Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

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Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Bandito on Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:54 am

Hi All, (Warning this post has lots of pics)

Headed down to the Araluen Valley last weekend with my son, the Exp II and some panning gear.

For our those who don't know the area, Araluen was back in the 1850's the most productive goldfield in NSW for a while. Most of the gold was alluvial. There was that much gold coming out of this place the famous Aussie bush ranger, "Ben Hall" and his men knocked off plenty of gold being transported north to Sydney back then. The area is still being mined by a publicly listed gold company today.

Araluen is approx 220km SW of Sydney and 60km SE of Canberra.


It is situated in a large valley surrounded by mountains approx 1500 - 2000ft high.


This is a photo from the lookout (looking south) near the top of the pass into the valley. There was a fire nearby on the day, that's why its smokey.


Left Wollongong at 5:30am arrived at 8:00am........first stop was Araluen Creek old diggings. Yes I'm a mad F1 fan hence the "OnPole" numberplate Smile


There are several levels in the creek area, the car would have been underwater back in 1850, today the creek is mostly dry, unless the area gets a good drenching.


You can see the large rocks piled up in the background by the old miners, these have been stacked there for 150yrs or so.


There was LOTS of junk here, old nails, cans, shovel head, iron sheets, shotgun shells. The only thing I was really interested in was an old knife (broken blade). Was hoping to find some coins, but wasn't that lucky. Next time hopefully.


After about 2hrs of detecting here we moved over to the cemetery (not to detect, just to look). This grave had a wombat living in it, which I thought was a bit freaky.......some of the graves dated back to 1800, just 12yrs after Australia was settled by the poms.


From here we moved south about 10km's where the river was flooded so we could do some panning and I could try my luck in the "cold" water. This is my first wetsuit so I was keen to see how warm it would keep me....it worked well.


So after a test run I grabbed the shovel and bucket and dived for some hopefully rich river sand behind large rocks etc. I was intending to dig around for some small nuggets hiding in bedrock cracks, but the river wasn't running and the silt made it impossible. I'll be back when it is running after a good rain.


So we gave the sand I got from the river a go. To my surprise It had gold in it!! Very small and fine gold, but hey it was the yellow stuff. I have taken two bucket loads home to pan later. This was our first go at panning so we were pretty slow at it.....it takes a bit of skill.


New wetsuits can be very restrictive and YES I did say the water was VERY COLD Smile


We headed home about 4:30pm as it gets dark pretty quick in the valley and we had 2 1/2hrs driving ahead to get home. It was great to get down to this historic area and to "have a go" even though we weren't that successful. It's all about the experience, I love the hills and the landscape down here. Will be going back again and staying out camping overnight next time.

cheers,
Steve

Here's a pic of a local we nearly ran into on the narrow dirt road home out of the valley.

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  nero_design on Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:08 am

VERY impressive pictures! In the right areas, gold can still be won. It's a good area for sluicing and panning and there's some great books available for those looking at researching the area. I believe there's a few private claims down that way although I don't know if they're still being worked. Looks like you had fun! Again, terrific pictures.

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Bandito on Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:14 am

Hi Nero,

Yeah we had a good day.

I read those books I think your talking about, "The Golden South" etc. Marked all the spots of note on my maps, but when I got there discovered about 8 out of the 10 places I was interested in were on private land and you can't get access, unless you ask of course. So we made do with what we could get to.

I'll go back again, love the mountains etc.

cheers,
Steve

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NSW

Post  MS on Sat Apr 25, 2009 5:13 pm

Hi Steve.
Great pics and talk about thinking outside the square and putting in the hard yards.
Goodluck and you deserve all you find
Mark

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Jigalong on Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:51 pm

Bandito,
Thanks for an interesting post.
Jigalong.

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Bandito on Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:58 am

Thanks Mark and Jigalong for the cheers........

