Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

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Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

Post  Imadogman on Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:08 pm

We made our point and it was heard. cheers cheers cheers

About 15 prospectors turned up for the meeting and we met as planned at the War Memorial. The bulk of the numbers came from this forum and also the Prospectors’ Home Club of Parramatta who I emailed last week. Their support in numbers and good ideas was very welcome. Thanks guys. (Sydney-siders you might want to hook-up with them)

We also had a representative from the Alluvial Prospectors Forum and with some of us wearing a Finders hat as well; you could say that they were also represented. It was pleasing that our representation was broad: we had senior and younger, both men and women.

We were really the only organised interest group at the meeting, but there were loose groups of locals, business etc.

The presentation of the outline of the new Hill End master plan went for some three and half hours. I’m sure I was not the only one thinking about lost detecting time...as it was a nice day outside. sunny

Most of the presentation was about ways to plan the Hill End historical site, so did not have immediate relevance to us; except for the identification of prospectors and fossickers as an important niche group whose needs should be met to help meet both the growth plans of the town and NSW tourism generally.

There was no big written report as such (like the 2004 one). That is still to be written and finalised before the end of June.

Overall our position was/is that we support moves to make Hill End a more viable community for the long term and we see ourselves as part of the solution – not the problem. The shape of the town itself is more something for the local community to sort out rather than us as visitors.

Key things that came out of the meeting relevant to our interest:

1. There is no plan to change current access arrangements in any new master plan! cheers cheers cheers This point was made right up front so I think we had made our point before we began!

2. NPWS said they would not be making moves to take over additional territory in Hill End. HOWEVER they did say that there had been ‘informal discussions’ with other departments – Lands if I recall correctly – about how they might be able to help each other manage the land they have. So I think we still need to be vigilant into the future Suspect to make sure that access is not restricted with any new arrangements – if they come to pass at all. I think we need to take this statement at face value - it was said in public and would be hard to deny and we should appreciate that they have been straight up about it. It was good they clarified the key concern quickly.

3. Our key point about access and consultation on changes was made and emphasised a number of times by myself and others. There is no doubt NPWS officialdom now knows that we exist and won’t take unfair changes lying down.

4. I delivered key points from a prepared statement on behalf of the forum (see below for the text). Sixty copies of the statement were distributed to attendees. I provided copies of the PMAV video and Eureka Echo to all members of the consulting team, movers and shakers I could identify and also a range of Hill End businesses over the next day. All of them were appreciative of the time and effort we had put into presenting our thoughts. I think we achieved goodwill in the local community. One of them even asked what would be a good detector to buy!

5. I learned that NPWS had been viewing our forum posts in the lead-up to the meeting (as indeed I expected they would be!) I am sure that as a result of our forum activity and registration at the meeting that our position was therefore anticipated and taken into account in the presentation of the outline of the plan. So to a large extent our point had been well and truly made before the meeting occurred. This is a great success foe us as a group and demonstrates the value of active participation on our forum in matters of access. So we need to keep that up. We have a capacity to lobby using this forum and need to use it.

6. Both myself and AuOptimist made some good contacts who I think we can continue to work with to improve the lot of prospectors in NSW generally.

WHAT HAPPENS NOW

There is a one month period for interested parties to put in more detailed submissions to the consultants who will be writing up the plan. I will expand our core document into a submission to elaborate on the sort of things that we can do to make Hill End fossicker friendly. In doing that I will work with AuOptimist and others who have said they can help. Of course I will post a copy of it in due course.

TO HELP ME IF ANYONE HAS GOOD SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO IMPROVE THE FACILITIES ETC FOR US AT HILL END THEN PLEASE PM ME WITH THE DETAILS ASAP. ALSO IF YOU HAVE IDEAS ON HOW TO PROMOTE FOSSICKING TOURISM TO THE AREA.

In the meantime, for your interest here is the statement that I provided. I had it laid-out and copied, and it looked pretty smick. Unfortunately limitations on my ability to post attachments on this forum mean I am posting as text only. Photo gallery yet to come. I wanted to get this report out as quickly as I can. Woof Woof.

