Motif
May 2002

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Contents
  1. Editorial

  2. Cool Coolgardie - Brad Williams
    Mother of the Gold Fields in Western Australia

  3. What's a Banjo - Jim Bowman
    A great story about gold recovery in New South Wales

  4. El Dorado Country - Brad Williams
    A different view of this golden region

  5. We Are Australia - Part 1 - Laurelle Murphy
    We begin a series on Australia and its people

  6. The Death of Licola - Part 2 - 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
So much has been happening of late it is hard to keep track of all events within the Gold fossicking industry.

I can confirm that a patch of 600 ounces of gold has been recovered from the Emerald gold field in recent weeks.
We are actively seeking photos of this amazing find. But this should make us all recognise that gold is where you find it - and that is not always in the more recognised gold fields of Victoria and Western Australia.

It is pleasing to see that in Victoria the opposition parties have come out strongly against the Brack's Governments policy in closing OUR forests. See the BUG press release in Flecks this month.

The exodus to the gold fields of the Golden West is certainly under way. We wish those who are making the trek good fortune, and safe travelling. I would like to be there myself - but work pressures here keep me grounded.

This month we begin a series on Australia and Australians. For others from around the world this will give you some background to this wonderful and unique country. We are sure you will appreciate the simple short history lesson - along with the personal reflections of the inhabitants of this fabulous country.

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
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Australia
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2.  COOL COOLGARDIE Gold Nugget
         by Brad Williams

Coolgardie stands at the gateway to the great gold fields of what is known in Australia as the Golden West.
Situated about 550 km east of Perth in Western Australia, with a local government area that covers over 30,000 sq. km. the area is sparsely populated with about 7,000 residents who are mainly domiciled in Coolgardie, Kambalda and Widgiemooltha.

The origins of Coolgardie lie in the discovery of gold here in September 1892, when Arthur Bayley and his partner William Ford found over 500 ounces of gold here. Within a few months the entire population of Western Australia had exploded by a massive 400%. Considering the fact that Western Australia covers more than 1/3rd of this massive continent and is a sparsely populated region to this day - the strains on government infrastructure were enormous.

The population of Coolgardie grew to a massive 16,000 within a decade, but as the surface gold ran out many left this barren and forsaken area for ever. As was the case in most gold fields - only a few ever made it rich, and most left with very little to show for their efforts and many were left penniless. Some moved to Kalgoorlie and took up work with Mining companies for as little as $6 a week.

With the onset of the Great War in 1914, many diggers left to serve their country, and couple with depressed gold prices many diggers abandoned their claims and moved on. So began the decline of Coolgardie.
Only one mine continued until 1963, when the Bayley's Reward Mine also closed. In those years it had recovered over 500,000 ounces of gold. Today there are several open cut mines in the area, still producing gold.

Wardens Court - Coolgardie - Click to enlarge Although the area still produces gold, tourists now make up a great deal of the towns industry. As the main route east from Perth - known as the most isolated capital on earth, passes through Coolgardie the tourist potential here is unlimited, and the locals have grasped this opportunity with zeal.

Throughout the area there are a series of 150 markers that display and document the history of the old gold fields. Many of the markers give a graphic illustration of the site as it was 100 years ago - along with a photograph.

Accommodation in the town is well catered for with several motels and two caravan parks. Accommodation needs to be booked ahead - as many of the motels are often fully booked by companies who use the facilities to house employees who work on the open cut mines. However - with enough planning good accommodation is available.

Among the historical attractions in the town is the cemetery, which is well worth a visit with many of the head stones revealing the harsh times of the miners a century ago. The Goldfields Exhibition is a delightful old historic two story building build in 1898. This museum displays many old photographs of the gold era and is a must to see in Coolgardie.

Ben Prior's Open Air Museum in Bailey Street is dedicated to the early explorers and miners of the goldfields era. It features a great deal of old machinery and mining equipment of the era. Well worth a visit.

I always enjoy a lookout and the Coolgardie Lindsay Pit Lookout overlooking a modern open cut mine is no exception. Excellent photo opportunities are here - provided the light is right and there is some movement in the pit. A good historical record of the history of the mine is displayed at the lookout.
The Lions Bicentennial Lookout overlooking the town of Coolgardie gives a good view of the town and is also an excellent spot for taking panoramic photos of the town.

