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Although they were the traditional owners of the land, they were simply pushed aside by European settlement, and decimated by disease, poisoning, shootings and in fact genocide. The first recorded gold finds in the district was at Clunes, July 1851, some 20 miles north of Ballarat, and this started a small rush.A few weeks later gold was found at Buninyong about 10 miles south of Ballarat. The Prince Regent lead joined the Canadian and this area became known as the Jewellers' Shops.Beggery Hill at Wedderburn, Victoria, would be among the most "thrashed" ground for detectors in Australia. Other large nuggets are being located with these coils almost daily, in ground that was considered, worked out.Once a fabulously rich area for gold in the 1850's, now extensively used as a training ground. As a result of what we were hearing we set out to test these new coils, using the Minelab 2200D metal detector, in itself a proven success story.
Two such characters were John Dunlop, a seventy-year-old veteran of the Battle of Waterloo, and a much younger James Regan, whose ancestry was Irish. By no means an accurate figure, as many diggers from the old countries simply kept their gold and returned to Europe. At the Canadian in January 1853, at 60 feet, three nuggets were found weighing 1,619 oz. One party here recovered over 1,000 oz in just 6 hours, and after 56 hours their total exceeded 2,900 oz.
Many had no idea where gold came from or how it was extracted from alluvial diggings, streams or mines.
Interest was intense and the promotion was well received.
We include an assessment of these coils in this months magazine. All burgeoning States have growing pains and Victoria was no exception.
Rich in agricultural lands early settlers took out sheep runs granted by the government over large tracts of land, where both sheep and some cattle were grazed.