Statement on behalf of the 3200 members of the Gold Detecting and Prospecting Forum
http://golddetecting.4umer.net
14 April 2012

“Give Fossickers a ‘Fair Go’ in new Hill End Master Plan”


Members of the Gold Detecting and Prospecting Forum declare they are willing to work with the people of Hill End, the Commons Trust and NPWS to help make Hill End a favoured fossicking and prospecting destination, thus helping to secure its future.

We seek that the new plan recognises:
1. The living heritage value of 160 years of continuous and ongoing gold extraction by prospectors, miners and fossickers at Hill End. The activity is not ‘frozen in time’ but continues to evolve along with the mining landscape and Hill End community.
2. The rare significance of Hill End in NSW as an area that is viable and open for recreational gold fossicking.
3. The iconic nature of Hill End as a fossicking destination for thousands of visitors from all over Australia.
4. The significant contribution of fossickers to the ongoing economic sustainability of the Hill End community. Fossickers keep coming back, even in winter, if they think they can find gold. Repeat visitors are gold for Hill End! Over and over again.
5. The very low level of environmental impact of modern fossicking techniques (metal detecting, panning and sluicing).
6. The need to maintain the maximum area (crown land and commons) available within the zone for fossicking, excluding reasonable and negotiated no go areas set aside for genuine and demonstrable conservation of the buildings and ambience of the town precinct or historical sites like cemeteries. Prime fossicking areas need to be available and not ‘locked-up’ for their ‘protection’.
7. The need to maintain the ability of fossickers to bush camp as well as use the town amenities.
8. The opportunity for Hill End to showcase itself as a shrewd community that actively engages with, and encourages recreational fossickers and prospectors. As a showcase it would optimise access, facilities, support and information and make itself a mecca for fossickers and prospectors. In so doing it show the way for other areas in NSW on how to make their towns and regions fossicker friendly, thereby attracting more local and interstate tourists to Hill End and NSW.
9. The need to consult effectively with a cross section of the NSW and national fossicking and prospecting community to help shape the Hill End of the future.

The 2004 Master Plan was extremely disappointing and incomplete for its lack of understanding of the vital economic and cultural role that fossickers and prospectors have traditionally played in Hill End. In fact, not once did any of the words “fossicking,” “prospecting,” “sluice,” “gold pan,” or “nugget” even appear in the plan! This is despite the fact that the Holterman Nugget – the world’s largest single piece of gold - was found at Hill End in 1872! There was no noteable mention of the thousands of recreational fossickers and prospectors as visitors nor any estimate of their economic impact or potential – a stark omission that NPWS needs to address to develop an inclusive, fair and balanced plan for the future.

Beyond Hill End and throughout NSW forum members deplore the insidious and constant erosion of the rights of small-time fossickers and recreational prospectors through continual locking-up of NSW public land and historical gold areas. This has happened by: a large increase in the number of National Parks (which unlike Victoria exclude fossicking on known gold areas); leasing of crown land with diggings to private interests (without sector consultation on access); and the creation of State Conservation Areas and other reserves that exclude amateur fossicking (also without sector consultation).

If fossickers and prospectors had fur or feathers we would likely be considered ‘endangered’ and in need of habitat protection. So let’s put the fossickers and prospectors back into the discussion.

Fossickers and prospectors deserve and demand better. Like those in 1854 at Eureka we pay taxes, we dig and we vote! We just want a fair go on access and to preserve this traditional activity for future generations.


Resources for those who want to know more

Gold Detecting and Prospecting Forum http://golddetecting.4umer.net
Alluvial Gold Prospectors http://alluvialgprospectors.proboards.com
Finders Forum http://www.finders.com.au
Australian Goldfields Prospectors Forum http://australiangoldfields.freeforums.org
Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria (PMAV) http://www.pmav.org.au and its video, 21st Century Prospecting in Victoria http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEIqEl39QbM This video has received almost 100,000 views since it was released in November last year.
*****

Eureka http://www.eurekaballarat.com
The Eureka Rebellion demonstrated the refusal of citizens to be dominated by unfair government and laws. It was an important step in the establishment of democratic principles including 'taxation with representation' and the right of each person to have a say in how they are governed, along with the Australian notion of 'a fair go for all'.
The Diggers’ oath – as sworn at Eureka in 1852:
'We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties'.
*****
Department of Primary Industries NSW (Has a fossickers guide) www.dpi.nsw.gov.au
The Gold Trail http://www.heritagetourism.com.au/gold-trail
(Too bad it did not include any detailed information about fossicking areas).
Stephen Dangaard – forum delegate - Tel: 0458 713303/02 62589302(ah)



