By Mark Williams
Not only did the New Year usher in a fresh start and the expectation of great finds that lay ahead, it also brought with it some extremely hot Adelaide weather. After sitting at home knee-deep in research for a couple of days, I finally headed off to my favourite relic-hunting area to see if I was on the right track.
My first stop was at an old house built in 1850 and owned by some of the first whalers operating in South Australia. On arrival I approached the new owner who quickly confirmed it was indeed the right house and that all my other information was correct. He was nice enough to not only give me permission to detect the area but he also told me who the farmer was who owned the land at the back of his house where there were two old ruins. One of these ruins was the original house that was lived in while the main house was built, and the other was the stable. There were also some of the original livestock yards and a sheep dipping run behind them.
The site was scattered with old peppercorn trees that were well over a hundred years old and these are often a sign of where houses once stood.
Most of the day was spent walking slowly, listening intently and failing dismally. With nothing to show for our efforts the icing on the cake was when the skies let loose. For the rest of the day and the next, and the next, and for five full days, it rained non-stop. Enough was enough and we got out while we still could and headed further north.
My first target for the day was an 1894-1895 dog registration disc that wasn’t too far inside the block. It was a portent of a good day ahead.