About two years ago in the summer, my uncle rang me whilst I was metal detecting a beach in South Australia. I can’t remember the purpose of the original call but we wound up making a plan to visit and go metal detecting at my Pop’s old homestead in rural NSW
Fast forward to earlier this year and a massive metal detecting competition in QLD (2200km from my home town) is announced. Clegy (from Aussie Detectorist) announced the competition, however since I'd already committed to the other adventure I had decided I would miss year one. When the top prize of a 10 ounce gold bar was announced and I was bemoaning my impending absence at the event, the wife said "OK, you can go and do both in the one trip, but I'm not going with you, I don't have enough leave anyway as I'm going to Indonesia".
So the plan became, Adelaide to Gympie, Gympie to NSW, NSW to Adelaide.
I prefer to drive during the day - less animals on the road so we did the Gympie trip in 3.5 days. First night was Hay, then Dubbo, then Toowoomba then Gympie. The Hay to Dubbo leg also included a stop at Parkes - space nerds like me can't pass up opportunities to see the dish.
On the way
Xlii and the dish
Sigfig at the dish
The weather on day of competition was interesting to say the least. It was rather hot (for Adelaide standards), then it completely bucketed down with some storm activity, then went back to being a scorcher.
Before the storm
This photo is taken from on the hill, on the left we have the main area with tent, you could get food, make purchases, see the entertainment etc. To the left (and out of the shot) is the campsite. To the far right is the three competition detecting plots. Towards the middle of the photo is another plot where the kids could find seeded targets for fun.
During the storm
This was taken from under the main tent.
After the storm
This was taken looking towards the hills from the campsite.
The competition itself comprised of a series of heats where competitors looked for tokens. There were sample tokens for you to run your detector over to get an idea of what it sounded like. They were made from iron and sounded like rubbish - if you had any discrimination on you would miss it.
Each competitor was assigned a number and based on that number, a group was then assigned for round one. I was in group 6 so my heat was the last one. If you didn't find a token in round one, you had two opportunities to gain a chance in round two, the first being a pin pointer challenge. This involved a smaller detecting area but you could only use a pin pointer. I bombed out on finding a token AND the pin pointer challenge, so my last chance was the target ID challenge. This challenge involved guessing the planted targets in a test bed (the identity of what was buried was known, you just had to guess which one was which). Fortunately, I scored 6 out of 10 and managed to get a ticket into round two.
Waiting for the challenge to start
On the hunt for a token
Looking for that elusive token...
Round two and three were pretty much the same as round one, but with fewer people and fewer tokens available. Fairly quickly I managed to score a token in round two, securing a place in round three.
Sadly I missed out on a token in round three so I was eliminated, but I was happy I had made it that far.
The fifth and final round was between three competitors, looking for one token. I was pleased when my online friend now IRL Trevor won it. I managed to capture the moment he realised he'd found it too.
Trevor with the winning token
The MDWC prize is a jacket and a trophy. I forgot to take a picture of the jacket, but this was this year's trophy, made by Tiger Stainless Steel.
A competitor's ticket got you into two draws. A draw for a prize and a draw for a 10 ounce gold bar.
At the event was also some personal YouTube faves of mine, Warren and Colleen from NQ Explorers. I learned a lot from their YouTube videos when I was first starting out, I've met Warren a few times now but it was a real treat to meet Colleen and have a chat with her.
I also got to meet Aqua Chigger who is really lovely too.
Selfie with the Garrett crew
On the Saturday night there were some interviews hosted by Ben from Gold Diggers - we were fortunate enough to not only hear from the gentlemen who found the baby Buddha in Western Australia - but to see it itself.
When I woke on Sunday I decided to do some more metal detecting on the hill, this is what I saw when I woke up.
Sunrise over the fog on the hill
I found about $8, a car and a silver ring with stones in it. I handed the ring in to the property owners as they have a list of lost items to compare it to.
Just before lunch they had a reenactment of the Eureka Stockade with a canon. That thing was loud! It was also very hot so I can't imagine how hot it must have been for the actors in their costumes!
Eureka Stockade reenactment cast
The afternoon saw the prize draws. These are the prizes that were on offer
When they started to draw the prizes I was stunned to hear my name get called out first. I was fortunate enough to win a superb digging tool - a Tyger Blade.
Xlii with TSS
I didn't win the 10 ounce gold bar unfortunately, but I did come away with a lot of great memories and met a lot of lovely people who are like minded - and to date, have only heard my stories once!
When I did some laundry at the caravan park on the way back to the next leg of my journey, these things don't fit in the coin machines fortunately, I nearly lost it!