Go for gold: Government encourages festive fossicking – Brisbane Times

The Queensland government is encouraging families to pick up a fossicking licence and go on the hunt for gold or gems over the Christmas holidays.

Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham issued his yearly encouragement for families to pick up the historical enterprise, saying it was an affordable activity for the holidays.

The Queensland government is encouraging families to try their hand at fossicking over the holidays.

Dr Lynham said more than 8300 licences had been issued this year already, double the number at the same time last year.

Options include gold fields near Gympie, the Durikai and Talgai State Forests west of Warwick, or hunting for topaz south-west of Stanthorpe at Swipers Gully.


Dr Lynham said a month-long fossicking licence would cost a family $11.95 or $8.30 for an individual.

“Equipment like picks, shovels, hammers, sieves, shakers and electronic detectors can be used – just remember to fill in holes to ensure the safety of fellow fossickers,” he said.

“Treasure hunters also need to bring lots of water and wear long pants to protect against snakes. “

While gems and gold might be acceptable for fossickers to take home, meteorite fragments or fossils should be left alone.

“We want to see fossickers strike it lucky and while they may want to keep their treasure it also is legal for treasure hunters to occasionally sell a gemstone or trade to hobbyists through fairs and exhibitions,” Dr Lynham said.

“But if this becomes a regular practice, a production tenure, such as a mining claim, is required.”

Fossickers can work on the surface of permitted areas or dig a certain amount, but must replace disturbed soil and must not interfere with any infrastructure.

Some landholders will allow fossickers onto their properties to search with written permission.

Detailed maps of named fossicking areas where families can purchase a licence and explore are available online, as well as equipment lists and etiquette for fossicking.

Lucy is the urban affairs reporter for the Brisbane Times, with a special interest in Brisbane City Council.