Normanton QLD Old Cobb & Co Site

Hi all, had to start with this pic because there is a lot of great things in life but one of my favorite is spending time with my lovely wife never mind detecting together because  that just takes the cake. While we were travelling around Australia last year we came across a great camping spot just out of Normanton QLD at Leichhardt Lagoon. Not only was this an amazing place to stay but there was an old Cobb & Co stop right across the road and need I say for a detectorist this is like waving a red rag at a bull. I was chomping at the bit all night and dreaming of amazing finds even though I had been told by the locals that they had detected the area but as you know not everyone finds it all.


We had certainly found the spot alright with a heap of really old glass scattered all over the ground. There were some really interesting old bits of glass but unfortunately there were no whole bottles to be had.


We were quite happy when we started digging up some great early finds. We could certainly tell by the lack of easy targets though (especially old coins) that the area had been detected but we were able to concentrated on an area that was probably the rubbish dump. The other thing in our favor was having the Minelab Equinox 800’s because this site had only had older technology detectors over it. Sometimes these spots can produce some amazing finds as was the case here. The best find was one of our first and it was a bar coaster from around 1900 advertising John Robertson & Son Dundee Fine Old Scotch Whisky.

John Robertson was a Scotch Whisky merchant and distiller from Moray-shire Dundee and was established in 1827 but later in 1896 became a limited company. Below is an excerpt from Alfred Barnard’s  “The Whisky Distilleries Of The United Kingdom”

“Founded in 1896 by John Robertson & Son, the Dundee whisky blenders who, along with Watson’s, lost warehouses and stock in the great 1906 fire. Coleburn began production in 1898 for Robertson’s who would eventually sell the distillery to the Clynelish Distillery Co. in 1916. Production had ceased just 3 years prior to the sale. Production ran in starts and stops as ownership changed among the companies that would eventually merge under the vast Diageo umbrella. The distillery was closed in 1985 and was later dismantled. The main building is now a hotel while the warehouses have been contracted out to age the stocks of Duncan Taylor. ”



I just love digging up these old historical pieces and can only but wonder what stories they could tell of the early history in these regions. We kept at it for a few hours digging up many different bits and pieces with the next best find being an old black powder flask. These are a great find because nine out of ten are really ornate with great hunt scenes embossed into them. This one is probably the best one that I have found having a hare and a couple of what look like pheasants on it.IMG_20180728_121102

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Most of the other finds were very typical for this type of site and its era. IMG20180727142613IMG20180727142935 We just love these old sites because we always come away learning something new from our early history and what they drank etc. Happy hunting all and stay safe.

Trashy Areas At Old Sites

Hi all hope all is well during  these hard times and you are all staying safe. Not long and we will be back out there at it without restrictions swinging the wand and enjoying the finds. In saying that I was able to go to an old site that I have been to before and decided that I was going to go slow over a very trashy area that I had done and see what I may have missed. It started out as most hunts with the usual trashy targets and bits of old galvanized roof that had broken up over the years. My first decent target was a really nice women’s buckle probably from the late 1800’s by the look of it. This certainly got me a bit more enthused as I thought that I was going to have a bit of an average day.IMG20200417114006 (2)IMG20200418123401 (2)

Although it wasn’t an outstanding session I still scored some good finds including a couple of South Australian dog registration tags. One of these was in fair condition but the other one has definitely seen better days. They are great to find and I still love digging them up even though I have found heaps over the years.IMG20200418123214 (2)IMG20200417121204 (2)

The rest of the day was pretty good with a mixed bag that included a half penny that was worn too smooth to tell what it was, an interesting button with an anchor on it, a french made 12 gauge end off of a shotgun case and a few other bits and pieces. Goes to show the old low and slow method is quite effective around trashy areas. I just want to say that one of the biggest mistakes in detecting is presuming that every site has been detected clean. With a bit of perseverance and patience you could still find something that’s been missed.IMG20200418123436 (2)IMG20200418123422_1 (2)IMG_20200417_173616 (2)IMG20200418123002 (2)

Happy hunting and stay safe.