There are many other historical sites to be seen in this rather spread out town. One of the most novel, is the "gaol tree". One asks, "How could a tree be a gaol"?
The answer is rather simple. Back in the gold rush days there were very few fixed buildings, so prisoners were fitted with leg irons then chained to the tree while they awaited trial. A simple but practical and effective method of imprisonment, and most suitable for the circumstances of the time.

For further information regarding tourist activities contact the Coolgardie Tourist Bureau on 08 90266090.

Well to say that Coolgardie is Cool - is rather a play on words. It sure is a Cool place to visit - but the weather here is very hot in summer, reaching temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius - or in Fahrenheit, 114 degrees.
In winter the nights can be cool but the temperature through the day averages 18 Celsius or in Fahrenheit, 66 degrees.
I will just prefer to say that Coolgardie is Cool - and leave it to you to judge that for yourself.

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3.  WHAT'S A BANJOGold Nugget
         by J. Bowman

I guess the best way to tell you what a Banjo is to start at the beginning. It was back in 1992 I was working a rather good creek near Turnkey, NSW the gold I was getting you would not believe. This creek was the only spot that I have ever actually panned an ounce of gold in one day. Now the problem was with this creek it had no flowing water only puddles, so my river sluice was of no use to me and I knew if I could come up with an idea to move a lot of dirt quickly I would make a lot of money out of this spot. Time of course was against me! For once people knew I was doing rather well at this spot, the creek would be quickly worked out which it was but not before I got more than my fair share of gold!

I remembered my granddad talking about how they used bush Banjo's when working such spots, but they were very labor intensive and you very quickly became tired. I pondered this problem until I mentioned it to an uncle who said what you need my boy is a Wet- Jig. Now a Wet-Jigger was used in mining gravel and sand containing gold. My uncle told me you can make them quite portable, they can concentrate the gold far better than a sluice or cradle, and being well raised from the ground, I would have no problems with the tailings from the top hopper. A Wet-Jig is made by placing a hopper or box on top of a body box or sluice box, and legs that fit the apparatus see.

This is what I had been looking for, I constructed one in no time flat. How I worked the wet jig was by lifting water from a puddle with a ladle and washing the dirt I had placed in the top hopper. I operated this device for 3 years while I worked that creek. It was very efficient and fast for the type of work I was doing but all things must come to an end as did the gold.

A new area to work was my next quest, and it was the Shoalhaven River that drew my attention. Seeing that my Father and Grandfather had passed away it was with my uncle that I sort advice on how to work a river to it's greatest advantage! What he told me I will relate to you in another article at a latter date. Coming from a long line of prospectors the knowledge that I had to draw upon was incredible and I hope to pass some on to you, over the coming months, but back to the banjo.

I had been working the Shoalhaven for around 5 months and in that time I saw how I could modernise the apparatus I was using even more, mainly because I was working a different type of ground. Using the bush banjo and the wet-jig as a guide a new version of the old banjo was born. It is light to carry easy to use can handle more sand than two men can shovel, you don't have to clean rocks by hand from the hopper it is self cleaning and it will classify the wash two times all this is done in a blink of an eye. And the best part of the Banjo is it will not cost you an arm and a leg to get one if so desired. Believe me there is nothing that can match it on the market today when it comes to working sand banks and river gravels. I have worked the banjo next to the best which cost well over $1000 and I ran rings around it, by the way there were two men working the best and only me on the banjo.

Enough hype about the device, now it's down to business. I will now try and explain how to build one, they are not hard to build, but they do take some time to build. Tools that you are going to need will be, a drill and bits, tinsnips, hacksaw, pop-rivet gun, 3/16 rivets drill diameter 5/32", 3/1" nuts and bolts, 2mm drill bit, a clamp of two. Silicone and Silicon gun.

Next you will need one sheet of aluminum 92 cm long and 42 cm wide for the bottom, and one 90 cm long and 57 cm wide for the top. And one 68 cm long by 37.5 cm wide.
On the bottom box mark out 12 cm down each side and bend it in a {U} shape, any steal works will bend it for you. Then come from one end 12 cm and cut the sides down to the floor of the {U} and bend this up, this is the back of the box and rivet in place.

