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Geological information on the old goldfields of Queensland provided here is taken from the Department of Mines in Queensland and the Bureau of Mineral Resources in Canberra. 

This edited information comes from early Geological Reports, Mining Guides and the like which have been written by the various Government Geologists at the time.

This subject is divided into three (3) regions as follows:

  • Southern Queensland 
  • Central Queensland
  • North Queensland             


Just go to the left-hand side column of this page and 'click' on to the region required.


Please Note:     All mines and reefs that were named within the above regions are shown in    Green    Italics.


                G O L D



Its widespread occurrence in a great variety of ore deposits throughout the metalliferous areas of the state of Queensland makes gold a mineral of primary interest in the operations of the prospector. It may occur as native gold or lode gold, by itself or with other metallic minerals in sulphide ores (such as: pyrite, chalcopyrite, arsenopyrite, galena, and sphalerite) or as tellurides in many widely different classes of rock.

In its native or 'free' state, gold is never absolutely pure, but is alloyed with varying proportions of silver, accompanied at times by traces of copper, iron, platinum and other metals. Generally speaking, gold won from alluvial deposits is purer than lode gold from the same locality.

The physical properties which best identify free gold are its weight, colour, low degree of hardness, toughness and malleability. Its freedom from tarnish in the air or when heated and resistance to any single strong acid are also to be noted. The characteristic yellow colour of the purer metal becomes increasingly paler with an increase in the proportion of silver present.

Despite its high density, very fine gold particles in the form of 'mustard' and 'paint' gold will float readily on water, and this action is greatly increased if any trace of grease is present. To solve this problem, it is generally best to add a little detergent to the water when testing for gold or with the final 'clean-up' after gold panning. The toughness and malleability of gold allow it to hammered into extremely thin plates … being soft, it may be scratched readily, leaving a streak of the same colour on unglazed streak plate.

By careful observation of these properties gold is readily distinguishable from such minerals as: pyrite, chalcopyrite, limonite and golden-coloured mica are frequently mistaken for gold by the inexperienced. An easy way to test gold in the field is to hit the gold (make sure it's not a good saleable specimen) with a hammer and the gold will flatten. If it is one of the other minerals mentioned, the "so-called gold" will shatter with impact. If it is mica, the mica will generally break into nothing when rubbed between the fingers.

In sulphide ores, gold is not always present in a free state . Therefore, it is basically impossible to identify in a gold prospecting gold pan. The prospector needs to bear this fact in mind, and, provided any 'tail' shows after roasting and regrinding the concentrate; it is well to have an assay made of a representative sample of the sulphide ore before accepting it as worthless.

The presence of gold in the form of tellurides may easily escape detection, although gold tellurides are not common in Queensland . They are highly lustrous minerals, silvery-grey to pale bronze-yellow in colour, and are soft and very heavy. Some of them in general appearance are not unlike molybdenite or flaky graphite.



No attempt is made with the information provided here to deal with the past history of the various mining fields or to describe the many mines being worked in the State. The object rather is to show - both to the individual prospector and to the mining investor - some of the mining possibilities of each of the districts mentioned, passing reference being made to particular mines in certain cases only. Slight reference only has been made to geological features. The relative importance of deposits and districts mentioned cannot be gauged by the lengths of the references in these notes. On many of the old fields the conditions are well known, or can be ascertained at the main centres. Special attention has been drawn to some of the lesser known fields.

Any person or company desirous of obtaining further details in relation to any of the mines, deposits, or localities referred to should communicate with the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Brisbane, or with the nearest Warden, Inspector of Mines, or District Geologist.

The Reworking of Deposits

The fact that certain ore-bodies were worked years ago and were abandoned does not necessarily imply that such deposits cannot be worked profitably under different conditions. The metal market is always a primary factor in deciding the success or failure of mining ventures. The utilization of modern methods or mining and treatment may bring renewed life to some mines.

Some of the causes of work have been discontinued in mines are as follows:

  • Want of sufficient capital to explore and develop deposits thoroughly

  • High cost of transport of ore to treatment works

  • The premature erection of costly plants at mines before requisite values and quantities or ore have been proved.  

  • Failure in prosperous periods to build up a reserve fund for the express purpose of carrying out further developmental work

  • Exceptional conditions such as drought, flooding and labour difficulties. Any person wishing to investigate the further possibilities of any worked deposits or desiring to renew in any locality the search for any particular mineral should weigh all the known factors relating to the closure of previous workings. Some of the factors may be gathered from these notes; others can be obtained from official records or from officers of the Department of Mines stationed on the various mining fields.

Fresh Discoveries

Although most of the larger and more obvious outcrops of mineral deposits have been located and tested to some extent there are still possibilities of new discoveries within the metalliferous areas of the State. The fact that in these notes some localities are mentioned as being worthy of further prospecting does not indicate that the other localities referred to should not also be prospected. The special mention is made only in cases where some of the factors making for success are known.  








