Dig it! Australia among the best places to dig for buried treasure

Source: News

Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy in South Australia has been named as the best place to hunt for loot. Picture: Mike Burton

Dinosaur

Travellers can join in a fossil dig at Winton, QLD. Picture: Australian Age of Dinosaurs.

THERE’S a secret world of goodies buried beneath the earth’s rocks and waves.

Looking for loot – from pirate booty to secret stashes – is an adventure all its own.

Lonely Planet has compiled a list of the world’s top 10 places to hunt for treasure in their Best in Travel 2013 book.

1. Opal Mining, Coober Pedy, Australia

Outback adventure and the chance to strike it rich: can you dig it?

The good folk of Coober Pedy can… and have done, ever since opal was first discovered there in 1915.

Named from the local aboriginal term ‘kupa-piti’ (meaning ‘whitefella in a hole’), this far-flung town is known as the opal capital of the world; it’s also famous for its underground homes, excavated to escape the desert sizzle.

While hardcore miners need a government permit, anyone is allowed to fossick – in local parlance, ‘noodle’ – through the town’s many mine dumps.

Don’t let the whimsical verb fool you: many a noodler has hit paydirt.

Before going it alone, try a sanctioned noodle at Tom’s Working Opal Mine or Old Timers’ Mine.

2. Norman Island, British Virgin Islands

Peg-legs, black spots, West Country accents: if there was a map showing the home of every pirate cliché known to fancy-dressers, Norman Island would be marked with an X.

Not shivering your timbers? Perhaps its fictional name, Treasure Island, will make you go ‘aaargh’.

The inspiration behind Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of mutiny and booty, Norman Island today is a haven for snorkellers and nature lovers.

But rumours of undiscovered doubloons hidden in the Caves – a series of aptly murky watery caverns – attract rum-hoisters convinced the island remains home to ‘plenty of prizes and plenty of duff !’.

Norman Island is a short boat trip from Tortola, the biggest and most populated of the BVIs. Tortola is reached via ferries or flights out of various Caribbean hubs.

3. Oak Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

Home to a huge, mysterious hole nicknamed the Money Pit, this otherwise unremarkable island is the destination for those answering the call of booty.

First discovered in 1795, the cryptic Pit is the site of the world’s longest-running treasure hunt… although just which treasure is being hunted remains the cause of frenzied debate.

Rumoured riches hidden within the hole (which supposedly runs at least 60m deep) include Captain Kidd’s stash, the lost jewels of Marie Antoinette, documents proving the ‘real’ identity of Shakespeare (Francis Bacon, FYI) and the holy grail of treasure seekers, the, erm, Holy Grail.

Beware the booby traps!

Oak Island is privately owned and permission is required before setting off to solve the mystery of the Pit. Start here for legends and links.

4. Las Vegas, US

Cache-ING! Looking for loot in Las Vegas? Forget fruit machines and bank breaking: these days, thousands of Sin City visitors are forgoing gambling for geocaching.

A real-life treasure hunt that relies on GPS and cryptic clues, geocaching is more likely to yield a Kinder Egg than that of the nest variety, but that hasn’t stopped five million enthusiasts worldwide.

Vegas has become a must-do for the high-tech hobbyists, with more than 2400 stashes hidden in and around the city, including scores on the Strip, in the surrounding desert and in spooky spots for ‘haunted’ night caching.

 

Las Vegas

A real-life treasure hunt in Las Vegas for hidden stashes is a must-do for high-tech hobbiests. Picture: WriterGal39/Flickr.

5. Gold Detecting, Papua New Guinea

There’s gold in them thar hills… and on them thar islands… and under that thar sea.

Papua New Guinea is absolutely awash with the shiny stuff , and while much of it falls into the hands of multinational mining companies, there’s no reason the budding prospector can’t have a pick or a pan as well.

Gold fever peaked in the 20th century, with nuggets the ‘size of goose eggs’ attracting feverish prospectors, including a certain Mr Errol Flynn.

These days, PNG’s rough-and-tumble landscape (social and geographic) make joining an organised tour a better idea than striking out on your own.

They’re not cheap, but with a potential ‘Eureka!’ moment lurking beneath every step, who cares?

