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.
Unfortunately I’ve been fairly rushed through the state of New South Wales because I needed to get up to Queensland for caravan modifications, the van was booked in and I had to make it here for the appointed date. So here I am now sitting in a hotel room just outside of Brisbane, I’m homeless in a different state, and only just writing up about New South Wales.