El­do­rado pan­ner strikes gold at Aus­tralian ti­tles

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Nature Focus -

IT’S not his big­gest gold dis­cov­ery, but a few specks won El­do­rado’s Anthony Carey the ti­tle of Aus­tralasian Gold Pan­ning Cham­pion at Bal­larat on the week­end.

In just his sec­ond at­tempt at the ti­tle, the long­time pan­ner found all 11 specks of gold that had been placed in the 40 kilo­grams of gravel that con­tes­tants were re­quired to pan, and he did it in 10 min­utes.

“Con­tes­tants know that the judges will place be­tween six and 12 specks in the gravel,” he said, “and for each speck that isn’t found, a five minute penalty ap­plies.

“In the semi-fi­nals, I com­pleted the task in eight min­utes, but I de­cided to take more care in the fi­nal, and the de­ci­sion paid off.”

Mr Carey grew up in El­do­rado, of­ten saw the his­toric dredge in op­er­a­tion, and learned to weld when he was asked to help main­tain its buck­ets, which were sub­ject to huge wear and tear.

When it was taken out of ser­vice, he knew there was still some gold in the area, and as a fa­ther of seven in the 1980s, took up gold pan­ning as an ex­tra source of in­come.

“The gold I found meant that we could af­ford things we would oth­er­wise been un­able to have, and even though only tourist gold re­mains here, I got to en­joy prospect­ing, and be­came a mem­ber of the Prospect­ing and Min­ers’ Club of Vic­to­ria,” he said.

“Mates and I go out at the week­ends to places like Mitta, Bendigo and Heath­cote, as well as Reid’s Creek, and we love camp­ing and the bush.”

The week­end’s win net­ted Mr Carey a $750 nugget, hand held GPS, mod­ern pan set and tro­phies.

PHOTO: Ch­eryl Browne

GO­ING FOR GOLD: El­do­rado lo­cal An­drew Carey loves gold pan­ning. Decades ago it helped pro­vide a steady sec­ondary in­come, and last week­end Mr Carey’s skills saw him strike it rich, crowned the Aus­tralasian Gold Pan Cham­pion.

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