Prospectors converge on the Laanecoorie Lakeside Park for a gold bash

The gold rush is beginning again, with prospectors converging on Laancecoorie this weekend.

They are taking part in the Laanecoorie Gold Bash, which has become a fixture for hundreds of enthusiasts in recent years.

Scheduled activities include prospecting displays, stalls, gold panning, metal detector training, lectures, raffles and a live gold pour.

Gold buyers and first aid staff will be on-site, joined by a four-wheel-drive and camper display offering touring information and advice.

The bash began with a small group of prospecting friends who would get together each year at the Laanecoorie Lakeside Park when it was run by Jim Stewart and his wife Robin.

Mr Stewart died of cancer in 2013 but the tradition of meeting up continued, with the fundraising focus shifting to Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation research.

This year would see the introduction of the Jim Stewart Memorial Award, presented to an individual displaying the character qualities embodied by Mr Stewart.

Event coordinator Melissa Stopps said last year 330 people participated, up from about 200 the year before. One person came from as far away as Washington.

“It would be great to get to 450 this year,” she said.

Visitors could stay in the caravan park or in a free camping area near the bridge, though many people arrived just for the day.