Eldorado panner strikes gold at Australian titles
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.
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.