Motif
April 2002

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Contents
  1. Editorial

  2. The Gold Expo - 2002 Wrap Up - Brad Williams
    What we achieved at this years Expo

  3. Ararat and its Gold - Sue "Goldie" Reynolds
    Golden Stories of Great Wealth

  4. Looking to Echunga - Brad Williams
    We revisit this quaint gold field

  5. The Protest Rally - Rita Bentley
    Rita Lets the Politicians Know We are a Force

  6. The Death of Licola - Part 1 - Ralph Barraclough
    The Small Hamlet of Licola Over Run by Bureaucrats

  7. Flecks - Snippets of interesting information

  8. Strikes - Recent Finds

  9. Next Lode - What's in next month's Gold Net Magazine

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1.  EDITORIALGold Nugget
The 2002 Expo has been successfully completed for this year. It was a resounding success for all those who attended and participated.
Once again the Expo was well attended - and was supported strongly by most major players within the industry. The absence of some - was not due to a lack of endeavour on our part to encourage those who are associated with the industry to participate. They were invited but chose not to attend.
Our lead article presents an outline of the event - and it's success.

We have made some more changes to the Gold Net site and these changes will now be on-going. The addition of the Kitco gold price index from New York - which updates every 10 minutes - along with a conversion calculator - is just the beginning.
There was a glitch over Easter where members could not log on. We apologise for this as it was our fault. We uploaded a file that had become obsolete and this prevented access to the magazine. Sorry folks.

We are pleased to advise that this site is now used as a reference source by both the Victorian and New South Wales Education Departments.
We pride ourselves on the accuracy of our historical articles - and this is clearly recognised by educational authorities.

The chat facility is still under construction - and we have been informed that it may be some weeks away due to pressure of work by the IT developers. None-the-less - it is coming - and soon.

Endeavours to source gold nugget markets overseas is paying off for Gold Net. The US buyer at the Gold Expo was testament to our efforts - and there were many prospectors who were able to sell big nuggets through this source - and we expect to have an on going relationship with buyers from overseas.
We will continue to source buyers - and will share this information with our readers in the interest of developing further markets for us all.

The Protest Rally at Bendigo - on Saturday 23rd March - certainly drove home to the Bracks' Government that the silent majority WILL stand up and be counted - if pushed far enough. Rita Bentley sums up this event beautifully in her article this month.

Editor

Email: editor@gold-net.com.au

All material in this magazine is copyright and may not be reproduced in any part or form whatsoever without written permission from the publisher.
Genuine Educational Authorities are encouraged to make requests - which will not, in general, be denied.

Gold Net Australia Online
Box 854,
Modbury 5092
Australia
Ph: (08) 8396 7647
Mobile: 0417 848 910

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2.  THE GOLD EXPO - 2002 WRAP UP Gold Nugget
         by Brad Williams

Those who attended the second annual Australian Gold & Prospectors Expo were not disappointed. It could only be once again described as an outstanding success. Once again visitors from all over Australia attended this prestigious event.

During the set up phase on the Friday before the Expo - there was an air of expectation and camararderie that flowed throughout the venue for the entire Expo.
On the evening of Friday a dinner was held at the Quest Colony Apartments that was well attended and a great deal of social interaction took place during a very successful pre emptor to the Expo.

The next morning Saturday dawned with a display of bright sunshine and a warmth in the air that was not expected for Ballarat. The weather turned out to be warm and sunny for the entire day - and it certainly set the scene for a successful event.
Many of the exhibitors had put a great deal of effort into their displays - and this was reflected in the response that the visitors gave in supporting them.

MINELAB

Minelab was there in force. Representing the most sophisticated metal detectors in the world today and with three experts answering questions about detectors in general - they were kept very busy. Minelab also provided a magnificent GP Extreme for a lucky visitor to the Expo. We are grateful for the contribution that Minelab makes in supporting the Exposition and the industry in general.

The Coiltek Stand - Click to enlarge COILTEK

Coiltek's display was awesome. With some outstanding new products and a complete new range of support gear, including some solar gear that was very innovative. This stand was extremely popular with new coils and as usual highly professional people including professional prospectors to provide assistance and guidance to prospectors.

GOLD NET AUSTRALIA

Gold Net displayed their on line magazine - along with a good selection of books relating to Gold Fields activities. John & Merle Harding assisted with this display and also presented an excellent display of gold jewellery for sale.

