell Highway. Some doubt appears to exist as to the exact date of discovery of the field; the earliest date recorded is 1851. The general geology of the Lucknow area is complicated and masked to a great extent by the presence of an extensive sheet of Tertiary basalt, which forms a capping to rocks of early Palaeozic age. The older rocks comprise slates and two principal varieties of igneous rocks of doubtful origin, known locally as ‘andesite’ and ‘serpentine’. Other varieties, mainly of basic and ultra-basic rocks are present also, but no detailed research having been carried out upon the petrology of the area, no satisfactory classification can be given. The structure, nature, and origin, of these rock types are complicated further by reason of the intense alteration to which they have been subjected in many places.
A double ‘serpentine’ and ‘andesite’ contact is stated to exist over a distance approximating 914 metres, the maximum width of the serpentine exposed being 365 metres. The western contact of the two rock types is known as the ‘main fissure’ or ‘joint’. The general trend of the ‘joint’ is NW and SE, but many sharp changes in direction and breaks in continuity were noted in the old workings.
In general the northeastern or hanging wall is formed of ‘serpentine’ while the footwall is ‘andesite’. In some places, however, the ‘joint’ is in ‘andesite’, while in other places the walls are formed of altered rocks dissimilar to the types already mentioned.
The principal mines in the area were the Homeward Bound and New Reform mines. It appears that the Wentworth Goldfields Proprietary Company Limited operated both mines. In the main the ore bodies were mixed with other sulphides and minerals. However, the most gold-rich pockets tended to exist at or near the junctions of quartz veins and in the main fissures. In both the upper and lower levels, free gold was known to exist but more so in the upper levels where it occurred in association with quartz, ironstained sandy clay, and accretions of yellowish brown siliceous material known as ‘clinkers’. In the unoxidised lower level zones, the gold was contained principally in arsenical pyrites.
LYNDHURST: This field contains some very peculiar and interesting gold-bearing deposits. It is situated on the Belubula River, in the parishes of Lyndhurst and Belubula, county of Bathurst, about 13 km west by south from the town of Carcoar.
The geological formations here comprise indurated bluish-grey claystones and intercalated beds of highly altered rock, which form the ore bodies. Arsenical pyrites, pyrrhotite, and iron pyrites are disseminated through altered rocks. Gold is associated with these sulphides. A mass of granite, dykes and sills of diorite, and dykes of augite-andesite have intruded the sediments. Records show that the claystones and ore bodies vary in thickness from a sheet of paper to 6 metres.
Mining took place at three principal localities known as The Junction reefs, The Frenchman’s and The Cornishman’s mine respectively. The oxidised ores were mined by means of shallow open cuts, and for some time no attention was ‘paid’ to the sulphides. Subsequently, the open cuts were deepened to extract the low-grade pyritic ores, which were then treated by roasting and cyanidation. The average gold values from the sulphide ore were around 10 dwt. gold per ton.
MAJOR’S CREEK: (see also ‘Araluen’). The following information deals with the old Elrington or Major’s Creek Goldfield about the township of Major’s Creek and upper creek of the same name, plus the Shoalhaven basin from Jembaicumbene Creek confluence to the head.
Gold was discovered in Major’s Creek in 1851 and this appears to have been the scene of the major “rush” to the area. The principal means of working at first was cradling, giving way to ground sluicing when richer patches of alluvium were exhausted.
Because of the elevation of the area and its inaccessibility from permanent watercourses, working was severely hampered except at times of good rainfall. This factor extended the working life of the alluvials, which were of limited extent, and only economically workable by ground sluicing. The gold at Major’s Creek alluvials has been derived from the numerous, rich reefs of the area.
At Long Flat in the Back Basin Creek, about 3.25 km west of Major’s Creek township and from Major’s Creek itself, at and below the township, records show that between 1875 to 1920 the return was 36,979 ounces of gold.
The auriferous gravels of Tertiary age at Long Flat, stranded in the Back Creek Valley by faulting (Kennedy, 1961) carry gold apparently shed from the Major’s Creek reefs when drainage from it was to the west. The ground worked here was up to 3 metres thick, clayey and generally carrying the best values on the bottom.
The alluvials were worked by puddling machines and by ground sluicing when there was sufficient water. It appears to have been very difficult to obtain sufficient water to treat large yardages and it is possibly that areas of unworked ground still remain as well as worked ground carrying significant values. Tertiary placers apparently were worked in other parts of the Back Creek Basin although areas of recent alluvium in the creek are rather small. Some dredging was carried out in the area between 1911 and 1916.
Reef mining also took place on the Major’s Creek goldfield. Much of the gold mineralization in the area comprises easterly to northeasterly striking quartz veins, often less than 300 mm in width, but quite rich in gold, in a somewhat siliceous hornblende-biotite granodiorite. Mineralization in the Major’s Creek field shows a well developed zonation, with silver and gold tellurides passing successively into base metal-rich assemblages and lower gold-grade pyrite mineralization either laterally or at depth. The recorded production from the reefs of this field totals 26,412 ounces.
MANDURAMA: (275 km west of Sydney) Both alluvial and reef gold was found and worked at Burnt Yards which is north west of Mandurama. Another goldfield known as the Lyndhurst Goldfield can be found near the Belubula River west of the town where several reef mines were worked. The principal mines were the Cornishman’s Mines, Frenchman’s, Sheehans and the Junction Reefs. Here, the gold was associated with bedded claystones, mineralized with iron pyrite and arsenopyrite.
METZ: (see ‘Hillgrove’).
MILPARINKA: (see ‘Tibooburra’). The country around The Peak which is midway between Willcania and Malparinka; at Hawkers Well near Willcania and a few locations on Bonley, Grasmere, Kooningberry and Tarella Stations gold has been reported to have been found.
MILTON: (225 km south of Sydney on the Prince’s Highway) About 40 km from Ulladulla, alluvial gold has been found near Brooman whilst a number of quartz gold-bearing reefs are said to occur at Termeil. The exact location being unknown.
MITTAGONG: Several deposits of auriferous high level gravels, rements along the course of an old riverbed to the southeast of Mittagong, were well prospected in the 1880’s and 1890’s. During mining operations much of the gold, which occurs as extremely small flakes, was lost while treating the wash. Through this area the find of an occasional diamond gave some stimulus to the prospector. Some gold has also been found in the Wingecarribee River and Bundanoon Creek.
MOLETON: Near Moleton and Lowanna Sidings on the Glenreagh-Dorrigo railway line, a number of quartz veins are developed in altered claystones. These appear to be short lived although moderate values have been found in small shoots of ore. Many of the veins proved valueless below depths of 15 to 23 metres. At the Highland Mary Mine (Ellis’ Mine), Portion 33, Parish of Gundar, County Fitzroy, 1.6 km southerly from Moleton Siding, two (2) sub-parallel quartz veins about 30 metres apart were worked. The most productive and rich eastern vein was worked up to a depth of 42 metres. Records show that 195 tons of ore was treated for a yield of 585 ounces of gold up to the end of 1938.
Two other mines in the area, the Lilla Mine (3.2 km north of Moleton) and McAnally’s Mine (approximately 9.6 km NW from Moleton) also produced gold to a lesser degree.
MOLONG: Many thousands of ounces of gold were won from a large mass of garnet rock known as Delany’s Dyke west of Molong. Close to the old Copper Hill mine (3.2 km north of Molong), several small reefs were worked, some of which, showed free gold.