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magnificent effort at Hillend

Post  rossco on Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:42 pm

Every member of the forum should be extremely grateful for the unbelieveable effort of imadogman AUoptimist and all concerned who attended or in any other way contributed to the presentation of the forums views at Hillend on the 12th of this month. It should go down as an annual event for forum members to meet and celebrate our very own Hillend stockade. Imadogman,your work and spirited defense of our rights makes you a bloody legend as are all those who took the time to be there. I am so sorry i was not there to be apart of the proceedings.Yet i am so pleased that things appear to have turned out well at this stage.Thank you on behalf of all of us. Gratefully yours under the Southern Cross....Rossco
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Re: Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

Post  davsgold on Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:27 pm

I'll 2nd that. cheers
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Re: Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

Post  byronbinalong on Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:20 am

well done and thankyou to Imadogman all the others cheers cheers cheers
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Re: Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

Post  Ringpull on Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:51 am

Excellent work ... and thank you!
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Re: Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

Post  4rd on Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:49 am

Hi Imadogman & all concerned: Most inspiring and congratulations on a very significant accomplishment not just for HE but for this great pastime and hobby overall.

Point #5 about NPWS viewing our forum is particularly noteworthy. I think that as a community, and as registered members of this forum or any other prospecting forum - it is very important that we do not only rely on specific meetings with relevant bodies & authorities to get the message across, goodwill is built over time and every one of us can help make a huge difference simply by continuing to display positive attitude, awareness of how we can go about our activities with minimal impact to others and the environment, and a healthy respect on all fronts.

Thanks again and keep up the great work.

4rd
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Re: Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

Post  Guest on Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:25 am

Imadogman , and others , your efforts are to be applauded
dave

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Re: Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

Post  chopppacalamari on Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:12 am

Thanks for representing us geltlemen,

I don't think they've considered the flow on effect of us going there to prospect. I've taken my wife there for the weekend and stayed in payed accomodation as she wouldn't dare çamp out. I always have dinner at the pub even if I am camping out and Ive twice met my mates from sydney there who with families in tow have paid for accommodation. i'm even planning our family reunion there as its so pretty and not so far west as where I live. All this and I'm just one of many many prospectors who head out that way.

dicko..
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Re: Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

Post  mullockgrubber on Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:37 pm

As one of the attendees at the Hill End meeting firstly my thanks to Imadogman and Auoptimist for their co joint untiring efforts in this matter.

It was very pleasing to see such a good rollup of gold fossickers/detector enthusiasts from not just this forum but from other organisations as well, and at such short notice.

Well done all, I certainly enjoyed my time with the locals there as a lot of matters were raised.

Think a lot of goodwill was gained and we must keep the ball rolling.

Cheers
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Re: Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

Post  ARARAT on Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:24 pm

Imadogman, Auoptimist and all involved,

Inspirational effort.. Very Happy

Regards
A

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Post  Guest on Tue Apr 17, 2012 6:33 pm

Congrats on every one involved....great work guys.

Cheers.

Mike. cheers

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Post  madmaverick on Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:02 pm

hey guys, not in NSW but take my hat off to all those involved in fighting for what we all enjoy, full marks and please accept our thanks for all your effort,,, take care guys and hope to catch up some where in NSW for a beer and a fossick

happy hunting
Steve and Lea
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Re: Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

Post  gcause on Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:38 pm

Not in NSW but congratulations to all involved, brilliant effort well done. We need much more of this, the price of freedom is eternal vigiliance. cheers

Hope to meet you all one day out on the goldfields.
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Re: Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

Post  Guest on Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:07 pm

Great work guys.
Fantastic to see and read.
Iamdogman next trip drinks are on me (and BBQ) cheers
GoldEN

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Has anyone noticed?

Post  David & Maree on Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:47 pm

Has anyone noticed just how small our beautiful Australia is becoming?
Are our national parks just for looking at?
It seems that NSW is fast becoming a police state filled with so many restrictions we are unable to move.
Gold fossicking is fun and does not harm the environment it helps it.
I would like to know if there is a Party or even a person that can represent this in Parliament,before we lose our freedom to enjoy life Evil or Very Mad

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Submission (detailed) to Hill End Draft Master Plan 2012.