QUEENSLAND GOLD – Yesterday and today

By: David Cooper

© 2003 - 2015

Gold! Gold! Those exciting words echoed in Queensland in the year of 1852. A search of the early records failed to ascertain where the first gold discovery took place as the information appears rather sketchy. However, it was in south-east Queensland – either at Lord John’s Swamp, 12 miles S.S.E. of Warwick (later proclaimed as the Lucky Valley Goldfield) or at Black Snake south of Kilkivan, approximately 30 miles N.W. of Gympie.

Five years later, a search party came back from an expedition claiming that gold had been found adjacent to the Fitzroy River. Captain Maurice O’Connell, the appointed Commissioner for Crown Lands in that area, ordered an experienced miner from the Warwick settlement to find gold in more payable quantities. The miner’s name was W.C. Chapel, and he left Port Curtis (now called Gladstone) with another party in February, 1858. After surviving various attacks from the wild aborigines he discovered gold in June and returned with a nugget of over half an ounce (big nugget!) under adverse conditions. The first day he obtained 4 pennyweight 22 grains and stated that a man could earn twenty shillings per week!

It is interesting to note that the Government Geologist, S. Stutchbury, reported that gold had been found in the region – possibly around Calliope – in 1853 some years earlier.

The first major gold rush was in 1858 at Bonnie Doon Creek on the Canoona cattle run some 35 miles north of Rockhampton. This was promptly reported in the ‘Moreton Bay Courier’ and soon the number of miners increased dramatically on this field. By 1860 some 40,000 ounces of gold had been won. According to the records there were over 16,000 people on this field at its peak.

In 1858, a shepherd named ‘Lodden Bill’ discovered gold at Eidsvold in the Burnett region, some 35 miles N.W. of Gayndah. Mining started here in 1862 and was proclaimed as a Mining Field in November, 1887 covering an area of eleven square miles, and was later extended in 1889 by a further six square miles.

Southern Queensland came into the limelight in October, 1863 with discoveries at Darkey’s Flat (now called Pratten) some 18 miles N.W. of Warwick. This became known as the Talgai Goldfield and covers an area of 77 square miles. Both alluvial and reef mining methods were worked here. The richest alluvial gold was found in Dunn’s Gully and at Gum Flat just west of Pratten. The alluvium is rich but patchy, and varies in depth from two to twenty feet. Many coarse gold nuggets were found up to sixteen ounces, the largest of which was fifty-five ounces found by Mr. H. Gibson in 1895. Many reef mines were worked in this general area and were found to be rich in gold. However, this goldfield was abandoned due to other goldfields being opened up around this time. There is still gold there as it was never worked properly. Over the past few years this area has been worked using metal detectors and the largest nugget detected was just over eight ounces, and another six ounces with many hundreds of smaller ones.

The Canal Creek Goldfield situated south-west of the Talgai Goldfield was discovered at the same time. It was very rich in alluvial gold, bottoming on pipe clay – the wash ranging from five to twelve feet. In 24 years between 1863 and 1887 over 20,000 ounces had been found. Early reports state that there was evidence of gold-bearing quartz being found ‘along the divide in metasediments on the eastern extremity of the alluvial deposits’ but this was never worked. It has been reported to me in recent years that several gold nuggets up to one ounce have been detected in this area.

In 1869, the Thanes Creek Goldfield came into existence which is situated between the two goldfields. This was first worked as an alluvial field, and then reef mining took over in 1879. The gold was associated with many minerals, these in the main being galena and pyrite.

The Lucky Valley Goldfield, 12 miles S.W. of Warwick (being one of the first goldfields in Queensland) was proclaimed in 1879 and was entirely an alluvial diggings. In a quartz vein in Duffer Gully was found ‘small, bright foliated metallic plates of Tellurium in which gold may be seen embedded’.

While all this activity was taking place, gold was discovered in Central Queensland near Peak(e) Downs in 1861, with a rush taking place in 1862. This led to the development of the Clermont Goldfield which was proclaimed in August, 1863 covering an area of over 1600 square miles. The principal gold mining areas were: The Springs, Black Ridge, Miclere and many others too numerous to mention. The alluvial deposits cover a large number of gold-bearing leads and have yielded many thousands of ounces of gold. They were considered at the time to be the richest and most extensive alluvial gold deposits in Queensland. There were at least four batteries working in the area. Large dry-blowing operations also took place here as well.

In recent years, this area has been popular with prospectors with a large number of gold nuggets found, some weighing up to 30 ounces. By the same token, there have been many hundreds of other nuggets found over the one ounce mark. With new areas being opened up in the past year or so, the amount of gold found shows that the Clermont area has not yet been worked out.

Crocodile Creek, just 6 miles south of Rockhampton produced payable gold in 1865 – over two thousand diggers were on this field. It is interesting to note that this was the first field where the Chinese were ejected by the white diggers! The Hector gold reef is claimed to be the first to be worked in the colony of Queensland.

In the following years, the Morinish, Ridgelands, Rosewood and Raglan goldfields in the same general area were discovered. At Rosewood a number of nuggets were found, some being close to one hundred ounces. These areas still produce good nuggets in the serpentine country, but the whole area really needs to be prospected properly as I believe there is much more yet to be found.

At this time, Queensland was plunged into a serious economic crisis after the separation of Queensland from New South Wales in 1859. Thousands of men were unemployed, the peak being in 1866. The government, on the 8th January, 1867, offered a reward of three thousand pounds for the discovery of payable goldfields in the State. Soon after, the picture changed … 1867 saw four more gold rushes …

The most important discovery was at Gympie, when a certain James Nash who had been previously prospecting on the Turon Goldfield (New South Wales) and later at Kiandra on the Snowy River, moved north to Brisbane in 1864 and went searching for gold at Calliope. He was nearly killed when his shaft collapsed and buried him six feet under! He survived this unfortunate happening and moved south-west to the Nanango (Seven Mile Diggings) rush. After some time, he decided to move back to Calliope, prospecting on the way. He returned to Brisbane for rations and prospected the area around Bella Creek (later named the Yabba Goldfield) and Imbil to the east. (These areas are in the hinterland of the present day Sunshine Coast.) He later moved northward and crossed the Mary River to meet up with the track to Maryborough.

That evening, while his billy was boiling, he took a dish of dirt and washed it in a nearby waterhole and found a tail of gold in the bottom of his gold pan. Next morning he prospected further and found more gold. After six days he had found more than seventy-five ounces! He then returned later to Brisbane to purchase a horse and dray and extra supplies – retuned to Maryborough by steamer and made his way back to Gympie where he worked his previous area with a friend, Billy Malcolm and waited for his brother to arrive. His bonanza was at Gympie Creek (now known as Nash Gully) not far from the present-day Town Hall. After two weeks he returned to Maryborough to report his find.

This story could go on at length – but if you would like to read an account of this history and the gold rush, get yourself a copy of the book ‘Gympie Gold’ written by Hector Holthouse – you won’t put it down!

The area was then proclaimed as the Gympie Goldfield, covering an area of 120 square miles. Initially the area was worked as an alluvial field with two large gold nuggets being found. The largest was discovered in Gympie Creek being 975 ounces containing 906 ounces of gold – the other was 804 ounces found at Sailor’s Gully in Deep Creek. The field was later dotted with reef mines, with over fifteen batteries working in the immediate area. Many deep mines were soon operating, and of these, the ‘West of Scotland’ mine 3136 feet was the deepest worked. Over 3½ million ounces of gold were produced on the field.

For the modern-day prospector, the areas around Gympie are now somewhat limited as the main alluvial areas have been either built on, or are now parklands. However, for those of you who have patience and the experience, it is still profitable to detect the few mullock dumps remaining. A drive around Gympie can still reveal areas where the local council transported some of the mullock and used it as ‘fill’ as well as for road base.

Nearby, the Kilkivan goldfield (N.W. of Gympie) was back in the news with further finds at West Coast, 2½ miles south of Kilkivan, and Colo Flat to the north. The most lucrative area was at Italian Gully where a 75 ounce nugget was found. However, the area was not proclaimed as a goldfield until 27th July, 1868. This field was noted for its number of cinnabar (mercury) mines. A few small gold nuggets have been detected in this area over the past few years.

The north-west part of the state came into the news when gold was found at Sunday Gully near Cloncurry. Soon after, Top Camp was the richest area; the largest nugget found was 336 ounces with many other smaller ones. An 88 ounce was located at the Two Mile Diggings. Prior to this event, gold was previously found at both Bishop and Fishers Creek. To the east the Cape River Diggings were proclaimed on 4th September, 1867 covering an area of 308 square miles. The influx of Chinese diggers was in force here for the first time in Queensland. The largest alluvial nugget recorded here was 17 ounces. It is believed that some dry blowing operations were attempted in some of these areas with some success.

It is interesting to note that a ‘lucky’ prospector detected a good sized nugget just over 18 ounces at Top Camp (which is larger than what was previously recorded) and a 12½ ounce nugget, as well as many other smaller ones just a year ago.

The year now is 1868 and another significant discovery of gold was at Middle Camp to the east of Ravenswood. It wasn’t until 3rd November, 1870 that the field was developed to its full extent, covering 1600 square miles. Apart from the immediate mining centre adjacent to the township there were other popular areas such as: Sandy Creek, One Mile, Four Mile Creek, Hillsborough, Donnybrook, Canton, Kirk Diggings and Fish Creek. Over 900,000 ounces of gold were produced from this field. Extensive reef mining was undertaken here as well as the usual alluvial areas.