MOONAN FLAT: This area is about 380 km NW of Sydney. A large number of gold-bearing reefs have been worked in this vicinity in the country of Kangaroo Creek, Moonan, Omadale Brooks and Stewart’s as well on the headwaters of the Pigna Barney River. Many small gold-rich veins occur throughout the area. Several local mines operated for a period of time, those being the Ethel May, Fullers, Imperial Standard, Jeweller’s Shop, Lady Grace, Lady Maud, Martin’s Creek, Mutual, Newcastle, New Stewart’s Brook, New Royal, Pride of the Brook, Royal Standard and the United Bluey.
MORUYA: Can be found 312 km south of Sydney on the Prince’s Highway. Quite a number of gold-bearing reefs were worked in this vicinity those being: Donkey Hill, Little’s, McKeown’s, Moruya Mine, Mount Carrington and Wamban Creek. Another reef close named the Italia was worked at Thurlinjah. Gold has also been noted from quartz veins close to a ‘granite and slate contact’ at Moggendoura about 4.8 km from Moruya on the Larry’s Mountain road. Another reef has been reported as gold-bearing somewhere in thickly wooded country at Connell’s Point. Alluvial gold-bearing ground at Dwyer’s Creek was the centre of attention at one stage, with good results as well as an area around Brooman.
MOSS VALE: Fossickers have searched in the past for payable gold bearing reefs near the junction of Tallowa Gully and Bundanoon Creek without much success.
MOUNT BOMBANDY: Is situated 35 km WSW of Rylstone. Gold was discovered here in 1923, and a considerable amount of prospecting has been done, but the results have been disappointing. The rocks in the vicinity comprise of slate, sandstone, and quartzite overlain by conglomerate. Several well-defined reefs were located. Free gold and arsenical pyrites were detected in the quartz.
MOUNT BOPPY: The Mount Boppy gold mine, discovered in 1896, is located some 50 km east of Cobar, and is in rocks of the same age as the Cobar field. The lode here is a peculiar form of ‘inverted saddle reef’; due in great measure to the action of replacement along bedding planes. The lode consisted mainly of impure quartz and silicified slate, and its content of copper, iron, lead, zinc, and sulphur was small.
Gold was present in intimate association with the sulphides below water level, but free gold occurs also in places below this level. ‘Paint gold’ has been recorded in tiny veinlets traversing the slate in the centre country. The total production of the mine over the period 1901 to 1923 was 13,460 kg of gold.
It is interesting to note that recent investigations suggest that the Mount Boppy deposit is a bedding conformable body, which occurs close to the folded contact between younger slate and conglomerate, and older highly deformed schists and quartzite. The mineralization occurs in brecciated chert and quartz veins containing small amounts of sulphide minerals such as pyrite, chalcopyrite, sphalerite and galena, together with gold. Several other mines in the area such as the West Boppy mine and Canbelego King were worked for gold.
MOUNT HOPE: (613 km west of Sydney) The Mount Allen Mine, 19.3 km north of Mount Hope was the scene of some gold mining activity where gold occurs in ironstone formations in slate. Some non-descript reefs were also worked at Gilgunnia some 48 km north of Mount Hope; details on these are rather sketchy. However, stone crushed from a reef at Errebundery showed some good returns. Another ‘prospect’ for gold occurs at Solitary Mountain about 4.8 km east of Mount Hope.
MUDGEE AREA: A considerable number of prospectors operated in the Mudgee district during the 1930’s and an increase in the production of gold from this area resulted. Very few details are available on the working sites. Most of the gold recovered came from alluvial sources but some reef mining was done at Linburn and Mullamuddy. In 1935, a battery was erected at Putta Bucca near Mudgee, and was available for private crushings.
As there have been several localities within the Mudgee area that have proved to be gold-bearing, these could be worth investigating with a metal detector or by hand panning methods depending on the area being prospected.
The main areas are as follows:
Budgee Budgee – 11 km NE of Mudgee. The ground here for the most part is worked out. Early records show that shafts were sunk up to a depth of 6 to 21 metres.
Cudgegong River – The high level gravels along this river at Tannabutta, Appletree Flat (16 km SE of Mudgee), Mullamuddy and Cullibone, received fresh attention in the 1930’s. The depth of sinking ranges from ‘near surface’ to 6 metres, with yields ranging from ½ dwt. to 5 dwt. per load obtained from the wash dirt. Occasional patches have yielded up to 1 oz per load in the past. From the early records, the area at, and around Appletree Flat, is worth investigating with a metal detector because of some of the large nuggets found there. Details on these nuggets can be found towards the back of this book, entitled “List of Gold Nuggets found in New South Wales”.
Crossroads – This area can be found 9 miles NE of Mudgee. The original shallow workings on Havilah Estate were worked out, and subsequent sinking took place from 1 to 6 metres deep.
Log Paddock – Portion 60, Parish Eurundury is about 8 km NE of Mudgee. This lead with its tributaries Faugh-aballah, Golden Gully and Sapling Gully was worked to depths of 45 metres then abandoned due to heavy water being met.
Pipe Clay Creek – Approximately 9 km NE of Mudgee (on Havilah Estate) provided good alluvial patches (from depths 3 to 18 metres) along this creek. The yield has ranged from 4 dwt. to over 1 ounce of gold per load in the wash dirt.
Walford’s Gully – This area can be reached east of the Wollar Road, 17.5 km NNE of Mudgee. The depth of sinking here ranged from 1.5 to 12 metres. Yields of 3 to 15 dwt. per load came from here in past operations.
Rat’s Castle and Piambong – This area (about 22.5 km west of Mudgee) received considerable attention from prospectors in the 1930’s. It was reported that they had varying success and that a fair extent of virgin country remained to be prospected.
Small quantities of gold were discovered at Mudgee and Eurunderee in 1863.
MURRUMBURRAH: (363 km SW of Sydney) Rich alluvial gold was found and worked at Blind Creek and Cunningham’s Creek some 27 km from Binnalong as well as the country around Bookham. However, this area was not totally worked due to various water problems that existed at that time. An alluvial lead at Garangula produced good values from a depth of about 6 metres. The Harden and Graham’s Gold Mine at Sandy Falls was, at one stage, a good gold producer.
Early information on the district indicates that: “several reefs between Murrumburrah and Demondville carrying gold, have scarcely been touched”.
MURWILLUMBAH: Several reefs showing a little free gold have been found in ‘slate country’ in the ranges west of Murwillumbah.
NANA GLEN: (see ‘Coffs Harbour’).
NAROOMA: A large quantity of alluvial gold was obtained around Nerrigundah (also known as “The Gulph”). The main areas worked were those at Gulph Creek and its tributaries namely Graveyard Gully, North’s Creek and Sawpit Gully. Reef mining also took place along the Wadbilliga River and Belimbula Creek, which are tributaries of the Tuross River. Considerable mining took place at the Belimbula Creek mine. Smaller mines such as the Apple Tree, Cherry Tree, Lake’s, Latty’s and Tin Pot in the area were also worked.
Further towards the coast a number of small mines operated at Bumbo, Mount Pleasant, Mount Utopia, Red Creek and Central Tilba. On Mount Dromedary, both reef and alluvial mining took place as well as its drainage channels known as Curia and Punkally Creeks, which eventually exit through Lake Wallaga to the coast a few kilometres north of Bermagui.
