Memories of a rural childhood – G is for gold and guinea pigs



Ducks eating gold? Seems unlikely, but we saw the evidence one day when my grandmother cut open the gizzard of a duck she was cleaning for our next roast dinner. Amongst other bits of grit, there were a few tiny specks of gold in the bottom of the concrete wash trough. It was not possible to work out where the gold came from as the ducks roamed freely during the day. The existence of the gold was not surprising as lots had been found in more conventional ways a century before. During the 1850s gold rush, the miners diverted a long section of the Menzies Creek so they could dig in the original creek bed. We were familiar with the sections of this “race” that were still visible alongside the creek.

Guinea Pigs

One of my brothers had two guinea pigs, who had two babies, then another larger litter and another, and another. Meanwhile, the younger females matured and had litters of their own – our first introduction to exponential growth! Other families were happy for their children to have guinea pigs as long as we could guarantee that they were male. Somehow it became my task to sex and mark them!

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