PNG Gold Tours offers fully escorted, two-week gold-hunting trips to Misma Island, an area renowned for rich alluvial deposits.

6. Roman Coins, English Countryside

Either togas suffered from a lack of pockets or departing Romans hadn’t time to stop at a currency exchange, because England is aglitter with ancient currency.

And it’s yours for the picking. Amateur archaeologists and quaint folk with metal detectors have been responsible for massive finds across the island; in 2010, a chef uncovered a pot filled with 52,000 coins dated between AD 253 and 293, the largest such hoard yet discovered.

Study up, be sure to get landowners’ permission and you too could hold history in your hands!

Contact the National Council for Metal Detecting for information on detector hire, regional clubs and valuing your treasure.

7. Digging For Dinos, Australia

Thrilled by theropods? Is ‘muttaburrasaurus’ more than just an amusing tongue-twister to you? Then it’s a fair bet that joining a dinosaur dig is your idea of the ultimate treasure hunt.

And where better to pander to your inner palaeontologist than outback Winton, home to Australia’s largest hoard of dino bones?

The not-for-profit organisation Australian Age of Dinosaurs holds tri-annual Dinosaur Discovery Weeks, giving ‘enthusasauruses’ the chance to excavate, plaster and prep fossils buried for the past 95 million years.

No experience is necessary, but only 13 spots per dig are available. Book quickly: they’ll be gone before you can say ‘Diamantinasaurus matildae’.

Digs run between July and September. Find out more and reserve your spot here.

8. Arctic Amethysts, Kola Peninsula, Russia

Far above the Arctic Circle, all that glitters is not ice: western Russia’s extreme north sparkles with the purple slivers of the prized amethyst.

The rugged Kola Peninsula – a mineralogist’s dream with its hundreds of rare rock and metal species – is home to the windswept, amethyst-rich Tersky Coast.

Unlike gold, the amethyst is surprisingly easy to find if you know where to look (Tersky’s Korabl Cape – ‘Ship Cape’ – is a great place to start): simply look for the purple clumps.

In addition to its beauty, amethyst has a legendary quality which may come in handy in these frozen, vodka-loving lands: it’s believed to protect its bearer from drunkenness.

While spotting amethysts is simple enough, getting around Kola Peninsula is not.

Consider joining a mineralogical tour with the South Kola group.

9. Fossil Gawking, Gobi Desert, Mongolia

To the hurried eye, the vast Gobi Desert looks like 1.3 million sq km of dusty nothing.

But stop, stoop and focus: the Gobi is one of the world’s richest fossil depositories, with many ancient (as in 100-million-years-ancient) remains lying only centimetres from the surface.

It was here the first dinosaur eggs were discovered; other major excavated finds include rare, mid-evolutionary birds and some of the world’s best-preserved mammal fossils.

Hunting hotspots include the Flaming Hills of Bayanzag and Altan Uul (‘Golden Mountain’).

You’re not supposed to take your finds home with you – they’re rightfully considered national treasures – but here, especially, the thrill is in the chase.

Independent (not package) tours can be hard to stumble across, but not impossible. Many guesthouses in Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar can help get your expedition underway.

10. Wreck Diving, Florida, US

It may be known as the Sunshine State, but many of Florida’s richest attractions haven’t seen the light of day in centuries.

Thought to be home to more sunken treasure than any other state in the US, Florida’s blue waters may be hiding more than US$200 million worth of loot.

Now home to Disneyworld and pampered retirees, the state was once a notorious pirate haven (even Blackbeard dropped anchor here), and its hurricanes sent countless Spanish galleons to Davy Jones’ locker.

Check local legalities before you wriggle into your wettie, and never dive alone in Florida’s oft-treacherous waters: those wrecks are down there for a reason.

This website is a treasure trove of super-detailed listings of potentially enriching (and legal) wreck-dive spots across Florida.

This is an extract from Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2013 © Lonely Planet 2012, RRP: $24.99, available in stores now.

Βασίλης Παπακωνσταντίνου: «Αυτή η ιστορία με το έντεχνο έχει πολλή πλάκα»

Βασίλης Παπακωνσταντίνου: «Αυτή η ιστορία με το έντεχνο έχει πολλή πλάκα»

Ο Βασίλης Παπακωνσταντίνου εξομολογήθηκε αν τον ενοχλεί όταν κάποιος δηλώνει ότι ακούσει τα πάντα από μουσική.