Gold-bearing quartzites of low value occur and were mined at one stage or another in the country west of Narooma, however records on the mines are rather sketchy and do not provide information of any value to this report.
NARRANDERA: This small gold mining area is approximately 590 km SW of Sydney. At Grong Grong which is 24 km east of Narrandera several small reef mines were worked namely the Harry Smith, Lone Hand and Golden Spray. Very little information can be found on these mines.
NERRIMUNGA: (see ‘Goulburn’ and ‘Shoalhaven area’).
NOWRA: (see ‘Shoalhaven area’ and ‘Yalwal’).
NUNDLE: (60 km south east of Tamworth). In the Nundle area, which includes the Hanging Rock and Bowling Alley Point gold diggings, the country is made up of widespread beds of ferruginous shale and gravel, in places capped by basalt, resting on old slates and tuffs. Most of the gold won has been from these gravels and from reefs in the old rocks and from the Recent alluvials in the present drainage system, which were first discovered in the early days. Water races were constructed down the hillsides to work the higher gold-bearing gravels during periods of heavy rain.
The gravel beds abovementioned cover many square kilometres of country and in many places are up to 20 metres deep. Records show that the overall material is of a low-grade nature whilst tunnelling proved some richer patches.
The alluvial deposits have shown that the gold has been derived from the older gravels that occur in almost every gully that drains from the nearby ranges and that some of these yielded some extremely rich patches of gold.
Reef mining also took place around Nundle, which were of a ‘fissure-vein’ type. Some mines of note were the: Brown Snake, Christmas, Foleys, Golden Hole, John Bull, Lady Mary, Opossum, Wheal Prosper and the White Rose.
One of these old reef mines was the Mount Misery Mine, and is now open for inspection. It features an Underground Gold Museum and caters for gold panning along the Peel River. Other attractions include a Blacksmith’s Shop, Gold Smelting Room, an Antique Shop plus there are many more other things to see and do. For further information contact: Mr. Graham Mackay (Underground Manager), Mount Misery Mine, Tel: (02) 6769 3372.
For those who would like to read some of the early historical information, the following maybe of interest:
The “Tamworth Observer” of 29th August, 1885 told the story that “In the month of August, 1851 Mr. Nathan Burrows, a squatter occupying the Hanging Rock country as part of his run, while riding over what is known as Swamp Creek, discovered a man in the act of washing for gold with a pint pot….” Swamp or Oakey Creek rises at the top of the Hanging Rock, some 80 km south of Swamp Oak Creek, the Cockburn River. The man mentioned in the report, whose name is not recorded, showed Burrows the gold. Burrows went to Tamworth and informed William Cohen of the discovery. Parsons and William Blackburn fitted out for a prospecting trip, went to the locality and soon discovered traces of gold. Then the great rush began!
Prospectors who examined the Peel River for ten miles from its source reported that they “…found gold in almost every dishful we washed…” and “…the gold is in abundance…”. They then made their way to Bowling Alley Point (on the Peel River) where the gold was described as coarse but of a beautiful bright colour. The earth was carried on miner’s backs or horseback almost a mile to a creek for washing. The alluvial gold was found close to the surface. It is estimated that between 1852 and 1856 alluvial gold to the value (in today’s terms) of $1,670,000 had been extracted.
Hanging Rock is situated 11 km SE from Nundle and the drive up the mountain road (is an attraction in itself) with its close-up views of the mullock heaps, where hillside and mountain tops were turned over in the search of gold. Whilst you are at Nundle have a look at the old footbridge at Bowling Alley Point (11 km north of Nundle on the road to Tamworth) which was erected in the 1860’s so the miners could cross the Peel River to reach the diggings on the other side.
OBERON: The first recorded discovery of gold in Australia was made by Lands Department Surveyor McBrien, who, in his field notes of his survey of the Fish River dated 15th February, 1823, states: “At this place I found numerous particles of gold in the sand in the hills convenient to the river”. On Diamond Hill occurs granite, diorite and altered schist traversed by quartz reefs. They contained various sulphides and carbonates but more importantly that in the same year gold was reported in quartz from a reef in the diorite near the summit of this hill.
The channels and banks of the Campbell River, Wiseman’s and Sewells Creeks have in places been extensively worked for gold. Some of the wet alluvial flats will doubtless pay to work with efficient equipment. In Golden Gully, rich alluvial deposits have been worked. At its head several quartz reefs crop out, probably being the source from which the alluvial gold was derived, and therefore deserving the attention of prospectors.
The course of the Fish River winds through alluvial flats, which are from 90 metres to 275 metres wide, bordered by hills of hornblendic granite. On the spurs of these hills about 15 metres above the level of the river are patches of coarse waterworn drift. Fine gold is found in small quantities in the gullies and river flats.
The Native Dog Diggings are in shallow alluvial deposits, overlying Silurian shales and conglomerates, with a mass of serpentine forming the rising ground immediately to the west. The Silurian rocks are traversed by a few pyritous quartz veins, and by a dyke of porphyry 12 metres wide, striking north and south. The alluvial debris was found to be rich about this dyke, and as far as the boundary of the serpentine, but above this boundary it ceased to be payable. Gold has been found in one of the quartz veins, and sapphires are plentiful in the drift near the dyke.
At Sewell’s Creek Diggings rich shallow alluvial deposits have been worked near the junction of serpentine with Silurian talcose schists. The gold appears to have been originally derived from the quartz reefs and schists near the serpentine; some of these reefs may be payably gold bearing.
At a spot on the Brisbane Valley Creek, an old channel filled with Tertiary sandy clays and quartz pebble drift occurs here. The upper portion of a drift has been cut through and redeposited by the present creek and the alluvial deposits in the bed of the latter have been extensively worked with payable results. The older drift therefore appears to be the source of the gold.
A tributary of Campbells River shows ferruginous and siliceous conglomerate and quartz pebble drift occurs resting on Silurian schists and overlain by numerous quartz reefs and the banks of the river have been worked for gold.
At a spot about 8 km south of Rockley, serpentine occurs, containing copper and iron pyrites, and traversed by veins of asbestos and calcite. However, gold has been found in several of the Silurian schists near the serpentine.
A tributary of the Duckmaloi River shows the position where Silurian schists and sandstones are traversed by numerous quartz reefs and capped in place with gold bearing quartz pebble drift of Tertiary age.
Records show that several other reef mines were worked in the area those principally near Hazelgrove, Slippery Creek and Norway and the principal mines being the Black Bullock, Mount Gossan, Mount Baring and the Homeward Bound.
OPHIR: In April 1851, the first reported discovery of payable gold was made by John Lister and William Tom at the junction of Lewis Ponds and Summer Hill Creek approximately 27 km NW of Orange. Edward Hargraves, an associate of Lister and Tom, took their gold to the colonial secretary and claimed the reward (precise credit for the discovery is still controversial). On presentation, amounts were paid to the claimants: Edward Hargraves £5,000, while Lister, Tom and Rev. W.B. Clarke £500 each. To “add fuel to the fire” recently discovered evidence shows that William Tipple Smith was the discoverer of the first payable gold in Australia in 1848!
PADDYS FLAT: (see ‘Tooloom’).
