Aboriginal Stone Tool Identified

Aboriginal dimpled grindstone
Aboriginal dimpled grindstone

The other day I wrote about finding an unusual Aboriginal Stone Tool.

I wrote an email to the Western Australian Museum in Perth, seeking information about it and here is the reply I got.

Dear Bill

Thanks for the email enquiry about the stone tool you found around Dumbleyung on the weekend.

The cylindrical stone is a dimpled grindstone and is typically found throughout the southwest. Their shapes range between the circular one you found to almost square. They were multi-purpose tools used for grinding, cracking seeds and nuts, crushing pigments, or as an anvil for flaking and sharpening stone tools. Constant use over time creates ‘dimples’ or percussion pits on the surface.

I’m hoping that you merely photographed the stone and did not remove it from the site where you found it. But if you did take it away I should point out that removing artefacts from Aboriginal sites is an offence under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (see http://www.dia.wa.gov.au/Heritage–Culture/Heritage-management/Site-disturbance/).



Ross Chadwick

Curator, Anthropology & Archaeology Department

Metal Detectorist Wanted for Hobart Tasmania Lost Ring Search

I am desperately in need of a Metal Detector Guy based in or near Hobart Tasmania to do a metal detecting search for a Lost Ring which was lost in a garden bed in a suburb of Hobart in 1975!

The person who lost this ring is named Mark, and he told me he hid the ring when playing with some childhood friends when he was a small boy. I believe the ring is his Mothers lost engagement ring, so maybe Mark would like to reunite her with the lost ring.

If you can help out, there maybe a good reward for you, and this would make a great news story with a happy ending.

Please Email Me billy@westnet.com.au if you can help out with this job and I’ll give you Marks contact details.

Mark informs me he is heading to Hobart this Friday. So there is an urgent requirement for a Tasmanian Metal Detectorist to undertake this exciting search.

Operation Haystack – Metal Detecting Mission Accomplished!

My Minelab Excalibur Metal Detector
My Minelab Excalibur Metal Detector

About four weeks ago, I got a phonecall from Eddie, to do a metal detecting search for a missing Fork Lift Prong which snapped off inside  one of his bales of hay. See that Metal Detecting Story

That search was a successful search, and a few days ago I received another phonecall from Eddie, informing me that they had found one half of a star picket inside a hay bale and they needed my Western Australian Metal Detecting Services to locate the other half of the broken star picket.

For international readers a Star Picket is a Metal Fence Post, used by farmers to fence their paddocks to keep their livestock safe.

Star Picket embedded in the Hay!
Star Picket embedded in the Hay!

Anyhow I arrived at the place, around noon today, and Eddie showed me the bales I had to search, around 20 bales all up.

I used my minelab excalibur metal detector to undertake the search, even though this detector is basically an under water and beach metal detector, I find this detector very powerful and easy to use, and will pick up all kinds of metal easily.

Eddie arranged the bales, and soon I started getting good signals, around 50% of the bales of hay had pieces of metal, such as bits of wire, but the wire was not what I was looking for.    I had to find the star picket.

The Target
The Target

With all the bales that I got metal signals from, we put them to one side, and then individually broke open the bales of hay to find what metal was inside of them.  About 6 bales of hay later, we found what I was hired to find, the other half of the broke star picket.

Billy "Blog Author" Search Hay Bales
Billy "Blog Author" Search Hay Bales

I was happy and Eddie was happy. A big piece of metal inside a bale of hay can do hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to the hay processor. And if one of those bales of hay was imported overseas and their customers found it, then that could mean a loss of a good valued customer and once again many thousands of dollars to the company.