Bottom Box Mark Out

Your bottom box should look like this when bent into shape.





Skid plate when fixed to top hopper

When you have that done you now need to mark out the top hopper. You do this in the same way as you did the bottom hopper. The sides need to be around 20 cm high and 17 cm across the floor of the top hoper. Ounce you have it bent in a {U} shape and the back riveted in place. You will need to drill as many inch holes in it as you can along the entire length of the floor.

Once you have that done you will need to make a skid plate which fits under the top hopper. The skid plate needs to be 17.5 cm wide and fixed to the top end of the top hopper with a 10 cm gap finishing 12 cm from the discharge end.

Now that you have that done you will need to make two brackets from a bit of scrap aluminium that you have laying around. They need to be at least 5 cm wide and 10 cm long. On the bottom hopper right at the very end which you bent up. The brackets need to be fixed in place with a 6 cm over hang.

Place the top hopper on the bottom hopper, the end of the top hopper should fit inside the bottom hopper? Now lift the top hopper up so that the two ends match now drill through the brackets and top hopper then place a 3/16 bolt through each hole leave some play in them but not to much. Move the top hopper up and down a few times to settle it in. It is very important that the top hoper opens just past the end of the bottom one.

The next step is to fit the legs, I use aluminium tube for the legs. Measure 10 cm from the end on the bottom hopper and fit two legs 30 cm long angling towards the back of the hopper.
Once that is done you will need to fit the front legs measure from the open end of the bottom hopper 14 cm then 5 cm up. Drill one hole on each side of the hopper for the legs. Now for the top hopper from the closed end measure along the bottom 5 cm then up the side 5 cm fix the bolts in place on the top hopper by placing a nut on the bolts. Now open the top hopper up so there is 48 cm from the bottom of the top hopper to the floor of the bottom hopper place a leg over each hole mark and drill leg which should be 61 cm long. Bolt legs on to the bottom hopper, leaving a little play so they can lay flat when not in use. When you have done that lift the top hopper up and slide the legs over the bolts, and fix in place with wing nuts. You can drill extra holes in the legs to lower the top hopper.

You now have two choices about the banjo, if you are working a very sandy area I would fit a inch mesh screen in the top hopper 10 cm down. If you are working a clay area I would leave the mesh off and work the banjo in a rather flat position.
To fit the water jets you will need around two meters of 40mm p.v.c pipe a T joint two elbows and two end caps. You run the piping around the top of the top hopper, with the T angled down. You then drill two rows of 2mm holes spaced 1 inch apart pointing down to the centre of the hopper.

You will need to fine turn the banjo out in the field, the type of ripples and matting I will let you decide on that. A little tip if you use carpet a lot of fine gold will get trapped and it will not come out no matter how hard you try.
If you decide to build a Banjo, and get into trouble you can E/Mail me at: bowman10@bigpond.com
But as stated I am not a draftsman so I hope you can understand my instructions. Good luck.

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4.  EL DORADO COUNTRYGold Nugget             
         by Brad Williams

Visiting El Dorado in north western Victoria is always a pleasure. It is a delightfully pleasant spot at the base of the Great Dividing Range, not far from Beechworth, and Yackandandah.
The gold history of El Dorado is extensive, and the Cocks El Dorado gold dredge a wonderful tourist attraction in the making.

As you travel towards El Dorado from the Hume Highway, it is easy to miss the great monolith that lies in shallow water just off the main road. It is often mistaken for an old shed as you drive along - but closer inspection reveals a huge shed like structure that once was the pride of the region from 1936's until 1954.

The Cock's El Dorado Company was formed to construct a large dredge for use on Reid's Creek to dredge the tin and gold from the creek. The creek adjacent to the township is shallow but broad, and stretches for some distance to the east and west of the township.
Construction of this huge contraption took some time to complete and firstly a large barge was built, as the floating base and then the bucket ladder and buckets were added along with the winches that raised and lowered the bucket ladder and also controlled the dredge.

The El Dorado Gold Dredge - Click to enlarge The design was rather unique and the base for the dredge was a pontoon style structure. On the front of this massive rectangular pontoon the dredge ladder and buckets were attached, that appear like a giant chain saw, and at the rear the waste chutes were constructed.
Although it took 5 minutes for the bucket ladder to complete one full revolution the dredge was capable of digging to a depth of 100 feet but generally only went to a depth of 90 feet. There was a lot of dirt dug out by the barge in that 18 years that it operated. Each bucket held about 12 cubic feet of dirt and could weigh as much as 1.6 tons. With 110 steel buckets attached, the dredge was lifting over 200 tons of dirt at times. An awesome spectacle when it was in full operational order no doubt.

In the body of the structure screens and extracting machinery were constructed to remove the gold and tin. Upon completion of the structure it looked more like a floating factory than a barge as the outer walls were constructed of galvanized iron. It was of monolithic proportions. It was locally known as "The Tin Shed". Weighing 2,500 tons, and with a length overall of 328 feet, it was an enormous structure.

Width at the stern was 65 feet and at the bow 50 feet. The pontoon was 210 feet in length with the bucket ladder measuring 160 feet. Attached to this ladder were up to 118 buckets each weighing 1.6 tons each. The bucket ladder took some 5.5 minutes to complete a full revolution. The cost of the dredge was £83,000.

Dredge - Showing Waste Chutes - Click to enlarge The structure was operated by quite unconventional means. It was in fact tethered to large trees on either side of the broad creek - which was more like a shallow lake, and shifted by winding up one side and unwinding the other, using a system of levers.
This was a slow process, but then gold recovery was in fact slow. However over the 20 years that the dredge operated over 70,000 ounces of gold was recovered, along with 1,383 tons of tin. The dredge had no power itself - but was powered by electricity that was provided by a cable that came from a power source adjacent to the creek on the El Dorado side of the creek, and measured over 350 metres in length.

24 hours a day - the dredge operated in this manner for 20 years. In those days Sundays was a true Sabbath and so the dredge was not operated, but maintenance was carried out on Sundays and on Thursdays. Only one fatality occurred during the entire operation and this was not associated directly with the operation of the dredge.

The company tried to sell the dredge but a dredge of this size has little potential anywhere else - other than as a tourist facility. Although there was some interest in 1984 the dredge passed into the hands of the Government. Since that time several propositions have been put forward to make this monolithic structure into an exciting tourist attraction for the El Dorado region. At present the dredge is considered unsafe to be used as a tourist attraction. It is likely that the dredge will be rested on a purpose built platform in the creek and although it will appear as though it is in fact floating - it will be stable enough for tourists to go on board and inspect the working structure. At this time there is a pleasant 15 minute walk that provides an outstanding view of the structure and with a wide angle lens on a camera, it is possible to take some outstanding photos of the dredge.
It is a delightful interlude if you are travelling between Sydney and Melbourne and just a few minutes off the main Hume Highway. It is well worth the visit and in the near future we just might be able to get on board and have a real look at this wonderful old machine.

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5.  WE ARE AUSTRALIA - PART 1Gold Nugget
        by Laurelle Murphy

Australia is a unique land. Not just because there is nothing like it on earth, but because is it truly a land of wonder - the land down under.
In geological terms Australia is an exceptionally old place. So old in fact that the old mountain ranges have almost disappeared. The highest point on mainland Australia is only 7,300 feet high, and that mountain is named Kosciusko which is hardly an Aussie name, but was named by a Polish explorer.

The origins of discovery of the great south land - lie with the English explorer Captain James Cook - who was responsible for many discoveries throughout the Pacific Ocean. In 1770 Captain Cook in his ship the Endeavour discovered the east coast of Terra Australis and made many maps of the area. Ironically, he did not recommend that the country would be suitable for European settlement, although the ships botanist Joseph Banks did consider it suitable.

Captain Arthur Phillip - Click to enlarge The English had lost their convict settlements in North America when the United States of America became an independent nation in 1776, so there was a necessity to find somewhere else to "transport" their convicts.
Terra Australis was soon chosen and Captain Arthur Phillip charged with establishing a convict settlement on the east coast of this land.
Phillip took 27 weeks to reach Australia, via Rio De Janeiro and Cape Town.

