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Q: Where do you find Gold in far north Queensland Australia:- for mcfly ONLY! ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Where do you find Gold in far north Queensland Australia:- for mcfly ONLY!
Category: Sports and Recreation > Outdoors
Asked by: bwll77-ga
List Price: $19.50
Posted: 06 Jun 2003 12:19 PDT
Expires: 06 Jul 2003 12:19 PDT
Question ID: 214070
Hi again "Mc" Despite our age differences (I am retired in my 60's)
there are at least two common interests we share; and they are are 
digital photography and "the great outdoors". As a student I think 
you will find this question fasinating, interesting and challenging.
The area I am interested in and I want you to research is:
"The Palmer River Goldfields Area". Specifically the following locations:
Byerstown. Maytown, and Spear Creek. Go enter the great outdoors of OZ!
You should find this interesting. I hope so. For the answer just give me
a short report. Thanks from Roger
P.S. I am currently in Kingston Jamaica but will be returning to Oz next
week. And will be embarking on a "Digital Photography" excursion into
the area/s mentioned. I know the area pretty well, but it will be
interesting to see what you come with! Good luck from Roger
Subject: Re: Where do you find Gold in far north Queensland Australia:- for mcfly ONLY!
Answered By: mcfly-ga on 06 Jun 2003 15:17 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi again Roger,

Thanks for the interesting question.  I'm sure that the Palmer River
gold miners of the 1870s would never have believed that 130 years
later I would be able to have a virtual visit to North Queensland from
my desk on the other side of the world!  It has definitely proved to
be challenging research, but I hope you enjoy the results...

The Palmer River gold fields, which were mined extensively from 1873
until the early 1910s, were one of the richest sources of gold in the
whole of Australia.  They were first discovered in August 1872 by an
expedition lead by William Hann, whose finds provided impetus for the
establishment of Cooktown.  Miners travelling overland from west of
Cairns were so successful in the first few months subsequent to the
gold field discovery, that once takings of up to 3 kilograms in 3
months were reported, a true gold rush started.

Although named after Captain James Cook, the area which became
Cooktown was visited by Cook for just "48 days in 1770 on the banks of
the Endeavour River repairing his ship, after damaging it on the Great
Barrier Reef."

Quoted from: Cairns Visitors Information

Upon the rush to mine Palmer River gold, Cooktown became a busy port
as the primary export point for the miners' findings despite the fact
that the only access was via very rugged countryside on foot or
horseback.  The story of the development of routes to Palmer River
from Cooktown is told at:

Wilderness Expeditions: Operation Mulligan

The locations you specified in the question, Maytown and Byerstown,
were very important towns at the time the gold rush, as stated by:

Aussie Gold Locations

"The main mining centers were in Maytown, Palmerville and Jessops Hill
with the goldfield totalling an area close on 9000km square.  The
Palmer and all of its tributaries were worked from the junction of
Campbell creek (65km north of Maytown) to Strathleven. The most
productive region was between Byerstown and Fish Creek Junction."

A large proportion of the mined gold was mined by Chinese diggers,
largely due to the vastly inflated gold price in Hong Kong at the
time.  'Aussie Gold Locations' (see link above) quote the difference
in prices at the time as "3p 17s an ounce" in Australia versus "5
pound per ounce" in Hong Kong!

The main gold rush at Palmer River lasted roughly 12 years although
mining continued for several more decades.  There are not substantial
quantities of gold remaining now, but Maytown is probably one of the
better places to visit: : Gold Placer Deposits

"A good place to start looking would be in Maytown as every creek and
gully for a radius of 10km yielded gold . Overall the soil cover
averages a depth of 30cm which means that most detectors could easily
find any nuggets left behind by the old timers."

Just in case you find yourself with a few hours to try some gold
panning, the following sites contain useful guides to improve your
technique :)

TEN SIMPLE STEPS To Gold Panning Success

Panning for Gold

There would appear not to be many online references to Spear Creek,
your third listed location.  Searching is complicated somewhat by the
fact that "Spear Creek" is also a back-packer tourist attraction in
South Australia in the Flinders Ranges, and the vast majority of
results refer to this.  If you would like more information about Spear
Creek, North Queensland, let me know and I will extend my search to
off-line sources.

With regards to your photography of the area, there are some amazing
sights to be seen.  The following sites gave me a good idea of nature
of the countryside.

North Queensland Photos by Massimo Casulini

North Queensland Recreation Photos

Webshots Community - Great Barrier Reef and Cairns

I'm sure that armed with a digital camera, you will be able to come
back from Palmer River with equally good, if not better, pictures of
the region's outdoors.

In addition to the above, here are some additional related links I
found on my travels around North Queensland:

Cairns Museum: Table of Gold Fields in North Queensland

Cairns Visitors Information

Visit Cape York

I hope this answer is of the style you had in mind; if you would like
elaboration or clarification on any point I will do my best to dig up
some more information.  North Queensland definitely does seem like a
beautiful place - a few more GA questions answered and I'll be able to
wing my way over there to see it all first hand!

Kind regards,

mcfly :0)

**Search strategy**
Various combinations of:

"palmer river" australia
"palmer river" goldfield
maytown OR byerstown OR "spear creek" queensland
queensland history
"cape york" map
queensland map
"north queensland" tourism
"palmer river" australia tourism
"spear creek" "north queensland"
allintitle: "spear creek" 
"north queensland" photos

Clarification of Answer by mcfly-ga on 07 Jun 2003 01:20 PDT

Thanks very much indeed for your generosity in both questions you
posted for me.  Enjoy your trip!

bwll77-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Great work Mcfly; just what I wanted. Hope you enjoyed it. Kind regards Roger

Subject: Re: Where do you find Gold in far north Queensland Australia:- for mcfly ONLY!
From: endo-ga on 04 Dec 2003 21:07 PST
Hi Roger,

Sorry to bring this back up, but I was looking through old questions
and remembered this one:

I'm sorry I wasn't able to answer the question in the timeframe you
intented. I had actually collected relevant information at the time
and was almost ready to post an answer, but then something happened at
home and I had to postpone posting for a bit. I didn't mean any
disrespect by not letting you know why I wasn't answering, I just
couldn't at the time. This is not sour grapes or anything, please
don't take it badly, it was just to let you know :)


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