Ravenswood today is a ghost town, with only a few residents but some of the old buildings can still be seen as well as the remains of many others and is worth a visit if you are up that way.

Mount Wheeler hit the news when it produced two large gold nuggets – 258 ounces and 178 ounces – as well as many other smaller ones. Mount Wheeler can be found 15 miles north east of Rockhampton, near Cawarral (which is about half-way between present day Rockhampton and Emu Park on the coast.) Some good gold has been found in this area over the past few years.

Closer to Brisbane, the Yabba Goldfield (known as Jimna) west of Nambour, had over four thousand men working the alluvial areas in Booloumba, Peter and Bundaroo Creeks, Jimna and Yabba Creeks also produced alluvial gold whereas just further south, reef mining took place at an area known as the Jimna Diggings. The gold here was rich in patches, but due to all the excitement at Gympie, production records were not kept.

Richard Daintree, the Government Geologist, led a party of prospectors in 1869 to an area on the Gilbert River which became known as the Oaks Goldfield, situated S.E. of Forsayth. The Chinese, who were working at Cape River at the time, flocked to this area and outnumbered the white prospectors five to two! The rush only lasted for about four years due to the common-place attacks by the wild Aborigines. The area later came alive in 1878 and became part of the Etheridge Goldfield.

Prior to this event, the area around Georgetown (Etheridge Goldfield) was fast becoming known for the amount of gold being produced there. Soon, reef mining took pride of place. The whole area, over 11,500 miles, is littered with hundreds of gold mines (which are too numerous to mention) and from 1878 until 1912 the field produced well over 560,000 ounces of gold. It was also reported that in 1896, in the Green Hills area near Georgetown, over sixty nuggets were found, the largest being 180 ounces. Dry blowing was also attempted on the Etheridge Goldfield with some success.

This area, in my opinion, will be the next main area which should be prospected and detected properly. It will no doubt, produce a lot more gold including some good sized nuggets in the future as it has in the past few years. With the advent of deeper-seeking detectors presently on the drawing board of certain detector manufacturers which should be available within the next few years, that area will come alive with detectors ‘buzzing’ everywhere.

I predicted over 25 years ago that the Clermont area of only 1,689 square miles was an ideal location for detecting; a few people took my advice and did extremely well over the years. The ‘word’ eventually got out! About 11 years ago when the range of Minelab SD detectors came on the market a lot more gold was found and even more so, recently, with the new Minelab GP range of metal detectors. These finds have proved my predictions right with the phenomenal amount of gold being detected in this area within a short space of time.

One of most popular areas around Georgetown is Flat Creek (cattle) Station which allows fossicking and camping for a small fee.


Bill & Sandra Claydon of Queensland fossicking at Flat Creek Station near Georgetown with their Minelab GP metal detector.

Photo Courtesy of: 'The Courier Mail', Brisbane dated 5th August 2006.

Just think what you can find in an area of 11,558 square miles … nearly 7 times larger than Clermont !!


If you would like to visit FLAT CREEK STATION the following information may be of some help.

Flat Creek Station, PO Box 57, Georgetown , Qld 4871
Phone: - Peter Henry   07 4062 5304 (please leave a message if unattended)   Fax:  07 40625434

Bookings are essential at all times.
Costs: Fossicking day visit: Adults $7 Children free. Old Macdonald Town Bush Camping Ground: Adults $7 per night. $40 per person / per week. Children: Free.
Homestay, including all meals $80.00 per person per night or double/twin $150.
All prices are in Australian Currency.

       Location map of 'Flat Creek Station' 


Continuing along ........

The Cania-Kroombit Goldfield (85 square miles) in the central Burnett area was discovered in 1870-1871 and was worked mainly as an alluvial deposit. Some early dredging took place here but was abandoned due to operational difficulties and large boulders which lay above the wash. Quite a number of small gold nuggets have been detected in this area over the past few years.

In August, 1872, a great gold rush occurred at Charters Towers, S.W. of Townsville. The area was named after W.S. Charters, the gold warden at Ravenswood, nearby. Originally called ‘Charters Tors’ – the ‘tors’ meaning ‘hills’ – thus the name Charters Towers! It became the centre of activity and grew to take third place among the early gold producing areas, with over 100 registered companies working on the field. By 1876 over 9,000 people were here! It even had its own stock exchange building (and it’s still standing too), as well as numerous banks and stores. Reef mining rated first place, even though there were some alluvial deposits being worked towards Mount Leyshon to the south. At its boom period over nineteen batteries were operating day and night. (So much for noise pollution or whatever!). It is said that nearly 7 million ounces of gold were won from this area. Dry blowing methods were also used in some cases.