«Αν ακούει τα πάντα, έχει δίκιο. Σωστό είναι.

Και εγώ ακούω μπλουζ, τζαζ, δημοτικά, έντεχνα. Δεν ακούω μη έντεχνα.

Αυτή η ιστορία με το έντεχνο έχει πολλή πλάκα».

Τι μουσική όμως ακούει όταν είναι σπίτι του; «Δεν ακούω. Συνήθως ακούω ενημερωτικές εκπομπές από τα ραδιόφωνα.

Ούτε στο αυτοκίνητο ακούω μουσική.

Έχω τόσο πολλή μουσική μέσα μου, που θέλω ξεκούραση», δήλωσε ο ερμηνευτής στην εφημερίδα «Realnews».

Χρήστος Δάντης: «Αρκετοί πήραν πολλά κατά καιρούς, όμως έχουν δώσει πολύ περισσότερα»

Χρήστος Δάντης: «Αρκετοί πήραν πολλά κατά καιρούς, όμως έχουν δώσει πολύ περισσότερα»

Έχει μετανιώσει για συνεργασίες του παρελθόντος ο Χρήστος Δάντης;

«Για καμία. Όλες αυτές με έφεραν εδώ που είμαι τώρα και είμαι απόλυτα ικανοποιημένος.

Ξέρω ότι υπάρχει μια μεγάλη μερίδα συναδέλφων η οποία όχι μόνο με αποδέχεται, αλλά με αγαπά πραγματικά.

Το ίδιο απολαμβάνω από τον κόσμο» δηλώνει στο «Έθνος Tv» ο τραγουδιστής και συνεχίζει:

«Αρκετοί πήραν πολλά κατά καιρούς, όμως έχουν δώσει πολύ περισσότερα.

Όχι μόνο σε υλικό και πνευματικό επίπεδο, αλλά και πρακτικά. Πρέπει ο κόσμος να αντιληφθεί πως οι εργάσιμες ημέρες ενός καλλιτέχνη είναι πολύ λιγότερες από άλλες κατηγορίες επαγγελμάτων που απολαμβάνουν και ένα ικανοποιητικό εισόδημα».

Η Αγγελική Ηλιάδη μιλά πρώτη φορά για τον ξαφνικό χωρισμό της από τον Μηλιωτάκη!

Η Αγγελική Ηλιάδη μιλά πρώτη φορά για τον ξαφνικό χωρισμό της από τον Μηλιωτάκη!

Ύστερα από αρκετό καιρό, η Αγγελική Ηλιάδη για πρώτη φορά μιλά για τον ξαφνικό χωρισμό της από τον Κώστα Μηλιωτάκη, λίγο πριν ανέβουν τα σκαλιά της εκκλησίας.

«Με τον Κώστα προσπαθήσαμε για τη σχέση μας όσο έπρεπε. Το εξαντλήσαμε! Με απόλυτη ειλικρίνεια και το χέρι στην καρδιά θα σας πω ότι την κατάλληλη στιγμή πήραμε τη σωστή απόφαση. Να μην προχωρήσουμε δηλαδή στο γάμο. Θα ήταν ακόμα πιο επώδυνο να παντρευόμασταν και μετά από ένα χρόνο να χωρίζαμε», είπε χαρακτηριστικά η τραγουδίστρια στο περιοδικό Hello!

«Ιδανικά ζευγάρια δεν υπάρχουν. Όλα τα ζευγάρια έχουν τα θέματά τους και τα προβλήματά τους. Από εκεί και πέρα τον σημαντικότερο ρόλο παίζει πόσο έχεις τη διάθεση να προσπαθήσεις και να παλέψεις για τη σχέση σου» δήλωσε!