MINERS DEN

Miners Den presented with an outstanding array of detecting gear. This site was exceptionally busy for the duration of the Expo. Neville Perry the Expo's resident Gold Buyer also did a good trade.

PMAV

The magnificent display and support of the PMAV was exceptional.
With a strong presence and with the need to recruit new members and promote the Rally in support of keeping our forests open - their stand reflected a positive approach to these issues.
Many of the senior representatives manned the exhibit throughout the expo - providing a high level of information for interested visitors.

OUTDOOR PRESS

Doug Stone had a HUGE display of gold maps - some at discount prices - and his exhibit was well attended for the entire Expo. Doug's tours were also well promoted and no doubt many who attended will soon be out in the bush on detecting safaris with Doug.

Goodyears Gems & Jewels - Click to enlarge MARYBOROUGH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Phil the Gold Man from Maryborough held the candle for Maryborough. Phils Gold Fossicking trips are well attended - and good business was done in promoting Maryborough and this wonderful golden area.

PETER W BECK

Peter W. Beck - was represented by Matthew Size - the General Manager. This organisation is a leading supplier of gold to the jewellery industry - and excellent contacts were made.

GOODYEARS GEMS & JEWELS

One of the most outstanding exhibits at the Expo was Goodyear's Gems. The quality of the nuggets and the jewellery was quite exceptional - and very unique. Trade was brisk for the two days of the expo.

BARRIE JOHNSON DETECTOR SERVICE

Barrie was the first to arrive and probably the last to leave. As one of Australia's leading Minelab dealers Barrie was extremely busy for the whole Expo.

BALLARAT TOYOTA

Ballarat Toyota attended with an excellent array of high quality 4 wheel drive vehicles - which were very suitable for gold prospectors. Their display was well received and very well presented.
TRACKLINE DETECTORS

The Minelab Dealer from Bendigo was quite busy with their display which included a broad range of detectors and associated accessories along with promoting gold tours in the gold field region in the vicinity of Bendigo.

SPIRAL GOLDPAN

This new and innovative product attracted great interest for Matt the Tiler at the Expo. The gold recovery displayed was excellent and sales for this product were good.

GEKKO SYSTEMS

This innovative company based in Ballarat and now with a turnover of $20 million a year mainly in exports presented a diplay that was both intriguing and informative. Medium range gold recovery equipment is their expertise and they are doing it extremely well.

Gold Net Australia - Click to enlarge DEPT. N.R.E.

The Minister had arranged for members of her Department to attend to answer questions regarding issued of interest to Prospectors. The geologists who attended were extremely busy and their display and expertise was very well received. The topographic displays were excellent.

During both days Coiltek gave away coils.
The lucky winners were
John Shaw of Grovesdale, Vic
Chris Cook of Deer Park, Vic
Matthew Drayton of Daisy Hill, Vic
Allan Rossitor of Bendigo, Vic
Congratulations on winning a World's Best Coiltek Coil.
We sincerely appreciate Coiltek's contribution in supporting the Expo in this manner.

Minelab - also donated a GP Extreme Detector valued at $5,200.00
This was won by Lorna McDonald of Echuca.
Congratulations Lorna - on your win. Minelab are strong supporters of the Expo - and we thank them sincerely for their contribution.

We are presently in discussions with many interested players in planning future Expo's. Many innovative ideas are being considered and explored. We will advise of developments as time progresses. To all those that attended - we thank them sincerely - and look forward to a long relationship in the future.

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3.  ARARAT AND ITS GOLDGold Nugget
         by Sue "Goldie" Reynolds

Ararat is close to the western edge of the auriferous ground in the Golden Triangle of Victoria. During the 1850's some gold had been found in the area - but not in the payable quantities like the Dunolly, Fiery Creek and Maryborough Gold Fields - which were favoured to the less attractive and unrecognised pickings further west.

However a political decision by the Government of Victoria which effected the massive numbers of Chinese who had been pouring into the Victorian gold fields was to change the face of Ararat for ever.
To reduce the numbers of Chinese, the government had imposed a bounty of £10 per head for each landing in Victoria. This worked for a little while - as they landed in Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne Town - but soon the wiley characters who were plying the trade in human flesh from China to the Victorian Gold Fields developed a scheme to by-pass and thus avoid the bounty. They simply off loaded their human cargo in Guichen Bay - now known as Robe in South Australia. This was close enough to the Victorian border to allow the Chinese to walk to the gold fields and cross into Victoria without fear of being detected.

