The inaugural Australian Gold & Fossickers Expo has come and gone. It was an unqualified success, and was supported by visitors from every State and from overseas. Undoubtedly it will be the catalyst for more and more events of a similar nature as time goes be.
We have considered using forums on this site for some time - and have monitored closely other gold sites that use forums. At times one sees quite well thought out and qualified remarks but all too often radical elements make libelous comments that could result in legal action being taken.
The price of gold appears to be remaining static - but then at just over AUD$500 - its not a bad return on your investment. We would all like it to be much higher - but the reality is that in some sectors gold no longer holds the market shares that it once did.
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2. THE AUSTRALIAN GOLD & FOSSICKERS EXPO
by Brad Williams
It's over. Yes the Australian Gold & Prospector's Expo has come and gone. But what an event it was.
We had hoped for a good attendance from right across Australia. What we didn't expect were the international guests that flew to Australia especially for the Expo. They came from New Zealand and New Guinea.
The dawn on Saturday 17th March was bleak - it was quite cool and the weather was turning decidedly windy and a little wet. Not a perfect day for an Exposition. Never the less by 9am that day the doors were open to visitors and they did not let us down. The stream of prospector's and those interested in this hobby industry continued unabated all through the morning.
The atmosphere throughout the Great Southern Woolshed, within an hour was entirely electric and the camaraderie that was displayed by all present was indescribable. The gold that was quietly and silently being shown was awe-inspiring. Several 40 ounce plus nuggets were evident - and if you knew someone it was not hard to find one of these and in fact hold a big nugget in your hands. If you have ever had that experience, it's a magic feeling.
The PMAV had worked extremely hard on their stand, and coupled with APLA, who had come from W.A. to support the Expo, the stand was of exceptional quality. Max Muir and his team are to be congratulated on a very fine effort. The site was extremely popular with all that attended.
Exhibitors had come from all points of the compass. There was a company selling kayaks, as part of the camping and recreational side - and indeed they did sell. Graham Gooding from the D.R.E. in Ballarat presented a delightful site that displayed some large old photos of gold fields and displayed a good representation of the D.R.E. and its functions within the gold fields.
Trackline Detectors had their trailer inside the hall, mainly because of the inclement weather, and gold panning especially with children was quite popular. Part of the Trackline exhibit included a representation from the Bendigo Tourist Centre.
Maryborough Chamber of Commerce was well represented by the Gold Man Phil Daniel and his group who presented a very sound display of the many benefits of the Maryborough district. Next Barrie Johnson Detectors manned by Barrie himself was extremely busy for the entire Expo.
Elizabeth Lampe of Yorke Peninsula Caravan and Campers had travelled from 100 miles the other side of Adelaide with 3 camper trailers from the show. Their campers are extremely robust and mainly designed for off road usage and I am assured business was brisk for them, a s their prices are very competitive.
Martin Marks had travelled from Sydney for the Expo and due to the inclement weather moved inside the shed. Martin presents outstanding gold recovery equipment both sluicing gear and pans that rate as world class - and business was good for Martin too. Part of the Trackline stand was in this area, and we had some delightful renditions with a guitar and a golden voice. The tapes were very popular.
The Tucker Box was where the food was supplied very professionally by the venue owners and this was extremely popular, particularly at lunchtime on Saturday and on Sunday. The range of foods was excellent and the fare was very well received.
Coiltek were adjacent, and John Gladdis and his team of mainly professional prospectors were talked hoarse by noon on the Saturday. Well almost ! The new 19" DD coil was in demand and John sold out in minutes. I am told that Coiltek were not able to fill all back orders until the end of March. This was a very popular site and it showed just how popular Coiltek coils have become. Their commitment to the Expo by giving away 4 x 14" coils was very well received by all those who attended.
The major sponsor Minelab presented their range of Metal Detectors in a well presented and professional manner. That faithful servant, Ian Aitken, along with Jody Nairn, represented the company at the Expo extremely well. Their site was very well attended on both days.
Minelab's support for the Expo was exceptional. By donating 2 x GP Extremes - where one could be given away each day - the attendance was obviously enhanced, and the two winners were "over the moon" with their wins. We thank Minelab sincerely for their support.