«Η αλήθεια είναι ότι άκουσα και διάβασα πάρα πολλά τον τελευταίο χρόνο που δεν είχαν καμία βάση αλήθειας. Ήμασταν πολύ καλά όταν βγήκαν οι φήμες για χωρισμό. Ήμουν όμως πολύ ερωτευμένη και ενθουσιασμένη και δεν με ένοιαζε καθόλου τι έλεγαν. Κατόπιν όμως δεν σας κρύβω ότι σκέφτηκα αρκετές φορές ότι όλο αυτό το συνονθύλευμα αρνητικών δημοσιευμάτων ίσως να έφερε και λίγο γρουσουζιά» τόνισε σχετικά με τα διάφορα δημοσιεύματα που μιλούσαν για το χωρισμό της!

Όσο για το αν υπήρχε τρίτο πρόσωπο απαντά: «Αυτά που ακούστηκαν για το τρίτο πρόσωπο ήταν κάτι που ενόχλησε πολύ τον Κώστα. Νιώθω ότι όλα αυτά ήταν όσα τον οδήγησαν να πάρει την απόφαση να βγει και να μιλήσει για το χωρισμό μας.

Δεν αισθανόταν καλά να αφήσει τέτοιες εντυπώσεις. Έτσι κι αλλιώς ο Κώστας δεν είναι τέτοιος άνθρωπος. Εγώ από την πλευρά μου δεν στάθηκα καθόλου σ’ αυτό. Κανένας δημοσιογράφος δεν ξέρει για ποιο λόγο φτάνει ένα ζευγάρι στο χωρισμό και αυτό δε θα πρέπει να αφορά κανέναν. Τον τελευταίο καιρό έχω διαβάσει τόσα πολλά άσχημα πράγματα, για κάποια από τα οποία έχω ήδη ξεκινήσει διαδικασίες να κινηθώ νομικά».

Τέλος, η τραγουδίστρια τόνισε: «Νομίζω ότι όταν κάτι τελειώνει, τελειώνει! Όταν βλέπεις μπροστά στου το τέλος δεν υπάρχει κάτι άλλο μετά. Μπορεί δύο άνθρωποι να λατρεύουν ο ένας τον άλλο, αλλά για κάποιους λόγους να μην μπορούν να είναι μαζί. Δυστυχώς υπάρχει και αυτό στη ζωή μας».

Disney: Η αγορά δισεκατομμυρίων της LucasFilm είναι γεγονός, όπως και το επόμενο Star Wars !

Disney:  Η αγορά δισεκατομμυρίων της LucasFilm είναι γεγονός, όπως και το επόμενο Star Wars !

Έπρεπε να το είχαμε καταλάβει όταν πριν λίγες μέρες ο George Lucas δήλωνε ότι αποσύρεται.

Αυτό τώρα είναι γεγονός καθώς ο διάσημος σκηνοθέτης και δημιουργός των ταινιών του Πολέμου των Άστρων έκανε μια κολοσσιαία συμφωνία με την Disney.

Σύμφωνα με την ανακοίνωση η Disney αναλαμβάνει την LucasFilm έναντι του ποσού των 4 δισεκατομμυρίων δολαρίων!

Στην ίδια ανακοίνωση επιβεβαιώθηκε το γεγονός ότι το 2015 θα δούμε το 7ο Επεισόδιο του Πολέμου των Άστρων με τον George Lucas να μετέχει μόνο ως σύμβουλος στη δημιουργία των χαρακτήρων και του σεναρίου.

«Είναι η στιγμή να δώσω τη σκυτάλη του Star Wars σε μια νέα γενιά δημιουργών», ανέφερε σε ανακοίνωσή του ο Lucas. Ο πρόεδρος της Disney στην δήλωση του τόνισε ότι καταλαβαίνει απόλυτα τι είναι αυτό που αναλαμβάνει και πως θα σταθούν στο ύψος των περιστάσεων.

Όμως, οι αντιδράσεις των φανατικών του Star Wars Saga, δεν άργησαν και πολλοί ήταν αυτοί που δήλωσαν απογοητευμένοι για το γεγονός.

Κάποιοι μάλιστα ανέφεραν ότι η πριγκίπισσα Leia θα γινει μία από τις πριγκίπισσες του Disney κάτι που δεν τους αρέσει καθόλου.

«Θα ψηφίσω όποιον υποψήφιο πρόεδρο σταματήσει τη δημιουργία του επόμενου Star Wars», αναφέρεται σε κάποιο από τα μηνύματα στο twitter.