PAMBULA: This area can be found 487 km south of Sydney. In the Pambula-Wolumba district, gold can be found as irregular deposits occurring along the ‘crush zone’ between the sedimentary and igneous (granite) rocks. The main mines that were worked here were: Black and Barry’s, Diorite and Falkner’s, Hidden Treasure, Mount Gahan and Victory, as well as numerous small gold shows. Nearby at the Wolumla Reefs, other gold mines were worked with varying degrees of success. Records show that some rich gold was found in the country around Towamba. Geological notes also show that a mica pipe was worked for gold at nearby Mount Metallic.
PARKES: The Parkes-Forbes Goldfield is one of the more productive fields in the state, with a total recorded production of 18,900 kg. The field comprises both primary and secondary deposits in a belt about 50 km by 10 km adjacent to the towns of Parkes and Forbes, with extension southwards. Primary deposits include quartz reefs in andesitic rocks, and some reefs are also found in slaty sedimentary rocks. Until recently, the bulk of the production has come from erosion of the primary deposits. The more important deep leads of the district have been prospected and mined to depths in excess of 70 metres. Some of the reef mines that were worked approximately 5 km north of Forbes was the Sinclair’s Mine as well as the North Lachlan, Hauraki, Nil Desperadum, Brilliant, Britannia, Crockers, Golden Horseshoe, Pinnacles, Stricklands, Trafalgar, Boyle’s and Bald Hills. A lot of alluvial mining was carried out in the area in the mid-1860’s. One area of note was at Goobang Creek near the Bonnie Dundee Mine.
PEAK HILL: This goldfield was generally known as the ‘Peak Hill – Tomingley Goldfield’. It appears that gold mining in the area started about 1883 and the Peak Hill lodes were discovered in 1889. As the gold values here were of a low percentage, the ore bodies were treated by cyanidation. Hence no further information is warranted.
POVERTY POINT / TIMBARRA: Poverty Point, known also as Surface Hill, can be found approximately 38 km SE of Tenterfield. It appears that gold was won from this area as far back as 1860 by way of sluicing the grass roots of Surface Hill, 700 metres high above and 4.8 km distant from the Timbarra (Rocky) River. Mining also took place at Timbarra, where two ferruginous quartz veins crossed the road to Poverty Point. The Government Geologist C.S. Wilkinson said in March 1889 “…that they traverse porphyritic granite and should be prospected…”.
Rich gold was also won from Nicholson’s Creek on the Millera side. Early reports state that even in one afternoon 7 ounces of gold was panned from this creek. Other areas in the Poverty Point goldfield which were worked were: Big Hill, Billy’s Creek, Bingley’s Creek, Chance Gully, Donald Grey’s Swamp, Gunner’s Gully, Nelson’s Creek, Peg-leg Gully and Sandy Creek. Alluvial gold also occurs in the Timbarra River.
PRETTY GULLY: (see ‘Tooloom’).
ROCKLEY: 35 km South of Bathurst. Here, there have been several alluvial gold areas, which have been worked in the past. Those of notable interest are Back, Caloola, Gilmandyke, Sewell’s and Triangle Creeks and parts of the Brisbane Valley and Native Dog Creeks. The gravels of the Campbell’s River both near and well above the river level were worked for good results of alluvial gold.
Deep leads were worked at Main Ridge and the Swallow’s Nest showing good patches of gold-bearing wash outcropping on the hillsides. In the late 1930’s a small but rich alluvial lead (in a serpentine-andesite contact) was worked at Dog Rock which can be found 4.8 km SE of Rockley.
Numerous quartz-reef mines operated at Caloola Creek, Carter’s Hill, Leviathan and Gilmandyke. Rich gold-bearing calcite veins were found in the schists between Sewell’s Creek and Triangle Flat.
RYLSTONE: (245 km west of Sydney) Some gold has been found in this area, (exact locations unknown) notably from the conglomerates associated with the coal measures, producing some payable gold patches. Within the older formations a few reefs were discovered, those being the Robedah Mine near Cudgegong and a mine near Lue which contained gold within arsenopyrite. Some other mines in the area were also worked but again the gold was found in sulphide and antimony ores. Further details do not necessitate discussion here, for the average prospector.
SHOALHAVEN (area): An overall overview within the Shoalhaven Catchment Area.
(see also ‘Braidwood’, Bungonia’, ‘Jembaicumbene’ and ‘Yalwal’)
Alluvial gold deposits have been worked on the Shoalhaven River between Bombay Crossing and Oallen Ford, the drifts trending as discontinuous patches, on and at a distance from the rivers, to near Bungonia. The gold is finely divided and distributed unevenly so that great thicknesses have had to be treated necessitating the use of storm water races and sluicing methods. The unworked portions are at a considerable height above the river and could be profitably mined only by the use of hydraulic sluicing. The use of a metal detector could be beneficial here in locating those larger nuggets.
At Nerriga, on Timberlight Creek and other tributaries of the Shoalhaven River, there are extensive alluvial areas which, within reach of water, have been well worked in the past. The gold is somewhat coarser than the Shoalhaven deposits and as in the Mongarlow field further south where occasional gold nuggets have been obtained.
It is interesting to note that an early report states that: “Several nuggets of a large size have been obtained near Timberlight, two of which were sold to the City Bank at Braidwood in 1902 for £960. The exact locality of their discovery was never disclosed”.
Alluvial gold occurs along the Danjera or Yalwal Creek (a tributary of the Shoalhaven River) and at Grassy Gully (8 km north of Yalwal). Both locations have received much attention in the past. The gold is present in very small particles and being difficult to recover has made later operations unprofitable. In all these areas deposits within the reach of water have been worked out. The yield of gold from them in recent years has been small. Fossickers give them fresh attention during and after wet periods, when previously broken ground is sluiced or when naturally sluiced deposits from higher unworked ground can be worked in the creek beds and erosion gullies.
In 1894 a quartz reef carrying gold was prospected near Wingello but with little success. A few gold-bearing reefs occur to the north east of Windellama. Among them Manton’s Reef, about 1.6 km up Jasper’s Gully on the south side of Nerrimunga Creek, was worked to an approximate depth of 120 metres and Kangaroo Reef 4.8 km to the south yielded a little gold. The Nerrimunga Goldfield contains areas of the old Shoalhaven high level gravels which trend towards Bungonia, but there are a number of alluvial deposits resulting from the denudation of shallow seated quartz reefs which were worked in the early days of the field.
Around Yalwal, the mining of some relatively rich shoots about the old open-cut workings has resulted in sporadic yields in recent years. The gold, in an extremely fine state of subdivision, occurs associated with pyrite, or as vein deposits or disseminations within the country rocks being metasediments and rhyolites. Some veinlets 12 mm to 40 mm wide, of chalcedonic quartz carrying free gold have occasionally been found on the surface (generally in association with altered rhyolites). While these individual veins may assay up to 6 ounces of gold per ton, the enclosing barren rock, combined with the extreme fineness of the gold, makes economical extraction difficult. Future possibilities of large-scale mining such as open-cut methods could be employed here.
At Grassy Gully, lodes assaying 11 dwts of gold per ton have yielded gold in the past. The ‘country rock’ here is also rhyolite and the gold occurs within a ‘reef’ of chalcedonic quartz varying in width from 50 mm to 300 mm. Gold also occurs in joints throughout the igneous rock. In deeper levels the ore contains arsenical pyrite and is difficult to treat.