Mrs Wendy Sherwlll of Ballarat won the GP Extreme on Saturday.
The Hide Away Safe Company from Wangaratta displayed their outstanding range of safes. Most of these are very suitable for vehicles to secure valuables - particularly gold. The security of these safes was displayed quite effectively with a large hammer.
Miner's Den from Melbourne was an extremely popular site with hardly a spare moment for all the staff. I am told that sales were extremely brisk and back orders will take some time to fill. In the Miners Den the gold buyer Neville Perry was overrun with business but the contacts that have been established will certainly move more gold in the future.
Bendigo Caravans presented a state of the art caravan and developed some good contacts that will enable them to further their business with the gold fossicking fraternity in the future. Watch this site for their adverts - particularly of second hand vans and campers.
Finally Gold Net Australia Online - was well represented by the Editor Jim Foster and his good wife Cheryl - along with my special friend Rose, who gave me all the support and more for the duration of the show.
To those that supported the Expo - my heart felt thanks. To those that attended - I am sure you enjoyed the experience.
3. WHERE TO USE GOLD DETECTORS
The old time prospectors had it hard. They had to work their way up streams and gullies following the run of gold. A time consuming and back breaking business that involved a lot of detective work. Tracing the signs of gold back to its source sometimes made the lucky prospectors extremely wealthy. But at other times they found just enough gold to buy rations. When the gold thinned out they left to look for better prospects. What they left behind is what you are looking for. Often the oldtimers gave up just short of a rich patch of gold.
THE EASY WAY
Oldtimers had only their sharp eyes and strong backs to find gold you have the latest in electronic gold finding machines. You, in one day of casual coil swinging you can search the same amount of ground that would take an oldtimer weeks.
As weekend prospectors we don't want to work too hard, but we want to find gold. You can waste a lot of time and energy searching the wrong ground if you don't know where to go.
Research is the best way to put yourself on good ground. Read everything you can find dealing with the history of gold in the area you are concerned with. Visit the nearest town to that goldfield and ask the local librarian for everything that may be a help to you. Your local detector shop will also be of great help. Most of them carry goldfield maps and books designed to help you get the most out of your detector. But nothing beats local research.
ON THE DIGGINGS
Having got yourself onto your chosen area take a walk-- without your detector. Look at the edges of the old diggings for side gullies and slopes where the diggings become very shallow. Some hillsides may have been "surfaced". That is, all the gold bearing gravel and dirt lifted and carried away to be puddled for its gold content. All that will remain will be a bare clay slope. Surfaced areas are good starting points for detecting. Look around the edges and up-slope for that patch of nuggets the oldtimers didn't quite get to. Search the heaps as well, listening hard for that faint signal that may be a deep nugget.
Following the gully uphill may bring you to where the gold was shed, the mother lode. This could be the spine of a quartz reef. Search all sides sloping away from any such reef.
Your gully could instead lead up to a "Hard Hill". This is the remnants of an ancient river system now high above the surrounding ground. The hill will be made up of conglomerate rock consisting of water worn pebbles. Gold trapped in the conglomerate will have been released down the hillside and found by the oldtimers as they worked their way up the gully. Search all sides of the hill.
Or the diggings in your gully may simply peter out. If this happens look along the slopes above the diggings for those nuggets left behind as the gully deepened and changed course. Many rich patches of nuggets have been detected on the slopes above a once rich gully.
GOLD IS WHERE YOU FIND IT
Many times I have seen new chums searching ground that experienced prospectors shunned. Many times I have seen these same new chums strike it lucky. One new chum found a four ounce nugget on ground that was thought to have been thrashed out. and that was his first trip out with a club. Don't be put off by finding lots of detector holes on an area you wish to search. Work that ground hard. Don't drive from diggings to diggings looking for ground no one has yet searched, you won't find any. Find a bit of ground that your research shows as promising and stick at it. Work it slowly. Keep your coil close to the ground and listen hard. Don't worry about what others have found in that area, it's what you are going to find that matters. Gold is where you find it.