One of the most recent finds in this area was that made by two miners, Messrs. Hoy and Crabb, in 1920. They found several angular type pieces 5 miles west of Mount Leyshon (near Charters Towers) the largest of which contained 143 ounces of gold. It was noted that due to the shape of the nuggets they hadn’t travelled very far from their source.

The Charters Towers – Mount Leyshon area as well as the Pentland – Cape River goldfield to the west has proved to be a bonanza for the modern-day prospector as hundreds of ounces of gold nuggets have been detected in these areas. Some large nuggets include: 22 ounce, 17 ounce, 14 ounce, 12 ounce and thousands of smaller ones.

While all the excitement was on at Charters Towers, another discovery took place further north on the Palmer River where a party of prospectors were led by J.W. Mulligan. In three months they had found 102 ounces of gold.

A gold nugget found near Charters Towers weighing approximately 3 ounces.

Then followed one of the biggest gold rushes of the century – after a short space of time there were about 15,000 diggers on the field – followed by another Chinese stampede. They came direct from China to Cooktown by boat and followed the route inland through ‘famous’ places such as: Battle Camp, Hells Gate, Laura to Palmerville, then the centre of activity. In fact the whole area was gold-bearing and it was worked by alluvial methods. Later reef mining took place at Edwardstown, Revolver Point and Maytown – the latter became the main town of the Palmer River Goldfield, and had over 10,000 inhabitants. Over one million ounces of gold were produced from this field, although that figure would be highly conservative as the Chinese exported the gold back to China by illegal methods. An account of this exciting gold rush is told again by Hector Holthouse in his book ‘River of Gold’ and this should not be missed either for leisure reading or for the serious prospector intending to visit that area.

Further south, around 1875, gold was found near Thornborough on the Hodgkinson Goldfield, where reef mining predominated. In the following year, February, 1876, alluvial gold was discovered at Coen but was worked out in five months. Several reefs which were found at the time continued to be worked after the alluvial deposits were exhausted. It is interesting to note, however, that gold is still being won from that area today.

Five years elapsed before the next real gold find, that being at Mount Britton (known as the Nebo Goldfield) approximately 40 miles S.W. of Mackay. It opened in 1881 when several nuggets were found in the alluvial deposits of Nuggety Gully and Oakey Creek. Records show that gold nuggets of up to 69 ounces were found. Moonlight Gully also produced more nuggets.

Next, Mount Morgan came into the picture in 1882 and that proved to be a bonanza! It was allegedly called a ‘mountain of gold’ but in actual fact it was originally realised as a silver lode. It sort of became another Charters Towers, and was so rich in places that assays taken revealed a massive 3,700 ounces of gold to the ton – simply unbelievable! This mountain later gave way from its shafts to open-cut methods.

Today, Mount Morgan relies on tourism as the mine is now closed, but tours are still held showing visitors the remains of the workings of this famous mine. If you want to back in time, just drive around the town and have a look at the old buildings that still stand. Further information and a guide map of the town can be obtained from the Historical Centre which is located at the old railway station.

More sensational finds were recorded from Peters Rush on the Dee River, S.E. of Mount Morgan in 1903 when many gold nuggets were unearthed, the largest being 182 ounces. Dozens of others were found too, ranging from 179 ounces to 50 ounces and smaller. These were found to be water-worn, thus proving that they had come from another source or an old river system nearby – who knows? Followed by this great discovery, a prospecting party sponsored by W.C. Brown, Manager of the Croydon Downs Station, found payable gold in 1886 when Messrs. Brown and Aldridge were digging postholes for a fence! They received one thousand pounds reward from the Queensland Government. Subsequently there were thirteen batteries operating on this reef field, the richest mines being in granite rock close to the town.

(Again, I feel this area needs to be properly prospected as I’m sure there must be some large nuggets still there … only time will tell!)

Several small gold rushes occurred around this time. In 1907, the Stanton Harcourt Goldfield, north of Biggenden was proclaimed even though gold was first discovered here in 1885. The Nanango Goldfield, N.W. of Brisbane, was gazetted in 1890 with amendments to the boundaries in 1912. The most popular areas within this field were at: Callaghan’s Gully, Yarraman Creek, Rice Gully and Shepherd’s Gully at the Seven Mile Diggings south-east of the town.

Alluvial gold can still be found at these diggings which lead into Cooyar & Yarraman Creeks. It is a good place to laze away a weekend, panning in the nearby gullies and creeks. A detector can come in handy here to find those early coins and relics and the odd Chinese cash coin or two. Some lucky prospectors also find the odd small gold nugget – but don’t expect any large ones here!