SOFALA: (see also ‘Wattle Flat’). Sofala can be found about 48 km NNE of Bathurst situated on the Turon River. During the late 1800’s the area around Sofala was a hive of activity as much alluvial gold was won from this area. The activity was centred on the Turon River, which passes through the township. The alluvial wash was worked by panning and cradling the bends of the river. In the general area of Sofala, alluvial ground was worked at nearby Wattle Flat where the main production came from Nuggetty Gully as well as Crudine, Palmers Oakey, Tobin’s Oakey and Spring Creeks. Here the ground averaged between 6 to 9 metres deep in the riverbanks, as well as in the riverbed itself.
Rich reef gold was also mined in a number of narrow veins that occurred at the Palmer’s Oakey and Queen of the Ranges mines. About 11 km west of Sofala at Box Ridge reef gold was also worked. However, records show that gold can be found in large irregular masses within the mineralized country rock in many other areas of the district.
In essence, the whole area around Sofala is so vast, so much so, that it would require some serious prospecting in the known gold areas. However, it appears that the main activity took place on the southern side of the Turon River both in an easterly, westerly and southern direction from Sofala where it was most productive. The area to the north of Sofala (northern side of the Turon River) should also be investigated, as to its potential, as gold was found to a lesser extent in that area.
STUART TOWN: (see ‘Wellington’).
SUNNY CORNER: (see ‘Lithgow’).
TABULAM: (see ‘Tooloom’).
TAMBAROORA: see ‘Hill End’
TAMWORTH: In the country around Tamworth some alluvial gold was won at Spring Creek and at Limbri. However, some reef mining took place at Mount Patterson and at the Rackham’s Reward mine. Very little information can be found on this area.
TAREE: Some alluvial and reef mining took place mainly in the range country around the tributaries of the Manning River notably at the Cells, Cooplacurripa and Mummel. Other areas include Mount George and Burrell Creek.
This gold mining area can be found 450 km SW of Sydney where a number of rich alluvial leads were worked. However, in most cases the gold-bearing material was between 18 to 27 metres deep. Some of the locations included the Golden Bar, Golden Garter and Upper Temora, which, according to the records, suggest that the reefs and leaders were found within diorite rocks.
One area that proved extremely rich was the quartz ore body at the Mother Shipton Mine, which is located approximately 1.6 km SE of Temora. Further reef mining took place at Combaning and Springdale.
Approximately 17.5 km south of Temora at Sebastopol, reef mining was conducted at the Evening Star, Morning Star and Homeward Bound Reefs. Other mines in the area included the Bourkes, hidden Star, Pikes and South Australian.
TENTERFIELD: (see also ‘Drake’ & ‘Tooloom’). Several gold-bearing quartz reefs carrying both gold and silver were worked within a granite mass on the Boonoo Boonoo field, which is situated NW of Tenterfield. However, some fine alluvial gold can still be found in Boonoo Boonoo Creek which, appears to have come from these reefs. Production records for gold for this area was unobtainable, as the area was primarily dredged and mined for tin.
TERRANORA: Gold has been reported to have been found within the Neranleigh-Fernvale beds which comprise of various rocks such as: greywacke, argillite, quartzite, chert, sandstone and greenstone. This location can be reached from Banora Point through Terranora and Bilambil. About 1 km north of Bilambil (heading towards Terranora Heights) the country off both sides of the road should be prospected in search of gold.
TIBOOBURRA – MILPARINKA GOLDFIELDS: In the year 1880 the discovery of payable gold was reported from Depot Glen Creek at Mount Poole Station, a few kilometres north of Mount Browne by John Thomson. Early in 1881 gold prospects were discovered at Mt. Browne at Good Friday (south of Tibooburra) and Easter Monday (near the present site of Tibooburra). It is interesting to note that the names given represent the days on which gold was discovered.
About the same time several lines of reef were discovered in the Wamberiga Range, near the head of Warratta creek. Within three months of the original discovery at Mt. Browne, a population of 2,000 to 3,000 persons was engaged in mining activities in the area.
The following are the chief localities where gold has been worked in the district:
Mt. Poole Diggings, Mt. Browne and Four Mile Diggings, Granite, Nugget, Easter Monday, Two Mile Diggings and the Warratta Field. Other localities include Billygoat Hill, The One Mile and Stringers Gully.
The Tibooburra Field occupies an area covered by the Tibooburra Granite, small inliers of Pre- Cambrian rocks, and the surrounding outcrops of basal conglomerate of Jurassic Age.
The gold has been proved to exist in two types of deposits. Firstly, the shallow ground is composed mostly of clayey loam and partly gravels shed from the breaking down of Jurassic conglomerate. The clayey loam is developed mostly in the areas occupied by granite and appears to have originated from the decomposition of the granite with some measure of redistribution of the materials by wind and water action. The depth of sinking rarely exceeds 3 metres, and is usually much shallower, while the average gold values ranged from 1½ dwt. to 3 dwt. per load, the gold being of a flaky nature, but of a high degree of fineness. Principally puddling, and as many as 14 machines (according to geological records) being at work when production was at its peak treated the material. Dry Blowing has been employed also.
At Nuggety Gully payable gold was won from a gravel deposit formed by the weathering of Jurassic conglomerate. At Tunnel Hill to the west of Nuggety Gully low-grade gold values were proved in a coarse conglomerate at the base of the Jurassic beds. The gold-bearing conglomerate rests unconformably upon a basement of Pre-Cambrian (Torrowangee) slates. In 1889 an attempt was made to float the Tibooburra Gold Mining Company with the object of exploiting these Jurassic deposits, but the project was never carried to completion.
Isolated attempts were made to prospect the deeper ground at Tibooburra but without success. The field has always been hampered by the lack of adequate supplies of water.
It is worthy of note that, in most instances, the lower conglomerate bands of the Jurassic sediments possess a low gold content, but the granite bedrock beneath the covering of clayey loam is devoid of any such values. This evidence, coupled with the flaky nature of the gold, indicates that the gold in the shallow ground probably originated from the weathering of the Jurassic conglomerates, which at one period covered most, if not the whole, of the area over which the Tibooburra Granite outcrops.
With the partial, or complete, erosion of the conglomerates the gold, in large measure, moved down under gravity finally to become mixed with the clayey granitic soil. By this means, and by the action of running water in more recent times, concentration of the gold values in the shallow ground was effected.
In recent years most of the gold produced in the Tibooburra field has been obtained by fossicking. Areas with low-gold values are known to exist in certain localities but, as pointed out previously, the absence of water supplies militates against working any appreciably large-scale operation. The best ways would be by using a metal detector or a dry blower.
The MOUNT POOLE DIGGINGS are situated about 4.8 km south of Mt. Poole, on the Evelyn Creek, where shafts have been sunk through 3 to 4 metres of quartz gravel and cement hills with quartz boulders. The bedrocks are white and yellow pipeclay and micaceous sandstone. This is the first locality where gold was found, and not being procured in payable quantity it was abandoned. Gold has been worked here in surface gullies crossing the made ground. A diorite dyke runs parallel to the diggings, about 275 metres to the east.
The MOUNT BROWNE DIGGINGS are situated at the southwestern end of the Mount Browne Range, and comprise of several short gullies on the northwestern side running towards a branch of the Yango Creek. The gold has been found here in the gullies or troughs between the slate hills, in the few centimetres of soil and shingle contained in them, which represents the washdirt. These gullies are very short. and descend towards the flat, where the alluvium is approximately 1 metre deep and they spread out and become poor to work. Small nuggets are often picked out of the washdirt; the largest found weighed 7½ ounces. Holes of 3 to 4 metres in depth have been sunk on the creek flats here, but without finding payable gold. Small nuggets have been found on the surface in several places, and there is no doubt that if a sufficient quantity of water was available a great deal of the surface would pay for sluicing. The dirt can be washed in the waterholes of Yango Creek when water is available. Rounded quartz pebbles are scattered over the low hills, indicating the remains of older drifts likely to contain gold.