4. GOLD AND ITS USES
by Laurelle Murphy
We often hear of gold being used throughout industry - but do we recognise just what gold is used for and in what context.
About 40 million personal computers are manufactured worldwide each year and gold plays an active role in their many parts. The most important use of gold is as a fine wire that connects circuits to the semiconductors, or the "brain" of the computer. This "bonding wire" is specially refined (up to "five nines" of 99.999-percent pure gold) and has an average diameter of one hundredth of a millimeter - smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Gold is also used as a paste with which a circuit is printed on a ceramic base to produce a printed circuit board. In other areas, each key on the computer keyboard strikes gold circuits that relay the data to the microprocessor. Computer games also use printed circuit boards that have gold circuitry to connect the logic units in the game package. Computer peripherals, where there is frequent plugging and unplugging, use gold-coated contacts to assure consistently clean signals. Gold is essential in computer circuitry because of its electrical conductivity and because it does not degrade over time.
Computerized wheelchairs, allow disabled patients further control over their movements and a renewed sense of independence. At the heart of the computerized controls is a tiny, but powerful Motorola microprocessor that is connected to the wheelchair's controls by gold wire and gold-coated connector pads. Approximately 100,000 powerchairs are now in use in the U.S. Gold is used in this application because of its high electrical conductivity and its resistance to corrosion. The powerchair, which is exposed to many climates and temperatures, could not operate properly without its gold components.
To protect the on board computers in the Galileo space probe from short circuiting as a result of heavy bombardment, NASA developed a Heavy Ion Counter (HIC). The HIC contains silicon wafers with gold electrodes that detect the heavy ions as they penetrate the wafers. Use of the HIC allows NASA engineers to monitor the functioning of on board computers and make adjustments when necessary.
The Pathfinder "robotic geologist" now taking close-up color pictures of rocks and soil on Mars and analyzing the planets's chemical make-up, relies on sophisticated electronics to direct its landing and movement. In addition, intricate gold circuitry enables new computer technology to transmit the Pathfinder's information back to Earth.
Behind the protective cover of the telephone mouthpiece is a miniature transmitter that contains gold in one of its central components, the diaphragm. A gold plated dome in the diaphragm works with the other mouthpiece components to transcribe voice vibrations into an electrical current. Gold is used in this application because of its permanence, particularly in public phones that are exposed to outdoor weather conditions.
TELEPHONE WALL JACKS
Because gold conveys a superior signal, and does not corrode or tarnish, it is used to coat billions of contacts for phone jacks and connecting cords. The phone wall jacks are gold-coated to assure the customer of the convenience of moving the phone from one wall jack to another while maintaining clear static free conversation.
TV'S & VCR'S
The microcircuitry in televisions is composed of fine lines of gold circuits that are connected by hair-thin gold wires to the micro electronic circuit chips that process broadcast signals into a TV picture. Cables connecting television sets to video cassette recorders are gold-coated to assure clear relay of the television signal.
The world's largest telescope, located at the Keck Observatory, uses gold in its internal workings. Located atop the 13,796-foot-high Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii, the observatory is composed of twin telescopes, Keck I and Keck II, and each is equipped with a 2l-inch secondary mirror that is coated with 99.9-percent pure gold. Keck I, in operation since 1993, has opened the door to astronomers with its light-gathering ability to see and measure very faint light sources -- mainly from the infrared spectrum - on the outer edge on the universe. Keck II will begin astronomical observations in October 1996. The telescopes are so powerful that they could detect a single burning candle on the surface of the moon.
Gold is used to coat the telescope's secondary mirrors because of its high reflectivity of infrared light. Developed by Epner Technology, the gold coating process is known as "Laser Gold" (so named because of its frequent use in the pump cavities of lasers). Laser Gold has been accepted as a Standard Reference Material (SRM) by the National Institute for Standards and Technology.
Mobile Fidelity Sound, Sebastopol, California, produces the ULTRADISC II, a limited edition, audiophile quality compact disc recorded from the original master tape and pressed onto 24 karat gold. Artists available on ULTRADISC II include Elton John, Steve Winwood, B.B. King and Aretha Franklin, to name a few.
