-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

article about Amherst and Talbot from Goldnet magazine (April 2000)

by Roger Rhodes
"Tucked away just about 10 miles south of Maryborough are the small rural communities of Talbot and Amherst. These days Amherst is just an intersection on the map and a couple of buildings, but the old village of Talbot, is like driving back into the past as one enters the town. About the only thing missing is the period costumes and the odd horse and rider or horse and cart. Of course most of the roads are now bitumen.

Driving past this little hamlet one could be forgiven for not taking a second glance, but then as we drive on major highways these days that is a common occurrence. The main road south from Maryborough glances along the edge of Talbot as it meanders along with its 100km/h speed limit. Just turn left when you get there, and drive into history.

main street talbot

Although gold was discovered in early 1854, it was not until the later that decade that a more permanent town became a reality. Previously there had been quite a tent city housing up to 15,000 on Back Creek Flat. However in 1859 the Scandinavian Lead was located on the site of the present town, and within a few weeks 30,000 descended on this rich lead. In a short time more permanent buildings were erected, rather than the canvas stores that proliferated in the early days.

Fires take their toll of permanent structures in this hot dry climate, and Talbot was no exception. In fact from the time they were built in the 1860's buildings were lost from time to time. The latest bushfires in 1985 destroyed some buildings. Today the town of Talbot has few trees and is surrounded by clear paddocks, used for grain crops or grazing cattle and sheep. It almost appears that no gold was ever taken from this rich land, it has been transformed so much.

However just a short distance to the west of Talbot lies the area of Amherst. Once a thriving town in its own right - today very few buildings remain, many overgrown. In its former glory days the town was in the centre of a gold bearing belt that was about seven miles long and a mile wide. There were seven general stores, a surgeon and a grand Inn. A hospital commenced in 1857 operated into the 1920's.

The "Big Reef" is a massive quartz outcrop in State Forest and private property between Amherst and Lillicur, to the west. Companies worked the reef for many years, with great success. I have however, always found that the best ground to find gold these days in this area is around Amherst to the north towards the Adelaide lead. There are indeed, substantial diggings right through this area of the forest, and with a little patience and know-how good gold can be found here.

I know a few characters that regularly spend time in their favourite gullies and hills in this area and they are usually rewarded. I just happened on a retired farmer, who drives over from South Australia regularly, a trip of 400 miles, and he was good enough to show me some of his finds. I have been asked not to disclose exactly where he was for obvious reasons, but it was pretty close to one of those little towns let me tell you.

bull and mouth hotel

The Paddy's Ranges State Park dominates this area and it is here that there are substantial surface diggings that with patience can give up good gold. It should be remembered that this area produced a plethora of gigantic nuggets last century, and one often hears of large nuggets coming from this area. Joining this park the Amherst State Forest, Talbot State Forest and the Eglinton State forest present an outstanding opportunity to detect auriferous ground in a tranquil setting, even if the bush is a little thick throughout.

Personally I have always done well to the south of Talbot. Last time I was there I concentrated on the surfacing patches using the Coiltek elliptical coil attached to a Minelab 2200D. What I got was a lot of small gold in what one could describe as thrashed ground. I concentrated on the Butchers Gully and Little Nuggety Gully areas. Although the bush here is pretty thick in places there are more than enough areas to find a few pieces that have been missed.

The virgin ground here to the south when detected with the 18" Coiltek coil turned up a few pieces in some of the gully slopes. There is no question that the reputation that this area has for large nuggets is well deserved and continues to be a favourite with detectorists from all over the world. Don't forget that a lot of the country in this area is now privately owned, and permission must be sought to enter private ground.

When visiting this area take the time to visit both Talbot and Amherst and spend some time investigating this old mining town. The experience is very rewarding and you never know, one of the old timers just might give you a hint about where the real gold might still be found.

talbot town hall

No comments: