Central gold district
The discovery of alluvial gold in gullies south of Clermont in 1861 triggered one of Queensland's major gold rushes. Today, the old gold mining district surrounding Clermont attracts interest from fossickers and metal detector enthusiasts.
Fossickers require a fossicking licence in all areas and must comply with the special conditions of access (see below).
If you have any questions about fossicking, contact the local mining registrar.
There are 11 separate general permission areas in the Clermont area where landholders have given general permission for fossicking. Seven of these are in the Clermont State Forest (PDF, 200KB).
- Bathampton fossicking map (PDF, 280KB)
- Birimgan fossicking map (PDF, 447KB)
- Birimgan West fossicking map (PDF, 178KB)
- Black Ridge fossicking map (PDF, 256KB)
- Four Mile fossicking map (PDF, 383KB)
- Four Mile West fossicking map (PDF, 199KB)
- McDonald Flat fossicking map (PDF, 286KB)
- McMasters fossicking map (PDF, 388KB)
- Museum Reserve fossicking map (PDF, 288KB)
- Town Reserve fossicking map (PDF, 316KB)
- Flat Diggings fossicking map (PDF, 551KB)
Camping is not permitted. There is a range of accommodation facilities in Clermont.
Gold occurs in a range of settings in the district. The primary source is numerous lode gold deposits, mostly quartz reefs, in the Anakie Metamorphic Group. Only a small number of these were economic to work.
More important were deep leads in old conglomerates (gravels) of Permian age, which overlie the metamorphics. These have usually been interpreted as ancient buried streams in which alluvial gold shed from the lodes has accumulated. Nuggets in excess of 15g were common and some specimen gold occurred in quartz-rich clasts. Other deep leads were located in late Tertiary alluvial deposits, in linear belts cutting across the present drainage pattern.
Finally there were the alluvial deposits of modern-day streams, derived from gold shed from older deposits.
The deep leads produced the most gold.
The gold of interest to modern fossickers is primarily from the young alluvial material, as well as eluvial deposits formed when gold or gold-bearing rock fragments have been transported short distances from their sources, and concentrated within the soil horizon.
Some older Tertiary wash on the edges and tops of interfluves may also be of interest. Some nuggets may have formed in these environments by chemical accretion of small gold particles into larger fragments or through the chemical action of host soils or sediments on a gold solution.
Panning is the simplest recovery method for the finer alluvial gold. However, the scarcity of water may preclude panning during dry periods. Dry blowing methods may be employed.