Jun 262012
How The Perth Mint helped diggers find gold in the 1930s

Three factors can be held responsible for a significant increase in the number of gold prospectors in Western Australia during the 1930s: the Great Depression; the rising price of gold; and the discovery in January 1931 of the largest nugget ever found in the State of WA – the 1,135 ounce ‘Golden Eagle’.

The Golden Eagle gold nugget, discovered in 1931.

The head of The Perth Mint, Deputy Master Hugh Corbet, noted that “at the present, time, owing to the hard times, and the high premium on gold there are very many men out prospecting – more of the city type.”

He prepared an instructive pamphlet entitled ‘Hints to Prospectors’ in conjunction with the Mines Department on behalf of miners who are, he observed, “very energetic and resourceful but in most cases… lack the rudiments of technical training.”

The publication proved popular and was revised and re-issued throughout the decade. According to a contemporary report in the Sunday Times newspaper: “The popularity of these booklets is evidenced by the fact that 6,000 copies have been issued… requests coming from all parts of Western Australia, from the Eastern States and New Zealand, and even Canada and South Africa.”

In this fascinating extract from an original pamphlet recovered from our historical archive, Corbet revealed to hopeful diggers how to recognize many geological indications suggesting the presence of gold in the ground or surrounding rocks.

From the historic booklet ‘Hints to Prospectors’ (Seventh Edition 1935): Prospecting Hints for the New Man (pdf 430kb)


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