Social Distancing Over Old Ground

I suppose one of the great things about this hobby besides what you unearth, Is that is is very much a lone thing to do and actually creates natural social distancing. I made a call to the police department to check if I was able to go out into our parks in South Australia and they informed me that if I am on my own there is absolutely no problem. Armed with the facts I ventured out to one of my old areas that I have only run the Minelab CTX 3030 and the Etrac over with good success to see if the Equinox 800 would sniff out any more targets that may have been missed or were undetected. This area as you can see is quite trashy in spots but I wanted to dig more of the larger targets this time because there has been a really nice cricket buckle found at this location. I had a great day  because I was able to get out and about and did manage some nice finds as well.


My first coin was actually my best for the day and was one of the rarer Australian sixpences in a 1917-M in exceptional condition. The 1917-M Sixpence was the second year in the series to be produced at the Melbourne Mint hence the M. Total mintage for the year was 1,632,000 which was quite typical but despite this it is quite scarce in most grades and finding one in this condition was awesome. Collectors do seek these when they are in good condition like this one.


It turned out to be one of those memorable hunts as the coins kept coming over a couple of hours. I think that most of the coins were actually masked by trash and missed by previous detectors but 3 of the pennies and the Florin were just overlooked being closer to the road where I hadn’t detected much.


Threepence’s due to their smallish size are often hard to detect if there is a bit of trash around but I am convinced that I found them due to the technology in the Minelab Equinox 800. I will be going over a lot of my old spots from years ago to see what I can find and will keep the posts coming. Until next time keep safe and remember to social distance the very lives you help to save is worth it. Happy hunting.

Barrow Creek WWII Camp


The following morning before heading further North I had a couple of hours to spare so I fired up the Equinox and continued on from where I left of the day before. There were still a few targets around and thankfully hardly any flies yet.  I managed a couple more finds including an awesome propeller pin that is more than likely from an Australian Air Force Leading Airman of the 1939 – 45 period and an Australia shoulder pin. I did get a few more cool finds before we headed off but if anyone is up that way there are still some good targets to be found.




Happy hunting all.

Barrow Creek Bonanza

Well, well, well no I didn’t die or get abducted by aliens but I admit it has been a while since my last blog. Wednesday June 2016 to be exact but hey who’s counting. I have been still very actively detecting in that time with all the usual finds but I was also really busy working hard to create a passive income so that I could retire and concentrate on full time detecting, writing and just generally having fun. As they say life is too short so my wife and I actually decided to sell everything and liberate ourselves from the rat race and travel full time (so far so good). I have added a picture of the rig that we are in which was primarily fitted out from detecting finds. This includes a full lift kit, 260 amp hours of batteries, two fridges (one used as a freezer), full Redarc system to regulate the charging between solar and alternator and a HF radio that will come in handy if we get ourselves in any bother. IMG20180514143643.jpg

Anyway enough of that and on with my latest coin & relic hunting adventure. After leaving Adelaide we decided to push quite hard to get as far north as we could as quick as possible so that we could be  in the warm weather. Our first free stay with opportunity was at Barrow Creek WII site approximately 360 km North of Alice Springs. This area was used as the first overnight staging camp on the way from Alice Springs to Darwin in 1942.IMG20180520080954.jpg

On arrival we decided to set up camp on the old Cyclone Sleeping huts concrete slabs on the west side of the camp. It didn’t take me long to fire the Minelab Equinox 800 up to see what history was still hidden beneath the soil. It was a hard going at first with a multitude of old twist caps littered far and wide but with a bit of tweaking to the Equinox it soon made light work distinguishing between the coins and the twist tops. Instead of running in multi tone I switched to 10 khz and this made the tone ID on the twist tops become unstable and jump all over the place where as any coin or relic held a solid ID.  I started to get a bit excited as my first target was a kangaroo penny followed by another and then it was a steady flow of silver coins that followed. I couldn’t help but feel a sense of respect and appreciation as I dug these coins that obviously at some time had been in the pocket of one of our brave servicemen that had given their all to protect our country and secure our freedom.226.jpg


