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Reg Wilson is a bit of a legend in Australian detecting circles and has kept a comprehensive photo collection of his finds over 4 or 5 decades. Now everyone likes gold images and stories - and there are plenty here! I've been offered existing topics to post on, but I believe the topic deserves its own thread to do it full justice. All images are those of Reg Wilson unless otherwise attributed.
The album consists of hundreds of photographs of not only gold, but many gold detecting industry characters, some of whom are no longer with us, but who all contributed in their own unique ways to the great gold chase we still enjoy today. Firstly, a bit of background.
Reg first shot to international fame with the finding of this 98 ounce piece which he named the "Orange Roughie" in 1987, decades later to be fraudulently rebirthed as the "Washington Nugget"
By no means his first find, Reg was already a successful detector operator and at the time was testing a prototype GT 16000 for Minelab's wizz kid engineer Bruce Candy:
Photo: Australian Sun Herald
L to R: Bruce Candy, the late Doug Robertson, Ian Jacques, Reg, John Hider Smith.
Reg recalled: "The man standing next to Bruce Candy is the late Doug Robertson, who with his brother Bruce worked the aluvials below the famous and fabulously rich Matrix reef at McIntyres. They had an old Matilda tank with a blade attached to clear Mallee scrub. Between them they had a wealth of knowledge of the northern Victorian gold fields.
(Doug's name may have been Robinson. Memory is a bit foggy)" Ian, Reg and John were prototype SD 2000 testers in Victoria, AU and were collectively known as the "Beagle Boys" a name bestowed upon them by Dave Chappel, the publican of the Railway Hotel Dunolly. On any Friday night huge nuggets, some weighing well over a hundred ounces could be seen displayed on the bar.
120oz from Longbush. Found all on its own, finder anonymous:
The playing cards and US currency indicate that the nugget has just been purchased by the late "Rattlesnake" John Fickett, a US gold buyer who bought many of the big pieces back then:
Ian Jacques and Reg with 44 oz 1989:
Ian Jacques with his SD 2000 prototype late 80's.
Real prospectors don't use bungees
All for now, but at least we've made a start - - -
I could not locate the booklet about the finding of the Hand of Faith by Kevin Hillier. Anyway I think its now been reasonably established what detector model The Hand was found with. After thinking about it while looking for the booklet, I am fairly sure that at the time the Hand of Faith was found in 1980, the Groundhog was not yet being sold in Australia. In 1980 the Garrett Deepseeker must have been the most commonly used detector by the serious electronic prospectors in Victoria. It was certainly the most expensive detector and thus the top of the range ... like the latest Minelab PIs are today. It was however a detector I never managed to master as it was extremely noisy in Australian soil. I used mine in the Nth Queensland goldfields of Georgetown and Ebagoola where there was quite a few other electronic prospectors at the same time using this model of Garrett detector. A couple of the other prospectors tried to school me in getting the best out of it, but I could not persist long enough. I was too young and impatient in those days to learn how to pick the noise of a good target out from all the ground noise. I sold it to another prospector in Ebagoola who had more patience than me and who had successfully used one before. He told me it was by far the best detector available ... but I was just happy to get rid of the noisy beast of a machine, and he got a bargain.
I got to thinking about Garrett detectors yesterday while looking for the booklet, and I was reminded about the famous story of how the Garrett Groundhog became popular on the Australian goldfields in the 1980s. There were a lot of guys detecting back then who had their wives with them in the bush, and many of the wives wanted a detector for themselves. Because the Deepseeker was so expensive, the husbands were reluctant to spend so much money on a detector that they thought would probably get little use. So a number bought their wives a Garret model which was the cheapest of the then Garrett range ... and that was the Groundhog. What they then found was that the wives were getting more gold than they were! Then the Deepseekers were put aside and the Groundhog became the detector of choice for a time. I was told at the time it was something to do with different frequencies of the two detectors, with the frequencies of the Groundhog better suited to the ground in Australia. But - maybe - it could have been because the Groundhog ran quieter. Then when Garrett started selling so many Groundhogs in Australia they rebadged the Groundhog and sold it as a detector specifically made for Australian conditions. I think it was called something like the A2B.
