Jack Stephens

Famous Tasmanian Prospectors, Explorers and Track Cutters

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ratters
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Jack Stephens

Postby ratters » Tue Jan 07, 2014 1:55 pm

Perhaps only famous in local knowledge and folklore, but I think rates worth a mention. This is an excerpt from the document "DAVIES HILL E.L. 28/95 FINAL YEAR REPORT R. H. Wray-McCann June 2001"


"My intention, in applying for the Davies Hill exploration license, was to follow up a little known Western Tasmania prospecting observation that was made by the well known Queenstown area, hermit gold prospector, the late Jack Stephens 1920-1993.
Jack had worked the nearby Diamond Hill/Diamond Creek alluvial gold patches as far back as the early 1930's with his father and other West Coast prospectors.
Jack enlisted in the A.I.F. at the outbreak of the Second World War and returned to Queenstown, shell-shocked.
Around 1947 he went bush.
He never came in until 1992.
He lasted a year in the 'city', Queenstown and died.
Throughout the forty years or more that he lived bush, Jack never collected a military, or any pension.
He wanted nothing to do with the 'real world'.
He lived entirely on the gold he recovered in his pan, which, over the decades, he would regularly barter for supplies, from trusted Queenstown shopkeepers.
Jack always had gold and had panned nearly every creek on the western flanks of the West Coast Range, from Mt Darwin to Lake Margaret.
Soon after Jack had finally been persuaded to move, in the late 1980's, from his Diamond Hill corrugated tin shanty, to a small garden shed, not more than 150 metres north of my own back door, thieves from Gormanstown raided his old Diamond Hill shanty and stole a vegemite jar, over half full of fine, alluvial gold.
In terms of longevity and earnestly paying your own way, I realise now that Jack Stephens is undoubtedly the most successful gold prospector, who ever panned a creek in Tasmania.
Although Jack never did find the elusive big one, he did hold his own rock solid views, on the origin of the alluvial gold that he had followed up the courses of the Pearl and Diamond creek systems, north of Queenstown, till the day he died.
Jack was of the firm opinion that the fine alluvial gold that he had long panned from both these creeks, had its source origins near the foot of Davies Hill, where both of these creeks commence.
I first heard of Jack’s observations around 1994 and on the strength of them I later applied for the Davies Hill exploration license, was granted it, then set to the task of following up Jack’s problematic hidden lode."

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