The Days Of Gold

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The Days Of Gold

Post by Terry » Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:32 pm

This is an early poem of mine that tells the true story of our early days of prospecting for gold.
There is possibly a version of this on the old forum – I have gone over this to sort out the odd problems earlier versions may have had. I’ve also made a few slight changes to hopefully improve it a little.

THE DAYS OF GOLD – The Detector Rush

Do you recall those heady days and times we had old son?
gold fever touched us all back then with dreams of fortunes won.
Remember too those lonely camps at Stockwhip and the Blue,
and all the other camps we made from Kal to east of Cue.
Then nights around the campfire after days spent in the sun,
for you and I were there old mate Just as the rush begun.

Think back to how the flame was lit with slugs of gold at Quin’s,
picked up by sharp eyed women from among the rocks and tins.
And then they whispered secrets of a likely spot they’d seen,
way back on Banya Station, somewhere near the Mulga Queen.
It’s there we found success at last out by the Famous Blue,
where lady luck had smiled old friend, and so a dream came true.

We thought that it would never end back in those early days,
when rumours of the latest finds had set the bush ablaze.
Excitement rippled through the towns and in the cities too,
and people rushed to have a go out with the lucky few.
But we were tramping well ahead to try and be the first,
to find forgotten patches where once old blokes toiled and cursed.

We were the pioneers’ old mate; the leaders of this rush,
and learnt to keep our mouths shut and our where a-bouts hush, hush.
But gold was big and plentiful just waiting to be found,
with countless golden nuggets buried deep within the ground.
We toiled away together even when our luck was out,
and quickly learnt the lesson of what mateship’s all about.

We blazed a trail to long lost spots and found new ones as well,
and struck good gold at Ryan’s old patch, and also at Sweet Nell.
Then caught the floods at Darlow missing out on Yandal gold,
but made amends at Youanmi*, if all the truth were told.
There were so many places that we combed from end to end,
the outback was a second home, for you and I old friend.

For thirty years or more now we’ve been out here chasing dreams,
still looking for the next patch in this land of harsh extremes.
We’ve seen the miles of break-a-ways and climbed the many peaks,
and shared those countless campfires and have crossed a thousand creeks.
We find it’s hard to leave this life, not that we really try,
it somehow gets into your blood; it’s hard to reason why.

And though the pace has slackened now, excitement is still there -
perhaps a little more relaxed – there’s time to be aware
of beauty that surrounds us in this land of rolling hills,
with endless plains of saltbush; hear the songs of creaking mills.
Then listen to the silence as each day draws to a close,
and feel that sense of freedom that the outback bushman knows.


*Youanmi ? You – and – Me / old town named after the original gold mine there

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Re: The Days Of Gold

Post by Ron » Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:34 pm

G'day Terry,
A lot of great memories there mate, and I can relate to your descriptive images! I heard a quote sometime back that "they could take everything from me, but I'd still have my memories and poetry"!
Enjoyed the read,

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Re: The Days Of Gold

Post by Shelley » Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:27 pm

This is a beauty, Terry - and the inclusion of the specific places and events make it very personal.

They must have been happy days!

Shelley Hansen
Lady of Lines

"Look fer yer profits in the 'earts o' friends,
fer 'atin' never paid no dividends."
(CJ Dennis "The Mooch o' Life")

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Re: The Days Of Gold

Post by Terry » Wed Oct 02, 2019 8:45 pm

Thanks Ron & Shelley

I guess I was lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time.
It was a gamble though make no mistake, and most weren't prepared to leave the comfort of a secure job;
you couldn't blame them really.
I was also lucky enough to have an understanding wife; I guess having married an opal miner she wasn't that surprised either.
As I mentioned before Valma later spent 10 plus years full time prospecting with me once the children had grown up, and loved the life-style as well.
They were exciting times and I'm grateful to have been part of it.


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Re: The Days Of Gold

Post by r.magnay » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:45 pm

G'day mate, I do hope we actually meet up sometime, I reckon we would have a lot of yarns to exchange! I particularly relate to your comment about being in the right place at the right time. A couple of mates of mine mining at Mintabie managed to get onto a good claim and were digging some pretty reasonable parcels, the people who stayed home in the relative safety and comfort of their homes, made plenty of comments about how lucky these blokes were to find such riches, like it was so won't find it in your lounge room 'ey?...another good read mate.

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Re: The Days Of Gold

Post by Terry » Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:03 am

G/day Ross

Your spot on mate, a little bit of luck never goes astray, but it usually takes a lot of hard Yakka and being prepared to take a risk or two as well,
there's not that many prepared to do that - some may say being a bit of a dreamer helps as well.
When we first started, the gold the fields had been mostly deserted for many years and quite a few of the stations had been abandoned as well.
It was rare to meet another person in some of the remoter spots we got to. We'd do trips of between three and four weeks (I had a young family at the time) then we'd come home for about two weeks before heading off again. we used to take up everything we needed and we'd start the day just before picaninny dawn, waiting till the light was good enough to get started. During the cooler month (as you would know), that desolate country can be really cold with heavy frost, so we'd have a roaring fire going to try and get warm. We'd work all day until dark, 7 days a week so it wasn't all beer and skittles either.
After painting that picture you will probably find it hard to believe I'd love to be back out there now..

Cheers Terry

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Re: The Days Of Gold

Post by Maureen K Clifford » Sun Oct 06, 2019 2:04 pm

Lovely to be able to walk alongside you both Terry thanks to your words which never disappoint. A magical time for you both I suspect.
Check out The Scribbly Bark Poets blog site here -

I may not always succeed in making a difference, but I will go to my grave knowing I at least tried.

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Re: The Days Of Gold

Post by Terry » Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:25 pm

Thanks Maureen

It certainly was for me and also Val once the children had grown up and she joined me up there for the next ten years - we both loved the lifestyle and the solitude.
But it wouldn't suit everybody, I know of blokes who couldn't handle the lifestyle or the solitude. Also some couldn't get used to not getting a weekly pay packet, with prospecting there can be long dry spells until you find the next patch. With both Opal and Gold there's a fair bit of hit and miss.
There were others who should never have been in those remote areas, especially in the warmer month, it's dangerous country if you don't know what you're doing.



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