I had even less success with the detector I had prior to the Deepseeker, which was my first ever detector. In the late 1970s there was a guy based in Newcastle who imported Compass detectors and he was all over the media promoting them as the detector driving the then gold rush. So, as I knew nothing about detectors, I believed the hype and bought a Compass detector from a mining supply shop in Sydney (where I was then living). But, rather than starting off cautiously in a new field of endeavour and trying detecting in a gold field close to home, I decided to go all in. I bought a Toyota Land Cruiser and headed to the Queensland goldfields with my brand new shiny Compass detector. I drove straight through for two days from Sydney to the Nth Queensland goldfield of Georgetown. And on getting to Georgetown I headed to the caravan park. Then, the very first person I spoke to when I got out of my Landcruiser said straight away ... "That detector is useless here!" And I soon found out he was right. I was the only one there with a Compass detector, which I was ridiculed for. Everyone else was using Garrett's and it was galling to see them leave the caravan park each morning and come back in the evening with smiles on their faces. It must have been a bit later when I bought the Deepseeker. And when I bought the Deepseeker I thought I could not go wrong this time as it was the top of the line detector that everyone else was using, and I must have made a good buy.
Luckily I found that there were other means of gold getting to do in Nth Queensland other than using a detector. And a bit later I got into tin mining with a dredge, which I was successful at until the tin price crashed virtually overnight.
Detecting in Georgetown, North Queensland, in the mid 1980's.
My Garrett Deepseeker MD in Nth Queensland ( I also had a much bigger coil!).
My mining camp at Ebagoola goldfield.
Another of my mining camps at Ebagoola.
A woman friend detecting with a Garrett MD on the Georgetown goldfield in the mid 1980's.
Abandoned miners hut, Ebagoola, North Queensland.
Ebagoola, North Queensland
Some photo's and a couple of Video's
Just thought I'd show a few 2014 - 2015, finds a mate, Gully Hunter and I have detected in the Golden Triangle Victoria, Australia. We both run GPX 4500's.
The terrain is fairly rugged scrub.The first 2 photo's were from the last quarter of 2014 basically from near impossible scrub, one step forwards 2 steps backwards, more time spent fighting the scrub than detecting.
This one was 19.5 inches deep and was 14 grams found by Gully Hunter.
15 grammer before and after a clean
A nice 6 grammer
Guardian of the gold and a 4.8 grammer
Took an old mate Bill out a he shows us how it's done. 24 grammer GPX 4000
Earlier 4 grammer video
I need to buy a prospecting car for WA I will be coming over sometime after the first of the year...
If anyone could help me find one, I would appreciate it.
Needs to be dependable,,, (and maybe armor plated if , " Culling Day".. is during the months of Jan, Feb, Mar, or April)
By Trent King
For those that don't know, we have a permit system here in Western Australia that lets fossickers access your large exploration tenements to metal detect for gold.
Honestly I have never really liked the system because it basically lets the department sub let my lease, and no one ever fills out the form where they are obligated to tell you where the finds were ( Its very hard to find nugget patches if all the surface gold is gone).
I have had over 50 people camped on that lease this year and not a single one has returned the form to notify of finds despite dig holes everywhere.
Except 1 , I received a form back today from a couple of yanks , I think they were from Nevada. Reported all there finds with weights and coordinates, with a thank you note. Now that's how it should be done!
I think the other 48 Aussies who were there could definitely learn a few things from the only 2 honest blokes out there.
If they are members here or anyone knows a couple of Nevadans that were over here let them know they are more then welcome to come back with free access to all my tenements.
They start off here. Then they look like this. Then after the dolly pot they look like this. And the fines from the crushings. The end result