Post  Imadogman on Mon May 14, 2012 10:02 pm

I put in an expanded submission to the consultants today to the Hill End consultants. Today was the due date for any feedback from the community following the presentation of the draft plan at Hill End on April 14.

y the time I got their draft report, I only had a week to do it. Anyway, hopefully there will be some engagement with forum members as the finalise the plan and begin to implement. This is a crack at presenting some of the things I have discussed with forum members. I am sure not everyone will agree with what I have written but art least we are in the mix.

Here is the text for those who are interested. I am sorry that I could not include it as an attachment, which would make it easier for everyone to read...

Contribution by
Gold Detecting and Prospecting Forum
To Hill End Draft Master Plan
May 2012


Submitted on behalf of forum members by:
Stephen Dangaard
5 Welch Place
Flynn ACT 2615

On 7 May I received a CD copy of the Draft Hill End Master Plan 2012 by mail of NPWS in Hill End whom I rang the week before that to chase it up. It was indicated at the meeting in Hill End on 14 April that this would be available online “next week” but this was not the case, I gather for technical reasons. Given the stated consultation period for the draft plan was “30 days” I have not had as much time as I would have liked to consider the contents. However I am grateful to have received a copy and offer the following comments or contributions to your draft on behalf of the Gold Detecting and Prospecting Forum members.

Had I not followed up though, I would have not had the document nor the opportunity to make a further contribution. It is difficult to comprehend how such an advanced plan can be substantially changed as a result of “consultation” in such a short time when the plan needs to be completed by the end of June. However, the quality of the consultation process is ultimately a matter for the owners of the report and they will be judged by the public for what they have done or not done.

For the record I attach a copy of the statement which I provided to the public meeting on behalf of the forum.
It is pleasing that the preamble of the new draft at least recognises the historical role of fossicking and mining in a more credible way than the previous master plan. The reference in the context document – page 65 – outlines this.
14. Fossicking
14a. Liaise with interested amateur prospecting groups to determine community
needs and wants.
14b. Determine and designate suitable areas for fossicking that do not conflict with
areas of cultural and/or archaeological heritage significance.
14c. Provide interpretation and wayfinding signage and ensure accessibility to each
site
14d. Provide boundary identification of each fossicking site by low visual impact
markers
14e. Provide erosion control management, refer to Erosion management policies.


However elsewhere, fossicking and prospecting do not rate a mention, despite the demonstrated interest by this community. e.g.
Master Plan | Conservation Management & Cultural Tourism Master Plan for Hill End Historic Site Existing situation Tourist Centre
It’s role as a tourist centre depends on the telling of
the mining story. From this place it is possible to learn
of the life and times, and the contribution made by
early settlers to the building of the nation. But whilst
mining is the major focus of tourism in the district other
factors come into play to provide the tourist with an all
round experience. Factors including the landscape, art
colonisation, and recreational pursuits such as riding,
driving, walking, picnicking, four wheel driving and
bush-walking.


On balance, the Gold Detecting and Prospecting Forum acknowledges that in its current form the new draft master plan does not immediately pose dangers to continued fossicking and prospecting. But it could do a lot more to meet our needs. There is also inherent risk that as the plan is slowly put into action over the next 20 years that the interests of prospectors and fossickers might be pushed back out into the cold. That would be unfortunate for all concerned. Rest assured, fossickers and prospectors will be following the delivery and evolution of the plan closely.

Members of the forum and others are ready to participate in the “liaison” in 14a above. Some forum members are HE regulars and are willing to help in a face-to-face capacity. Others could be contacted via the forum and participate via email, phone or online survey activity.

As indicated at the Hill End meeting the main requirement for the recreational fossicking and prospecting community is the continued and even expanded access for this activity throughout the whole of the HE area. We appreciate that much of the area is not under NPWS jurisdiction, but in an area where the presence of NPWS is so dominant there is a risk that restrictive attitudes and policies will have a tendency to extend into areas where there is no NPWS authority, but it becomes assumed through some kind of broad “management of the area” interest. Forum member have heard of NPWS staff ‘policing’ outside of their area.

