The Prospectors and Miners Association of Tasmania had its first ever AGM and Field Trip at Back Creek on Saturday the 16th of January. Forty-five people came along for two days of excursions and prospecting at Ron Gregory’s lease in Back Creek, and his Retention Licence area in Lefroy.
Thanks to my own stuff-up, people met up at the Pipers River shop at both 8:00 and 9:00, which ended up working well, since there were so many of us. We made our way to Back Creek, and congregated at the historic huts in Ron’s lease for our AGM.
Since I was president for 2015, I gave a report of PMAT’s activities to the end of the year, and our Treasurer gave an outline of the Association’s accounts. Since we’ve only been an incorporated association since last September, the reports didn’t take long. We elected officers for the oncoming year, and discussed the format and frequency of meetings, and other general business.
After the conclusion of our AGM, Ron Gregory explained the history of the Back Creek goldfield, and talked to us about the different mining periods and owners of the leases, where the different workings were, the lay of the land, and the modern program of alluvial mining in his lease.
At that point we split up, some people scattered to go detecting, while Ron showed the rest of us the active mining operation, including the area where they’re sourcing the wash, and the processing plant that they use to separate the gold. After a break for lunch, Ron took a group to tour the historic (1870s) workings, and showed us the three remaining puddling machines that are in the vicinity of the Blackman’s and Cardigan leads. After that we went up the hill to visit the Sir John Franklin Mine, one of several unsuccessful attempts to mine the hard-rock source of the gold.
By the end of the day, about 20–30 nuggets had been detected, and at least three people succeeded in detecting their first ever gold nugget!
Sunday saw most remaining people head to Ron’s Retention Licence at Lefroy, and visit some of the main workings at the Pinafore and Chum lines, two of the most important reefs in the Lefroy area in terms of production.
All in all it was a great success, with quite a number of people finding gold, some great visits to the historic workings, and about the best weather we could have asked for! I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the next field trip!
Photos of the trip and finds
P.S.: Do you have any photos of the trip, or of your (or someone else’s) finds? If you don’t mind sharing them, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll upload them here.
Miguel de Salas
President, Prospectors and Miners Association of Tasmania