Miner's Cradle - Wood & Metal, Ballarat, circa 1880s Object Reg. No: SH 910535

Wooden miner's cradle with metal sieve used to separate gold or other heavy minerals from soil and water, dating to before 1900.

Washdirt and water were tipped into the sieve at the top while the cradle was rocked. The oscillating motion washed away sand and fine particles, leaving the gold trapped behind ridges across the bottom. Large rocks and gravel caught by the seive were discarded by hand.
Cradle made from a variety of different kinds of wood; well-worn and patched. Consists of a rectangular base on two curved rockers, made of wood with a metal base; there is a long wooden handle at one end, which is moved from side to side to rock the cradle on its rockers. At the handle end the base is high, with a piece of wood across the cradle (reinforced by metal) forming a rectanglar compartment. A wooden drawer, with corners reinforced by metal and a metal sieve base, fits into the top rectangle. There is also a wooden scoop, edged in pine, pitted and well worn at the end, which was used to scrape soil and water across the sieve, from whence it fell into the base and was washed out, leaving metal in the base at the end furtherest from the handle.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 94.00 cm (Height), 118.00 cm (Width), 50.00 cm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: working life, mining, gold mining equipment, deep nuts
Themes this item is part of: Working Life & Trades Collection
Primary Classification: MINING & METALLURGY
Secondary Classification: Exploration & Prospecting - Alluival Gold
Tertiary Classification: (to be classified)
Inscriptions: The initial 'G' has been carved into the scoop, and at the end of the base.
Date Made: Australia, circa 1880s
Date Used: Ballarat District, Victoria, Australia, circa 1880s


Brittany Posted on 27 May 2015 7:45 PM
this is really fascinating and just what I need to do my report on gold mining tools.
owen Posted on 03 Jun 2015 7:11 PM
great all i need to do my inquiry project and general knowledge!
Sam Posted on 05 Jun 2015 10:12 AM
This is the best website and has good info!
Sam Posted on 05 Jun 2015 10:13 AM
I love this website so much!!! :D
Joshsticko Posted on 16 Jul 2015 6:38 PM
hey this website is AMAZING!
Notch (Yes i am the original minecraft creator) Posted on 16 Jul 2015 6:43 PM
This is amazing. I think I will get Microsoft to put a cradle in Minecraft to help with mining!Can you also add my giant build I will send to you of a cradle to the website please?

Thx Notch
Notch Posted on 16 Jul 2015 6:44 PM
if you want to contact me just follow me on twitter!

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.


This item is part of the following themes:

Similar items

Yes No