The Whoo-hoo Specimen!
By ‘Caz’ as told to Cordell Kent
Like most goldfields towns, Ballarat and its surrounds are still giving up their treasures to prospectors armed with modern-day Minelab super detectors. But it’s just gotten a bit harder to find big gold nuggets as they simply don’t grow back.
I’ve had to think differently about where and how I search for big nuggets and this has involved a lot of studies in the field and of old documents.
One thing I got to thinking about were all those deep, hydraulically-sluiced-out gullies around Ballarat, and when I went back in my research, I found that the majority of the recorded ones started off as leads where the original miners had sunk relatively shallow shafts to get good gold at depths of three to five metres.
Once the leads were worked, and time went by, the gutters and gullies were hit with high pressure water and the rich seams of gold left by previous miners were washed away. All the rich auriferous gravels were processed in bulk by workers working for companies and they targeted the pillars that were left between the old miners’ workings. Everything went through the sluice boxes.