The FOUR MILE DIGGINGS are on the south-east side of the Mt. Browne Range, and here the gullies are flatter, wider, and contain a greater depth of alluvium than the Mt. Poole Diggings, the sinking being from 1 to 4 metres in alluvium, and from 6 to 12 metres in a conglomerate of quartz gravel or cement beneath the alluvium and resting on the slate bottom. It occupies a portion of ground near the bottom of the gullies and low hills, and has only been tried to a limited extent, owing to its hardness, where worked however; it is said to yield payable results.
The NUGGET DIGGINGS – “Nuggety” is a low hill situated 11 km west of Tibooburra and appears to be composed of a mass of waterworn gravel and quartz which from returns state that it contains free gold throughout from 3 to 15 dwt. to the load. The NUGGET DIGGINGS are on the western side of the Whittabreenah Range. Gold has been found here to a small extent on the slate in narrow, shallow gullies, in one of which the largest nugget found on the field was procured. The nugget, weighing 15 oz 7 dwt. including the quartz contained within it.
The EASTER MONDAY DIGGINGS – In a westerly direction, approximately 3 km from Tibooburra is Easter Monday Gully, where a few claims were worked to a depth from 1 to 1.5 metres in alluvium with waterworn quartz gravel. It was reported that at one of the claims, small pieces of gold could be seen in the dirt as it was turned up. The bedrock is a decomposed granitic rock, and the locality is close to the granite boundary.
The GRANITE DIGGINGS are the most extensive on this goldfield, occupy a flat area of alluvial ground on the patch of granite, which forms the centre of the Whittabreenah Range. The sinking is approximately 1 metre in a red alluvium, with round quartz gravel, and extends over a wide flat with little watercourses, in the loose sand of which gold is also found. The gold here is much finer than that found elsewhere, as is generally the case in granite country, but is coarse enough to be seen sometimes as it is dug.
The TWO MILE DIGGINGS – 3.2 km further east of the Granite Diggings there is a large gully called the “Two Mile”, lying on the slate just beyond the granite boundary, and was worked at various depths from surfacing to 2.5 to 2.7 metres. The richest claim had a depth of approximately 1 metre of alluvium, and small nuggets can be seen in the wash-dirt.
The WARRATTA GOLDFIELD embraces a large mass of Pre-Cambrian rocks developed from the neighbourhood of Warratta Tank northwesterly to the vicinity of Mokely and contiguous areas. Several alluvial deposits are included notably those at localities known as: Good Friday, Evans Gully, Warratta Creek and Moffitt’s Gully. Of these the most satisfactory results were obtained at Good Friday about 19 km northwesterly of Milparinka, on the old road to Tibooburra.
The Warratta field, however, is important mainly by reason of the attempts to mine the gold-bearing reefs discovered in 1881. Considerable attention has been given to five main lines of reef, namely the Pioneer, Warratta, Phoenix, Rosemount and Elizabeth Reefs. Most attention appears to have been given to the Pioneer Reef. Indeed, a village known as Albert was established at the head of Warratta Creek, about .4 km of the Pioneer workings. This would be an ideal spot to detect for old coins and relics of the past.
Other mines on the Pioneer reef were known as the Mount Browne Gold Mining and Quartz Crushing Company, Wizard Peak Gold Mining Company and Whittabreenah South Gold Mining Company. About 1894 or 1895, reefs were discovered 5 km south of Albert. Promising assays were obtained, but the results of prospecting were disappointing.
The NEW BENDIGO (or Little Bendigo Mine) was situated 8 km northerly from Milparinka, this area has been the scene of intermittent prospecting in the past. Several shafts were sunk upon reefs, some to a depth of 30 metres or thereabouts, but very little systematic works appears to have been done. Results proved unsatisfactory, although small picked parcels of stone returned payable values, as evidenced by a crushing from a principal claim, Howe’s Prospecting Claim, made in 1895, when 25 tons of stone yielded 4 oz 2 dwt of gold per ton.
TOOLOOM: This goldfield incorporates the Tabulam, Pretty Gully and Paddys Flat goldfields which appears to have been established by 1875. However, it is recorded that gold was first discovered at Tooloom by Billy May back in the mid-1850’s in the Tooloom River. Great excitement took place here in late 1859 when the famous 140 ounce nugget named the “Lady Bowen” was unearthed on the field. (Unfortunately, no one knows where exactly!) This was subsequently reported in the “Moreton Bay Courier” on the 24th December of that year. (Quote) ” On Thursday, we were favoured with the opportunity of inspecting this fine and valuable nugget, which was found at Tooloom Diggings on 15th inst., by James Templeton and George Boyes, two Brisbane men, who had been at work on the diggings for 10 months, and been otherwise successful. The nugget, which weighs 140 ozs in the gross, and appears to be nearly all virgin metal, the quartz only being observable only at the place where it was struck by the pick. In shape it is a flat oval, nearly 2 inches thick in the thickest part, and is perfectly smooth on the surface, as though it had been much subject to the action of water. The lucky finders have named their prize the “Lady Bowen” and when it came down by the escort to Ipswich on Wednesday last, it was publicly exhibited to numbers at one shilling per head….(etc)…” (Unquote).
It is interesting to note that two other large nuggets were later found here, one weighing 8½ ounces and the other 11½ ounces. Other popular localities around Tooloom included Fay’s, Joe’s, Joss, Grant’s, Dry, Foy’s, Rory’s, Chinaman’s, Fraser’s, Eaglehawk, Wilson and Eight Mile Gullies. Early records show that the population in its heyday was around 5000, most of whom, were diggers. Another gold find was made at Mosquito Creek (16 km south of Tooloom) a watercourse which empties itself into the Clarence River at the crossing place on the road to Pretty Gully. The gold there was found in the crevices of the slaty bars that run across the bed of the creek. Approximately 29 km SW of the Tooloom Diggings and 4.8 km north of Emu Creek, Surveyor Roberts discovered gold in a small creek on the west side of the Clarence River. This was later known as Pretty Gully. Most of the mining here was alluvial, (near the Lincolnshire Reef) and continued intermittently until 1935. At one time there were about 300 miners working at this spot.
The alluvial gold occurs in deep gullies bordering the basalt caps at Pretty Gully and Tooloom. Mining was also carried on the Two Mile, Four Mile, and Stockyard Gullies, which eventually drain into the Clarence River. It is believed that the Clarence River from the junction of Tooloom Creek to Yulgilbar is all (more or less) gold-bearing. The gold is believed to have been derived from underlying Mesozoic conglomerates, which contain a low percentage of gold, and to have been concentrated in the adjacent gullies. Some attempts were made to tunnel below the basalt cap and explore deep leads but none of these attempts appears to have been successful. From Tabulam in the south to Tooloom in the north, the Clarence River received gold from the denudation of hills capped with Carboniferous conglomerates.