Town Hall - Ararat - Click to enlarge During June of 1857 in mid winter a group of Chinese were trudging eastward towards their "New Gold Mountain", when while resting at midday, two of them spotted specks of gold in a small creek near where the main group was resting.
A closer inspection and some digging and small nuggets were found. The word spread quickly throughout the group and industrous digging was immediately commenced. Within a few weeks over 3,000 ounces of gold had been extracted.
Keeping this a secret from the Europeans who were working nearby and travelling through the area was not easy, with so much wealth and with so many Chinese.
The secret could not be kept for long as provisions were required - and as the only way these could be paid for was in gold, this would surely trigger off a major rush to the area. And so within a few weeks the secret was out when the Chinese paid £4,000 for supplies. A mass of humanity descended on the Ararat Diggings.

The Chinese pad indeed found thyeir Golden Mountain, with loads of wash dirt giving 25 ounces per wash load. An extremely rich reward indeed. The riches claims were generally shallow, and the auriferous area was extensive. Generally over 200 - 300 feet wide - but extending in some places to over 2,000 feet wide. It was about 2 miles long. It was indeed a "New Goold Mountain".

Several Chinese claims gave up an average of 130 lb of gold in a relatively small area. Within 2 months the area had been flooded with a tidal wave of humanity with numbers recorded officially as up to 60,000 people.
Immediately a town sprang up and a massive infrastructure was in place very quickly to deal with the needs of the diggers. Stores - hotels - eating-houses - billiard rooms - brothels and theatres were quickly in place to deal with the seething mass of diggers.

Main Street Echunga - Click to enlarge The European diggers were somewhat resentful of the Chinese invaders, who had staked out the best claims and ethnic resentment festered within the European community. Some of the less civilised Europeans attempted to take over some of the Chinese claims, and several localised skirmishes occurred here.
On one such occasion a group of eight Chinese were set upon by a group of rough necks with the intention of claim jumping. The rough necks considered that the Chinese wold be easy pickings - but this group stood their ground and a mellee resulted - but the Chinese kept their claim. Some tents belonging to the Chinese were burnt down - but police soon arrived and restored order.
The Chinese were always targets to be derided and thieving by the European diggers were frequent from the celestials. To their credit, the police protected the Chinese and generally treated all on the gold fields equally.
It was only a short time after this that the Lambing Flat riots in New South Wales against the Chinese occurred.

The Ararat gold field continued to produce for 2 years - which was an outstanding feat - considering the great numbers of diggers who were still there. At the end of the two years however - the pickings were rather slim - and many diggers had in fact moved on to other more profitable gold fields.
As time went by the focus on Ararat changed, and as the gold ran out - the town looked to a future without gold, and more towards supporting rural and agricultural activities.

Today Ararat has a population of about 9,000 people, which in fact has declined in recent years from 12,000. Many people from Adelaide and Melbourne use Ararat as a rural retreat as some housing there is quite cheap. Some timber homes can be purchased for under AUD $40,000, which attracts buyers to purchase a weekender. And of course this a terrific place to base yourself in the gold fields - within quite a nice community with all the facilities - yet at cheap prices. I know of several prospectors who have done just that.

Ararat still produces good gold. Ironically the location of the main Chinese diggings has been lost, as many old maps indicate a general area only. Never the less detecting the ground at Ararat can be very rewarding, if you know what you are doing.
I like to detect here myself, as the gold fields here were entensive and excellent produces. So next time your out there - you just might see me.

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4.  LOOKING TO ECHUNGAGold Nugget             
         by Brad Williams

Echunga is a small hamlet tucked in the Adelaide Hills only about 40 minutes from the Centre of the city of Adelaide.
It is an almost forgotten village - with little growth over 100 or so years. Even today - running water is not a feature of the town - and locals have to supply their own. In a high profile rainfall area this is generally not a problem - but it is interesting to note that not much has changed in the town for a long long time.
A few new buildings - and a few old ones refurbished - a bitumen road and a community with a great heart hold together this small hamlet that essentially has not changed its shape for over 100 years.

Main Street Echunga - Click to enlarge To the North - North West of the town not far off the main Adelaide Road, lie the old gold fields. These gold fields are interspersed with small holdings of around 10 to 20 acres - known as hobby farms where the homes are above average and the residents usually commute daily to the city to work.
Most would not recognise that the area was a prolific gold producer last century - and undoubtedly most are bemused by the activity with detectors in the general vicinity. However, although the available crown land is a relatively small area - it is still producing gold.

