There's still gold to be found in 'them thar hills'
A KEEN team of metal detector enthusiasts recently proved there is still gold in the ground around Gladstone.
Donnie Pascoe from the Queensland Gold Prospecting group organised The Targinnie Nugget Hunt, a weekend of metal detecting.
"We were fortunate that Ken and Sheryn Busteed let us hold the nugget hunt on their farm at Targinnie," he said.
120 people paid $100 each to camp on, and search, the 400 acre property.
"Gold is a hell of a lot harder to find than you think," Mr Pascoe said.
"We didn't make any big finds, but one bloke found three little nuggets on the cattle trail behind the homestead."
A special section was also prepared for the children.
"I peppered an area with 600 coins and aluminium tokens people had donated," Mr Pascoe said.
"The kids went out each morning with their detectors and any coins they found they kept and received prizes for the tokens.
"Business owners from Yeppoon and Brisbane were on hand to distribute over $6000 worth of prizes.
"Plus Rotary donated their BBQ trailer and Reg Squires put a pig on the spit for us."
Mr Pascoe said there was still good gold still to be found around Gladstone.
"When Kirkwood estate was opened up one guy is rumoured to have found 95 ounces," he said.
"That's about $150,000 worth.
"This is one of the best gold fields in the area, but unless you know someone you can't legally go fossicking.
"There's no general purpose area for detectorists to prospect in around Gladstone like there is in other places.
"You're not allowed in state forests or national parks, so we have to get permission to go onto private properties.
"That's why we're really grateful when people let us onto their land."
At the end of the treasure hunt the group left the farm as they found it.
"We backfilled all the holes and didn't leave so much as a cigarette butt behind," Mr Pascoe said.
"A lot of people have been burned in the past by people doing the wrong thing."
The detectorists were also keen to share the money they raised.
"We raised $2568 on the weekend, and gave half to Ken and Sheryn to buy hay bales for their cattle," Mr Pascoe said.
"The other half was donated to Ray's Soup Kitchen to help feed the homeless."