Detecting a WW2 Airforce base

If you’ve been to Tocumwal then you have probably heard of the large Airbase that was there during WW II until the 1960’s. We managed to find some crown land that sits on an old piece of the airbase and took the X-Terras over it for the day. We got no signals at all for a start and then we both hit old dump sites close to each other. The X-Terra’s had a bit of a struggle to separate targets so lots of digging involved to weed out the junk.

1916englishpenny

Picked up this 1916 English penny first in my dump spot but the best finds were coming from the other site. We found 3 large machine gun shells probably from a Browning gun mounted on an aircraft, manufactured in US during WWII.

DSCN3359
50 cal Browning shells
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American WW II issue 50 cal’s

There were plenty of broken bottles in both spots with the occasional whole one coming up.

There was a number of old toys coming up as well.

As far as coins were concerned we had found mostly half pennies at the dump spots, almost all around 1940’s issue.

halfpennies

I went to detect around a small hill nearby, picking up about 20 rifle shells and odd bits and pieces of machinery. In a quiet spot with no junk signals I came across a florin, soon followed by another and a sixpence.

1944 florin
1944 Florin
1943florin
1943 Florin
1926sixpence
1926 Sixpence

The area near this spot was full of tin and sheets of metal, presumably a building had been bulldozed and buried. Maybe more than one building as a lot of ground was undetectable for us. We never covered the full area as we ran out of time so will have to head back one day.

The usual belt buckles and utensils, as well as rifle shells which were a bit smaller then the .303’s we usually find. One last sweep of the dump sites turned up a threepence but nothing else so we called it a day.

1942 threepence
1942 Threepence

A few finds at the old railway station

I’m currently travelling around the country and am always on the lookout for likely metal detecting sites. I found an old railway station in Victoria which is no longer active, the station itself is gone and the railway is now a walking/riding path. Looking at old photos of the station I headed into the scrub where the old station masters house was with the X-Terra 705.

Found mostly old junk with a couple buttons and a harmonica around the old house with a lot of broken old bottles and pottery. Moving away from it I finally came across an old coin, a 1925 Halfpenny.

16halfpenny

 

Within the next 30 minutes I picked up 3 more coins including my first Gothic florin.

1916half
1916 Halfpenny
1877 sixpence
1877 Sixpence

 

1880 gothic florin
1880 Gothic Florin

 

1880florinreverse

The florin date is in roman numerals on the reverse, in this case it’s lxxx which is 80. I found all the coins on the edge of thick scrub which was impossible to detect in. Probably more coins there but they will have to stay there for now.

 

Detecting around a hotel

I recently had the opportunity to detect around a hotel in rural Victoria, not an old one just 30 years old or so, still I was hoping for a few coins. Found very little around the front and sides but came across an area out the back where I pulled up nearly 50 coins in about 3 hours.

coins
Not a bad haul

Approx $43 all up so not a bad effort for the day.

Detecting at an old settler’s house Pt 2

We headed back out to the old farmhouse with the X-Terra’s for another day’s detecting to see what else had been missed. There were 2 old dumping spots near the ruins which we went over and in between the junk managed to extract some nice coins and old curios.

1867 penny
1867 Penny
1877 penny
1877 Penny
1921 Half Penny
1921 Australian Half Penny

Someone had put a nail through the half penny for whatever reason. The 1867 Penny was in nice condition for the age.

There was the customary pile of buckles, shoe heels and some vintage shotgun shells.

I managed to find an interesting style of brooch that appears to have gold gilding on it. Looks to be very simply made and is probably pre-1900’s.

brooch
Brooch

We found 2 old buttons close together, one is a Fire Brigade S.A. button from an old uniform and the other I believe is a button from a British soldiers uniform. Both made by Stokes & sons circa 1900.

BritishButton
British Army Button
settlers house 010
Fire Brigade S.A.

From the same area we also pulled up an Australia shoulder title and part of an American military badge which I’m still to identify.

Australia title
Australia shoulder title
american military badge
American military badge?

Down on the banks of a creek I turned up this vintage mickey mouse brooch, it has seen better days.

Mickeymousebrooch

A few silver-plated spoons, some sort of pin and an old lid with Chinese writing.

And finally here is the gold ring we found on the first trip after a clean.

gold ring
Gold ring

Old coins found at settler’s farmhouse

We went to check out an old farmhouse ruin today which we know has had a few people detect around it. Rather then detect near the ruins we headed away from it and did the surrounding area. There was a ton of iron in the ground and the signals were not at all clear but we started getting good items straight away.

dog rego tag
1890-91 Dog Tag
dog rego tag
District 118

A little patch of ground near a winter creek below the house gave us 4 nice coins all dated 1863 – 1865.

1863 Penny
1863 Half Penny
1865 half penny
1865 Half Penny
1863 penny
1863 Penny
1865 penny
1865 Penny

There were a lot of old shells and random items in the ground which had to be dug as the coins weren’t coming up clear on the X-Terra’s. There were too many items to clean and photo so here are just a few of them.

This ring turned up just down from the farmhouse where a path to the creek most likely was. It’s a copper-alloy ring with gold gilding and carries the stamp ‘WMNC’ which is an unknown English maker and was dated approx. 1850 – 1900.

gold ring
Gold gilding visible
old farmhouse 014
‘WMNC’ stamp

On the way back to the car we hit a very noisy patch of ground around the stump of an old tree and turned up 2 more coins amongst old pieces of wire. The 1849 Penny is quite rare but it hadn’t aged well in the ground.

1849 penny1849 penny back

This threepence was just a couple of meters away from the penny.

1880 threepence

All up it was a very good dig and there is still plenty of ground to go over. It does go to show that even when people have been there before you it doesn’t mean they have found everything.

Detecting an old camp ground

We headed out to an old camp site today with the X-Terra 705’s. The area was used for school camps as far as I’m aware and was still in use until about 15 years ago. Today all the buildings have been removed and there is a lot of trash left lying on the ground. It didn’t take long for the coins to start turning up though, usually concentrated in small patches.

pile of coins
54 coins, not a bad few hours work.

All that for about $6 in change with a 1951 penny thrown in. Picked up a few random things among the trash. Round button (top left) looks to be gold plated, it was a solid 18 on the X-Terra.

I was on the way back to the car when I got a nice sharp 42 on the road leading in. The tag was a good 7 inches down, below the driveway gravel buried in the dirt. I’ve only given it a quick wash under water so it’s in nice condition for it’s age. I’m not up on dog tags so if anyone knows what district it is (South Australia District 58) please shoot me an email or leave a reply.

1894 dog tag
1894 – 1895 SA Dog Registration Tag

1894 dog tag back

We barely covered a tenth of the site due to the amount of trash and the need to move slow to discriminate targets. We’ll head back to this site in awhile but there are a couple of old farm houses we have permission to check out so we are off there next.