In 1887, the Chinese prospectors made a strike on the Russell River Goldfield, and a large quantity of gold was recovered from the areas surrounding the Russell and Mulgrave Rivers, including Jordon Creek and Towalla. This location can be found inland between Innisfail and Cairns. The Starcke Goldfield, 40 miles N.W. of Cooktown, was opened up in 1890 due to two prospectors Cairns and Bowden. Over 4,000 ounces of gold were found in this area.

Further north in October 1892, the Batavia River (Wenlock) on Cape York Peninsula came into the limelight when William Baird found payable gold deposits. Four years later Baird and two other men were fatally speared by the wild Aborigines. In October, 1910, a more subdued Aboriginal named Pluto, found a slug of gold on the main pack track route between Mein and Bowden near the north bank of the Batavia River. A rush of miners followed. Two miners named Foley and White found the largest nugget weighing 74 ounces within 10 inches of the surface. Other nuggets were brought to light in 1913, the largest of these being 121 ounces and 97 ounces. Many other patches of gold were found in the area, some being extremely rich.

I have seen some very rich specimens found in this area over the past few years, but because of the area’s remoteness, I know that there are still many others yet to be found in the years ahead. In 1939, the name of the goldfield and river was changed from Batavia to Wenlock.

Back in Central Queensland, the Mount Coolon Goldfield was proclaimed in 1918 after gold was discovered on the Suttor River by a stockman named Luke Reynolds. It wasn’t until 1933 when production commenced that gold came out in quantity, and is estimated that nearly 200,000 ounces of gold came from this field. One of the most recent discoveries was at Cracow, even though traces of gold had been found in 1875. This mine was operating until the mid-1960’s when it closed, and it ranked second place to Mount Morgan. In the 1980’s a mining company treated the tailings by modern methods finding more gold that had been missed.

Cracow is a real ‘modern-day’ ghost town. When I visited it in 2002 the rows of empty shops are still there – the way they were early last century. If you happen to go there, remember there’s no fuel available and no shops – but there is a hotel!… and a few residents still live there. It’s a real experience! There are numerous areas available for those of you who are interested in coin and treasure hunting as I proved to myself! Also, have a look at the bottle trees around the town – they are the largest I’ve ever seen.

There are many other lesser known goldfields in Queensland I haven’t covered in this article. These fields may not be large in size but have produced good quantities of gold. Some of them had good-sized nuggets whilst others didn’t, but were rich enough to mine and in many cases showed good ‘free gold’ in a size which would respond on a metal detector.

A future article is in preparation as to these areas … and all will be revealed to you … in the fullness of time!

In the meantime … Good prospecting!

P.S.     A TRUE FACT !

In Queensland there is over 28.5 million acres of gold-bearing country. For a person with a gold/metal detector covering 1 acre per day ... it would take over 78,000 years to complete!

What about the rest of Australia?

The answer:  Over 300,000 years !





Gold was first discovered at Lord John’s Swamp (Lucky Valley Goldfield) in 1852. In 1853, rich but limited alluvial gold was uncovered on Canal Creek. Following close on Canal Creek discovery were further finds at Talgai (Darkie’s Flat – 1863 to 1864), Thane’s Creek (1869), Pikedale (1877), Leyburn (1872), and Palgrave (1877). Canal Creek was an alluvial goldfield only, whereas both alluvial gold and reef gold were won from Talgai. Thane’s Creek was primarily an area of reef mining; at Pikedale and Leyburn little or no alluvial gold was won. Little is known of the Palgrave field.


No returns for alluvial gold from this field have been recorded. The gold was won from alluvium in the "valley" and the gullies running into it. At the head of the "valley" a small hill of metasediments carried leaders of quartz showing free gold. A shaft was sunk on these leaders but was abandoned after 9 tons of ore, yielding 12 oz 6 dwt of gold, was recovered. Small quartz reefs have been prospected for gold near Omoral railway siding.


A party of seven Frenchmen working a gully 4 miles due north of the Old Canal Creek Station discovered gold. On the eastern side of Canal Creek "excellent" alluvial ground was worked up to the base of the divide, but nothing of any consequence has been discovered on the western side of the creek. The depth of alluvium was reported as ranging from 5 to 12 feet, bottoming on pipe clay. The thickness of the wash varied considerably and it tended to occur as lenses. Archibald (1888) estimated that between 1863 and 1887, 20,000 oz of gold had been recovered. Although leaders of auriferous quartz were found along the divide in metasediments on the eastern extremity of the alluvial deposits, there is no record of any attempts to work these finds.


The Talgai Goldfield, originally known as Darkie’s Flat, has supported both alluvial and reef mining, with spasmodic workings till recent times. Today, workings are confined to limited gully-raking and occasional attempts at reef mining. The richest alluvial gold was won from Dun’s Gully and the head of Gum Flat, 3 miles south of the township of Pratten. The alluvium was rich but patchy and ranged from 2 to 20 feet. The gold was coarse and many nuggets ranging from 1 to 16 oz were unearthed. The largest nugget recorded from the alluvial fields of the Warwick area came from this vicinity. The nugget weighed 55 oz and was found by Mr. H. Gibson in 1895.

wpe5.jpg (10284 bytes)

Gold Nuggets found at Pratten in 5 days with a metal detector. The largest nugget at left weighs  8.25 ounces.