In NSW the history of NPWS in terms of excluding prospectors and fossickers from their traditional grounds through hardline conservation policies and practices is very poor. NPWS has a chance in HE to be fair and be seen to be fair. If NPWS loses faith with the needs of modern day fossickers and prospectors it will betray the very basis of the historical economic and social fabric that created and sustained HE in the past. Active fossicking and prospecting helps to keep alive those golden roots of the HE past.

There is huge attention paid to the ‘art colonisation’ of HE throughout the draft plan. However this art colonisation, as interesting and as glamorous as it is, is nonetheless a latter day wonder whose history is less than half that of the mining, fossicking and prospecting interests. The art colony itself is inspired by the mining landscape and therefore there needs to be much stronger reference to this throughout the master plan in keeping with the true historical roots of the town. There is room to focus on both.
Environment and land plans

The defined fossicking and prospecting area in the map on page 46 is ridiculously small. There is no reason that fossicking could not continue to be practiced in all areas – bar places like cemeteries and defined historical areas of significant archaeological interest. The area in the map highlighted in blue for example, is existing disturbed ground. Revegetation efforts would not be compromised by fossicking with detectors. Indeed there is some scientific evidence in Victoria that suggests that scrape holes from detecting (dug and filled in) actually facilitate revegetation by making it easier for seeds to establish. A fossicking area in the historical precinct – where mum and dad can swish a dish would be very popular for visitors who don’t have long to look around. The hardline protection code in the town area needs to be flexible in this regard.

Comments and diagrams about erosion control management throughout a large extent of watercourses are a major concern if these limit the ability of fossickers to work in creeks, including Golden Gulley in the areas outside of this historical precinct. Use of gabions could result in additional ferrous pollution in water courses which would create a major problem for metal detecting and should be avoided.
The reality is that the eroded environment is part of the attraction of HE. If you take steps to prevent that, or worse still to ‘fix it’ you are changing the nature of the historical landscape away from what its primary attraction is.
Given that the draft plan notes:
Mined and eroded areas tend to be located to the east
and west of the town, and associated with alluvial mined
creeks. They are a significant memory of the gold rush
era and they should not be allowed to be overgrown with
regenerated vegetation
.

a reasonable argument could be mounted that increased alluvial fossicking activity in these creeks should be encouraged, rather than discouraged which tends to be the norm from protectionist conservation regimes. Active small scale claims would serve to restore revegetated areas to their previous more open state and keep those areas clear of bush. They would be a tourist attraction in themselves.

Impact on catchment areas, as is referred to a number of times in the report, is I think greatly exaggerated. Nature, herself, in times of flood would put massively more dirt into a river system then a generation of modern day fossickers. Not to mention things like runoff from roads or agriculture which have continued to be developed in the modern era.

Having walked through some of these areas mentioned I can say that the amount of regrowth in some areas is startling. The amount of fuel on the ground is also very high and these things combined make the whole area a huge fire risk in summer. To assist this, controlled fuel reduction burns should be undertaken in the cool seasons. This is just common sense.

Encouraging people to access the bush, and to use it, means that a good network of low impact and low maintenance trails will be maintained at very little cost.

Tourism


There are lots of references in the documents to HE as a mining village. However there is no real consideration or encouragement of mining tourism – for example a gold museum with facilities that show what some of those things were like. Old Mogo town near Bateman’s Bay is an example of accessible interpretation of the mining history and landscape. Even a life size Holtermann nugget replica in the main street would give visitors a big kick. This is not a Coff’s Harbour big banana exercise – but a replica cast in brass would be a major talking point. It would certainly be a more realistic option than a sound and light show – even though in the distant future that might be workable. For now I don’t think the town has the visitations required to make it economically sensible. Perhaps you would better spend your money on an IMAX movie and try to get it run in Sydney. Even having a gold bar that people could lift would be a fun thing to do. I recall putting my hand into a Perspex box once to try to lift a large gold bar. Never forgot that!

Possible events like an annual Hill End Metal Detecting Jamboree or Muster or panning championships would really be worthwhile and just as valid as some of the attention paid to the ‘arts’ aspects of HE. There would be commercial sponsors for such activities and done properly once a year would bring hundreds of visitors, many of whom would be likely to return.

