Coils to the soil

Some of the treasures Corey has found.

By Shelby Brooks

Warragul’s Corey Lewis is constantly thinking about what is just below the surface everywhere he goes.

Scratch and he might find a small piece of antiquity buried only centimetres under the soil.

As a hobby metal detectorist, Corey has unearthed a number of items from the past and the present.

He’s found predecimal coins, matchbox cars and a lot of tin cans.

“We call it ‘can-slaw’ when cans are shredded by lawn mowers that drive over them and embed them back into the ground,” Corey said.

“So we’re doing something for the environment too.

“Sometimes you’ve got to find the trash before you find the treasure.”

As an avid outdoorsman, Corey first found an interest in prospecting before settling on metal detecting.

With a couple of mates, Corey will head out in his free time to places likely to have old shrapnel.

“There are features you can look for like old fruit trees, big European pines or acorns not native to Australia,” Corey said.

“Back in the day, people might have sat under there and had fish and chips and a coin might have fallen out of a pocket.”

Corey and his friends are always respectful when metal detecting- asking permission to detect on people’s properties. They’re more than happy to leave all found objects with the owners.

Old train lines, hotels and racecourses are other good place to look.

“We’re always trying to find new leads through places like the State Library, Trove or just talking to people who might remember where something used to be,” Corey said.

“At the moment we’re trying to find a place in Nar Nar Goon where there was a grassed speedway in the 1930s. Another spot we’re looking for is the Limerick Hotel also in Nar Nar Goon we think was on the corner of Wilson Street and Princes Freeway.

“There’s a lot of history from Pakenham right through to the goldfields and the Port of Sale.”

By doing research on this history of local towns, Corey can narrow down the haystack to look for the needle.

The oldest item Corey has found was a miner’s button from the 1800s in Bendigo.

The oldest penny was a British 1903 coin found at the old primary school site in Seaview.

Corey recently helped locate an Anzac medal for a man who lost it on the side of the Princes Highway in Tynong. He hopes to help more people find lost items in the future.