The next morning Robert senior woke everyone at dawn; they took down the tents and packed everything away. They found a river where they all washed before refilling the water drum they had used for the truck and their flasks that held about two litres of water in each. They still headed north to Mount Olga or Kata Tjuta as it was called by the indigenous people of Australia.
It was sixteen miles to the mountain so they set off again. Eleanor made notes of the search at Uluru and took photos.
“Do you think we will find anything at Kata Tjuta Robert asked Becky Stewart?
“Who knows said James; Robert is the geologist; he knows rocks better than any man I know. If anyone can find what we are looking for then he will.
Robert studied the terrain when they reached the mountain. picking up the pebbles Robert checked each one for signs that they might hold gold deposits.
“What are we actually looking for Robert asked Becky sceptically we could be on a wild goose chase here?”
“Well to give you a brief history of rocks over time Becky. About two million years ago the ocean caused a massive crush of the ocean floor creating stacks of rock with deep ridges or seams forming what we now call mountains. The pressure crushed the rock sediments until they melted and in the process gold deposits were washed along with them. The quartz cooled leaving the gold within it. In California in 1848 a man was filling his water canister in the stream when he picked up a large gold nugget. He searched and found more.
Word quickly spread and by 1849 the gold rush began. People from all over America and the world came to seek their fortune.
It turned out a lot harder than they first thought because they were digging for up to twelve hours a day with a pick and shovel and over a million ounces were pulled out of the ground that year from the rivers. Many men made fortunes and some lost them too when claim jumpers either took over their claims by force or bought the claims from them. Up to one person a day was killed trying to protect their claims.
Then in 1852 someone discovered that the rocks further up were very round and smooth so they knew that the water had came up higher than they first thought and large gold deposits worth many millions of dollars were found above ground.
Then in South Africa they discovered gold seams up to two miles below ground. This is where the majority of your gold comes from now.”
“Now we have to locate where my grandfather either has hidden a large stash of gold that he had already excavated or found a gold seam that we can excavate ourselves.”
It must be worth a lot of money because my Grandfather would not have returned three years later. I brought with me a piece of rock from the chest that he had in his house. Robert took the small piece of quartz which had flecks of yellow gold inside and showed everyone.
“Now this is the kind of rock that I am looking for Becky.”