Flat Creek Station opens gates to willing prospectors
IT IS hard to imagine this vast outback country, made up of dry rocky bushland and seasonal rivers and creeks, was the epicentre of gold mining at the turn of the century, but with a ballooning population, more gold to be found than ever imagined, it flourished under its new found riches.
Today, Flat Creek Station owners Peter Henry and Adam Utschink say it is still possible to find this valuable commodity and have opened the gates of their 30,000 acre (13,000 hectare) cattle station to would-be and experienced prospectors.
Situated on the Etheridge Goldfields and the former settlement of McDonald Town, which flourished in the 1890s, Flat Creek Station offers affordable camping with plenty of shade, hot showers with a donkey and a toilet block.
The camp ground provides the perfect base for exploration and apart from a few signposted no-go areas that already have mining leases attached to them, you are free to explore the station.
Peter recommends getting an early start to make the most of the cooler mornings. "There have been some good finds in the past, which is always exciting, particularly when they share the news with us. Other people like to keep it a bit quiet, careful not to give away their secret spot and we only hear about their finds after they have left," he says.
As well as gold, prospectors can walk the Gilbert River in search of agates. "The Gilbert River sits on the western side of our property and is downstream from Agate Creek.
"You will pick an agate up each time you go down there - these can be marble size, chip size pieces or if you are lucky boulder size to fit in the palm of your hand," he adds.
If you are not a dedicated prospector and are looking for something else to do, Peter and Adam also offer station tours, starting with a true blue cup of tea and 'smoko'.
"It is a great opportunity to have an inside look at a working cattle station. We explain what we do, how we muster, handle our weaners and just the general day-to-day running of the property."
Birders are also in for an eyeful with Flat Creek Station home to a large number of finches including the rare Gouldian finch.
"We can incorporate bird watching into our tours if people would like to know more, plus we also have an information flyer on the different varieties of birds that can be found here," Peter says.
For more information, or to book visit www.flatcreekstation.com.au
TIPS FOP PROSPECTING:
· Purchase a good metal detector and gear.
· All fossickers must hold a current Qld fossicking licence, available from the Department of Natural Resources & Mines in Georgetown - contact 07 4062 1204.
· You have got to be dedicated - finding gold takes time and patience, especially panning in river streams, which can be a slow process.
· Head out in the cooler weather.