Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Bingara and the Lure of Gold

After a closure of six years, the Three Creeks Gold Mine at Bingara in northwestern New England is now open again to tourists.

Operator of the business, Paul Myer, has owned the lease on the crown land for 20 years. He has just returned from a six-year stint as a mines exploration officer to re-open his tourist attraction.

For a fee, people are invited to pan for gold from the rich red dirt taken from Lady Morgan’s Reef. This particular area has been mined since the 1800s.

“In 1887, there were 30,000 men on this field,” explains Paul.

“Below us is a caved in tunnel from that era. We don’t have to wander far to find old collection bottles or tools that were used at the time.”

Paul guarantees that every visitor who pans will find some gold. He provides instruction on panning for fine gold, which is prevalent in the area. Quartz crystals are also dominant here.

“Everyone is allowed to keep whatever they find. Of course if they find a big nugget, I just get out a hacksaw and we cut it in half!” he jokes.

Paul has also developed, produced and patented a device called a Panner’s Mate, which basically makes panning easier and more efficient. Visitors are welcome to try the Panner’s Mate out, under Paul’s supervision.

The set up at Three Creeks enables people to sit down in comfort to pan for gold or garnets, and spend as long as they like at the mine.

Paul and his partner Joy have set up an extensive display of gold, gems, crystals and rock minerals, mining artifacts and other historic items. There are also plenty of samples for sale.

Should you wish to stay overnight, there are four unpowered van sites and tent sites. There is also an onsite powered caravan available that sleeps up to eight people. A community kitchen is accessible for all visitors, as well as an open fireplace for those late night conversations!

Three Creeks Gold Mine is 25kms from Bingara on the Upper Bingara Road. The fee for people wishing to pan for gold, garnets or crystals is $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. For anyone wishing just to visit the mine the fee is $15 for adults and $10 for children.

Visitors should remember to bring their own food, drink, sunscreen, hat and sensible shoes.

For more information or bookings please phone Paul Myer on 02 6783 2224.

For further information on Bingara phone Bingara Visitor Information Centre 02 6724 0066

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