Treasure in Australia

Dec 10, 2021
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A story passed down from my grandad to my dad and then to me about treasure somewhere on the coast of Australia has got me very curious so I thought I'd come here to ask a few questions.

-If a significant amount of treasure is found in Australia does anyone know the legality of claiming it/selling it?
-Has anyone here used a ground penetrating radar or something similar? Can it detect gold and other metals accuratly? And to what depth can it detect?
-Is anyone aware of a more discreet way of breaking through clay/sedimentary rock?

Thanks in advance and happy hunting to everyone!
 

RTR

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The so called "Mahogany Ship" ?
 

Tom_in_CA

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welcome to T'net. Don't take this wrong , but the story has all the hallmarks of a telephone game goose-chase.

It has the prerequisite ingredients for these camp-fire legends :

1) passed down oral tradition (Ie.: someone who told someone who told someone who told ....). Yet of course always sound so bullet-proof true.

2) And the listener will be "... pretty sure they know where it is". Yet lo & behold, it's merely now a matter of sorting out legalities. Right ?

3) And on par with the play-book, it will always be : Insanely deep and insanely large (entire store-rooms of gold, blah blah).

4) And beneath impenetrable layers of difficult hard surface. That the person who buried the treasure no-doubt purposefully buried it under. To "foil would-be future treasure hunters" eh ?

Sorry, but as you can tell, I put very little stock in these legends.
 

freeman

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Apr 5, 2003
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If you tell us the name of the story or a rough outline then we can work out if it's something new or it's a version of story that is already in existence and well known.

(Some of us on Tnet are in Australia)

But to answer the laws vary depending on where and what. Historical shipwreck sites are protected by legislation. Others may fall under the law of salvage. And intended deposit could be trove law.
 
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Dec 10, 2021
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welcome to T'net. Don't take this wrong , but the story has all the hallmarks of a telephone game goose-chase.

It has the prerequisite ingredients for these camp-fire legends :

1) passed down oral tradition (Ie.: someone who told someone who told someone who told ....). Yet of course always sound so bullet-proof true.

2) And the listener will be "... pretty sure they know where it is". Yet lo & behold, it's merely now a matter of sorting out legalities. Right ?

3) And on par with the play-book, it will always be : Insanely deep and insanely large (entire store-rooms of gold, blah blah).

4) And beneath impenetrable layers of difficult hard surface. That the person who buried the treasure no-doubt purposefully buried it under. To "foil would-be future treasure hunters" eh ?

Sorry, but as you can tell, I put very little stock in these legends.
The story says that there was an open cavity in a cliffside that the pirate Benito Bonito put the treasure in and then blew up the entrance with dynomite. The geology is consistant with this as there is a fair drop in the cliff and a different looking kind of rock at the front. The way to access it would be from directly above. I figured using a GPR, if it can detect the metals below, I would be able to know for sure before doing any crazy digging.
 
OP
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Dec 10, 2021
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If you tell us the name of the story or a rough outline then we can work out if it's something new or it's a version of story that is already in existence and well known.

(Some of us on Tnet are in Australia)

But to answer the laws vary depending on where and what. Historical shipwreck sites are protected by legislation. Others may fall under the law of salvage. And intended deposit could be trove law.
The story is of Benito Bonito and the treasure of Lima. Not a shipwreck according to the story. According to some storys, Benito was captured at port phillip bay and hung in tasmania.
 

Tom_in_CA

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.... The geology is consistant with this as there is a fair drop in the cliff and a different looking kind of rock at the front. ....

And this too is the "play-book" for these camp-fire legends : They all contain various true/real names, dates, events, geology, etc..... In other words : None of them ever started with "Once upon a time ........"

So because names, geology , pirate's names, etc... check out, it might SEEM that it's now merely a matter of "sorting fact from fiction". Right ?

But this fails to take into account, that even if 99% of the story is true (names, dates, events) : If there's no treasure (the 1% of the story), then it does you absolutely no good that 99% of the story is true.

EVERY good treasure yarn is built around real names, dates, and events. Then someone tosses in the treasure part. And because the rest is iron-clad-true, then it becomes easy for us to fall for the treasure yarn part. Because, by golly, this, that, and the other are real names, dates, and events. So we just accept blindly that : "Therefore, there must be a treasure".

See how that works ?
 

freeman

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Apr 5, 2003
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That story is not new but just a bit forgotten nowadays. The bad news is it's just an amalgam of numerous real events, persons, locations and details.

I have all the different versions of the story, articles, records, photos, who started it, who tried to follow it, the lot. Even the actual 19th century events that were mashed together to produce the name 'Bonito Benito' (the name means handsome/good looking Bennett).

The version you refer to is set in Queenscliff, Victoria where there was a few rather large excavations (tracked crane with bucket used). The photo below is of one of them. The source of it spawning/appearing there was from a local known as 'Kerosene Jack' (given variously to be 'John Karisino' but that itself was an anglicization of Giovanni Carrosini).

A few other subsidiary locations in Victoria (apart from Queenscliff) were searched also by persons thinking they had the right details or some other idea. 'He' wasn't hanged in Tasmania either, mainly because he didn't exist. That detail came from the involvement of an ex convict female who was in Tasmania named Mary Welch. She told versions of the story (in America) that resulted in an expedition being fitted out and launched, not to Queenscliff though.

She sent them to one of the 2 other major search locations outside of Australia where other versions of the story say the treasure was buried, one is in the Pacific and one is in the Atlantic. They and the story of Bonito Benito's treasure there are quite well known in 'treasure hunting research' circles.

Is there some particular part of the story you are trying to find?
 

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Tom_in_CA

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.... it's just an amalgam of numerous real events, persons, locations and details.

I have all the different versions ......

Good post freeman.

And with each re-telling, It is always told in first-person-present-tense absolute. There's never the sense that it's passed through 50 re-tellings . The person telling you will be 100% adamant . Eg.: Heard it first hand , in an exclusive private knowledge, straight from a reputable source, etc...... That no one else knows, blah blah

And despite how many hands this goes through, each new person on the daisy chain feels like they're only the 2nd person . With this unique private secret knowledge. Hence, a "slam dunk" . Eh ?

But durned that government red tape. And durned that we'll need to dig 100 ft. deep through solid rock. And gee, how do we smelt 100 tons of gold and get export licenses ? But rest assured : We know where it is, eh ?
 

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