Another gold nugget from Pratten weighing 6 ounces.

Traces of tin were commonly associated with the alluvial gold found on the field, particularly in Dun’s Gully and the gullies leading on to Gum Flat; but nowhere was the mineral recorded in commercial quantity. Little trace of it is seen in the country rocks.

Many reefs have been worked on the Talgai field with varying results. Gold occurrence appeared to be patchy. Some early phenomenally rich crushings were reported, and some stone treated commonly averaged around 1 oz per ton. However, the small average size of the reefs, faulting, and/or shortness of shoots were inimical to economic development in depth. Jack (1892) recorded that the Queensland reef was believed to be the first gold reef to be worked in Queensland. At a depth of 70 feet, 600 oz of gold was recovered from 4 tons of ore. The main ore shoot was lost at depth when intersected by a quartz reef carrying pyrite.

The deposits on the field vary from thin stringers to veins 6 feet across, usually of quartz, within the metamorphics. General strike of the reefs is west to north-northwest, with southerly dip. The largest reefs found on the field have been worked along the spur of Mount Gammie North.


Although Thane’s Creek Goldfield is not contiguous to Canal Creek, it appears to form an extension of the same belt of auriferous country. In contrast to the workings along Canal Creek, no alluvial gold of any consequence has been found, most of the gold won being derived from reef mining. Lack of suitable crushing and treatment facilities, erratic gold values, and faulting of the ore shoots appear to have been the main reasons for the decline of this field. No mine has been developed below about 120 feet, the average depth being about 60 feet (Denmead, 1931).

If you would like to do some gold prospecting in the Thanes Creek area, I suggest that you stay at the GLENDON CAMPING GROUND, M/S 848, Glendon Road, Thane, Via; Warwick 4370.  The hosts are: Mark and Sandra Ashburn who are happy to advise you as to the prospecting areas on and around their property. I have seen some nice gold nuggets that have been found there too. Their telephone is: (07) 4667 4756.  Web-site is:

         Some typical gold nuggets found in the Thane's Creek Area   


       An old gold mine shaft on the Glendon property


The following two (2) photographs also show some more gold nuggets found by a lucky amateur prospecting in the Thanes Creek Goldfield. The grand total was 5.94 ounces valued at over $6000 at current day gold price.


The coin in the centre of the gold nuggets is an Australian 10 cent coin                          A total of 5.94 ounces !



This field is on the southeastern extremity of the "gold belt", which extends from Leyburn in the north to Pikedale in the south. Gold production was confined to reef mining. Mineralization was found in both quartz "dykes" and fissure fillings, strongly faulted in part, and usually carrying pyrite (Rands, 1887; Jack 1892; Maitland, 1895). Occasionally cassiterite (tin) was found associated with the gold in some of the mines. The reefs were not very large or very rich and difficulty was encountered with recovery of gold associated with pyrite. No full record of actual production has been found. The country rocks are slate, indurated shale, and greywacke striking north and dipping at high angles. Small dioritic lenses have been found along relict bedding planes of the sediments in some of the mines. Strike of the auriferous deposits varies from east to east-northeast and they have variable dip.


No returns of production are available. The gold is found in dark laminated quartz reefs, which tend to form lenses parallel to the general strike of country rock and pitching at varying angles to the southeast. Gold has shown erratic distribution within the ore shoots; the average value of stone treated rarely exceeded 1 oz per ton. The country rocks are predominantly pink and purple phyllites, slates, and quartzites, which strike approximately N. 130° E. and have vertical dip.


Little is known of the history or the workings of this field. Denmead (1931) reported on several mines in the vicinity. The country rocks are predominantly greywacke and slate striking a few degrees west of north and dipping to the west. Personal communications with old miners who know the field suggest the ore was of low grade and the mines small.

Failure of the mines of all the goldfields appears to have been caused by the low average grade of the ore, patchy values, faulting, primitive methods of mining and inadequate equipment, lack of suitable crushing and treatment plants, inability to treat the pyritic ore, and high cartage cost.

(A copy of the STANTHORPE GEOLOGICAL MAP which include the goldfields in the Warwick area is available from us.    Price: $15.00 including GST & postage).



