Camped-up along the Peel River near Nundle, tucked into the hills, is a special delight. For The Man it is the pull of gold, that of wresting the golden flecks and the lucky occasional nugget from the earth. Most people think that this is it… in its entirety; and they couldn’t be more wrong. You aren’t going to get me down there in that cold water puddling. Me… I would rather sit in the sun and entertain myself in other ways.
The Man knows this, and he knows I am content here, so we come here as often as we can. There are a number of small and large gold and gem fields scattered all over the continent, as it is a very, very old place, Australia. The wealth of the land in gems and gold has only been realized in the last 150 years or so and there is more unknown about our part of the world and our continent, than is known.
When they set up the penal colony some 220 odd years ago they had to fight hard to conceal the fact from the growing populations of felons and free, many barely teenagers, that there was even gold to be harvested. The authorities had a hard time controlling the people, a hard time feeding the colony and a hard time hiding the fact that there was wealth to be had that wasn’t attached to their social and commercial machinations. We were a young population of malcontents who were strong, of a free-mind and often more adventurous than was good for us (and them). No wonder they had trouble! On a whole we didn’t like authority overly much and while many arrived under sentence, freedom was just around the corner as the punishment was banishment, not servitude. Though it did involve a measure of servitude to account for the trip out.
The early penal migrations were very akin to the emigration schemes of the 1850’s and onwards, when the penal policy fell apart. These two policies had a lot in common after all. Primarily the penal policy of deportation was aimed at shedding ‘the great unwashed’ from under the noses of ‘the washed’. This from a overpopulated minuscule collection of islands on the other side of the planet, The British Isles. It was after all an economic policy, not a military endeavour. Given that a couple of my convict ancestors were barely 12/13 yrs of age when they arrived in the colony as felons, nothing is going to convince me it was other than this. The migrations of the emigrants after the 1850’s was a population endeavour that saw people seeking a better life, coming from across Europe. It was not an ‘English’ migration at all which is what is largely believed. The emigrant boats merely left from British ports. Hence Aussies are descendant largely from, mostly Europe and the British Isles collectively.
The word about the wealth and freedom to be had in our country truly got out around the 1850’s though, and men began arrive from all corners of the globe to uncover the fields of gold, gems and opal. The Blackfella’s thought we were crazy, that is the tribal people. Which is why many of the fields evolved strange names such as Coober Pedy. That actually means ‘whiteman in hole’ or ‘boys waterhole’. Men (and women) born to a cross cultural world were more industrious in general and they joined the ‘whiteman’ in the hole. Mining and Prospecting were after all one of the few enterprises outside of pastoralism, or the corruption associated with the colonies settlements, where you could gather your own wealth from the efforts of your own hands.
A lot of this was wealthy was unfortunately squandered by both the blackman and whiteman, as well as the so called ‘yellow devils’ of the gold fields but the stories they left behind are many and precious. These are the things I love to uncover, those precious tales of industry, wealth, poverty and trial or the tales of ordinary people. These are the true stories in the growth and wealth of Australia.
This is what marks the Australian gold and gem fields for me. In my books “The Dreaming Series”, which are tales that can be read singularly with each book being self contained, I in part explore this hidden wealth of our land. Many of the characters are in some way involved in revealing the wealth in the earth. Be that in the opal fields of NSW (Book 2 – Sky Song) to the gold fields of far North Queensland.
Perhaps the most poignant of the stories for me is the 4th book, The Caverns of the Dreamtime. The tale of Tom, who is born to the world of the Featherfoot and that of the ancient Lore of his people. Tom is caught up in the trials and training of the Kadaitcha though his old Grandfather Apari, and he will take you on a journey through history like none other you have ever been on before.
You will learn of ancient creatures who travelled through the lands, meet those from worlds very different to your own and most importantly you will discover a great deal about an ancient world. That, hidden in legend and lore.
If you are curious about the old mines, those aged caverns burrowed by hand, or the rivers of gold that flow over the land in an easier access. Then you could do no better than to visit Nundle in NSW. It is a lovely little old mining town with much to offer. Truly a place that breathes yesteryear from the hand dug earthen gold races of the Chinese miners that score the hills, to the rivers potted with the holes of the gold seekers.
A friend from the fields has made a video of one of their many forays into the old mines. They are dangerous places and should only be entered with company and knowledge. But here is a view of what you will find, and what you should be looking for in those old mines, better this, than risk getting buried down there.
Jan is an author and writer, who write’s about her travel experiences as she and The Man tour the vast continent. From the blue oceans to the red deserts you can read all the many varied experiences of traveling across this land.
Delve into the richness of the ancient Indigenous Lore of the land and discover many of the mysteries of the Serpents, the hidden world of Ancient Lore, still present across a forgotten land. Read more in the tales of The Dreaming. Follow the path and lives of the Featherfoot and learn more about the Lore of the Kadaitcha. The stories are a journey with the men and women who live within the boundaries of the Lore, in fictional tales of adventure and love.
You can discover more about her publications at Amazon.
Full of Australian tales, and the travelling experience of a wandering lifestyle, you can experience the richness of life on the wallaby. Come join us in an adventure. Discover Australia and Her Ancient Lore.