In 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip in his small ship the HMS Supply landed at Botany Bay, on 18th January. Within the next two days the other 10 ships that were part of the first fleet arrived. The land here was not good - so Capt Phillip explored further north, finding Port Jackson, (now Sydney Harbour)
A supply of fresh water was found and on the 26th January 1788, the new colony was proclaimed. To this day - this is celebrated in Australia as Australia Day - with similar celebrations to the 4th July in the USA. So it was that 1,475 people arrived to call the new colony of New South Wales home.

Life was harsh. If convicts escaped they were either killed by local aborigines, or starved to death. Many returned to captivity voluntarily in emaciated condition. The first three years of settlement were plagued with drought and famine. Slowly but surely conditions improved, and food became more plentiful.

The local aboriginals did not understand the concept of ownership of land and they believed that the visitors would eventually move on. When this did not happen some resentment was obvious and attacks were frequent. However spears and nulla nullas (clubs) were no match for muskets, and soon the British were in complete control.
For a further 80 years, Australia was essentially a convict colony. Further colonies were set up at Port Arthur in Van Diemen's Land - now Tasmania in 1803, at Moreton Bay in Queensland, (Brisbane) in 1824 and at Albany in Western Australia in 1826.
Not all who came to Australia were convicts - but it took until 1800 for a steady stream of "free settlers" to began to arrive.

By 1810 the population had grown to an impressive 22,000. Free grants of land were made to free settlers and convict labour provided, under licence.
More free settlers that were English gentry arrived and huge grants of land were granted to these free men throughout the colony of New South Wales.

In 1798 George Bass and Matthew Flinders circumnavigated Van Diemens Land (now Tasmania) and discovered that this land was in fact an island.
To this day the stretch of water between the mainland and Tasmania is called Bass Strait.

In 1802 Captain Matthew Flinders sailed all the way around the continent making maps as he went. It took him a full year to complete this task. In 1802 Lieutenant John Murray sailed into Port Phillip Bay, and claimed the area for Britain. The great city of Melbourne now stands on Port Phillip Bay.

In 1806 Captain William Bligh (of Mutiny on the Bounty Fame) arrived to take up the position of Governor of the colony. He found that senior officers of the New South Wales Corps had taken control of the trade in Rum. This was the main currency of the colony. Bligh threatened to charge the officers with treason. His reward was to be kept prisoner for a year. Ironically he was cleared of any wrong doing during the "Rum Rebellion", and was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral.

Captain Matthew Flinders - Click to enlarge With the arrival of Governor Lachlan MacQuarie to replace Bligh, changes were made immediately. The New South Wales Corps was disbanded and senior officers were returned to England in disgrace. Under MacQuarie - the colony prospered. Buildings became more prolific and food production rose dramatically.
He also encouraged former convicts to become full citizens. The colony prospered.
In 1836 the free settlement of South Australia was established, at Glenelg. Adelaide now occupies this site.

The free colonies struggled to find their own way until 1851, when the first gold was discovered along the Fish River in New South Wales.
A short time after, payable gold was discovered in Victoria. From this time a flood of humanity poured into the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria, seeking gold.

They came from all corners of the world. They came from the United States and Canada. From all over Europe and from Asia they came. It is estimated that over 50,000 Chinese arrived in the Australian Gold fields in the two decades following discovery of the great gold mountains in the great southern land.

Australia was at last beginning to find the great mineral wealth that lies in the soils of this land. The road toward nationhood was beginning to take shape as the separate colonies struggled with the massive increases of population that flowed into the colonies.

To be continued....

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6.  THE DEATH OF LICOLA - PART 2Gold Nugget
         by Ralph Barraclough

Erosion and river pollution Massive erosion from a thunder storm (this put the fire out) in the Caledonia Valley on January 12, deposited alluvial boulder fans the likes of which none from our community has seen before. These will be around for hundreds possibly thousands of years.

