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Prospecting for GOLD in Australia 


Tom Clarke

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Newark, NJ to Kalgoorlie, Australia only 39 hours: 

My buddy Ken and I flew from Newark to LA, then on to Sydney for another 2 hour layover, then to Perth where we had 7 hours to get a flight to Kalgoorlie in Western Australia. Thirty-nine hours later; we got to Ken's nephew's house and crashed. 

Camera Info & Beware

All were taken with one of the early Sony Mavica cameras that wrote the files out on a diskette. Resolution was around .7Meg - if I remember Correctly. The camera was stolen 2 years later on another trip to Australia.... packed in a suitcase, locked, and baggage checked. Get to Melbourne, and the camera (only) was gone. Lesson, do not pack camera in checked luggage. 

The Streets were Paved with Gold.

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This first picture is of downtown Kalgoorlie town established in the late 1890's.  Where huge amounts of gold were and are mined in the area. The streets were paved with the sun dried blocks of sludge that were the result of the gold mining process. Later, when the refining techniques were improved, it was found that there was still sufficient gold left in the paving blocks to warrant further refining. Thus the expression, "The streets were paved with gold." 

Prospecting for Gold:

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We went  for gold in the outback for two days. The process consists of stripping the top layer of soil with a bulldozer (pictured, a Fiat), then scanning the soil with a metal detector. Ken's nephew Rod and I sifted through the soil looking for the gold nuggets. The results of two days' work are shown in my hand, at the time, about $700 worth of gold. The 'Camp' picture  from where we were prospecting. The aerial view is of the Super Pit, where gold is still mined, but not like, we did in the outback. The gold ore is taken out by dump trucks and then goes thru a modern process to extract virtually every molecule of gold. 

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Kalgoorlie west to Perth:

 We drove from Kalgoorlie west to Perth then along the Southwest cape of Australia and across the Nulabor Desert.  The next six pictures are from various spots on this 3-day trip.

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 The road across the desert is called the Eyre Highway, named after the first European to cross Australia by land. It is a two-lane blacktop road with soft shoulders. It is the only paved road across Australia, with roadhouses every 60 miles - and nothing else. An interesting drive; we'd be doing about 80 mph when a road train (BIG tractor with two trailers, 158 feet long) would be coming the other way also doing about 80. "Wind shear" best describes the sensation. We saw a dead kangaroo about every mile. Since the shoulders of the road are dug a few inches deeper than the surrounding ground, any moisture collects there. This causes more vegetation to grow, and kangaroos are nocturnal vegetarians who are not very smart. They see the lights of a car or truck (at 80 mph) and it is a 50-50 chance of whether they jump to the right or the left. Many dead kangaroos; thus "Roo Bars" on cars and trucks. 

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The Clare Valley is about 60 miles north of Adelaide in South Australia. It is one of the two main wine areas of Australia (the other is north of Melbourne in Victoria). Deniliquin is about 200 miles north of Melbourne, in the middle of rice fields. Irrigation is supplied by the Murray River, where the town of Echuca is located. 

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The side-wheeler EmmaLou, on the Murray at Echuca, is now a tourist ride, powered by a steam engine built in England. Phillip Island is south of Melbourne, known for its penguins and one of the world's great motorcycle races.

 Lastly, two shots of Melbourne, looking east.

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