Simon has been telling us about a gold dredge that he likes to ride a motorbike to in the evenings after work, so we wanted to see it while we were there. It’s across the road and through some paddocks from where he lives, near the banks of the Grey River.
We drove as far as we could, then parked the vehicles and walked the rest of the way. It was drizzling, as it did the entire time we were over there—when it wasn’t pouring! There were a few five-minute times that the sun shone, but then the clouds would close in again.
This is the gold dredge, from a distance.
We crossed this bridge to get to it.
The water weeds were quite interesting under the bridge.
A close-up of the dredge. It is enormous!
Look closely; you can see buckets inside here that are used to dig 10 meters deep. They haven’t run this dredge for several years, but they would dig out gravel and sand, then separate the rocks from the small stuff. The rocks were pushed out the back; you can see a huge pile of them behind the machine. Then, they ran water through the sand and ran it over a series of riffles. The sand ran off, and the heavier gold dust stayed behind. This dredge would move back and forth to dig up all the ground, and it took the water with it—it’s always floating. They would level out the tailings behind it, and then gorse and broom would grow on the rocks. After several years, someone would spray the gorse and broom and the ground would grow grass for animals. We were told that this is the best way to make productive land in the area. Before the dredge went through, the land was swamp, good for nothing except growing sandflies; after, we saw herds of cattle grazing on it.