by Elyse Wurm
AN INCREDIBLE series of discoveries has revealed an old gold field just outside Warwick still has the goods.
Prospector Warren McGrath found no less than 29 pieces of the precious metal in the Durikai State Forest fossicking area, about 40km west of Warwick, in a relatively small 10m x 20m patch of dirt.
Mr McGrath said the pieces amounted to about 16g of gold, worth about $500-600 if sold for their gold value.
"It was one of those days when there was gold everywhere,” he said.
"We've found gold in the past but to get that much in a small area in one patch is quite extraordinary.”
The nuggets were lying close to the surface when discovered in October.
"That's typical of Warwick, it's a fairly dry area,” Mr McGrath said.
"The soil's not saturated so the gold doesn't drop to the bedrock or it could be an old stream but it's weathered away.
"We don't know when it happened but for it to be so shallow it's either been a recent geological event or it's been weathered down.”
Prospecting is quite popular in that particular area as it is a gold field from 1860 that has now been opened to the public.
Mr McGrath said large nuggets were previously found in the patch, but now a 1g nugget was the most typical discovery for weekend prospectors.
"It's great for families, get the kids off the iPads and get them into the bush,” he said.
"For young children gold panning is a lot of fun.
"It also gives a purpose to camping, it's fairly popular.”
Mr McGrath doesn't plan to sell the nuggets he discovered as he prefers to add them to his collection of gold pieces he has found around Australia, including in Western Australia and New South Wales.
"We just keep them as souvenirs of where we've been, because all gold is different depending on the mineralisation of where you found it.”
Mr McGrath is based in Ipswich but when summer is over he plans to return to Warwick in the hope of striking more precious pieces of gold.