Yeah Mark I just wanted to get in amongst it and have a go. Thought maybe the river sand hiding behind large rocks etc would be a little more fruitful. And it gave me an excuse to put the new wetty on and dive in. I'm pretty rough when it comes to panning though, need some tuition, so I'm hoping to tag along with someone later and maybe pick up some tips.

cheers,
Steve

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Guest on Mon Apr 27, 2009 8:32 pm

Very interesting post... great pics...

Another great area is the Mongarlowe River... is covered very well and is worth getting the book 'Bungonia to Braidwood' by Barry McGowan. Am off to Hill End on the Macquarie River this weekend to try some old places where I used to get gold about 30 years ago myself.

Keep the pics coming...

Ray

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Bandito on Mon Apr 27, 2009 11:25 pm

Thanks Ray,

Actually I was reading that exact same book tonight at work (just got home from avo shift).

If I lived in Dunolly I wouldn't be traveling to Hill End to find gold, are you sick of dragging 70oz nuggets out around your way? Shocked

When I finally get myself a 4500 that is one of the first area's I intend to go hunting.......so I may be asking you for some local knowledge in the future Ray.

cheers,
Steve

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Guest on Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:52 am

Hi Steve,
I have a mate who lives at Hill End and I take him out around Dunolly and he takes me around at Hill End. I dont know about pulling out the 70 ounce nuggets bit thou... only go for the decent ones myself...hahah...

There are some nice areas along the Mongarlowe if u know where to go... most places u have to canoe in as the vegetation either side is very thick and the greenies dont like u being there. I saw a nice 18 ounce nugget that came from there about 6 months ago.

Ray

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Bandito on Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:01 am

18oz nugget!! That's incentive enough for me. I was seriously thinking of having a poke around at Mongarlowe, but the hardest thing I find is working out what area's are private and what area's are public land.

For example, there was a nasty "keep out" sign at the start of a track I know is public land just south of Araluen, obviously put there to try and fool visitors into thinking it's private land.

Was the Mongarlowe area your talking about where the nugget was found on public land? A clue would be good.

Very Happy

cheers,
Steve

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Guest on Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:14 pm

Hey Steve,
No I must say it was on private land, however there are alot of areas that are on public ground.... the secret to the Margarlowe River is on page 165 and about a quarter of the way down in the book...

In regards to private land I was talking to a fellow who is part of a syndicate in Dunolly. They had been chasing a patch and it went onto private land so of a night they would jump the fence onto private property.

This contiued on for some time and the patch headed towards the house. It got to the stage that they had to approach the land owner and they did asking for permission to detect. The response they got was that the landowner said to them. You are the blokes that have been jumping my fence. The missus and I turn the light off and watch you, laughing at you tip toeing round the place. You can detect on my land prvided you fill in all your holes so my stock dont injure themselves.

So sometimes Steve it can be as easy as that. However be prepared for lots of knock backs as well especially around the Mongarlowe but dont let that deter you.

Ray

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Bandito on Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:27 pm

Thanks for the page reference Ray, I'll have a read.

Yes I'm expecting a few "buggar off" type replies when I eventually ask for permission. Any thoughts on the best approach, in person, nice letter, phone? I'm guessing a few people would be sick of being asked, although if it was me I wouldn't really care as long as they respected the privilege and did the right thing. Your mates who were jumping fences at night are very lucky they weren't shown the front gate, that guy must be pretty tolerant..........I'd be happy for people to ask, but commando raids at night would just piss me off.

Steve

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Guest on Tue Apr 28, 2009 5:46 pm

Steve,
Its been my go to just lob up and ask.... or you can get yourself a list of phone numbers in areas that you want to detect and ring them... if you write alot of them just screw up the letter and discard it.

Dont forget with the Mongarlowe most of the gold was not in the river but on the hills in the old river beds elevated about 20 metres above the current river bed.

Ray

PS They wern't mates, just people I know...my mates wouldnt do that...

