Fossicking for anything other than gold within Western Australia is a bit of an oddity, something you rarely hear about, especially in the lower half of the state. In fact I’d passed over the idea of fossicking for rocks and minerals here almost completely, but while visiting friends in Kalbarri we went for a look at some old lead mining areas near by and we found some lovely samples of lead and different forms of copper.
I’ve been tumbling rocks constantly for the last few months since I bought the tumbling kit. After years of collecting rocks while travelling around the country, it’s great to finally be able to see some of them at their best, polished and shining. These ones above were from Tassie along the north coast where there are a couple of fossicking areas, I believe most of them are jasper, though there’s some agate in there and petrified wood as well.
Rainbow lattice sunstone is an amazing thing, looking closely at it, you’d swear it was man made, surely such perfect straight lines, all at the same angles, layered on top of each other couldn’t be natural. For those more technically minded, it’s a feldspar called perthite with lamellar and sagentic twinning of thin titanium iron oxide blades, much of this lattice has oxidized to display the iridescence effect.
I’ve done some driving in the last week or two, I’m sitting at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory and it’s about 36 in the shade. Strange to think that only a couple of weeks back I was suffering from the cold back in Tingha, in fact I still have the little fan heater out in the back of the troopy, figure I could pack it away now as nights rarely get to 10 or less. The picture above was somewhere in Northern Queensland just before dawn, the sky was the bluest blue I’ve seen in a long time.
It’s been a long hiatus between posts and much has happened since my last post. After leaving Tassie and returning to my van in Learmonth near Ballarat I sold my Landcruiser 200 series and prepared the Troopy for an adventure – the big lap of Australia in the troopy. Well at least that was the plan, however, things don’t always turn out how you plan them and I’m not sure whether I’ll make it around as I’m moving too slowly yet again.
Back in Victoria and I’ve been rather slack in not posting on the blog for well over a month. I spent about a month in the vicinity of Tingha fossicking for many different shiny rocks and I had planned to write a very long blog post explaining my fossicking experiences around the area. I have written a lot of the post, but it’s taking a long time and I haven’t organized much in the way of any photo’s for the post either, so we’re skipping it for the moment, to be finished at a later date.
Corrugated dirt roads, termite mounds, cattle and harsh country, that’s what it’s all about up this way, and the clouds starting to roll in as the wet season approaches. This is Mount Surprise, or more precisely, O’Brien’s creek which is 35km further down this little dirt road. I arrived here at about 3 in the afternoon after two days of driving and what a joy. The campsite here is huge, it’s $10 a night per person and includes toilets and showers, rubbish bins and good clean drinking water if you need it. The campsite is right on Elizabeth creek and it’s magnificent, a huge variety of birds live around the area and galahs make a lot of boisterous noise early in the mornings and late in the afternoons.
It wasn’t me, I don’t even like sugar……. He did it…..
Ok, these birds have nothing to do with fossicking around the area but I couldn’t start another post with more pictures of rocks. I was going to start with a spider picture but figured I should put that at the end rather than the start. Rubyvale, Sapphire, Anakie, Glenalva, The Willows, they are the small towns that make up the central Queensland gemfields, a mixture of little ramshackle settlements, and public fossicking areas all based around sapphire mining. For most travelers who visit the area the fossicking will consist of sieving the buckets or bags of dirt from one or more of the many different places selling them. Those more intrepid people may go to a fossicking area and work hard trying to find a good stone.
Oh no, not more bloody rocks…! Yes, it’s more rocks, shiny, colourful and when I’m exceptionally lucky, nice clear rocks like many of the ones in the picture above. This is an assortment of what I’ve found in the central Queensland gemfields around the Rubyvale/Sapphire areas. The variety in colours of the sapphire and zircon up here is far more exciting than down in Inverell where I was a few weeks back.
Yowah, a strange name and a strange place, but I love it here. The town is situated over 900kms inland from Brisbane and 130km west of Cunnamulla. Yowah’s population fluctuates markedly with the seasons with a residential population of only about 60 people, this boosts to around 250 during the cooler months.