The area is rather thickly wooded and many areas are inaccessible and certainly not suitable for detecting - which is a pity as there is sure to be gold under those thickly wooded areas. Perhaps in the future the natural occurrence of bush fires might just open up this area - and if so - gold will be found there in good quantities.

The area to the south of the main gold field at Echunga displays patches of quartz interspersed with rolling paddocks of pasture.
Gold would undoubtedly be present throughout this area. One hears occasionally of gold nuggets being found in this area but most of the area is privately owned and not easy to gain access to.

Chimney - Beatrice Mine - 1869 - Click to enlarge If one visits the main gold fossicking area - I recommend you take a small double D coil with you - like the 10" elliptical Coiltek.
This will allow you to get into the scrub and in between the thick bushes and trees to detect. It is not an easily detected area - but with perseverance and effort you will be rewarded.
The Jupiter Creek diggings were the best area for gold production. Generally following the Echunga Creek the diggings were concentrated along the creek itself. Mostly the gold was recovered from 2 feet to 15 feet deep.

Other gold fields in this region were the Biggs Flat diggings, Chapman's Gully, The Glen Taggart Gold Field, and Diamond Gully, named as diamonds were discovered there. Donkey Gully, near Mylor, Saw Mill Gully, north east of Mylor and Sailors and German Gully, which are close to the South East Freeway made up the rest of the Gold Field area.

Gold was not discovered here until 1868 - and it was discovered by Thomas Plane - who had experience as a mounted constable serving with the gold escorts from the Victorian gold fields back to Adelaide. His interest in gold from that era - sparked him to find gold in the Adelaide hills - where he was eventually successful.

In the initial rush about 1,200 people were on the diggings. Whites Gully, Fosters Gully, Golden Point and Surface Point were good producers with nuggets up to 12 ounces found. The gold here was limited, and in no way reflective of the great gold bonanzas in Victoria some 15 years before. Within a year the gold field was almost deserted.

Jupiter Creek Area - Click to enlarge Several companies were formed to exploit the gold reefs in the area - but all failed and went into liquidation within 2 years.
Some prospectors eked out a meagre living for another decade - but the gold was essentially gone.

Over several decades a number of companies were formed to recover the remaining gold - but all were unsuccessful. The last recognised gold recovery operations at the Jupiter Creek diggings were during the great depression in the early 1930's. Meagre pickings were recovered during this era.

Today the area is sometimes visited by gold fossickers - but the dense undergrowth prohibits easy detecting of this area. No doubt there is still a lot of gold left in the ground here - but the topography is not conducive to gold recovery with detectors. However, it should be stated that in the last year I have heard of a 10 ounce specimen and a 6 ounce specimen being taken from the ground here.

This area is still yet to be fully exploited for gold, as the auriferous areas and quartz throughout the region - in particularly to the south of the main Echunga diggings for many miles show good signs of gold. Unfortunately this ground is almost ALL privately owned.

It's still out there folks - but it isn't easy to get.

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5.  THE PROTECT RALLYGold Nugget
        by Rita Bentley

The Protest Rally that recently took place at Bendigo on Saturday the 23rd March, 2002 was a turning point of the debate regarding the establishment of yet more National and State Parks in Victoria.
A huge group or more than 3000 prospectors, timber cutters, horse riders, hunters and other users of public land rallied together to march through Bendigo and declared loudly "No More Parks".
The march began at Bendigo Railway Station and the extent of the crowd was clear as the front of the Rally had turned into Pall Mall and the tail had still not left the railway station.
This brought a huge sigh of relief from the organisers who had worked around the clock for several weeks to ensure the rally was a success. The contributions made by many culminated in this show of solidarity.

The Rally Begins - Click to enlarge For most of the participants it was the first protest rally they had ever attended. They are part of the silent majority who accept change without question. - On this issue they were inspired to act, to display to Government that their protests are genuine and reasonable.
The age range was from young children to prospectors well into their 80's. People who have experienced great change in their lives but are concerned enough about the proposals for more parks to take part in the march.
The rally commenced with a fire truck followed immediately by " The Grim Reaper" - signifying the Bracks' Government - dragging representatives from public land user groups and affected towns away.
This included a metal detector operator, gem fossicker and small miner. Black armbands to signify they were mourning the loss of their activities and their towns were worn throughout. The rear of the march was made up of representative vehicles, such as rally cars, apiarists, eucalyptus oil and timber trucks.
At the completion of the march those standing up for their rights - moved to the Town Hall Gardens and were addressed by speakers including Robin Taylor, President Bush Users Group and Rita Bentley, President of the Prospectors and Miners Association of Victoria.