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River Sand

Post  gray.nomad on Tue Apr 28, 2009 6:51 pm

Hi Bandito,

Great post, love the pics too.
Perhaps you would like to have a "Sucker Pump" to help you getting some fine stuff in the rivers/creeks.
You still need your wet suit, but you will be more productive. This is a "Hand dredge". You must ensure
that hand dredging is allowed at your prospector site.
Here is the link 4shared.com 4shared.com/file/96591569/e149e50a/Pump_Instructions_doc_.html
Absolutely free, just download and build it. Cost about Aus. $50.00 to build yourself.
I designed and build it and it works, no doubt about it.
Better than other "commercial hand dredges", which use mechanical check valves which are a pain in the
arse when small rubbish gets stuck in the check valve, which requires unscrewing/cleaning/re-assembling the unit, many times a day.
My pump does not have those problems.

There are YouTube movies you can watch to see how other hand dreges work.
Any problems building, PM me or email me. I am glad to help a fellow prospector.
Good luck mate.

See you up them thar hills.
Frank

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Bandito on Tue Apr 28, 2009 10:19 pm

Ray,

Thanks for the tips.... I did a bit of reading today at work, just need to find out where N*****y P***t is as it's not on the drawings.

Franks,

Thanks for the info on the pump.....you actually emailed me the plans in early April, but I haven't had a go at building it yet.....but I definitely will be.

Thanks fellas,
Steve

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Guest on Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:44 am

Steve,
Get a map of the area (Durran Durra 8827-11-N) and then transpose the old drawings onto the map, then in pencil write the names of places as they appear on the old drawings given by the old miners.... and presto. Now work out the roads to get to the places you want to go. U will need a 4wheel drive or a canoe.


Ray

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  goldchaser on Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:39 am

Bandito wrote:Ray,

Thanks for the tips.... I did a bit of reading today at work, just need to find out where N*****y P***t is as it's not on the drawings.

Franks,

Thanks for the info on the pump.....you actually emailed me the plans in early April, but I haven't had a go at building it yet.....but I definitely will be.

Thanks fellas,
Steve

Nuggety pt is a bit of a mystery as far as i know guys,the whereabouts was never really recorded,most of the land on durran durra is waterboard,alot is leased back by graziers,access is nearly none existent,alot of the properties are weekenders also so it can be hard to find owners to speak to,you can still access sawpit gully area i think

cheers goldchaser

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Bandito on Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:40 am

I'm doing that right now. Thanks for your help Ray, I owe you one mate.

Thanks for the info GC.......

Steve

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  goldchaser on Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:00 am

Hey no probs,i don't like to be the bearer of bad news but thems the facts,barry mc gowan missed alot of spots in his book also Very Happy

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  Big Ozzie Man on Sun Jun 21, 2009 11:10 am

goldchaser wrote:Hey no probs,i don't like to be the bearer of bad news but thems the facts,barry mc gowan missed alot of spots in his book also Very Happy

Goldchaser is right, very awkward getting permission out in that area, the shooters from days gone by are the ones that have wrecked it for anyone else,leaving rubbish and crap behind in the past.

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Mongarlowe

Post  deutran on Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:30 am

Read this article and quite interesting,I am from the south coast and did actually find a small nugget not far from mongarlowe itself,I know a good spot but difficult to explain however would be happy to share.Ive been a couple of time since not found anything more.I found the piece with a 2100.

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  miikeboyle on Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:00 pm

Hey Kingfish, I have just come back from doing some panning in the Mongarlowe and have had a few stabs at it. I would love to hear about yours and others experiences in the area. my email is miikeboyle@hotmail.com or reply here.

Thanks
Mike

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Re: Old Goldfields, Araluen NSW

Post  deutran on Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:35 pm

Hi Mike,I think this area has a lot of potential,I was just north of mongarlowe about 4 weeks ago doing an old creek bed and found a religous medalion and a number of old buttons within a short time,really doubt a detector has passed over this area.
Usually I go to Victoria as a gram a day is about average there.Lately I,ve been testing new coils and researching some old mines and diggins around merimbula,pambula and yambulla.To date havent found any gold in yambulla also tried panning but have some really good areas in mind.Mostly spent the last few months researching so will spend some time now detecting.
Im not experienced with panning but have seen a few really promising spots.Would love to learn more about it.

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