I love my job!
Lost something?
Call me ASAP – Perth Metal Detector Hire … Billy 0429 641 788

Very Unusual Aboriginal Fire Making Stone Found

Very Unusal Aboriginal Fire Making Stone
Very Unusal Aboriginal Fire Making Stone
Aboriginal Fire Lighting Stone, I found yesterday, very unusal shape, colour, never seen anything like this one before.
 I was out at a friends farm yesterday, looking for old bottles, and I decided to go for a walk in a paddock to where an old unused water tank was, hoping there may have been a few old bottles near it.    No luck, but on my way back, there was this very sandy patch of soil, where strong winds had blown the top soil away, revealing a place what was likely an Aboriginal Meeting Place.
There were quite a old Aboriginal stones in the small area, such as stones used to cutting meat, grinding seeds to a flour base and for lighting fire.   I am pretty familar with Aboriginal Stones and I have wrote about past Aboriginal Artifacts I have found before when out walking in the bush. But yesterday one stone stood out like a diamond in a piece of coal, I have never seen a aboriginal tool like this one before, a most unusal Aboriginal Tool, a “Fire Lighting Stone”
The Fire Stone was and is used by Aboriginals to start a fire. It is a pretty simple process, and it involves simply by rubbing a strong stick between your palms in a rapid motion on the stone. After a while the friction caused by the stick rotating on the stone will cause it to start burning., when it does, thats when you blow lightly with your mouth on the end of the stick as it is placed in some dry grass. That will cause the fire to start.
Traditional Aboriginal Fire Lighting Stone
Traditional Aboriginal Fire Lighting Stone

The Aboriginal Fire Lighting Stone picture above was not found by me, but this type of Aboriginal Fire Lighting Stone is similar in shape and rock type to what is usually found in the South West of Western Australia.

Anyhow, Aboriginals carried these stones with them always, just like we do when we go camping, we carry matches or a lighter.

After many times of rubbing the stick on the stone, eventually a small hole or indent will wear away in the stone, such as the photo of the stone I found below.

Assorted Aborigal Stones I Found Yesterday - Fire Lighting - Stone Axe - Knife etc
Assorted Aborigal Stones I Found Yesterday - Fire Lighting - Stone Axe - Knife etc

The most unusual thing about this Aboriginal Fire Lighting Stone that I found is that the stone is in a cylindrical shape, the colour of the stone is white and on both sides it has a small indent on the stone from where a fire lighting stick has been rubbed on it tens of thousands of times.

It is definitely my most favourite Aboriginal Artifact find. What a beautiful tool!

See some other Aboriginal Stones I have found.

Old Water Well Update

Just a quick note to say that I went out to the Old Ghost Town Well with the water pump a couple days ago.

Since I am new using my friends water pump, I did not use it properly, as I was supposed to add water to the top of the pump to help with the suction. I did not do this and it did not work…. I’m such a dumbass!

I thought maybe it may have been a gravity issue, but my friend told me about adding the water to the inlet to help with the suction. So now I know how to work the water pump properly, I’ll be heading back out to the well hopefully at the end of the week.

You learn something everyday!

The Ghost Town Water Well

Ghost Town Well
Ghost Town Well

In December last year I wrote a story on finding an old ghost town water well which has not been used for close to 100 years. The well is full of murky undrinkable water, so I am excited to say that I have a friend who I asked if I could use his water pump, to pump out all of the water in the Well.

So tomorrow I am going to pump out all of the water in the well, the current depth of the water is around 11 metres deep, so there is going to be alot of water coming out of that well tomorrow.

The reason I want to pump the water out of the well, is because I feel that there could be some hidden treasures at the bottom of the well, mainly old bottles I would say, and that is what really interests me in this task…. finding more old bottles hopefully.

No doubt too, there could be quite a few old coins at the bottom of the well also, maybe people throwing them in the well for luck.

And I would say that the well would also contain plenty of junk, animal carcasses maybe and I just hope no dead human beings!

The tricky part is going to be getting down to the bottom of the well, once all of the water is pump out. I wont be taking any risks, as I don’t particularly wish to hurt myself or to die!   So maybe I might have to invest in a good rope ladder, or even some rapelling gear.

I wont be climbing down straight away, I’ll just pump the water out, put a torch down the bottom and see whats down there, and then in a few weeks I might take the plunge and investigate the well further.

Anyhow, I’ll take a few photos tomorrow, and keep you all informed of what happens tomorrow.