The Geology text book "Holmes" describes boulder fans as a product of new mountain chains such as the Andes and Himalayas. Ours is the oldest surviving mountain chain in the world.
If these were natural, there would be more of them. Kilometres of deep channels were gouged with unstable banks falling in and landslides developing. Over 50,000 tonnes of mud washed out of the park in the first mud-flow. It is unlikely even the youngest members of our community will live long enough to see this stabilise and the Macalister River run clean after summer thunderstorms in the park.

Parks described this as an entirely natural process. The Government is showing no concern for a similar disaster in the Melbourne water catchments with over 60 years fuel build-up managed by Parks Victoria.
The environmental movement, who only a few years ago were saying fire was not part of the ecology, are now saying after the failure of their policies, that this is a natural process. Mr lan Harris President of the Victorian National Parks Assn has said: "Australian Forests will always be susceptible to fire - that's their nature. No amount of preventative work including preventative cool burns, will change that."
Before the fire, a Park Ranger was telling local people snowgrass would not even bum. Harry Lewis Treasure from the Dargo High Plains told the Stretton Royal Commission inquiring into the 1939 fires: "I have been there for 60 year, practically all my life .... We have been burnt out in 1918, in 1926, and in these fires. Prior to that we never had a bad fire .... Prior to 1918, before there was much restriction on flee lighting of fires, that country was populated with miners, diggers, fossicking along the rivers for gold. There were up to 100 diggers working along the Dargo River and each man had his hut.
They had no fear of ever being burnt out and they never were burnt out. If they had been there during the recent fires, not only would their houses would have been burnt but men themselves would have been burnt to death .... The country was burned regularly whenever it would burn and that stopped any fires from getting hold and going a long way."

William Francis Lovick, of Mansfield, who held a Crown Forest Lease from 1910 had the following to say to the Royal Commission: "We burned for 25 to 30 years. We were told by the Forests Commission that we were ruining the forests, but this year three mills have been put into the country that was said to be ruined, and they have 50 years timber to cut ... The fires that have gone through he forests this year have ruined more timber in two hours than all the cattle men of the east ruined in 50 years."
The 1939 fire caused a relocation of the timber industry to areas not controlled by the Forests Commission where traditional burning and grazing had continued to be practised.

WATER POLLUTION

The water that came out of the park after the fire was very toxic. Over 50 tonnes of Phos-Chek, a highly corrosive phosphorous based fire retardant, was used in the Caledonia Valley. This was the first time in living memory, the Macalister River was undrinkable.
A thick, smelly, black oily sludge that reacted with plastic containers it was sampled in, was left on the bottom and banks of the river. Trout, Carp, eels, yabbies and tortoises died along the full length of the river from the Caledonia Junction to Lake Glenrnaggie. Hundreds of dollars in veterinary fees were spent on dogs burnt from just wading in the river. Blue-green algae grew for the first time in Lake Glenmaggie, a trail followed fire debris from the Mitchell River through the Gippsland Lakes.

On Jan 16, 1998, in the Macalister, iron was measured at 2333 times over WHO guidelines for drinking water, with Manganese 350 times over and lead 15 times over. There is every reason to believe that considerably higher results were recorded, but not released.
No testing was released on organophosphate contamination from fire retardant breakdown products, or the black greasy mud. All the relevant government agencies worked together to cover-up the problems. Over 9,000 people using fire tainted water were assured it was safe by government people who refused to drink it themselves.
The people at Licola and along the Macalister and the towns of Glenmaggie and Coongulla, complained bitterly about health problems and the safety of run-off from the park. Pregnant women along the river were particularly badly effected with miscarriages and serious complications late in the pregnancy. Things were so bad, then Shadow Minister Garbutt asked that material containing health problems of people using this water stopped being sent to her, as it was running her fax machine out of paper.

When she became Minister, she claimed land managers and water authorities over the last three decades, in relation to retardant use, had recorded no demonstrable impacts on water quality or the environment.

