Northern Territory Government

Fossicking in the Northern Territory

Spring Hill South

Spring Hill South Map PDF (293.3 KB)

In February 2013 an area of approximately 13 square kilometres in the Spring Hill South region was gazetted by the Northern Territory Government. This area has significant interest and is well known for alluvial deposits of gold. The area also holds the historical McKinlay silver mine.

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade will now commence the process of identifying specific areas within this gazetted region for declaration as fossicking areas. This process may take some time as many factors, such as native title implications and consent from landowners, need to be considered prior to any declaration taking place.

In the meantime, you are permitted to access these areas to fossick however you must ensure that you issue the required notifications and obtain the appropriate consents before entering the area.

This may appear excessive to some however it is only an interim inconvenience until the area is declared as a fossicking area. Consent is required from the Minister (Fossicking Request Form - Reserved Land) and any mineral title holders. You are also required to notify the pastoralist of your intentions (Fossicking Notice/Fossicking Request Form).

For individual requirements refer to the information bulletin: Fossicking - Land Access

To search the general location of this area on STRIKE, this area is known as RL 31910.


Originally known as Chinaman's Rush, McKinlay Diggings and finally The 12 Mile.

This area was discovered by Manuel Gomez, an occasional prospector and speculator. In 1877 he lodged a claim for the Government reward for finding a new alluvial field. However another miner, Joseph Lorance, also claimed the same locality and thus started a dispute that raged for some 3 years.

News soon spread to Hong Kong and Singapore of the riches at Chinaman's Rush, and towards the end of 1879 Mining Warden Knight reported there were 400 Chinese miners working the Rush and this area can be credited with the first Chinese influx to the Northern Territory.

In the early 1880's an English company purchased the Rosalie Claim and a battery was installed. Newspaper reports of the day reported it being quite a social occasion.

The Flora Belle Silver Mine, on the boundary of Spring Hill South, was where W.H.Corbould in 1888 began his career as Assayer/Metallurgist and later went onto be the founder of Mount Isa Mines.

The Elizabeth Gold Mine on the edge of the Spring Hill South area had a reported 3440 oz of reef gold from the period 1891-1897.

Leung Que Noy bought the old Battery in 1897 and started to crush ore from the Spring Hill Mines. By this time there were only 80 Chinese miners left on the field with no Europeans remaining.

By 1914 the area was virtually abandoned however the old battery still remains today.