Living in the same former gold mining town in Victoria, Australia where she was born and raised, Liz Pickthall spends all her spare time detecting in the nearby central goldfields. Our June 2023 Detectorist of the Month, Liz shares how she got into detecting – as well as her first-timer tips, best-ever finds and more. You can follow Liz’s metal detecting adventures on Instagram at @liluprospecting.
Who or what inspired you to get into detecting?
My earliest inspiration would definitely be my dad. He would do a lot of sluicing in creeks when I was younger, which then turned into metal detecting.
My brother and I would go out with him. He would always make it such an entertaining time, even when digging up rubbish. I learnt so much in those early days from him. To this day, my dad’s still out detecting with me when he can, and he’s still as entertaining as ever.
What prompted you to buy your first detector?
Growing up in a town close to so many different goldfields, I would get a lot of local and travelling detectorists come into my workplace telling me their tales of valuable finds not far out of town.
Holding the gold and relics they had unearthed in my hands, I was amazed by their weight and beauty. I finally had seen and heard enough, and at the age of 28 I decided to go out and invest in my first detector. Only then did I realise my true love for it, and I’ve been addicted ever since.
When did you first use your Coiltek coil?
As the years went by and my love for detecting grew, I started to work less and detect more. After upgrading my metal detector to the GPX 6000, I was keen to upgrade my coil as well.
I waited for the release of all brands of coils, and was lucky enough to be able to try before I bought two different coils – one of which was the Coiltek 9” GOLDHAWK. It didn’t take me long to see that it was the standout performer in all areas including weight and sensitivity – and it worked wonders on all ground types in the Victorian goldfields.
I was so impressed by how quiet it ran for such a sensitive coil. The 9” coil has found gold in the most ‘flogged out’ areas, with the coil’s size making it so easy to get in tight areas under and around bushes and trees.
How has detecting benefitted your lifestyle?
Over my journey, I’ve increased my knowledge of history and culture through my finds. The excitement and satisfaction of finding gold and relics – and spending time outdoors in nature with family and friends – is amazing.
Metal detecting has been such a positive and beneficial lifestyle, helping me to find the perfect work/life balance. Improvements in my physical fitness has been the biggest benefit, as I’m fitter now than I’ve ever been.
What advice would you give someone to get started?
Invest in a good quality metal detector that’s easy to operate to your skill level.
Research is important before heading out. Look into the best areas and locations to increase your chance of finds, and make sure you’re aware of the local laws and regulations.
I also recommend joining a metal detecting club or online community. It’s a great way to connect with other detectorists, and they are always happy to share experiences and advice.
But most importantly, have fun! Metal detecting is rewarding, but it can take persistence and patience. So enjoy the process and don’t get discouraged.
What have been your best finds so far?
I’ve had so many amazing finds and experiences, but the one that comes to mind taught me that gold comes when you least expect it.
A few years ago, I was going through a long dry spell, and I was out of ideas of where to detect. Out driving near Stuart Mill, I decided to pull over beside the main road and detect a small patch of bushland. Very quickly, I realised I was onto something as one nugget turned into two. Every step was another signal that turned into another nugget, and I quickly realised I was on undetected ground. I was able to extract over 4 ounces of gold from that patch.