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David at the general store.
David at the general store.
Gold panning.
David strikes it rich.

Hargraves Gold Panning

Thursday, August 16, 2001
David tries his luck in the goldfields whilst taking in a little history lesson of years gone by.

Hargraves was originally known as Louisa Creek and is where the Kerrs' Hundredweight Nugget was found in 1851. The huge discovery was made up of gold and quartz and weighed 137kg. The gold content weighed one hundredweight, hence its name, and that's equivalent to 51kg in metric measurement used today.

The town's name was changed to Hargraves in honour of the NSW Gold Commissioner, Edward Hargraves, who was historically incorrectly credited with the discovery of payable gold in NSW.

Hargraves has the oldest state school west of the Great Dividing Range. It was established in 1856.

In the height of the gold rush boom of the 1850s, 20,000 people lived in Hargraves. Many were Chinese and European immigrants who joined the hunt for gold. In the rush days, a tax collector and policeman would check the panners to assess the tax they had to pay. As word got out that they were on their rounds, the gold would be quickly buried and tax was paid on only part of what they had found.

Fred Vogt has been running gold-panning tours out of the Hargraves General Store for six years. His groups are usually no more than four or five and last two hours. He uses a little shuttle bus to take people to Louisa Creek and gives some hints on techniques, while telling a few stories about local history.

Plastic dishes are used for panning, and are better than metal as the gold moves more freely, and is therefore easier to spot. It's best to look for gold when the water is low, as there is a better chance of finding gold around the edge of the creek and in the crevices.

Location

A four-hour drive north-west of Sydney, 30 minutes from Mudgee.

Cost

Hargraves Gold Panning tours cost $5 for adults and $1 for children. Pans cost $1 to hire.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Hargraves Gold Panning
General Store, Merinda Street
Hargraves 2850
Ph/fax: (02) 6373 8540

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