Fortune Favours The Brave II

Not fully convinced that this area was cleaned out I headed back for another crack at the hot spot I had pulled over a hundred dollars from last week. This time it was a bit drier because the rain had eased up for a couple of days allowing me to get to an area that was under water the first time and scored another $32. Today I had a bit of spare time so I went back to do the adjoining parks that are actually playgrounds to see if they would be as productive. I started on a hill that looked like it would be a great spot to sit or even roll down with the kids, hence making it a good spot for coins. I pretty well started where I had left off the other day with the targets coming thick and fast. I dug all the tone ID’s above 12:20 on the CTX 3030 with the occasional solid low tone (just in case it was a gold ring) and came away with $81 and a nice chunky silver ring. Not bad for a couple of hours.57

I am starting to wonder how many people are actually stoned around the place because nearly every time I detect in a park I seem to find at least one canna pipe. I have every intention of going back to this hot spot and digging everything in a few areas to see if I can get that elusive gold ring from amongst the park trash.6

Happy hunting all and keep at it you never know whats coming next, gotta love this great hobby.

Fortune Favours The Brave

Today was a very interesting hunt as I set myself goals each week and when I left home this morning I said to my wife I need to get at least $50 today. My first small park produced a nice ram shilling and about $11, a bit of a slow start but a start none the less. I did a quick stop at another park that was hard work for another $9, oh well only $30 to go but at this rate it was going to be a long day. So now I was back in my car staring at google maps on my phone trying to locate a park that might be ok, when I spotted a park not far away that I always drive passed and say I should do that area. To paint a bit of a picture there is a pub with big windows only 40mts away overlooking the area where all the patrons sit staring  straight out at where I was going to be detecting. I was a bit reluctant so I started off at the furthest point with the intention of slowly inching my way closer as to not draw too much attention to what I was doing. I got a couple of coins out wide but as I got closer to the hotel the coins started to come thick and fast.23

I ended up with over $100 for the day and a nice shilling what a great day. It does pay to be a bit brave sometimes. Happy hunting all.

To Dig Or Not To Dig Pt6

It’s doing my head in arghhhh! Don’t know how long I can keep this up another dig everything day and I can’t believe how much crap is in the ground. My CTX 3030 is working overtime along with my legs from squatting up and down every couple of minutes. There were plenty of low tones dug and although I’m happy with the amount of coins I got I am still yet to see a gold ring. Pretty much the same finds as normal with the exception of a nice little silver ring and a couple of sixpences. I have decided that I can’t or don’t want to keep this up so I am going to do up to 10 digs of everything and if no gold surfaces then its back to my normal detecting style. Kudos to all you dig everything boys.21310FullSizeRender

At least I have amassed enough modern spendables to pay for a trip over to the gold fields so here’s hoping my next post is a nice big chunk of gold. Happy hunting all and make sure you look after our great hobby.


To Dig Or Not To Dig Pt5

Down n dirty dig everything day ! I couldn’t get to my usual park but decided to dig everything at another park between jobs today. There were plenty of targets with the usual amount of trash all over the place. I have found the Coiltek 10 x 5 coil to be the best combination for this as it really cuts like a razor through the trash while still punching to good depth. I scored a few targets today at around 10 inches without any trouble especially having plenty of moisture back in the ground since the rains have set in.FullSizeRender

I managed the usual Pennies/Half Pennies, a good handful of spendables, nice little silver cross but unfortunately even though I had three rigs they were all junkers. Still no gold, surely its got to be close.12

Good luck and keep that coil low.