Our links to theEureka incident of 1854, our heritage and culture was stressed by all speakers. Various politicians also addressed the crowd.
Carlo Furletti of the Liberal party, Peter Hall from the National Party, Geoff Howard from the Government and Malcolm Jones from the NSW Outdoor Recreation Party.
Peter Hall and Malcolm Jones were cheered and for Geoff Howard, the Bracks Government representative - there were jeers.

The Rally in Full Flight - Click to enlarge Through this display of solidarity - the Bracks' Government was given a loud, clear message that the people of Victoria are not happy with the proposals to summarily dispose of our rights our heritage.
Following the speakers the Grim Reaper was banished by the crowd, as they agreed to fight back. A symbolic claim peg was then placed by well known prospector, Kevin Hillier, to signify the reclaiming of public land by the people.
Kevin then led the crowd in reciting the diggers' oath that was taken by those defending their rights at Eureka 148 years ago. It was a passionate, exciting and rewarding day that has certainly given us a position of strength and determination to argue from.
We have a duty to current, past and future prospectors to ensure that our Rights are not further eroded. The Bracks' Government will know that we swill not give up the fight.

This entire sad saga resulted from a so called scientific investigation by the Environment Conservation Council. As a result they recommended the establishment of a series of large new National and State Parks and numerous nature conservation reserves across the box and ironbark region of Victoria.
Prospecting is generally excluded from parks and reserves. Government has announced its acceptance of these recommendations and, unless there is a very loud outcry, prospecting and mining in Victoria will be severely restricted.

The areas causing most concern are situated at St Arnaud, Bendigo, Castlemaine, Heathcote/Greytown, Beechworth, Kingower, Wehla, Tarnagulla, Talbot, Maryborough. These areas are the heart of prospecting and mining activity in Victoria.
The PMAV is working hard to secure the rights of prospectors and miners in this debate but the ideological push of the Government is making this very difficult.
Put simply, the Government wants parks - and parks impact on all users.
The fiction that the Government has accepted as fact - only serves to indicate that the Bracks' Government does not listen to common sense and reality - but to fringe minority groups who rarely if ever venture to the Forest areas mentioned.

There is little scienctific evidence supporting the side of the pro-parks lobby. They, and Government, repeatedly state that only 17% of the original extent of box and ironbark forest remains.
The ECC's own report states clearly that 50.6% of the box and ironbark forest remains. What has been cleared is the grasslands and woodlands that occurred on the flatter, deeper country where we now have farmland.

The Message is Delivered - Click to enlarge Other claims include that there are 350 species at the risk of extinction. Again refer to the ECC's Report - since white settlement only 4 species (2 flora & 2 fauna) have become extinct. The other species have survived the massive impact of the gold rushes and widespread land clearance. The relatively miniscule amount of activity occurring in the area today is not threatening them.
Environment Minister Sherryl Garbutt also talks about the "continuing pattern of loss" that is occurring. We have asked her to show where this is happening but we have been ignored.

The PMAV and other groups have been expressing their concern regarding the quality and integrity of the ECC's investigation - Government has steadfastly refused to listen.
How can the results of an investigation whose tourism calculations were wrong by millions of dollars be accepted without question?
We also want to know why there is a need to further restrict prospecting at all. What harm are we doing? Where is the wanton destruction? Simply, there isn't any. We have demanded proof that what the Government is proposing will be beneficial to the environment - we are still waiting.
If you're not already convinced that the decision makers have lost the plot - you will be after reading this: the main economic benefit arising from the new parks and reserves is the value given to the warm, fuzzy feeling that all Victorians will get from just knowing that the parks exist. Apparently this warm, fuzzy feeling is valued at $2 million per year. Honestly, this is used in the cost-benefit analysis - can you believe it? It would be funny if it wasn't being used to destroy our heritage.