There is also potential to pitch HE to commercial television interests as the site of a prosecting reality program or drama series. The current Gold Rush Alaska series showing on Foxtel has achieved very high ratings. Past US programs like Frontier House, Colonial House and in Australia, Colony, are good examples of period reality programs. The program Rush and more recently Wild Boys show what can be done with some imagination on the drama scene. Not to mention the critically acclaimed ABC series Rush (1974) that covered life on the Victorian goldfields in 1851. The latter used the township of Sovereign Hill as a backdrop. Why not Hill End in 2014?

Having sat through the presentation of possible tourism accommodation models at the public meeting, one style that was not covered was the concept of temporary seasonal accommodation – high quality tents in the style of the old timers but with a few more comforts. This needs to be priced at the budget end – not the high cost wilderness lodge model that very few people can afford. This has some real merit. To take it further why not a summer holidays “tent town” smack bang in the middle of the village over the Christmas holidays? Make it a bit like the old days...join the latest HE rush. Local businesses would love it.

Maps and signage

Signs and maps to show fossickers the different land zones in the HE area is a good idea and should be developed both online as well as print. A detailed map from the NPWS (people would be happy buy it if it was useful) and signposting of area maps – like Google pictures with pointers – so fossickers can know where they are and get to where they might want to go, should be considered ‘a must do’.

A section in the NPWS visitors centre dedicated to the fossicking experience in Hill End, including demonstrations of metal detectors, pans and sluices would be informative and interpret that activity for visitors. Obvious places for signs and this sort of information would be the visitors Centre, near the general store, at Tambaroora and in the caravan parks.

If you could use your NSW government resources to draw together a package of online maps about the HE area – showing in detail where the NPWS areas are, Crown land, mining leases, private land and Commons, this would be greatly appreciated by fossickers thinking of visiting the area. It could well make the difference as to them visiting HE or not. This would be a very small investment for you but one that would have an excellent return with virtually no ongoing cost. This should be a must do and, like some signs, it can be delivered quickly.
As there is a paucity of quality online information about fossicking in HE, a small online “guide to fossicking in the Hill End area” would also be an excellent investment to attract new people to the area.

Invitations to expert prospectors and metal detector operators in the same way the arts community is feted would be potentially useful. The likes of Jonathan Porter from Queensland is very well known in the metal detecting prospecting community and could be a useful advocate for visiting the area. Invite the Editor of Gold and Treasure magazine to spend time at Hill End to write stories about the place and how good it is for fossickers. Some effort to woo the Sydney media to the delights and rewards of visiting the golden kingdom at HE would also encourage new visitors from Sydney and elsewhere.

Practically, you also need some ‘big nugget’ discoveries announced just before the main holiday periods. That really gets them going in Victoria! So do you have a “show us your nuggets” place where people can brag about their finds and leave a photo record?

Private land owners in the area could also be encouraged to permit fossicking on their properties. Many prospectors would be prepared to pay to access areas that have been ‘less flogged’. Cattle stations near Tibooburra in NW New South Wales charge $10 per detector per day (includes camping) and do a roaring trade in the right season. I went to Mount Brown station last October for 10 days under such an arrangement. A register of willing properties in the HE area, with their contact details and basic arrangements could be set up. They could even combine this with home stay or B&B. You could develop B&B&P concept of tourism. “Bed and Breakfast and Prospect” holidays.

Souvenir gimmicks like local Miners Rights – complete with people’s names – could be produced at low cost using your own Hill End Press. Seeing them printed would be a real treat. Or a series of humorous bumper stickers e.g. “I left my nuggets at Hill End” would appeal to all of those who go to Hill End and find nothing!

World Heritage Status
Potential World Heritage Listing of these areas carries with it unacceptably high risk to the access and utility that people, especially fossickers, can make of such areas. The truth is that once something is so listed, inevitably a large number of restrictions come along as part of international obligations. If these were confined to the historical precinct, that would be OK. However, there will certainly be a tendency for these areas to expand and want to control surrounding environs as buffers for the listed area. That would put it on collision course with the natural and traditional interests of fossickers and prospectors who have worked this HE area for more than 160 years.
Without iron-clad guarantees that continued access to existing prospective areas will be maintained, support for such listing is not possible by the fossicking community.
7.1.5 Elevation in Heritage Status
NPWS should seek to have the historic Site listed at the
National Heritage Register and considers future nomination
for inscription on the World Heritage List. Elevated heritage
status will promote its recognition locally, nationally and
internationally as a place of outstanding cultural significance
and unique experience, and likely to increase visitation
by local, interstate and overseas tourists. The identified
listing criteria, nomination and listing processes for National
Heritage and World Heritage listings have been discussed
in Sections 5 and 6 respectively.
NO THANKS
There is also potential to seek World Heritage Listing jointly
with other heritage significant gold mining sites in NSW or
other Australian states.
NO THANKS