Cleaning Old Bottles and Jars

Recent Bottle Dump Finds
Recent Bottle Dump Finds

I have not been doing any metal detecting for a few days, as I have had the bottle dump fever! I have been out bush looking for old bottles and jars, and I have found some beautiful bottles and jars to add to my growing collection.

I have not found anything too valuable in recent days, a few milk bottles worth $70 – $100 each would be the most valuable I have found in the last couple of days. My favourite bottles to find are old beer bottles which are embossed, such as Pickaxe, Perth Glass Works, Swan Brewery,  B.E.CO LTD, Fremantle Bottle Exchange, and much more.

I have a really nice collection of beer bottles, and I am always on the hunt to buy bottles that tickle my fancy, so if you have any beer bottles, crown seals, and even soft drink bottles, please send me an email with photos of what you want to sell.

I have over a thousand bottles and jars in my collection, I don’t have anything too valuable in my collection, maybe the most valuable one is only worth a couple hundred dollars, but its not about value, its about what they look like, with the beautiful embossings, the air bubbles, and the way they were made.

I found out a great tip today browsing a bottle collectors website, and that is when searching bottle dumps, use a bottle probe.

See how to use and make a Bottle Probe

So I will be going back to the local old rubbish dump in the next few days to do some probing … it sure beats digging holes and hoping for the best!

Anyhow over the last two days I have been pre cleaning my bottles and jars, using bottle brushes to clean out all the dirt from the inside of them bottles and jars.

I am not even a quarter of the way through cleaning them, so it is going to be a very long process. But it is a nice relaxing way to spend a couple of days in the sunny warm weather.

My Bottles and Jars awaiting a clean My Bottles and Jars awaiting a clean

It is a very time consuming process cleaning bottles, I even bought myself a Bottle Tumbler from Jar Doctor in the USA, and if you live in Australia and want one of his excellent machines, be prepared to pay quite a bit of money, it is worth it…. but unfortunately it costs a fortune just to get the machine into Australia via customs. You have to pay customs fees, custom brokers, shipping fees and other fees.

Just to buy the bottle cleaning machine cost me $2800 USD, and then another $1500 AUD for all the fees for customs, shipping ect.

But while the Australian Dollar is strong against the US Currency, get one now!

The bottle tumbler is a great machine, but I have found that it really boosts the electricity bill, because just to clean one bottle on average, will need to be tumbled continuously for 3 days. And when you have one thousand bottles to clean, well thats a few years of cleaning bottles!

But I only clean the bottles which I want to put on display.

Jar Doctor Bottle Cleaning Machine (Jar Doctor "Wayne" Pictured)
Jar Doctor Bottle Cleaning Machine (Jar Doctor "Wayne" Pictured)

A good tip to make a old bottle look in Mint Condition is to get some baby oil, put a tea spoon or so in the bottle, and rotate the bottle in a horizontal motion, and that will bring the bottle up like brand new… but it is a temporary thing. But will make your bottle look brand new.

Metal Detecting Local Farm House

Old Brick Australian Homestead
Old Brick Australian Homestead

A few days ago I got permission from a local farmer in my district of Dumbleyung, in Western Australia, to see if I could do a bit of coin shooting on his property around a abandoned farm house.

I was pretty happy he said yes, and yesterday I found the time to go out there with my metal detector.  It was pretty hard going, as the wild oats growing around the house are pretty high, the ground was quite hard in spots, and I was a bit worried about getting biten by a wandering snake.

Over the last couple of days, the weather has been quite hot, reach the low 30° and thats what brings the snakes out around here, especially the first few hot days as summer apporaches, will bring them out of their hybernation.

There is actually another house on the same property, and that house is much older than the house I detected around, so I decided to save the best house for my next metal detecting journey.

Anyhow I found a few nice old coins around the house as per below.

1916 Australian Penny
1916 Australian Penny
  • 1916 Australian Penny
  • 1933 Australian Penny
  • 1927 Australian Penny
  • 1942 Australian Half Penny
  • 1928 Australian Sixpence
  • Old Brass Button
  • See more of my metal detecting photos

    Probably much more laying around the house, but it was hot and getting prickles stuck in my socks was really annoying, so I packed up and went home after around an hour metal detecting the house.

