One of the best things here on the coffs coast is that the weather can change over night, and thats excatly what it did over the past weekend- one day we had 30+ then yesterday ( sunday the 2nd @ nov) we had a real stay in bed cold,wet,drizzley day.But this kind of weather is great for exploring and even beter for taking pics. Between coramba and dorrigo i met fellow forum member Kennykoala and Mrs KK for a morning cuppa in pretty dull conditions, but we were both still keen to find some ( more) mines in this area. I was told of an old grave just down the road, and with instructions like ''go to the big log on the left and look for a mark on the tree'', i wasnt too confident, but true to our ability we soon found the stone and a plot. Seems this woman was buried here in 1961, not much other info apart from her name.
This was the first find of the day- and only several hundred metres from where we started. Next on the list was to look for the ''Waratah Group'' of mines, from here they got around 10,635grams of gold, and was mined around 1882. In our part of the world our enviroment has taken over, with high rain fall and warm summers. Following the GPS marks i had, we only had to travel some 300 metres further along past the grave before we had to tackle some thick scrub. We were in luck as there was a bike track pretty much where we had to go foot. Luck was certainly on our side as this bike track lead us past the mines, and with piles of quartz around the track we knew we were getting closer.
We found quite a few pits, several collapsed shafts in the area, whilst listening to the sounds of whip birds and parrots. Can tick this one off the list now.Next one to explore was the Advance Group that had several different mines with names like Jack Lyons Reef and Advance Australia. We found our way back to the cars and headed further north about 3 kms before turning east off onto a bushy track where the GPS started pointing. All mines around here were situated beside some kind of track or road so we kept an eye out for any signs of workings, just when the GPS alarm started going off we found a lot of up turned earth.
Scrambling to the top of the track we were blown away with the amount of diggings here, a lot of pits that were big enough to park a truck in, deep shafts and one that was boarded over, where several ladders dropped into the darkness. We spent an hour here as the Advance group covers a huge area. We explored along the hill, below the road where we found more drives and pits. Another box ticked.Time was getting on, it was noon so lunch was in order, back up on the main road we turned right and continued to the end where we had lunch in front of one of Coffs pioneers property.George Ellis ( Georges gold mine) was a main player here back at the turn of the century, he owned 3 stampers, a heap of mines and still to this day believes that the mother load is here some where. Maybe he is right, maybe not, but that is the mystery of gold.After lunch we had one more group to find, being the Daydawn Group, that included Mary May, Lady Mary, Shipmans mines and Day dawn mine. We had to backtrack around 500 metres up the road from our lunch spot before heading bush following the GPS marks.
The track down here was pretty scratchy but upon every turn views towards the ocean and the excitment of finding our last mine. Several tracks started shooting off everywhere but i was determined to stay on the main track. Probably 2 km down the track closed in and we had to re think our situation. A decision was made to go to the last off shoot we saw and spend some time walking around. Well what a find we found !!!..... This was like some thing out of a movie, bits of old metal laying around,bits of cable that was used on windlass tower over the mines, there were mines that were boarded over and for a reason- these mines were extremelly deep, we just could NOT see the bottom, it looked like the ladders dropped to the centre of the earth, the sides of the mines were boarded up with hand cut halfback timbers all still in pretty good nick.
Probably due to them being boarded over to stop the weather. We saw 3 of these huge shafts, all along a major fault in the earth. There were huge mullock piles ( the rubbish out of the mines) of a shale like material. Upon further reading this group is called the Mary May group. We explored further down the gully but got pushed back by lantana and wait a while vines. Just above the cars we found a area that had shallow pits and had been turned over several times.
This area just topped off a great day.It was decided to call it a day ( after all, since leaving our meeting place we had travelled around 7 km !!!), so we wandered back to the tar with plenty of stops taking pics as the misty rain was bringing out some amazing colours and causing some great backdrops for shots. With a cuppa in hand we chattered about our finds today and discussed further trips.Was a fantastic day with a great couple, i think we all learned some thing off each other.