The colourful history of gold discoveries in Queensland cannot claim an impressive list of nuggets to compare in either quantity or size with those in some other States. For comparison, it is of interest to note in passing that Victoria’s largest nugget, the ‘Welcome Stranger’ weighed approximately 2,520 ounces, contained nearly 2,285 ounces of gold and was sold for ₤10.500; and the ‘Golden Eagle’ of Western Australia, weighing 1,134 ounces, contained 947 ounces fine gold. There are, however, records of at least 15 Queensland nuggets weighing over 100 ounces as well as many smaller ones. The paucity of large nuggets is a reflex of the conditions under which our lode gold occurs; in only a few instances are condition favourable for the possible occurrence of masses of gold from which large nuggets could be derived.

Nuggets were found at Gympie in the early days of 1867-68, including the largest yet found in the State, the ‘Curtis Nugget’ discovered on Gympie Creek by George Curtis in February, 1868. Its gross weight was 975 ounces and it contained 906 ounces of gold, valued at ₤3,132. 9s. 9d. Another large nugget of 804 ounces is recorded from Sailor’s Gully, Deep Creek, (Gympie).

In the same year (1868) a flat oblong nugget weighing 258 ounces and valued at ₤1,000 was found by a man named Cadden at Mount Wheeler, near Rockhampton, in addition to numerous smaller ones. Another large nugget was one of 336 ounces from Top Camp, Cloncurry, from which field several were recorded, including one of 88 ounces from the Two-Mile diggings and others of 17½ ounces and 10 ounces from Top Camp.

Sporadic nuggets were a feature of the alluvial deposits at Mount Britton (near Mackay), where in the 1880’s quite a number were found, ranging from 7 ounces upwards to 80 ounces in Nuggety and Moonlight Gullies. In 1896 the newly-discovered alluvials on Green Hills, west of Forsayth, yielded upwards of 60 nuggets, ranging in size up to 180 ounces.

The most notable occurrence in Queensland was at (Peters Rush) Dee River, near Mount Morgan, which is of interest not so much because of size as on account of the large number and their well-rounded surfaces; nuggets totalling 4,350 ounces of gold of an estimated value of ₤18,000 were found between September, 1903, and August, 1904. The largest weighed 182, 179, 171, 114, 108, and 100 ounces while a further 23 exceeded 50 ounces and the remainder ranged from 40 ounces downwards.

In more recent years the discovery of alluvial deposits at Plutoville, Batavia River (now Wenlock), led to the finding of a number of rather jagged nuggets, the largest recorded, found in 1913, weighing approximately 121 ounces. Another, 97 ounces in the rough, found by Ned Bergin, returned 94 ounces smelted gold, and others ranged downwards from 74 ounces.

The more recent notable discovery was that of several angular pieces of gold 5 miles west of Mount Leyshon by two miners, Hoy and Crabb in 1920. The largest of these contained nearly 144 ounces of gold, stated to be worth ₤575. These differed from the usual nugget in showing no perceptible rounding, and obviously had not travelled far from their source.

Other authentic records of nuggets in this State include the following: One of 90 ounces at Ebagoola; a 56 ounce nugget at Langmorn; three weighing 48, 30, and 30 ounces from the Clermont fields; various sizes from 1 to 65 ounces on the Talgai (Pratten, Warwick) field; and one of 17 ounces at Cape River.

(Extract from the ‘Queensland Government Mining Journal’, June 1950.)



The following photographs are of the KINGSTON GOLD MINE, south of Brisbane that were taken by myself in the 1960's.

They were near the top on the left-hand side of the present Queens Road, (off Kimgston Road) Kingston just north of the Kingston Railway Station.

Gold used to be panned from the nearby creeks on the southern side of the railway station.



  Crushing / Treatment Plant                                                               Cyanide Tanks



Tailings Dump behind the Crushing / Treatment Plant                            Open Cut Quarry  (1962)   This was eventually filled in



For further information on    Fossicking & Gold Prospecting in Queensland   can be viewed at:


Department of Natural Resources, Mines & Water (Queensland)


This site provides a complete run-down on the Fossicking areas (gold and gemstones) within Queensland, licences and other related information.

Other web-sites that can provide further information are as follows:



Department of Natural Resources & Mines

33 Charlotte Street

BRISBANE   QLD    4000

Tel: 13 74 68


Products include: 

  • Geological maps and explanatory notes
  • Geological publications, reports and records
  • Mineral Resource Maps
  • Coal Resource Maps
  • Coal, Mineral and Petroleum Tenure Maps
  • Digital geological/geoscience data packages
  • Public inquiry reports and graphics for clients using MERLIN and SIE
  • Fossicking and camping licences
  • Free promotional products and maps.

All products can be ordered by phone or email and delivered by post if required.

The GSQ (Geological Survey of Queensland) Sales Centre also provides transactions for business areas other than GSQ by:

  • Receipting and banking for products, searches, statutory fees, explosives licences and mining rental payments
  • Liaising with external clients such as solicitors, mining tenement services and the public to provide suitable information and products
  • Providing information and contact details for other business areas supporting the Mining, Exploration and Energy industries including Safety and Health aspects.