This gold miner's rocker is very old, and very well-used. It is a large wooden rocking- box or cradle used by gold prospectors. A handle on the rocker is pushed back and forth, as gravel is put in the top part of the box so that finer and heavier particles drop through a screen.. The bottom part of the device had slats, that caught the heavier metals. i.e gold particles. The water passed through the shute at the base back into the creek or river.
L 109cm x W 36cm H 88cm with handle
Gold was discovered in Victoria c1850 and people came from all over the world to seek their fortune at Ballarat and Bendigo and surrounding gold fields. This large wooden rocking- box or cradle was used by gold prospectors. A handle on the rocker is pushed back and forth, as the miner put gravel into the top part and finer and heavier particles dropped through a screen, helped along by buckets of water. The bottom part of the device had slats, that caught the heavier metals. After many shovel loads of gravel were pushed through the rocker, the miner would then use his gold pan to sort out the heavy minerals to find gold. Most of the pioneer settlers in Moorabbin Shire left the area to try their luck at gold mining and there was a desperate shortage of workers to maintain the market gardens and supply food to the ever increasing population of Melbourne.
This gold prospector's 'cradle' is hand made and typical of those used by many hopeful Moorabbin Shire pioneers as they abandoned their market gardens to try their luck at finding gold in the Ballarat and Bendigo minefields c1850