How did the oldtimers know

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Post  Guest on Tue Apr 24, 2012 3:58 pm

Gday all,
a first timer on the scene so go gently on me!
I have been prospecting now for a while & my knowlege is somewhat limited, however, my question is- how did the prospectors from early times on the goldfields know where to dig? Everywhere I look I find evidence of what took place & I gaze at the scene & wonder why they dug,as an example, one side of a hill & not the other,one side of a creek & nowhere else, a flat with seemingly no evidence to verify that gold was under that spot they decided to dig.
What pieces of the puzzle did they piece together to support their theory? I know about indicators,sort of, but their knowlege must have been vast to be so successfull. Anyone out ther have any suggestions?

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Post  G.B. on Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:59 pm

The experience of hundreds of years of the search for gold being passed down from one generation to the next. Happens every day on this forum and oher avenues where experience advises inexperience.

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Post  Guest on Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:26 pm

GB forgot;
Methodical Hard work
and
Perserverance

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Post  Guest on Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:23 pm

Gday Justanunlukybugga a lot of the time it was hit and miss with some of the old timers, you need to read some of the history on the goldfields, it is good reading of how hard they had it. Mad And welcome to the forum and to this great past time of prospecting. Very Happy hope you have many great days out there and find heaps of the yellow.

Cheers.

Mike. cheers

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Post  Guest on Sun May 06, 2012 8:26 am

justanunluckybugga wrote:Gday all,
a first timer on the scene so go gently on me!
I have been prospecting now for a while & my knowlege is somewhat limited, however, my question is- how did the prospectors from early times on the goldfields know where to dig? Everywhere I look I find evidence of what took place & I gaze at the scene & wonder why they dug,as an example, one side of a hill & not the other,one side of a creek & nowhere else, a flat with seemingly no evidence to verify that gold was under that spot they decided to dig.
What pieces of the puzzle did they piece together to support their theory? I know about indicators,sort of, but their knowlege must have been vast to be so successfull. Anyone out ther have any suggestions?


Gday

Really you have to consider that the old timers had a lot more riding on finding some gold than we do, for a start if they didnt get some gold often they did not eat, and as they were at it full time they could afford to put in all available hours to get on to something, survival was the motivation behind them having so much perserverence.

There are many stories about prospectors blindly walking on to some of the best gold finds ever made, and in some cases it was purely dumb luck, but for many it was a painful and slow process, many had no experience at all and learned as they went and many of course perished while trudging around in the bush, only a small percentage of prospectors ever did really well.

Remember also that in the very early days a lot of the gold was visible on the ground, or visible in the reefs outcrops etc, but as time went on and gold was getting harder to find the experienced prospectors started to really develop methods such as sampling and dollying, and of course loaming, where they would sample the dirt taken from a series of test holes, they would pan off these samples in a dish and see what colour was in it, by the sizes and shapes of the gold specks they could also determine where the more likely place was to start to dig looking for the reef or pipe or whatever was releasing the gold.

There is a book thats still available new called "Loaming for gold" by S.J Cash, that will explain the loaming process, most detector shops wll stock it.

Sampling evidence can still also be found around the bush where shallow holes were dug and the dirt put through a dry blower, often three or four shallow depressions will be found on a slope, if you have a close look at the stones you can see that they appear to be graded in size, larger mounds of graded material will indicate that they were getting alluvial gold in that spot so detecting around this will almost always be beneficial.

Sometimes you will find workings that dont seem to have any obvious reason to be there, but when you consider the amount of effort it takes to dig these holes by hand you also have to realise that the digger would not have expended the required energy to do this unless they were either working something that they found visible on the surface or the spot was found through a process such as sampling or loaming.

cheers

stayyerAU




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Post  philski on Wed May 09, 2012 7:39 pm

it was either a lucky find or they sampled every creek / river they came too. To see what minerals have been intersected and come down out of that drainage system and catchment. To check for values (lots hopefully) and make judgment on its worth.
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Post  Nightjar on Wed Jun 06, 2012 9:59 pm

StayyerAU sums it up well, usually visible gold, what we name today "sunbakers."
A great read is "Mates & Gold"- NK Sligo.
One of the most unrecognised explorer/prospectors who tramped from Coolgardie/Rawlinson Range/Coolgardie in search of a new find.
Historians believe he was never recognised because he never discovered a major field. His party spent more time looking for their next water supply then prospecting, relying on the aborigines most times to lead them to a supply.
This "old timer" left WA and sailed to Africa in search of his fortune only to die from a poison arrow in his leg, aged 23?

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Post  Guest on Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:29 am

Nightjar wrote:StayyerAU sums it up well, usually visible gold, what we name today "sunbakers."
A great read is "Mates & Gold"- NK Sligo.
One of the most unrecognised explorer/prospectors who tramped from Coolgardie/Rawlinson Range/Coolgardie in search of a new find.
Historians believe he was never recognised because he never discovered a major field. His party spent more time looking for their next water supply then prospecting, relying on the aborigines most times to lead them to a supply.
This "old timer" left WA and sailed to Africa in search of his fortune only to die from a poison arrow in his leg, aged 23?

Peter


Gday Peter

Almost all of the early prospectors relied apon the efforts of the previous explorers and goverment teams that were sent out to look for water and to dig wells, these people were in the field prior to the early gold rushes and their purpose was to find water and farmland, and routes to run cattle from one place to another, they in fact did it a lot harder than the early prospectors.

One interesting fact was that they would look for signs of indiginous life, and then track them to their camp which was often in the vicinity of a water source, they would then go to the water or camp, often this ended in bloodshed as the aboriginals didnt want to give up their water and put up a fight, many were shot dead and were often captured and chained up, some of the members of the exploration teams died also or carried serious wounds that would kill them at a later date, the captured aboriginals were then forced to lead the party to other water holes in the direction they were exploring.

A book that I have that tells of the exploits of explorers and settlers in WA is called WESTERN AUSTRALIA'S TEMPESTUOUS HISTORY VOL 1 and 2 OMNIBUS by John Nairn (North stirling press) 1978 it covers the history of settlement in WA and also of the explorers and first gold finds etc.

cheers

stayyerAU




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