Winnecke Goldfield, Georgina Range, Central Desert Region, Northern Territory, Australia
|Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):||23° 19' 59'' South , 134° 21' 0'' East|
|Latitude & Longitude (decimal):||-23.33333,134.35000|
An abandoned goldfield about 70km NE of Alice Springs. Prospecting and mining occurred between 1901- 1905, with sporadic activity up to 1940. The total recorded production is about 1500 oz.
The gold deposits mostly occur in quartz veins in greenschist facies retrograde schist zones cutting amphibolite grade metasedimentary schists and gneisses of the Arunta Province. Some disseminated gold occurs in the altered schists.
The largest deposit is Golden Goose mine.
There is a lot of hand wringing online about this goldfield from fossickers with metal detectors. The access gate is locked, after some fossickers did unspecific wrong things at the location. As written permission is needed from The Gardens station owner, this may possibly not be forthcoming, especially considering he posted notices in local newspapers that anyone found would be charged with trespassing. So be warned before driving out. The goldfield is located 70 kilometres north-east of Alice Springs. Travel 49 kilometres north of Alice Springs along the Stuart Highway, then about 60 kilometres east towards The Gardens homestead. The goldfield is 15 kilometres south-west of The Gardens pastoral station homestead. Access is also possible by travelling north of Arltunga to the Claraville homestead, then west.
The goldfield is named after Charles Winnecke. He explored the area in 1883, setting up a supply depot at the location. Gold was discovered here in 1902. Speculation ran rife, with interested parties writing at best reports that were overly optimistic, and at worse outright lies. Share prices skyrocketed before even a spade had been sunk in the earth. Independent reports then came through panning the goldfield, and shares prices crashed.
The original lease was named Winnecke's Reward or Paddy's Goose. One Ballarat prospector who travelled to the goldfield stated 'The mountains of quartz were as free from gold as a frog is from feathers'. Another stated ' Fancy The Goose going up they say to over 100 pounds, and without a shaft being sunk on her, only a very good surface show, and I doubt very much she will go down'. Another, 'It is doubtful whether any gold discovery in Australia-which had so little to show-has ever been boomed to the extent that the far off Arltunga (they mean Winnecke) field has'. ( A big call considering the numerous gold scandals that has plagued Australian gold mining). South Australian government geologist H.Y.L. Brown panned the Winnecke Reward mine, while mining expert Paul Northey was not even this kind in his report.
At the height of the speculation the Consolidated Gold Fields of South Africa took over several leases. This was a major company at the time, having been gifted the gold mines of Cecil Rhodes upon his death. Their representative, came, looked, and they quickly abandoned the goldfield.
Historically, old newspaper reports confused the Arltunga and Winnecke goldfields, but they are separated by 50 kilometres of relatively barren land. Sporadic mining continued into the 1940's, by the occasional prospector.
What remains is a cemetery with seven souls, a couple of gravestones, and termite ridden border posts; stone ruins including the infirmary, the original well, wooden windlasses over shafts, battery remnants etc. Some tracks to the individual mines are reported no longer passable.
Mining wise the goldfield was never rich, amounting to about 1500 ounces of gold recovered, and a suggestion another 500 ounces went unrecorded. Gold nuggets have been found with metal detectors at various spots. Mines border, or are near to the access track across about 3 kilometres, trending east-west. The goldfield is bordered to the south by quartzite mountains, sloping down to the north to gneiss hills, with some undulating plains, and alluvial flats near the Golden Goose mine.
Regionally the goldfield straddles the border of the Arunta Block rocks, and Amadeus Basin rocks to the south. The goldfield is found in the Winnecke Shear Zone, bounded by two major north-west trending lineaments called Woolanga and Pinnacles, formed during the Alice Springs Orogeny, when Amadeus sediments thrust over the Arunta basement to the north.
The gold workings themselves are hosted by greenschist retrograde schist of the Arunta Block. There are two styles of gold mineralisation. Firstly, auriferous quartz veins with irregular domains of goethite hosting gold, inbetween barren quartz, and secondly stratabound mineralisation in altered quartz-muscovite-kaolinite schists, graphitic schists, or sericite schists.
Quartz veins are found in 10-20 metre wide zones, dipping 35-45 degrees north, with the veins pinching and swelling. The quartz is milky white, locally ferruginous, with minor pyrite found below the weathered zone of 12 metres from the surface.
The field has been little explored in modern times. In the mid 1980's, Australian-American Limited sank four shallow shafts. Hallmark Consolidated took over the field in 2003, and optioned it to Tanami Gold NL. Western Desert Resources took over in 2008, and did little other than promote some wildly outrageous gold estimates for the goldfield. AMI Resources then acquired the lease, and over three years spent one day reading the limited written information on the area, before abandoning it.
The goldfield is the type locality for the Centralian Knob Tailed Gecko.
Mineral ListMineral list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities
9 valid minerals.
Rock Types Recorded
Rock list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities
Select Rock List TypeAlphabetical List Tree Diagram
Entries shown in red are rocks recorded for this region.
This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.
Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org
252.17 - 541 Ma
|retrograde schist zones 72682|
Age: Paleozoic (252.17 - 541 Ma)
Comments: fault / shear rock; synthesis of multiple published descriptions
Lithology: Fault / shear rock
Reference: Raymond, O.L., Liu, S., Gallagher, R., Zhang, W., Highet, L.M. Surface Geology of Australia 1:1 million scale dataset 2012 edition. Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia). 
Localities in this Region
Hossfeld, P.S. (1940) The Winnecke Goldfield, eastern MacDonnell Ranges district. Aerial, Geological and Geophysical Survey of Northern Australia, Northern Territory, Report 40, 11p.
Matthews, W.H. (1905) The Arltunga and Winnecke’s Goldfields and the Hart’s Range Mica Fields. South Australian Parliamentary Paper 75, 9p.
Wygralak, A.S., Bajwah, Z.U. (1998) Geology and mineralization of the Arunta Inlier, Northern Territory. AGSO Journal of Australian Geology and Geophysics Vol.17 (3), pp.35-45.
Alexandra and Yea Standard, Gober, Thornton and Acheron Express newspaper (1903) Artlunga, 01/05/1903.
The Wyalong Advocate and Mining Agricultural and Pastoral Gazette newspaper (1903) Arltunga, 22/07/1903.
The Advertiser newspaper (Adelaide) (1903) Arltunga, 21/04/1903.
The Narracoote Herald newspaper (1903) Arltunga Goldfield, 12/05/1903.
Kapunda Herald newspaper (1903) Arltunga Goldfield, 10/04/1903.
Barmedman Advertiser newspaper (1903) Arltunga Goldfield, 03/04/1903.
Lithgow Mercury newspaper (1903) Valueless Arltunga, 27/03/1903.
Chronicle newspaper (Adelaide) (1903) Arltunga Goldfield, 22/08/1903.
AMI Resources Pty Ltd (2013) Final Report on the Reduced Part of EL 27811 13 July 2010 to 12 July 2013.
Hallmark Consolidated Ltd (2003) Acquisition of Tennant Creek Goldfield, 10/05/2003.