    Anzac Badge Found

    Old Timber Australian House
    Old Timber Australian House

    I got permission from a local farmer a few days ago to go metal detecting around an old house on his propery which is pictured above.

    The ground was absolutely rock hard, and I actually bent my spades blade trying to dig for targets. I actually saw this old house from the road one day and I thought that it could be a goldmine for old coins and relics, but as I say, digging was impossible.

    However I did find a few coins and a nice old ANZAC Badge.

    ANZAC Bagde - Australian Commonwealth Forces - WW2 Era
    ANZAC Bagde - Australian Commonwealth Forces - WW2 Era

    Proudly worn by soldiers of the 1st and 2nd Australian Imperial Forces in both World Wars, the ‘Rising Sun’ badge has become an integral part of Digger tradition.

    The distinctive shape, worn on the upturned brim of a slouch hat, is readily identified with the spirit of ANZAC.

    Yet despite the badge’s historic significance, well researched theories as to its origin are more numerous than its seven points.

    In 1902 a badge was urgently sought for the Australian contingents raised after Federation for service in South Africa during the Boer War.

    Probably the most widely-accepted version of the origin of this badge is that which attributes the selection of its design to a British officer, Major General Sir Edward Hutton, KCB, KCMG, the newly appointed Commander-in-chief of the Australian Forces.

    He had earlier received as a gift from Brigadier General Joseph Gordon, a military acquaintance of long standing, a “Trophy of Arms” comprising mounted cut and thrust swords and triangular Martini Henri bayonets arranged in a semicircle around a brass crown. To Major General Hutton the shield was symbolic of the co-ordination of the Naval and Military Forces of the Commonwealth.

    A refurbished replica of the shield is on display in the main foyer of Army Headquarters in Canberra. (Figure 1).

    The original design, created and produced in haste for issue to the contingent departing to South Africa, was modified in 1904. This badge(Figure 2), was worn through both World Wars.

    Since its inception the Basic form of the 1904 version has remained unchanged although modifications have been made to the wording on the scroll and to the style of crown.

    In 1949, when Corps and Regimental Badges were reintroduced into service, the wording on the scroll of the “Rising Sun” Badge was changed to read “Australian Military Forces”. (Figure 3).

    Twenty years later, the badge was again modified to incorporate the Federation Star and Torse Wreath from the original 1902 version of the badge and the scroll wording changed to “Australia” (Figure 4).

    In the 75th anniversary year of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli there arose a desire to return to the traditional accoutrements worn by Australian soldiers during the World Wars and which clearly identify the Australian Army. (Figure 5). The recent change coincides with the 90th anniversary of the Army which was commemorated on 1st March 1991.

    Read more about ANZAC Badges

    Old House Metal Detecting Finds
    Old House Metal Detecting Finds

    Pictured above, I also found the following

    • Candle Extinguisher? (Silver Spoon)
    • WW2 Era ANZAC Badge
    • Brass WW2 Era Army Button
    • Decimal Coins

    Dolphin Ring – Found Ascot Rowing Club

    Dolphin Ring Found Metal Detecting at Ascot Rowing Club - Perth
    Dolphin Ring Found Metal Detecting at Ascot Rowing Club - Perth

    Did you lose your Dolphin Ring at the Ascot Rowing Club on the Swan River near Perth?

    I was metal detecting there last weekend during the night, did not find much apart from the Dolphin Ring which is pictured above.

    The ring was found on the banks of the Swan River, probably where the rowers launch their boats, no doubt the ring may of slipped of someones finger as they were bringing there boat to shore.

    There was aslo a sandy playground, opposite the Ascot Rowing Club, so I thought I’d give that a try also, found a couple dollars and a couple of K9 Dog Tags,  nothing too special. But more money to add to my pirates chest!

    Coins and K9 Dog Tags Found Metal Detecting at Ascot Rowing Club - Perth
    Coins and K9 Dog Tags Found Metal Detecting at Ascot Rowing Club - Perth