Copy machines use high heat to fix the copy image onto the paper. These machines use gold-coated mirrors to reflect the heat efficiently.
Eastman Kodak Company has developed a Photo CD System that uses gold as the reflective surface. Photofinishers can transfer, in a digitized format, 35mm negatives or slides to compact discs which hold up to 100 images on a disc. Once on disc, images can be viewed on television or computer screens. An interesting example of how this system can be used is demonstrated in a project for the National Park Service in which all items left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be catalogued and compiled onto gold-coated photo CDs.
Military and commercial communications satellites circling the Earth use gold in many important ways. Circuitry and chemically clean goldwires provide permanently static-free signals in rebroadcasting signals back to Earth.
Gold-coated Mylar sheets are wrapped around the main body of satellites to reflect away the intense solar heat that would otherwise degrade the satellite's performance. Gold is essential in satellites because of its reflectivity, conductivity, and resistance to corrosion.
Security systems require long-term unattended reliability. The infrared reflective properties of gold are used in the Hughes Probeye Infrared Viewer, a nighttime security camera which can view areas at night without the need for visible light.
A gold-coated telescope mirror ensures optimum detection of reflected laser light used to map the suface of Mars on the Mars Global Surveyor. The spacecraft is scheduled to begin transmitting information back to Earth this Fall.
Gold is valuable to modern medicine because it is non-toxic and biologically benign, one of the most efficient conductors of electricity, and its density enables it to be seen under electron microscopes. And although gold is virtually indestructible, it is a soft metal, easy to work with, shape, flatten or draw out into microscopic strands.
Most gold used in dentistry is in the form of alloys, which are mixtures of gold and other metals, such as platinum, palladium, silver, copper and zinc. Today, more than 150,000 U.S. dentists use approximately 13 tons of gold each year for crowns, bridges, inlays and dentures. A typical crown may contain between 62 and 78% gold. Gold is non-toxic. It is easy for the dentist to manipulate, but strong, stiff, durable and tough - it never wears or tarnishes. It is also very resistant to chemical attack and does not corrode.
Accidents, disease or surgery may cause a condition called Lagophthalmos, which is the inability to close the eyelids fully. In order to keep the eyelids moist, doctors previously resorted to sewing the eyelid half shut, but a new gold eyelid implant is now the current form of treatment. Weighing between 0.6 and 1.6 grams, these gold "eyelid load implants" are surgically inserted into the upper lid and allows the eye to blink normally. The muscle that opens the eyelid works to hold the eyelid open; then, when the muscle relaxes, gravity exerted on the gold causes the eyelid to drop. Approximately 15,000 patients now wear these in the U.S. Gold is the best choice for this device as it does not corrode and will not react with tears.
One of the most promising new areas of medical treatment is in the use of ion lasers, whose interior surfaces are coated with gold to control the focus of the beam. In one development, gold vapor lasers create a high intensity red light with the required wavelength to seek out and selectively destroy cancerous cells without harming healthy neighboring cells. A new lightweight laser, designed by the military and using gold plated contacts, enables medics to seal battlefield wounds in the field, thereby reducing blood loss and improving survival chances for the seriously wounded. In hospitals, this new design will allow lasers to be brought to critically injured emergency patients without moving them, saving minutes and lives.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that afflicts approximately eight million Americans, mostly women. Gold has been used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis since the 1920s, and has been a standard treatment since the 1960s. Gold treatment includes different forms of gold salts, an effective medicine for controlling some types of arthritis. For many, but not all patients, it helps relieve joint pain and stiffness, reduces swelling and bone damage, and lessens the chance of joint deformity and disability. Gold can be taken either by injection or in pill form. While the reasons for the effectiveness of gold are not completely understood, according to the Arthritis Foundation, it appears that gold affects the process that causes joint pain and swelling.
A new type of gold-containing thermometer has been developed that reads human body temperature in two seconds just by holding the thermometer against the outer ear. The readings are accurate because the eardrum shares the same blood vessel system as the hypothalamus, the organ that controls the core body temperature. Known as FirstTemp GeniusŪ, the thermometer contains a gold coated tube - known as a "waveguide" - that directs heat from the ear to the temperature sensing element in the device. Waveguides have been essential components of electronic systems such as radar and microwave telecommunications. Since gold is the most heat-reflective metal, none of the heat radiated from the ear will be lost warming up the tube of the thermometer. A result, gold is the metal of choice in the FirstTemp GeniusŪ for providing a non-invasive method of monitoring body temperature - especially invaluable when monitoring babies or unconscious patients.
