Brian Martin went on the road for eighty years and found coins, jewellery and relics

After my sixty days trip, I sold my gold detector to concentrate on coins, jewellery, and relics. i put in two years detecting at Tingha on mostly common ground, no permission required.

Over that time I came up with over 600 pre-decimal coins, four war medals, jewellery and some nice relics.

My best find was about 200 metres up the Guyra Hill road from the east Copes Creek Bridge for 180 coins which i was told by a local was once the site of a bakery – many years back. A Brisbane Story Badge came to light, the bridge was opened in 1940, July 6. Further 300 metres up the Guyra Hill Road, near two dead pine trees, I walked away with 120 coins. All the rest of my finds came from old home sites given to me by local knowledge. 

After Tingha, I made my way to the Howell Village, 25 kilometres south of Inverell. the mine here once produced silver, zink, lead and copper. I had made many visits there for about eighty coins of which the majority were English.

After the Howell Village, I travelled about 10,000 kilometres in four states detecting ghost towns, country halls, old horse race tracks and parks with moderate success. The best of them all was the township of Glen Davis, located 250 km north-west of Sydney and 80 kilometres north of Lithgow. 

Glen Davis has a population today of about 300 people. The twon was the centre of an oil shade industry. At its peak, it was home to 2,500 people, and 150 houses were owner occupied by workers and 300 single men that lived in the Barracks. 

The township has the second-largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon. It has a nice free shady camping ground, that is maintained by the Lithgow City Council, with an undercover eating area. Hot shower and toilets are provided, but there are no power sites. I left after two weeks with 176 coins and five nice jewellery broaches. 

I went back home for a break and to plan another trip, detecting the showgrounds at Uralla, Walcha, Wingham and Gloucester. 

Former abattoir worker Malcolm Naden was captured in a farm house at the time I was in the area, where he was arrested and convicted for brutal murders. 

I left Gloucester for Hanging Rock near Nundle for my third trip to that area, searching for 200 gold sovereigns buried by Yankee jack. his home was on Quackanacka Creek, born in 1925 aged 86 years, and his body was located by passers-by. his grave remains unmarked in the Hanging Rock cemetery. i was almost to the top of this mountain when I received a nice sweet single from the detector on a skirt zipper about four centimetres below the surface. The skirt was small, and maybe fit a 12-year-old girl. 

As I walked down the mountain, I noticed a goat’s skull. Further on, I found a pair of large white lady’s socks followed up by a large grey sock with three colour bands near the top of the sock – blue, red and white I think. 

I later read on the computer that an angus heifer was shot and beheaded east of Scone, and there were goats dismembered on the eastern side of Barrington. it all seems very suspicious to me and requires a full investigation. All of this has been reported to the police.

I wanted to visit Innamincka and Birdsville before I sold my four wheel drive so I took off for another planned trip via Broken Hill. 

It was smoko time when I reached Narrabri and drove down onto the Namoi River, there were two large trees there where I put 11 dollars in my pocket in a matter of minutes so I kept going following a line of trees under the bridge and finished up with 43 dollars in less than an hour. 

I was told later by a local that Narrabri hold their Sunday markets here. 

I arrived in Broken Hill, my old birth town of 35 years and soon picked up 48 dollars from sites I once knew. After having a few days with family i arrived at Tarrawingee about 50km from Broken Hill and once the home to 400 people. It produced 1,800 tons of limestone per week to be used as flux at the BHP Smelter. 

180 men were employed for this 40 years of operation I detected a no. 404 Tarrawingee token. The story goes that all employees were issued with one. But in order to get a day’s work, your number had to be drawn out of a barrel. Obviously, they hadn’t heard of rosters back in those days.

While in that area, I paid a visit to Poolamacca Station where 15-year-old pastoralist Sidney Kidman (later Sir) worked here for a few pennies and board chopping wood and tending horses and equipment, and found three coins only.

My next stop was Milparinka, 39km south of Tibooburra. Gold was discovered there in the 1870s. I spoke to the tourist officer who told me i would be wasting my time looking for coins due to the area having been done over by tourists for years. 

I believed him and drove off to Innamincka, a population of 12 residents, nestled near Cooper Creek. The famous Burke and Wills dig tree is just over the Queensland border, 70km from the town centre, where I put in an hour’s searching there for nothing. 

I moved on again to detect the ruins of Carcoory Station. It was one of the first properties purchased by cattle king, Sir Sidney Kidman. My find was a belt buckle and part of a harmonica which must have been their most popular music back in those early days due to the amount I have found over the years. 

I arrived at Birdsville Caravan Park and booked in for seven days. I was hoping to do well at this place due to the 7,000 attending the races every year. But I was shocked never to have found a coin. The racecourse area was very clean. Maybe that was the reason. 

After driving back to the Birdsville Hotel I rang my son. “Where are you now dad?” he asked. I told him I was at the Birdsville Hotel having a Victorian stubbie. 

After my seven days in Birdsville, I was soon on the road again heading towards my home. My next stop was to be on the banks of the Diamantina River to detect Burke and Wills camp site no. 76 back in 1860. 

I found a bronze koala badge plus a $1 coin from 1984. And 20 metres to the east, I came across a very noisy mound of dirt and dug up two very old and rusty food tins. I like to imagine that they belong to the Burke and Wills party, and that is why I have hung onto them as a keepsake. 


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