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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

FOSSICKING

An old buckle and clay pipes

DMJ is an obsessed fly-fisherman but in the eighties he was also fanatical about gold-detecting/fossicking. We bought 72 acres up at Maldon in central Victoria, complete with shed, which I set up as our weekender and learnt very quickly about bush rats, how not to store cereal and biscuits in plastic containers!

Maldon was once a bustling 1850s gold-mining town teeming with prospectors and nearly 80 hotels in the area to accommodate them. Today, several of the old buildings remain and the town is full of antique stores. The National Trust declared Maldon Australia's first 'notable town' in 1966 because of its range of well-preserved 19th century buildings.

Main Street of Maldon

Fortnightly we'd travel the three hours up on a Saturday after I finished work at midday and returned Sunday night. What a drag that was, I detest sitting in the passenger seat for so long!

On the Sunday we'd take off into the bush and DMJ would run the metal detector over the old gold mullock heaps. Usually I'd sit in the car reading or set up a picnic table and chairs if the weather was nice. Sometimes I'd go off exploring myself, not far from the car, take a little pick and dig around.

Once I came across a 'dump' at Chewton and found a couple of clay pipes and some blue and white china shards. They were about four feet down in the dump and I just couldn't believe that they hadn't been found in a century and a half! At that site were the remains of small mudbrick huts, only about 4ft high, with a little opening. Apparently the miners crawled in to sleep and they cooked and ate outside. DMJ collected quite a bit of gold, which was quite exciting.

We loved the place so much, DMJ for the fishing and fossicking and myself the history, the peace and antiques, that we planned to retire there. We sold the 72 acres, bought two and a half down the road and built a little miner's cottage, which would one day be a B&B, with our residence next door.

"Tarrenbrae" - Our Weekender

We sold the house in 1993 after DMJ decided that the fishing had gone off the boil, sought greener pastures and found the piece of land we're now living on. This was another weekend getaway for five years until we sold our suburban house and moved up permanently ten years ago. Our little patch of heaven on earth! We're here to stay for a while longer.

3 comments:

willow said...

What a completely fascinating post!! WT has been wanting a metal detector for years. I must show him this post! The buckle and pipes are amazing.

willow said...

Oh, I was so excited about the post, I forgot to mention how much I like your new blog look! And your new avatar is lovely. :^)

Ladybug said...

We found lots of other stuff but they're in a jar, lost in the shed. It was good fun.

Oh, thanks for your kind comments; I've 'lightened up a bit' but, I'm still not happy with my 'warts and all' avatar. I'm just not photogenic any more. I think the best shots as one ages, are the happy family random pics. Will have to work on it.