 

‘Operation Domestic’ – an unexplored avenue of Greek migration

Source: NeosKosmos

“Greek women came to Australia in large numbers and in the early sixties they outnumbered the men”

‘Operation Domestic’ - an unexplored avenue of Greek migration

“Vassiliki Daflou, a small, pretty, blue eyed girl from Epiros, in NW Greece, on the Albanian border, is typical of thousands of poverty stricken, desperate people in Europe, particularly in Greece, Italy and Spain, to whom ICEM has brought happiness. In Sydney Vassiliki cooks on a gas stove, works as a domestic in a hospital, and boards with a Greek family…” Photo: National Archives of Australia.

Greeks of the diaspora have migrated for a variety of reasons, whether as a result of events in Greece, or to be close to family that have already migrated. Dr Maria Palaktsoglou, Lecturer in Modern Greek language and culture in the Department of Language Studies, Flinders University, has recently discovered another reason Greek women in particular decided to make the long journey to Australia and has decided to investigate it further, so as to understand more fully the experiences of these women.

Through a scheme established by the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) and Australia in the late 1950s called ‘Operation Domestic’, Greek women were invited to migrate to Australia as domestic servants for families both in cities and in the country. This plan was intended to benefit both countries involved, as many in Greece were still suffering the social and economic after-effects of both the German occupation of Greece during the Second World War, as well as the Greek Civil War that followed.

Australia, on the other hand, was much more economically stable, and there was a need for cheap domestic labour. These women were apparently eager to escape the harsh economic climate of Greece, and so agreed to migrate to Australia. In total, nearly 4000 Greek women were involved in this scheme. While researching Greek migration, Dr Maria Palaktsoglou stumbled upon ‘Operation Domestic’, and was surprised to discover that although domestic servants have received much attention from scholars around the world in more recent years, there has not as yet been any research undertaken on this unique group of Greek women who came to Australia from the late 1950s.

Dr Palaktsoglou is currently the Director of Studies and the co-ordinator of first year Modern Greek topics at Flinders University. She is well versed in matters relating to Greek migration, having carried out research related to both literary history and semi-migration-history. She has written two books and several articles on these topics, which makes her well suited to an analysis of the Greek women who were a part of ‘Operation Domestic’. She is herself also a Greek migrant to Australia, so can relate somewhat to the women who were a part of ‘Operation Domestic’.

Palaktsoglou told Neos Kosmos: “I can partly understand the emotions, the doubts, the fear these women experienced before and upon arrival and settlement in Australia. It’s a story which needs to be told.” Indeed, research on these women is vital now, as most are in their late ’60s and ’70s. Dr Palaktsoglou fears that the unique experiences of this group of women may be lost in the future, so is eager to draw from their extensive “cultural knowledge and personal memories” to aid this essential study on Greek migration to Australia.

Similar studies have emerged about Greek women who migrated to Canada for similar reasons, and Palaktsoglou has realized the importance of similarly documenting the experiences of those who came to Australia. She has already spent some time in National Archives around Australia collecting information about Greek female migrants to Australia, and has analysed newspapers from the period.

She also plans to access the archives of the ICEM for more information. Dr. Palaktsoglou has identified three main aims of her research, being to collect these women’s stories first hand, to figure out exactly how ‘Operation Domestic’ worked, and to determine how long it lasted, as well as how successful it was in aiding Greek women to leave a country that was in economic turmoil. She is now searching for Greek Australian women who came to Australia under the ‘Operation Domestic’ scheme so as to gain this information.

She has not yet conducted any interviews with women, as the correct procedure for research involving human subjects did require her to gain ethics approval from the Flinders University Social and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee before seeking interviewees. Having now gained that approval, Dr Palaktsoglou has now advertised publicly for Greek female migrants who arrived in Australia under the ‘Operation Domestic’ scheme, through the ICEM, in the late 1950s and 1960s, and then were then domestic workers in Australia.

These women will help Dr Palaktsoglou include this significant group of Greek women in the body of knowledge already existing on domestic workers around the world. Those who do become involved will be interviewed, either in Greek or English, with a Greek-speaking researcher from Flinders University, about their immigration and later domestic work. As demanded by ethics standards, all confidentiality is assured, and the women involved will remain anonymous in all resulting publications – whether they are articles or books.

