SLUICING ON THE TURON


By John ‘Nugget’ Campbell

If you live in Sydney and want to do a bit of fossicking at a location not too far away, the Turon River near Sofala, NSW, is a popular destination. The quaint historic town is well worth a visit even if you don’t find any of the elusive yellow stuff. It can be just a day trip with an early start but an overnight camp is a better option. 

I’d been going there for years and found gold by reworking some high level, previously sluiced ground. It was back-breaking labour transporting the gravel down to the Turon River and then panning it off bucket by bucket but on my last trip I was in for a surprise.   

Just before Christmas last year I met up with an old classmate of mine, George, whom I hadn’t seen for 25 years. As we caught up on a lost quarter of a century we discovered we had a common interest in gold fossicking. George took me out to his shed and showed me his aluminium gold sluice and the various tools he’d developed to recover the gold wash, and invited me to accompany him on his next trip. The clincher was when he showed me his recovered gold and the wedding rings he and his wife were wearing – both made from the Turon or Sofala District gold.   

We live on opposite sides of Sydney so we decided to meet up at Richmond and travel in George’s car together. I set out before dawn one Sunday in March and met George at the appointed time. The trip went really quickly as we reminisced about the old school days, planned an upcoming class reunion and, of course, swapped stories about gold locations where we had fossicked.

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