Minelab Wedderburn Detector Jamboree

Published on 22 February 2018

Giving back and having fun are cardinal rules for the quirky prospecting band known as “The Darkside”.

Its members – all male at present and all Victorians – bring a jumbled mix of backgrounds, from electricians and environmental scientists to council workers and retirees.

Founding member “GemQ” said the group got together regularly, either on prospecting trips, annual catch-ups or camp-outs.

“Some of us have been going to the Wedderburn Minelab Detector Jamboree for eight or nine years, but ‘The Darkside’ took shape there four years ago, when our Saturday evening revelry saw us start a dance and get up to some mischief.

“We have four original members, but we could grow to about a dozen on a good day or at a significant event.

“There’s a rough code of conduct – you’ve got to play up a little bit and enjoy yourself at the same time.”

GemQ said the two main events for the group each year were the Wedderburn and Ararat token hunts.

“We get tee-shirts, caps and stickers made up for both token hunt events, but also go along to social events in the town, visit the garage sales, support juniors and help others,” he said.

“We really try to spend money with local businesses as much as possible and set up in a central spot so we can act as a ‘yarning’ place for others, who are always welcome.

“Wedderburn is a marvellous social event for us, it’s really well run and great to catch up with people we may only see once a year.”

The 2018 Wedderburn Jamboree is planned for March 10-11 at the town’s Hard Hill Tourist Reserve, with activities including prospecting and gold panning competitions and demonstrations, town garage sales, live music and market stalls.

There’s also a wine-tasting evening, junior and open token hunts, children’s activities and tours of local attractions.

Entry for senior participants costs $45, which covers breakfast on both days and live entertainment, or $35 for one day.  Non-participants are free.

For further information, phone Loddon Visitor Information Centre on (03) 5494 3489 or go to www.loddon.vic.gov.au