CALEDONIA TRACK

Tracks to the Caledonia Valley did not re-open after the fire. Huge excavations were dug to stop vehicle access. Parks stated: "The Caledonia River track was partly washed away by the Caledonia River and adjacent creeks, ie. Stirrup Iron Creek, following the heavy rain after the fire.
At this stage it is uncertain whether it is feasible to rebuild it." While Parks were telling people at Licola we had not supplied any evidence mud was coming from erosion in the Park, they were telling 4WD users the track could not be re-opened because of erosion and turbidity (dirty water) problems.
Parks were concerned 4WD's might stir up mud at river crossings. In November 1998 the Licola community visited the area to see where all the mud contaminating water supplies was coming from. There were minor problems with the track along the river, but massive erosion to creeks and gullies on the sides of the valley.

Stirrup Iron Ck. was not washed away, just covered by a boulder fan. The erosion to the track Parks were claiming may not be feasible to repair, was made safe and useable with 10 minutes pick and shovel work and an hour and a half throwing rocks into holes.
The Dingo hill track remains closed, but at this point in time the barricades have been dug through. Nobody has been able to find the serious erosion claimed to be along it. The Link and Caledonia tracks have now been re-opened with needless environmentally damaging bulldozing, much of which will end up washing down to further pollute Licona's water supply (many from the community suspect this work was done as a tail covering exercise to try and justify the closure).
Much of this work has been carried out nearby to where the Caledonia fire escaped because Parks would not allow the dozer to cut a fire break.

To be continued....

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7.  FLECKS ! - Glints from here and thereGold Nugget

Bush Users support the condemnation of the Government's Public Land Policies by the National & Liberal Parties.

Parliament saw an emotional debate regarding the Bracks' Labor Government's public land and waters policies. Peter Hall, Leader of the National Party in the Legislative Council, moved a motion that 'this house condemns the government for its policies and actions that have restricted recreational and commercial activity on Victoria's public lands and waters'.

The catalyst for the motion was the Government's intention to create marine parks, vastly extend land based national parks and the subsequent loud public outcry against these proposals. The recent Bush Users rally in Bendigo, the four wheel drivers rally, the timber protests, fishing protests and the mountain cattlemen's rally are clearly showing that all is not well in country Victoria for the Bracks' Government.

Victoria has 7 million hectares of public land of which more than half is already covered by parks and reserves. All activities on any classification of public land are regulated. When the land category is park or reserve those regulations are often unworkable or the activity is simply prohibited. This is what the Bush Users are angry about.

RobinTaylor, State President of the Bush Users Group, said 'is it any wonder that the bush is angry? The public is being locked out of public land for no valid reason. Many of our activities have been occurring for 200 years and now, when they are at their most regulated, Government is set to prohibit them - it simply doesn't make sense!

In a recent radio interview Minister Sherryl Garbutt was asked why the creation of new parks in the box and ironbark region is necessary - what are the threats? Her parroted response was 'we want to save the forest for future generations'. I ask the Minister - save it from what? Forest was cleared years ago on what is now private land. Public land has not been cleared. The forest on public land is still there and not under threat.
Bush Users care for the bush, which is more than can be said for the weeds and vermin that infest our current parks.'

Members of the Liberal Party joined with the Nationals in the debate to condemn the Government's policies.
BUG vice-president Rita Bentley, who attended the debate, said 'while it is heartening to see this important issue debated in the Parliament it is disappointing that no Government Minister felt it was important enough to take part in the debate. In fact for most of the 3 hours the Government front benches were almost empty'.

Mr. Taylor concluded 'given that the Bracks' Government holds power by the grace of 3 country based independents and several very marginal country seats it would do well to review its current stance on both the marine and box ironbark parks and start listening to the people who vote in country Victoria instead of the minority green groups in Melbourne'.

MEDIA CONTACTS  
Robin Taylor 0419 337 541
Rita Bentley 0408 328 640

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8.  STRIKESGold Nugget
        Recent Finds

2002LocationSize
AprilEmerald Qld600 oz. group
AprilMaryborough28 oz
AprilLeonora9.5 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.

Sorry - No images were available at the time of publication.


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9.  THE NEW LODE - Next Month's Issue

  • Australia - Land of my Dreams
    Fred Mason from California on his Aussie Trip
  • Coilteks New Direction
    Coiltek is on the move
  • We Are Australia - Part 2
    We continue to discover more about the great south land
  • The Death of Licola - Part 4
    We continue the unique story of this village



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