A century ago some of the biggest goldrushes in the world took place in Western Australia. Thousands of prospectors from all around the world arrived by ship at Fremantle and Albany headed for the goldfields at Coolgardie and further afield, lured by the prospect of unearthing precious treasure.
These days, although many of the old gold-mining settlements are just ghost towns, there are rumours that gold can still be found, if you know the right places to head for. Have you ever prospected for gold (or anything else) and if so, did you find anything valuable? Where did you go and what did you do? Do you have any special advice for wannabe treasure-hunters?
One time, several years ago, when my family and I were camping up in the Pilbara, we met a couple of lovely old men who had been prospecting in the WA bush for years. Apparently they did quite well during their prospecting trips, but wouldn't tell us just how well or where they would go.
I think most prospectors use a metal-detector these days, and many go to the old mining areas north of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. I guess it's always a gamble as to whether or not you'll find anything but with metal detectors and other modern gadgets, I think the chance of finding something is much better than it would have been a century ago. I've never been prospecting, but would love to try one day.
My husband has a relative who goes out bush to prospect regularly and apparently does quite well, although he naturally keeps a bit quiet about the places he goes. I think quite a few people do it as a weekend hobby...they combine it with an outback road trip and camping getaway. When you consider the huge size of outback WA, how arid it is, the many former goldfields and how few people live there, I'd say that more gold is still underground than has been extracted.