Gold dredging took place in the Clarence River near Paddys Flat. Records show that the gold was originally shed about 16 km upstream at Rivertree, near the junction of Cullens Creek with the Clarence River where several base-metal (gold, silver, and lead) lodes were worked. These include the Wongabah, Silvery Wave, and Rivertree lodes and several unnamed lodes. Approximately 8 km downstream from Paddys Flat, gold was first dredged at Apple Tree Flat in early 1900 and later on at Tabulam below the junction of the Clarence and Timbarra Rivers. Another area dredged was at Nicholsons Creek in November 1936 when 22 ounces of gold was recovered from 2,400 cubic yards of material.
South of Tabulam, the Timbarra (Rocky) River, dredging took place in 1936 by a Mr. G. Griffiths who won 9 ounces of gold from 9,000 cubic yards of wash dirt using a 3″ pump dredge.
Finally, the following comment made by the N.S.W. Department of Mines writing of the Drake goldfield states: “A great quantity of gold has been obtained in this part of the district in days gone by, but the old miner did not go down on the lodes to any depth – 80 feet (24 metres) was the deepest. This is a field that is certainly deserving of more attention, inasmuch as the general formation very closely resembles the famous Gympie goldfield”.
TOTTENHAM: (520 km west of Sydney). Very little gold was recovered from here. However, some gold was recovered from an unknown area in the vicinity of Tullamore.
TRUNDLE: (430 km west of Sydney). The area around Fifield was worked was both gold and platinum. Possibly the most well known area was at the Platina lead which extended for a length of nearly 3.2 km from a point 3 km from Fifield. The area described is approximately 18 to 45 metres wide and the wash was found to be 18 to 21 metres deep under loam. The gold and platinum occur as fairly coarse waterworn grain in pockets in the bedrock and in the bottom few centimetres of wash. Another prospect called the North Lead (about 1.5 km east of Fifield) was also worked, again, to a considerable depth.
TRUNKEY CREEK: (61 km SSW of Bathurst). Major groupings of auriferous quartz reefs occur at Trunkey, Tuena and Junction Point, about 15 km to the south of Tuena. These are associated with sills or porphyrite, which have intruded Upper Silurian slates and phyllites. The main belt of the igneous intrusion 1 to 1½ km wide extends from north of Trunkey to Mt. Costigan. A second belt extends NE and S from Arkell Trig. Station to the west of Trunkey, and there are small outcrops at Willow Glen, The Reeds and at Junction Point.
The porphyrite (locally called ‘diorite’) outcrops prominently, and because the gold-bearing reefs have been found to lie stratigraphically above (otherwise west of) these formations, the latter have proved a useful guide to the prospectors in the goldfield. Alluvial deposits of any consequence have been found only in streams from the porphyrite.
Downstream from the mouth of Cook’s Vale River, the Abercrombie River has been an important source of alluvial gold, particularly in dry seasons when it has been possible to work some of the riverbed. Localities include Bombeh (at the mouth of Groves Creek) and Scrubby Bush (on the opposite side of the river), Pharaoh’s Point – The Sounding Rock (at the mouth of Oaky Creek), Tunnel Point (opposite the mouths of the Meglo and Yarraman Creeks), patches of high and low level drift near the mouth of Chicken’s Creek, and finally, between Chicken’s Creek and Rocky Bridge.
Oaky Creek and its tributaries have been the most important sources of alluvial gold in the Trunkey District. The larger tributaries: Trunkey, Mulgannia, Mountain Run and Johnson’s Creek have yielded large quantities of gold in the past.
Principally, Tuena Creek, which yielded large quantities of alluvial gold over many kilometres, particularly in the vicinity of reefs worked near Tuena and Junction Point. Records report the finding of 4 nuggets in Tuena Creek in 1916 had a total weight of 32 ounces. Two large streams, Cook Vale Creek and Meglo Creek east and west respectively from the Tuena gold belt have yielded a little gold. The rock formations which they drain contain numerous but barren quartz veins.
TUENA: (see ‘Trunkey Creek’).
TYRINGHAM: Several quartz reefs have been opened near Tyringham, 27 km from Dorrigo. The reefs are in granite and altered sediments. They are small lenticular in form and do not possess features indicative of permanence or persistence.
The most important mine in the district is Navin’s Mine on Portion 16, Parish of Blicks, County Fitzroy.
The ore body of the mine is a lenticular quartz reef with a maximum width of 750 mm and an average width of 230 to 250 mm between granite walls. A shaft has been sunk to 18 metres and the reef has been exposed for a length of 36.5 metres on the 10.7 metre (35 foot) level. The values of crushings vary from ½ ounce to 1 ounce per ton.
Alluvial gold has been won from Recent deposits of gravel and detritus along several streams but generally values are low and intermittent. Exposures of Tertiary gravels beneath the basalt have received some attention from prospectors and “colours” of gold have been obtained from the wash.
URALLA: This old and well-known goldfield lies 23 km south of Armidale. Gold has been won here from various deep leads and alluvials in the district – the most popular place was, and is even today, one of the favourite places for gold fossickers is the old Rocky River gold diggings which can be found 3 km north west of Uralla on the Bundarra Road. Other places were gold was won was at Sydney Flat and Mount Welsh. Several gold reefs were also worked in the district the names being the Bora, Enmore, Goldsworth and the Sherwood.
Early historical records on the area say the following, which may be of interest to the prospector “Gold was found in the Tertiary leads at the Rocky River, near Uralla, in 1856, but here, owing to the altitude (3337 feet at Uralla) and the broken character of the country (there being deep valleys on all sides of the hills, on which, under a covering of basalt, the gold-bearing gravels were first discovered), the miners were able to extract the gold without being troubled by water. Moreover, the basalt has been removed, by denudation, from a considerable portion of the lead, so that, at the locality known as Sydney Flat, the greatest depth of sinking was about 70 feet (21 metres), and the gold-bearing gravels had here their maximum width of 10 chains (201 metres). In the narrowest portions of the old riverbed the wash dirt yielded as high as 2 ounces of gold per load; but where the width of the drift increased, its gold contents diminished in a corresponding degree. To the north east of Sydney Flat the lead again dips under a high basalt tableland, the depth of sinking increases, and water is met with in considerable quantities….” Further to this: “The Rocky River goldfield was notable for its rich Pleistocene and Recent gold-bearing alluvials, and the records show that in the year 1858, 17,277 ounces, and in 1859, 16,101 ounces of gold were despatched from Uralla to the Mint under police escort”. and again further records quote…. “The older rock formations in the vicinity of the Rocky River goldfield are granite, dark blue and brownish claystones, of Carboniferous age, and hornblendic granite which is of an intrusive character, and from which the gold has, most probably, been derived”.
WAGGA WAGGA: Very little is known about this area. However, records show that a few gold-bearing veins were found in the district (?) and at Pulletop. No other details are given.
WALCHA: Both alluvial and reef mining took place in this area. Coarse gold was found at Mulla and Swamp Creeks whilst small patches of gold were worked to a lesser extent on the Cockburn River. The country between Niangala and Walcha comprise of gravels of the old watercourses, which are overlain, with a layer of basalt. Some good gold has been found here in the past.
A number of reef mines once worked near Nowendoc, Tia and Weabonga. The old mines that worked at Swamp Oak included the Baalgammon, Great Britain, Halls Creek, Highland Mary, Rainbow, Rising Moon, Routine Flush and Storm King. The best crushings that produced larger quantities of gold were the Golden Bar and Golden Star at Glen Morrison.