Laboratory coupling of tiny gold particles with DNA has produced new microscopic structures that open a range of research, treatment and diagnostic possibilities in fields such as biochemistry, genetics and medicine.
Gold is not only used in jewellery - it is an essential metal in industry and without gold we would not have many of the products and services we use today without giving them a second thought. Great stuff gold!
5. THE PERFECT METAL
by Jim Foster
Why, in the 1850's, did thousands of people risk their lives on a long and hazardous journey to the strange, unknown land of Australia?
They didn't risk their lives for the adventure of it, or because they wanted to explore new lands. They did not even want to colonise this vast open land.
Gold is a symbol of wealth. It has no value as a metal to make tools, or weapons of war. Unlike iron, which is the basis of all tools and weapons, it cannot be used to create wealth, only symbolise it. The irony of this situation is that gold is comparatively rare, while iron is one of the most common metals on the face of the planet. Only civilisations that have won wealth by the judicious use of iron can afford gold in quantity.
Gold, the perfect metal, has long been a symbol of wealth. Gold jewellery dating back to the great civilisations of the Assyrians and Babylon has been found in the tombs of wealthy citizens. By five thousand BC the use of gold was wide spread in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. The Greek Philosopher, Plato wrote about the golden spires of Atlantis and the riches of Troy, but no treasure of gold ever found overshadowed that found in the tomb of the Boy King, Tutenkhamen. But in the King's tomb there was not one item that could create wealth, only the golden symbols of wealth itself.
In the Middle Ages, alchemists regarded gold with an almost superstitious awe. They spent a lot of time and money trying to a substance called the 'Philosophers Stone,' a substance believed to have the power to turn imperfect metals into gold. An English alchemist, Roger Bacon believed that if you drank gold dissolved in acid, you would live for ever. But not even Bacon was tempted to try this theory.
THE PROPERTIES OF GOLD
Gold has always been valued for its scarcity, and beauty. It possesses an attractive colour and high lustre, it is unaffected by air, heat, or moisture and will not rust or otherwise corrode. It is one of the world's best conductors of heat and electricity, being used extensively in high quality electronics because of these qualities. It is more malleable (easily beaten) or ductile (able to be drawn into a wire) than any other metal. Gold can be beaten to a thickness of one hundred thousandth of a millimetre and 25 grams of gold can be drawn into a thread 87 kilometres long.
In its pure state, it is so soft that it can be cut with a knife making it necessary for it to be mixed with other metals to harden it. The proportion of gold in such an alloy is measured in carats, with pure gold being 24 carats. So a 9-carat ring will be only 9 parts out of 24 gold with the other fifteen parts being lesser metals. Gold is very heavy, having nearly twice the density of lead and is weighed in troy measure. Twelve troy ounces make one troy pound. But while gold is measured and sold using ounces as the basic unit, when sold in quantities of less than an ounce the metric system of grams and parts thereof, is mostly used.
One of the world's great scientific discoveries was due to a kings golden crown, and a thief. In the third century BC, King Heiro of Syrause gave a quantity of gold to a jeweller and ordered him to fashion a crown from it. When the crown was delivered, the King had it weighed to ensure all the gold was used in the crown's construction. It was common practise for jewellers to steal some of the gold and substitute other, less valuable metal such as copper and silver to form an amalgam from the pure gold.
All seemed well as the crown weighed exactly the same as the amount of gold delivered to the jeweller, but the king had a suspicious nature and was not satisfied.
What Archimedes had discovered was that when a solid sinks into water, it displaces its own volume. Taking a quantity of gold equal to the weight of the crown, he placed it in water and carefully measured the displacement. Then he placed the crown in water. Had the crown been made from pure gold it would have displaced exactly the same amount of water as the previous gold. It did not. It displaced more. This proved the crown's volume was greater and was therefore made from an alloy where the alloyed metals, because they were lighter than gold, had to have more volume to make up the original weight.