Then there is a forecast huge influx of tourists to the region once the new parks are declared - just imagine bus loads of Japanese tourists hopping out to be bitten by march flies and mossies.
The people of Victoria are being hoodwinked. The most important tourism group to visit the goldfields is the prospectors - but Government refuse to even acknowledge that they exist or in fact visit the area. It is likely that the new parks and reserves will just become a haven for feral pests and weeds - like the parks that already exist.

So what can you do to help?

  • Join the PMAV,
  • Write to your local politicians if you are in Victoria or the Premier, Steve Bracks, if not.
  • Everyone should in fact write to Steve Bracks telling him that we are not going to accept these unnecessary restrictions - you could add that you want a reply from him, not his Environment Minister.
  • Tell your friends and colleagues about this problem. It is only with a strong groundswell of resistance that we will win this debate.
  • Send a donation to the PMAV - we need all the resources we can gather.
  • It is expected that Victoria will probably have a State Election within the next 12 months.
    The previous encumbent - Jeff Kennett was thrown out on the basis of not listening to the people.
    Steve Bracks will go the same way if his Government continues to ignore us on the parks debate.

    Contacts:

    PMAV,
    GPO Box 1706P,
    Melbourne Vic 3001,

    Phone 0408 176 496
    or email pmav@start.com.au

    Steve Bracks,
    Premier of Victoria,
    1 Treasury Place, Melbourne Vic 3002

    Please, Do Something Now, before it is too late.

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    6.  THE DEATH OF LICOLA - PART 1Gold Nugget
             by Ralph Barraclough

    This information sheet has been put together by the small community of Licola, in the mountains of Gippsland, beside the Alpine National Park. It is reprinted without alteration.
    It is to expose the myth that National Parks protect the environment, benefit tourism and local communities. Before the park was proclaimed, our nearby town of Heyfield had built up a reputation as the biggest timber town in the State, the best place in Victoria to find fat bullocks in autumn and a great tourist destination. The business sector was healthy, the people who came with their produce spent their money in town.

    When the park was proclaimed, it was promised to, protect the environment and bring even more visitors and prosperity to our area. What used to be thousands of fat cattle coming to town from the mountains dropped to just a few hundred. This has been reduced further by a ban on grazing after the Caledonia fire, because they "might" cause problems. 7,000 ha of regrowth (young timber), the Heyfield saw mills, and Heyfield itself, was dependant on, was burnt, this will now be on top of the 40-50% cut in quotasfrom DNRE miscalculations. Visitor numbers at times have dropped off alarmingly, with up to 70% drop in takings by the Licola Store after the fire. Around 98% of all visitors to our area are now prepared.to sign letters critical of park management.

    THE FIRE

    This was a tax-payer funded $11,000,000 bushfire (it was probably more), brought about by the inability to control fuel levels in the park, and fight a fire. The fuel build-up from the lack of cool burning and reduction of cattle grazing was enormous. When the fire went through much of the alpine area, it was very intense. At the beginning on Dec 31, 1997, Park Rangers were in charge.
    Fire fighters complained about the lack of food and water for up to 15 hours, in some cases longer. A bulldozer was not allowed into the Caledonia Valley for hours, because it might cause environmental damage. The fire got away.
    Parks Victoria came in and took over Licola. The CFA, Police and residents were complaining they were not being told anything. The Licola community was to see first hand the lack of cooperation from Parks with local people and emergency services. During attempts to cover-up, a serious fire out of control in the Wonnangatta Moroka National Park. Power was denied to the CFA communications caravan. The Licola fire truck, with almost no communications, was to enter a frightening inferno with flames over the roof, that Parks/DNRE were evacuating from.
    The crew on board considered themselves lucky to have survived. The police, broadcast a message in early afternoon on New Years Day, that the Park should he evacuated of campers and bushwalkers immediately. As the Police had to have permission from Parks\DNRE to evacuate, it was the following day, with a raging bushfire going, that evacuations started. It was only the outstanding work of the Police and helicopter pilots that stopped people from being burnt.
    Small land holders on the Bennison Plains, surrounded by the park, were burnt out on Jan. 2, without warning from Parks/DNRE. The properties were burning as messages broadcast over ABC Radio advised they expected to contain the fire in the Caledonia Valley and private land was not being threatened. The fire was over 16 kilornetres outside the Caledonia Valley the previous day.

