21 April 2010

Sovereign Hill Highlights - GOLD! GOLD! GOLD!

Sitting among the fascinated audience, I listened to a blacksmith humourous explanation of the complex procedures needed to extract gold from crushed quartz rock.

In a crucible "cooking" at 1200 degrees Celsius, the gold slowly becomes molten. For safety reasons, he wore a thick protective apron, elbow length gloves, sturdy boots and goggles. Picking up the crucible with a long-handled pincer, he poured the molten gold liquid, a stream of thick golden honey, into a mould.

It solidified within a couple of minutes and out comes a gold bar. But just in case any of us considered a quick grab to the door, he ran a metal rod across the gold bar surface and flames shot upwards. It is hot stuffs. He immersed the gold bar in a trough of water, where it sizzles and steamed. When all the fuss is finished, he picked it up and held it up for us to admire.

Had the chance to hold it in my hand and it is a heavy piece of gold. At today's price, that single gold bar is worth a lot. I mean a lot.

Well, after that demostration I just had to go out there and try panning for some gold. Looks like I am not alone at this.

Gold! Gold! Gold! Found nothing but certainly caught the gold fever. Still, all is not lost. If you can't "catch" one, buy one .....to tell about as the one you found. You know what I mean.

Gold nuggets, gold jewellery and gold souvenir items can be purchased at a number of shops at Sovereign Hill. Try the Waterloo Store, Rees & Benjamin's jewellery shop and the Gold Smelting Works. The Sovereign Hill Gift Shop (located in the main car park) and the Entrance Shop also carry gold items. And there is also the Gold Museum Shop (opposite Sovereign Hill) for gold nuggets, fine gold jewellery and giftware.

Molten Golden Honey

Hot Gold Bar Cooling Process

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