Roads and infrastructure

While I have not personally used the Bridle Track, I understand from those that have that there are many prospecting-worthy areas along the track. Therefore urgent restoration of the road would help make those areas more accessible and give people reasons to keep coming back. Overall the NPWS camping grounds infrastructure in Hill End is very good. However many people will continue to want to bush camp and the ability to do this needs to be maintained.

Summary
The forum appreciates consideration to date to ensure that prospecting and fossicking remains visible in both planning and implementation of the HE Master Plan and that Fossicking tourism be seen a important niche market for Hill End and promoted for that reason. We want to remain in the consultation process to ensure that Access to the maximum fossicking areas with the minimum of restrictions is maintained and expanded if possible. We ask that we not be overlooked in future exercises to identify ways to make HE a viable community into the future.


Statement on behalf of the 3200 members of the Gold Detecting and Prospecting Forum
http://golddetecting.4umer.net
14 April 2012

“Give Fossickers a ‘Fair Go’ in new Hill End Master Plan”


Members of the Gold Detecting and Prospecting Forum declare they are willing to work with the people of Hill End, the Commons Trust and NPWS to help make Hill End a favoured fossicking and prospecting destination, thus helping to secure its future.

We seek that the new plan recognises:
1. The living heritage value of 160 years of continuous and ongoing gold extraction by prospectors, miners and fossickers at Hill End. The activity is not ‘frozen in time’ but continues to evolve along with the mining landscape and Hill End community.
2. The rare significance of Hill End in NSW as an area that is viable and open for recreational gold fossicking.
3. The iconic nature of Hill End as a fossicking destination for thousands of visitors from all over Australia.
4. The significant contribution of fossickers to the ongoing economic sustainability of the Hill End community. Fossickers keep coming back, even in winter, if they think they can find gold. Repeat visitors are gold for Hill End! Over and over again.
5. The very low level of environmental impact of modern fossicking techniques (metal detecting, panning and sluicing).
6. The need to maintain the maximum area (crown land and commons) available within the zone for fossicking, excluding reasonable and negotiated no go areas set aside for genuine and demonstrable conservation of the buildings and ambience of the town precinct or historical sites like cemeteries. Prime fossicking areas need to be available and not ‘locked-up’ for their ‘protection’.
7. The need to maintain the ability of fossickers to bush camp as well as use the town amenities.
8. The opportunity for Hill End to showcase itself as a shrewd community that actively engages with, and encourages recreational fossickers and prospectors. As a showcase it would optimise access, facilities, support and information and make itself a Mecca for fossickers and prospectors. In so doing it show the way for other areas in NSW on how to make their towns and regions fossicker friendly, thereby attracting more local and interstate tourists to Hill End and NSW.
9. The need to consult effectively with a cross section of the NSW and national fossicking and prospecting community to help shape the Hill End of the future.
The 2004 Master Plan was extremely disappointing and incomplete for its lack of understanding of the vital economic and cultural role that fossickers and prospectors have traditionally played in Hill End. In fact, not once did any of the words “fossicking,” “prospecting,” “sluice,” “gold pan,” or “nugget” even appear in the plan! This is despite the fact that the Holtermann Nugget – the world’s largest single piece of gold - was found at Hill End in 1872! There was no notable mention of the thousands of recreational fossickers and prospectors as visitors nor any estimate of their economic impact or potential – a stark omission that NPWS needs to address to develop an inclusive, fair and balanced plan for the future.
Beyond Hill End and throughout NSW forum members deplore the insidious and constant erosion of the rights of small-time fossickers and recreational prospectors through continual locking-up of NSW public land and historical gold areas. This has happened by: a large increase in the number of National Parks (which unlike Victoria exclude fossicking on known gold areas); leasing of crown land with diggings to private interests (without sector consultation on access); and the creation of State Conservation Areas and other reserves that exclude amateur fossicking (also without sector consultation).
If fossickers and prospectors had fur or feathers we would likely be considered ‘endangered’ and in need of habitat protection. So let’s put the fossickers and prospectors back into the discussion.
Fossickers and prospectors deserve and demand better. Like those in 1854 at Eureka we pay taxes, we dig and we vote! We just want a fair go on access and to preserve this traditional activity for future generations.
Resources for those who want to know more
Gold Detecting and Prospecting Forum http://golddetecting.4umer.net
Alluvial Gold Prospectors http://alluvialgprospectors.proboards.com
Finders Forum http://www.finders.com.au
Australian Goldfields Prospectors Forum http://australiangoldfields.freeforums.org
Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria (PMAV) http://www.pmav.org.au and its video, 21st Century Prospecting in Victoria http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEIqEl39QbM This video has received almost 100,000 views since it was released in November last year.
*****
Eureka http://www.eurekaballarat.com
The Eureka Rebellion demonstrated the refusal of citizens to be dominated by unfair government and laws. It was an important step in the establishment of democratic principles including 'taxation with representation' and the right of each person to have a say in how they are governed, along with the Australian notion of 'a fair go for all'.
The Diggers’ oath – as sworn at Eureka in 1852:
'We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties'.
*****
Department of Primary Industries NSW (Has a fossickers guide) www.dpi.nsw.gov.au
The Gold Trail http://www.heritagetourism.com.au/gold-trail
(Too bad it did not include any detailed information about fossicking areas).
Stephen Dangaard – forum delegate - Tel: 02 62589302(ah)
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HILLEND REPORT UPDATE

