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Steve's 2011 Australia Gold Adventure

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Thanks Norvic. I started my Steve's Mining Journal over 20 years ago with the express purpose of trying to show realistically the results one person might attain prospecting. It also serves a real purpose for me personally, in that I am the sort of person who has no rear view mirror. I am always looking to the future and rarely think about the past, and unfortunately that means my memory of the past is not the greatest. Keeping a journal and taking lots of photos is something I strongly encourage everyone to do. These really are memories of a lifetime, and letting them fade and be forgotten would be a shame. Hopefully by providing lots of extra details I am also helping others who may be planning similar adventures, both with their own planning but also in setting realistic expectations.

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Hi Steve

I really enjoy reading your journal, I used to follow your Alaskan one when you lived up there and regularly dredged.

The lizard in your photo is likely to be a Sand Monitor, they and all monitors are highly intelligent easily as smart as a large parrot. This can cause problems when they are large as they no longer fear you once they get over 6ft in length and if they sniff out your food stash it can be a problem! 

Tremain used to have a pet Perentie that was just under 3.5m long so about 11ft long on the yankee scale wiki and other sources say they only grow to 2.5m but this is BS I've seen a huge one in far NW nsw and their distribution map is also way out! They are an amazing animal and you were privileged to encounter one of the monitors.

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Good eating too ... ask any of the Yamatji mob here. Throughout the Murchison area we call them Bungarra's. They dig decent holes to live in - it is usually a good sign if prospecting as they seem to coincide with faults.

Again I stress - Far north Queensland is where the gold is .... nothing to see in WA ...... move along



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I love the detail in your extended version...takes me back to my first trip. I also keep a diary of my Oz trips...just short notes to jog my memory and hopefully keep the days straight in my mind.

this is a part of my first article of my first trip to OZ...

The following is most of my diary for the entire journey with Doug:

Day 1 – fly for hours and hours, get to Perth…looks like I am still in San Diego…walking in the city could be deadly (I was always looking the wrong way first when crossing streets).
Day 2 – fly to Port Headland…no roads visible from the air, my kind of place!
Day 3 – got to camp in P.M., detect 3 hours – no gold
Day 4 – A.M. no gold; P.M. first Aussie nugget 2.9 gram – THANKS
Day 5 – found one grammer; already tired but having a great time Day 6 – Great People…first nugget in drybed, 2nd in quartz blow, 3rd on flats
Day 7 – toured Comet Mine…went underground and saw big Ghost Bats-stopped in Nullagine and mailed postcards (the mail is very slow, they took about 2-3 weeks to get to my house).
Day 8 – found 4 nuggets – 4.3 grams – in the A.M.; P.M. long walk but no gold.
Day 9 – A.M. 10 gram nugget; P.M. 1 gram nugget
Day 10 – no gold
Day 11 – no gold
Day 11 – saw my first “roo” out in the bush; what a sight! No gold; KEEP TRYING!
Day 12 – GOLD AGAIN! 4 pieces – 11.5 grams. Saw three bush turkeys and two roos.

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  • 3 months later...

The early days of our trip we did not see many flies but now they were coming on strong, as can be seen in the photo above with the Spiny Anteater. The flies were not biting flies and so not a worry in that regard, but they are looking for moisture of any sort and are attracted to a persons face. Absolutely maddening and bad enough at times to force the use of head nets in order to maintain concentration while metal detecting.


Another insect would make for a scary surprise if I was not paying attention as I wandered around between the small trees and bushes. The Golden Orb Weaving Spider likes to make very large webs spanning the space between a couple bushes. I am usually watching my coil and I wandered into these a few times before I learned better. They are not aggressive nor particularly dangerous but they can put a fright into a person when wrapped around your face!


Sunday, September 11 we moved camp back to the Meekatharra area, and on arrival I found one tiny nugget. It may have been tiny but that was a needed change of pace. The next day was even better when I scored three nuggets that each weighed 2.9 grams - how weird is that, for about 9 grams of gold. The next day I beat that with two nuggets, one 6.9 grams and another at 3 grams for about 10 grams that day, making my total for the trip so far just over an ounce of gold. These last two were found around some large ironstone dikes with nearly no quartz visible.


We made time for a run into town to replenish supplies and wash clothing. Once again I was reminded that the exchange rate was not bad but the price on most items was just much higher than one would expect in the States.

The next few days saw some gold bits but nothing exciting. My journal, picking up where I left off last:

Sun Sep 11 - Move to Meekatharra, gold! One tiny nugget.

Mon Sep 12 - About 9 grams, three 2.9 gram nuggets.

Tue Set 13 - 10 grams, 6.9 gram nugget plus 3 grammer. Go shopping in Meekatharra. Total now over 1 ounce.

Wed Sep 14 - 0.01 nugget (my notation for too small to weigh on my scale)

Thu Sep 15 - 0.01 nugget

Fri Sep 16 - Hardpan scraped area (more on that later) 4 grams.

Sat Sep 17 - No gold

Sun Sep 18 - 1/2 ounce slug! Storm.

Chris had wandered around and found an area with chain marks and dig holes on the 17th. We went there the morning of the 18th to hunt it to see if they missed anything (who doesn't?). Both JP and I scored nice slugs that day but Chris, who found the place, unfortunately only got one small nugget. The day was cut short by a short lived but very intense storm that tossed things around in camp.

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Thanks for sharing Steve. That nugget that JP got was really deep. No wonder they are always looking for extra depth there in OZ.

Looks like you found a second gold ring as well ! 


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5 hours ago, strick said:

Looks like you found a second gold ring as well ! 

Years ago I was detecting in Hawaii and found a plain 14K band. My wedding ring of the time was very worn, so I threw it in the smelt pile and decided to wear the one I found instead. A couple years later I found an identical plain band (they are common) so took to wearing it also for a few years. I told my wife I loved her twice as much as when we married and so needed two rings, scoring points. Strangers who commented I told them I had one for each wife!

I found a third plain band and even was up to wearing all three for a bit, then decided I had gone too far and went back to wearing just the one.

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You might think that from a picture...they can drive you nuts!  In the Northern Territory the flies work the day shift and the mosquitos work the nightshift...I had to drink my beer through the mask!

If the wind is blowing they settle down or if it is cold.


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