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.
Lighting ridge is a town of contrasts, the worlds largest producer of black opal, it’s known throughout the world as one of the highest quality opals you can buy and as such demands a price. A piece of quality opal the size of your fingernail can cost thousands of dollars, so you might expect that there would be a huge mining industry surrounding it yet the opal mining industry is a little like the wild west, at least it is around Lightning ridge.
I thought I’d come back to “7 Oaks” just outside Inverell for a few days to get some more sapphires, but in the end I decided to stay for 10 days. Hey I was getting stones, and who knew if I was ever going to make it back here to get any more. The weather was freezing cold, it rained to the point of almost flooding, it was muddy and dirty and the work was hard and physical.