Post  rossco on Wed May 16, 2012 3:33 pm

Great report Stephen.Not surprised that they took there time getting back to you.My only comment is :What else can we do do now?...My guess is...not a lot.Saome of the ideas you have put foward warrant serious consideration by NPWS,for they have great merit indeed. most notably was that concerning involving the local landholders opening up there long locked up land for a nominal fee.I wonder if a list of landholders could be obtained from Bathurst Council and a list of those then approached by mail to canvass their interest in such a proposal irrespective of NPWS participation.THIS COULD BE A WAY OF SECURING POTENTIAL RICH GROUND,For both electronic and hand prospecting for members...though it brings up the question of proof of membership...I don't know if we actually have a member number ,do we?maybe thats one for stoppsy to answer. Anyway great work Stephen and all concerned...look foward to further posts on this matter...Yours under the southern cross.....Rossco
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Re: Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

Post  getascripter on Wed May 16, 2012 8:38 pm

I'm only a lowly Crow Eater (SA) but I truly wish there were many more of you guys over here in SA!!

You have the gumption, get-up-and-go, and the where-with-all, to really make a difference! What a tremendous effort on every one's behalf!!

I applaud you all Smile

It's a real pity that SA is full of 'Super Greens', 'trendy-wendy's', 'fun police' and politicians ... all pretty useless really ... unless it is in their own best interest Evil or Very Mad
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Fossicking tourism

Post  philip.j.thompson on Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:14 pm

I think its time to get back to a fossicking license. Since we lost those we lost access to major tr Evil or Very Mad acks of land, Should allow access to all NSW state forest, national parks and leases that are knocking out whatever is left. We dig, and fill, small holes. Otherwise be like me commute to Victoria where at least there is a bit of choice.

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Land lockup

Post  philip.j.thompson on Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:27 pm

In the last 5 years in the Riverina around Hay they have purchased three new national parks that have morphed into conservation areas and as such are not open to the public. Official response is OH&S mean properties are not up up to level allow visitors in. My guess they have over extended themselves, can't manage and of course over the mountain range does not exist pale

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curious

Post  markypan79 on Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:33 pm

hello people i have recently moved to orange nsw and i frequently grab what little panning gear i have and i head off to hill end i have been finding a little gold but just testing areas i am new to this and i know nobody from around here is there any groups to join so i can learn more i only pan but wld love to get sluiceing but regulations around here are vague at best and councils in area dont know how to help. I have been going to summer creek near the cabins across the weir near the picnic area and further up am i wasting my time pls help ?

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welcome mate

Post  philip.j.thompson on Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:36 pm

I suggest you jump into general discussion, you are more likely to elicit a quick response. I know there are members in your area.
regards Phil pirat

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Re: Hill End Meeting Report Back - We made our point and it was heard. No change to access.

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