WATTLE FLAT: This area can be found approximately 40 km NNE of Bathurst. There are many areas within the Wattle Flat area that produced gold as there were many kilometres of surface deposits and leads worked in the early days. Perhaps, one of the richest alluvial grounds worked was that at Red Bank some 3.2 km south of Wattle Flat. Also in the same area several high-grade veins were found. Many of the reef deposits at Wattle Flat were of the ‘fissure vein’ type. These were worked at the Solitary and Roxburgh mines. However, the gold-bearing veins encountered at Surface Hill were impregnated with arsenical pyrite.
Other mines worked in the area were namely the: Big Oakey, Comet, Considine, Great Victoria, Little Oakey, Hogan’s, Black Reef, Lord Nelson, Frenchmans and Otters Hill.
WELLINGTON: Between 1875 and 1914 over 140,000 ounces of gold was won from the alluvial gravels and reefs at Stuart Town formally named as Ironbanks (or even some records say ‘Ironbarks’). The Jawbone Lead situated about 9.6 km north of Wellington proved rich and was noted for the substantial amount of gold won there. The chinese miners worked Mookerawa Creek near the Macquarie River 8 km from Stuart Town on the Mookerawa Park road. It was reported that the whole of the Macquarie River and most of its tributaries upstream from the town of Wellington is gold-bearing.
It is interesting to note that an early report records that: “Nuggets weighing 30 and 60 ounces were found on Mookerawa Creek in 1919.”
Perhaps one of the more noted reef mines that operated was the Mitchells Creek Mine (sometimes referred to as the Bodangora Mine) some 14.5 km north of Wellington. Other reef mines include those that operated in the vicinity of Wuuluman east of the town namely the Commonwealth, Federal, Kelly’s, Perseverance and the Welcome Jack. At nearby Dripstone a reef named The Dawn of Galwadgera was also worked.
WEST WYALONG: Gold was not discovered at Wyalong until 1893. This comparatively late discovery has been ascribed to the lack of alluvial deposits and the fine-grained nature of the gold. During the period 1894 to 1915, 5,400 kg of gold was produced from a number of quartz reefs. The reefs occur within foliated granodiorite and appear to be localized along zones of crushing and shearing. Descriptions of the Wyalong field suggest that the richest values were found at intersections of the main reefs with subsidiary structures.
There were many reefs that were worked in this locality some of which include Barrier, Golden Fleece, Homeward Bound, Junction, Keep It Dark, Klinks, Kurrajong, Lucknow, Neelds, Prince of Wales, Shamrock, Star of Peace, True Blue and Welcome Stranger. Other reef mines in the surrounding district include those at Billy’s Lookout, Buralyang, Euratha, Hiawatha, Kikoira, Weethalle and at Yalgogrin. At the latter, it was found that there were gold values in the reef situated between a granite and slate contact, but it was found that the iron and arsenical pyrite later became a problem.
It is interesting to note that at Restdown, 4.8 km west of Weethalle; and near the Narriah and Thulloo sidings; and near Gubbata some good prospects have been obtained.
WINDEYER: (see also ‘Hargraves’). This goldfield is situated 37 km south of Mudgee. The country around Windeyer was the scene of some of the early gold rushes mainly along the Meroo River, and Long Creek between Pyramul and the Meroo. The tributaries of the Meroo were also worked including those at Clarke’s Creek, Campbells Creek, Green Gully and Oaky Creek. It was reported that the shallow alluvial ground area at Richardson’s Point was extremely rich in gold.
The reefs on this field are in the form of “saddles” (similar to those at Hargraves) and have been extensively worked along the Eagle Hawk line of centre country at Coronation, Golden Lily, The Gully, Crystal Palace and Jubilee Tunnel Mines. Further prospecting could be done in this line of country. Reef prospecting was somewhat stimulated by the erection of a crushing battery at Putta Bucca near Mudgee in 1935. Small ore parcels from Hargraves and Windeyer were treated over a period of about eighteen months. The amounts of gold won, however, were small. Reef production since has been very limited. It has also been recorded that other ‘saddle reefs’ at Semphill’s Creek and others near Boiga produced some good gold.
Fossicking areas can be found adjacent to the hotel, on Long Creek, as well as adjacent to the Meroo Creek bridge on the Mudgee approach to Windeyer.
YALWAL: This goldfield is situated about 29 km west of Nowra on Danjera Creek, a tributary of the Shoalhaven River. Alluvial gold was first worked here at the junction of Danjera and Yarramunmun Creeks around 1870. The gold-bearing zone is confined to a belt of hard rocks of Devonian age south of the village of Yalwal. In this zone are included quartzites, conglomerates, altered in places to quartzites, schists, and slates. However, in 1871 reef gold was found at the spot known as ‘The Pinnacle’ or ‘Number 1 Claim’. In 1872, the ore bodies worked at the Pioneer Mine were discovered; while those mined at the Homeward Bound were located in 1874. It was found that free gold occurred in the oxidised zone (the surface gold occurred in a variety of gossan, at times coarse in nature) whilst the gold was contained in the pyritic ores at depth. For many years the ores were treated by battery and amalgamation processes, but in 1898 a cyanide plant was erected at the Pioneer Mine for the recovery of gold from accumulated battery sands and slimes and low-grade ore. A large cyanide plant was installed at the Homeward Bound Mine in 1900.
The Homeward Bound and Pioneer mines are the two most important in this field. In 1904 they were acquired by the Yalwal Consolidated Gold Mines Ltd. Very little work appears to have been done since 1916, at which date, approximately, the large batteries belonging to the two mines were sold. Small quantities of gold were won during 1924 and subsequent years. Several other mines such as: The Caledonian, Colombo, Eclipse, Kings and the Star also worked in the area, but records are rather sketchy.
YAMBULLA: This old goldfield can be found near the Victorian border about 65 km from Eden. Here the gold occurs in quartz veins occupying ‘fissures’ in granite or altered ‘country rock’ near the granite. A fair production of gold came from the Miradian and Pola Leases, the Duchess of York, Yambulla, Bungalow and Pedley’s Mine and Squirrel Flat. Alluvial gold has also been recorded and worked at an area at the Timbillica River. At Sugarloaf (near Towamba) a small crushing of some surface ‘felsite’ gave results of fine gold occurring the rock.
YASS: Approximately 300 km west of Sydney. It was recorded that at Gooda Creek in the Parish of Jeir, gold occurs in veins of up to 12 mm thick containing quartz, iron oxides and some copper carbonates. The gold value extends for about 25 mm or so into the ‘country rock’ and where the veins converge ore bodies of several metres in width have been mined. The values appeared to have been good but rather limited. There are some other areas recorded but it is not worth mentioning here.
YOUNG: 390 km west of Sydney. The town of Young is located on the site of the historic Lambing Flat gold diggings where an extensive alluvial lead was worked. It is interesting to note that the population at one time was nearly 20,000. Several other alluvial localities that were worked were those at Burrangong, Chance Gully, Possum Flat and Poverty Gully. Early records show that gold nuggets up to 8 ounces were reported. Exploration in the area later proved that gold was to be found at Coolegong and on the Clifton Soldier’s Settlement.
Quartz reef mines were worked at Tyagong approximately 40 km north, and Bribbaree 40 km west, of Young respectively.
There were a number of gold-bearing quartz reefs worked in the area which included the Brilliant, Barmedman and the Garibaldi Reef; the latter being a ‘fissure vein’ of considerable length in the vicinity of Victoria Hill.