    Bulldozer drivers complained about lost bulldozers (at least 7) and poor supervision from Parks (one dozer spent several days needlessly bulldozing ancient snow gums along the side of the main road). Hoards of people (fire fighters) stood around for hours on end, day after day, in the fire area. Local people found it difficult to find anyone who had the experience, who understood, or cared that spot fires going outside control lines were serious and needed to he addressed.

    In a crucial area near Tali Karng at 4-00am on Jan. 6, there was no patrolling, no blackening out and no foot prints along a bulldozed control line. Fires burnt in logs, trees and stumps, on the edge of the burn. A break-out escaping to the ridiculous fuel build-up in the Avon Wilderness, under the right conditions to threaten East Gippsland, would have been a certainty.
    Of approx 600 people who came into Licola for tea on Jan. 6, only approx 30 were counted as dirty. Fighting fires is usually a dirty business. Land-holders at Licola were horrified to find that if control lines failed, the fall back position was to the west of Licola, when the fire was in the park to the north east.

    None of us had been advised of this by Parks/DNRE. With what we knew about the control lines, a break-out was a certainty if the right weather conditions came along. It would be hard to imagine a more stupid or ridiculous position to try and stop a fire.
    When Land holders confronted Parks/DNRE, they were told that a computer in Melbourne had selected the fall-back position. The locals said the CFA should be in control, as this involved private property. A representative from Parks advised, that as this fire had started in a park, Parks were in charge and Parks if they wished could burn out private property for a break. The land-holders complained further that there were 5 safer and better fall-back positions, one being the Macalister River (bordering the park).
    This saved private property and probably Licola as well, it also had a far better chance of working. They were told that someone has to suffer, so as others can benefit. When a local person went to the media he was gagged. It was cool weather and rain that put this fire out. Had this fire started two or three weeks earlier, it would have burnt into N.S.W., consuming all in its path.

    The Regional Officer for the CFA was to find out in May, from the Licola community about the fall-back position. During the fire, 1,000 ha of control lines and helipads were cleared by bulldozing. This is as much area disturbed in one fire, in one Park area, as has been in all mining activities in Victoria since settlement.

    The Tali Karng track, which was just starting, to grow back, was bulldozed, spoiling the environment for bushwalkers. Ancient single trunk snow gums of enormous historical and scientific importance, protected by years of cool burning and grazing, were burnt and bulldozed. lan Christie, Parks Victoria Executive responsible for fire liaison, in a letter dated 9 Sep 98, described the fire fighting as an "outstanding effort".

    Areas burnt out, like Charlies Country, had so much fuel they produced a fire so hot much of the seed-stock was lost and is not regenerating properly. Sphagnum bogs were destroyed, large rocks cracked, vegetation along creeks that should never he burnt was lost. Parks themselves admitted whole eco systems were destroyed. The fire burnt to near Tali Karng, killing much of a magnificent woolly butt stand that should have been preserved at all costs. The decimation with dead trees in the park, can be seen to stop at the boundary fence of Kevin Higgins property that practised traditional cool burning and grazing. Only a few weeks after the fire you had to look to see what had been burnt on his land.


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    7.  FLECKS ! - Glints from here and thereGold Nugget

    PALMER ROCK - A - RAMA

    May 18 - 19 - 20th 2002.

    Collier Park - Palmer S.A.

    Featuring
    South Australian Metal Detecting Championships

    Sponsored by

    COILTEK
    MINELAB
    GOLD MINING CENTRE
    GARRETT METAL DETECTORS
    REMLAP
    Camping Welcome - Food - Entertainment - Gems - Prizes
    Fossicking - Gold Panning - Treasure Hunt & More
    Tailgating & Campsites available now
    For details or to book your site Write or Phone Now

    ROCKERAMA
    4 Berryman Ave
    MANNUM S.A. 5238
    Ph: 08 8569 2262
    AH: 08 8569 2161

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    8.  STRIKESGold Nugget
            Recent Finds

    2002LocationSize
    MarchDunolly42 oz.
    MarchDunolly3 oz
    MarchKalgoorlie6.5 oz
    We will only publish information that has been authenticated. This is by no means a comprehensive list as many quality finds are not disclosed. - Ed.

    42 oz nugget - Dunolly


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    9.  THE NEW LODE - Next Month's Issue

    • Cool Coolgardie
      Mother of the Gold Fields in Western Australia
    • What's a Banjo
      A great story about gold recovery in New South Wales
    • El Dorada Country
      A different view of this golden region
    • The Death of Licola - Part 2
      We continue the unique story of this village



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