This concept became known as the Specific Gravity Test and is still in use today. It is the test applied to finding how much gold is contained in a quartz-and-gold specimen without crushing it.
While gold does have applications other than in the jewellery trade it is as a thing of beauty that gold is most coveted. Almost every civilisation on earth uses gold as the basis of their jewellery pieces, precious gemstones are rarely set in lesser metals. It would seem that when it comes to displaying wealth as a thing of beauty, gold is indeed the perfect metal.
6. WHY JOIN A DETECTOR CLUB
by Jim Foster
That's a question we've been asked many times and every time it is easier to answer. Detecting for gold, coins, jewellery and artefacts is more fun when you have other people to share the fun with.
In 1980 we began the South Eastern Detector Club at Mt Gambier, South Australia. We did this because we knew there were hundreds of metal detectors not being used. During the hype of the 1979-82 goldrush thousands of detectors were sold. Many owners of these machines took them out a few times, found nothing and slung them in the garage mumbling about how it was all a big con. It was no con! Those people just didn't know how to operate their detectors or know where to go to look for gold. I thought a club would ensure that those people who joined up could learn from each other. Little did I know what I had begun.
Fifteen years later our club is still going strong. We have a divers membership which means a wide range of skills. Skills that all members can draw upon. We have an electronics expert that can repair detectors in the field. We have a qualified blacksmith who doubles as a motor mechanic. We have young people and we have old people and we all learn from each other.
The older members are often full of information about where old coins and artefacts can be found. Where that old coach house used to be. Or where that old hotel was. Sometimes those sporting grounds and racecourses are older than we think and conceal many thousands of old predecimal coins. Some of them rare and valuable. Not to mention the jewellery.
The younger ones don't know where these places are, but the older folk do. Sometimes it's just stories they've heard when they were young. Stories that can lead to a cache of valuable coins.
One such story was overheard in a local pub. That story lead to the finding of several caches of Chinese coins.
For 135 years those coins remained buried in the sandy soil near Robe. Then we found them. The story was told on national and state television and documented through several magazines. Some of those historically important coins were donated to the Robe Interpretative Centre, but most remain in private collections. As a result of one club member's information all club members benefited.
When a good spot is discovered for gold, a camp site is found nearby for the club to camp on and search the area. In this way every club member has a chance to find gold.
Joining a club widen your horizons. Clubs travel widely to the old goldfields and to coin hunting venues. Club members form small groups to travel sometimes thousands of kilometres to good nugget hunting ground, often in very remote areas. Travelling in a group ensures safety in the event of accidents or vehicle breakdown. Most times radio communication is used between vehicles and navigation is often by using GPS. Trips such as these are only possible due to the combined knowledge and skills to be found in a detector club.
Joining a metal detecting club means different things for different people. Some join for the company. These people often attend club outings but will spend little time actually detecting. Preferring instead to sit around the campfire yarning. Others join to experience camping out in the bush, away from caravan parks and all the trappings of civilisation. Others bring everything with them. Their little generators can be heard around the camp powering the tele and warming up the electric blanket.
Others come for the gold and the coins. They are very serious about finding all the gold nuggets they can. To achieve this they spend a long day in the field and always have the latest metal detectors.
|7. FLECKS ! - Glints from here and there|
S.A. METAL DETECTING CHAMPIONSHIPS
PALMER ROCK - A - RAMA 2001
The Murray Bridge & Districts Gem & Mineral Club will be holding the PALMER ROCK - A - RAMA at Collier Park, Palmer on the Long Weekend of 19th 20th 21st May 2001.
MAJOR SPONSORS are: COILTEK - MINELAB ELECTRONICS - MANNUM MINERALS - REMLAP.
The competitions will run on Sunday 20th - with two detecting sessions planned for the day. A second smaller competition will be run on Monday 21st. - with this day being a FUN day.
Entry fee is $10.00 per session for open classes.
Campsites available - $35.00 for 3 days. No power - but generators are OK.
9. THE NEW LODE - Next Month's Issue