Dr Palaktsoglou believes that this research will benefit not only the growing number of people around the world investigating domestic workers, but will also aid general history focusing on Greeks of the diaspora, as well as specifically Greek-Australian history. She told Neos Kosmos: “I believe that the project is very important as it will add to the collective history of Greek migration to Australia. Greek women came to Australia in large numbers and in the early sixties they outnumbered the men.

Despite that, we do not have many works which specifically address women’s migration.” Dr Palaktsoglou is seeking to redress this imbalance. She does have some information about the women from archives she has already consulted: “For the women who came as domestic servants the information is very limited. Because it’s early stages I do not know what the findings will be but I hope that the outcomes will be revealing. According to the Scheme ‘Operation Domestic’, the women who were targeted were ‘underprivileged, with no dowry and no real prospect of getting a prosperous future’ (a good marriage that is).

So it’s interesting to see if these women stayed with their employers for the duration of the two years and if they settled in the country successfully.” Dr Palaktsoglou is hoping that, with the cooperation of a number of the Greek women who were involved in this scheme, she will be able to add to the already rich body of knowledge of Greek domestic workers and Greek female migration to Australia.

This will not only help us today discover how significant members of our community migrated to Australia, but also ensure that those in the future will have as much information as possible about the history of Greek migration to Australia. Those who are interested in participation, or for further enquiries, contact Dr Maria Palaktsoglou, Lecturer in Modern Greek at Flinders University, South Australia on (08) 8201 5960 or maria.palaktsoglou@flinders.edu.au

 

 

Greeks of Australia may soon have the right to vote in Greek elections

Greeks of Australia may soon have the right to vote in Greek elections if draft law giving expatriates the right to vote is approved

Right to vote in Greek elections

Greeks living in Australia may have the right to vote in Greece’s elections after the debate resurfaced this week led by Greek Minister of Interior, Euripidis Stylianidis. Mr Stylianidis told members of the Hellenic Parliament’s Special Committee on Hellenes Abroad, that the right to vote for expatriates was a “critical national issue” and told the committee that many Greek politicians are in favour of giving the vote to Greeks of the diaspora.

As it stands, a working group of the Ministry of the Interior are preparing draft law for expatriates to vote. The law will need to include information on the equality of the voting process; the legitimacy / transparency of the voting process and administrative procedures needed for the votes to take place worldwide. The ministry is also looking at the financial aspect of Greeks abroad voting and the need for the financial impact of the operation to be minimal.

The draft law will be followed by a public consultation and after the suggestions of the parties have been included, will go up as a bill for a vote in the Parliament. Greece views Greeks abroad as a powerful source in promoting Greece’s image as many expatriates around the world are in prominent position. The ministry feel allowing them to vote will ultimately create a strong and more successful Hellenic Republic.

Allowing Greeks of the diaspora the right to vote will also create solid relationships between the countries and Greece and create a better peace and understanding for Greeks of the diaspora and for Greeks in Greece. All the members of the Hellenic Parliament’s Special Committee on Hellenes Abroad expressed their desire to give rights to expatriates to vote. The members of the committee have also discussed the need to solve administrative issues, such as: the registration of expatriates on the electoral lists; how they would vote – postal, with polls, or via internet – and the reliability of these votes; and the costs of voting aboard.

Several members suggested one or two regions abroad are created with electoral seats that could be removed from the ballot territory. However, with the postal vote, the minister raised some concerns. One of them being high cost, as well as the fact that the postal vote does not ensure that the voter is the one voting and not his relative or member of the family.

In contrast, the ballot box is the only unimpeachable vote, but should be seen from the reduction of costs point of view. Interior Minister Stylianidis has described this week’s fruitful discussion as an important first step on the vote of expatriates, stressing a need for constant dialogue on this issue. The President of SAE (World Council of Hellenes), Stefanos Tamvakis, who attended the meeting, expressed his disappointment about the lack of representation of expatriates in the Greek Parliament, stressing though that the Greeks of diaspora do not want their vote to influence the balance of power in Greece. Mr Stylianidis explained that of all member countries of the EU, only Greece and Ireland do not give this right to their expatriates.