Sunday 22nd September 2013
Day 152 - Southport to Casino - 174kms.

It was another mild night, we were awake at 6:30am and up and into it, we left at 8:22am and headed along Smith St to the Motorway and turned left and headed South. Being Sunday, the traffic was light and flowing, our first stop was the Sleepy Hollow Rest Area about 74kms, as I drove through Clunes, I got snapped by the fixed speed camera, I was doing 50kph, but as I approached the camera, I was distracted and hit the camera at 60kph. Bugger. So I think there will be a traffic infringement letter winging its way to me soon. Next stop was Lismore, opposite their cricket oval. There were 2 cricket matches under way. We arrived at the Casino Resort which is on the airport land, arriving at 11:09am. As Rachel checked us in, she advised me that we first stayed here in 2008, when it was the CMCA Resort. We are on site 54 and here for 2 nights, so we can go fossicking tomorrow on Steve's farm which has Labradorite. Also the Australia Facetor's Guilds Seminar was held here yesterday and today, so after we setup camp, we walked over to the seminar to check it out. As I was talking to Bruce who just happen to be the President of the Lismore Gem Club, I told him that Marg and I planned to visit Steve's Labradorite property tomorrow, when I was pleasantly surprised. He said that he was leading a tag-along there tomorrow and if we meet his group at 8:30am at the front gates, we could tag-along. You ripper, we'll be there with 'bells on'. When we left the seminar area, Marg had managed to purchaseĀ a blue topaz ring, plus topaz pieces plus a man made sapphire, which she will skin polish.

When we walked back to camp after checking the seminar out, I laid on the bed and started to watch the first episode of the Newsroom, well that lasted about 10 minutes, before I turned off the iPad and had a nanna nap, just an easy 2 hour sleep, I must have been tired. When I awoke, Marg was sitting outside in the shade, playing her her game 'Candy Crush saga'.

Dinner was pies (YUMMA), followed by watching taped travel shows.

Tomorrow we are going on Bruce's tag along.

Our route from Southport to Casino - 174kms.

Rest stop at Lismore.

A bikie in Lismore.

Anyone for cricket.

Monday 23rd September 2013
Day 153 - Fossicking for Lazza Rock (Labradorite).

It was a cooler night, I awoke at 6am and got up and showered, Marg awoke about 7:00am, we had brekky and left camp at 8:15am to meet Bruce at the front gate of the park. Bruce (President of Lismore Gem Club) was the organiser of our tag along tour, there were 8 people in 4 4WDs, we left at 8:30am and followed Bruce about 30kms from Casino to Steve's farm, who lets us on his property to fossick for Labradorite.

We headed west along Bruxner Hwy for 22kms, then turned left into Bulmer Rd (-28.846753, 152.844450), after 7.9kms you turn right (-28.903707, 152.819813), about 0.8km on the left is Steve's farm (-28.905013, 152.811632), Bruce put our money (Steve charges each person $3 to fossick) in an envelope and placed it in his letter box. He has a Golden Retriever and an old German Shepherd, both dogs barked and walked out to greet Bruce but appeared friendly. We continued to the gate (-28.910023, 152.798582) 1.4kms on our right, leave the gate as you find it, you drive over his paddock to where the 3 trees (2 live and 1 dead one in the middle) are, about 450 meters from the gate (-28.908328, 152.798260).

You will see a wire fence about 50 meters away to the west. See my photos below. The Labradorite is on the other side of the wire fence, you will see some scratchings, but dig wherever you want. We dug in the same spot for the 2 hours, which ended up about 1 meter square and about 100mm deep. The Labradorite is in the top 100mm of soil. Marg reckons that we averaged over 20 pieces per sieve and upto 50 pieces. See the photo of our haul below.

We were so lucky to meet Bruce yesterday, who just happened to leading a tag along today, which we joined. That is luck.

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing back at camp, before driving to Lismore to pick up Luke's old iPhone, which he gave to us, from Jo's mum who lives there. On the way back to camp, we topped with fuel and stopped at KFC for dinner, it was extremely YUMMA.

Tomorrow we are off to Glen Innes for 6 nights.

The Labradorite fossicking locations.

Marg in action. Notice our hole in the middle.

Fossicking area - Note the cars.

One of our group, Nick.

The wire fence is on the right.

Steve's farm. The honesty box is in the middle.

The sign post about 0.8kms before Steve's farm.

Some of the magic views in the area.

Some of the magic views in the area.

Some of the magic views in the area.

Some of the magic views in the area.

The sign at the turnoff on Bruxner Hwy.

Our haul from a 1 square meter digging.

Tuesday 24th September 2013
Day 154 - Casino to Glen Innes - 220kms.

It was a cooler night, I pulled on my 2nd blanket just below dawn. I got up about 6:00am and showered and by 7:00am, Marg was awake. I had brekky and started to pack up, this took awhile as I had all our fossicking gear to pack as well, as last night I couldn't be stuffed. We left Casino Resort at 9:00am and headed along the Bruxner Hwy towards Tenterfield, between us and Tenterfield were the Great Dividing Range and on some steep ascents, I was down to 2nd gear but pulling constantly. Our first stop was at Tabulam which was 56kms from Casino. I was sorta forced to stop there as I had a B double sitting on my bum. After 72kms, we stopped in Tenterfield, we didn't see the Tenterfield Saddler though. We had another 92kms to our destination. We arrived in Glen Innes at the Fossicker caravan park at 12:15pm. We paid for our 6 nights ($81 at $27 per night plus our 3 night credit from last year) were given site 10, which was an easier site to back onto. It was gusting upto 65kph, so the awning is still rolled up, we will set that up when the wind dies down, if it does. As we are here for 6 nights, it was a full setup minus the awning. This took a couple of hours.

The remainder of the arvo was spent sitting outside in the shade, reading.

Dinner was omelettes, they were very YUMMA, followed by watching taped Big Brother.

Tomorrow we are fossicking for Tourmaline in Quartz.

Our route from Casino to Glen Innes - 220kms.

Wednesday 25th September 2013
Day 155 - Fossicking for Tourmaline in Quartz at Wallangra.

It was a cold night, early morning I pulled on my sleepingbag. I awoke at 6:30am and got up and showered, Marg awoke about 7:00am, we had brekky and left camp at 8:35am and headed to Wallangra via Inverell, only 137kms away. Yes, we are mad.
We arrived at the Wallangra Memorial Hall (-29.25239, 150.898277) at 10:24am and drove past the hall up a dirt track in 4WD high, following the track about 400 meters inland to an area which is littered with tourmaline in quartz which I called Fossicking Area 1 (-29.253143, 150.894665). We collected plenty of rocks and then went looking for the 'Big Boulders' which I called Fossicking Area 2 (-29.253882, 150.896583) where tourmaline crystals had been previously found. We didn't find any tourmaline crystals, only small tourmaline crystals in quartz. It was as hot as buggery there, so about 12pm, we sat on the back of the mighty Navara and ate lunch under the tree canopy with beautiful views of the forest. We left at 12:24pm and arrived back at camp at 2:15pm.

The rest of the arvo was spent keeping cool and talking to our neighbours.

Dinner as one pan dinner which was Yumma, followed by watching Big Brother.

Tomorrow we are off to Tingha Sands and 7 Oaks.

The Tourmaline in Quartz fossicking location - (-29.25239, 150.898277).

Fossicking Area 1.

Fossicking Area 1.

Fossicking Area 1.

Fossicking Area 1.

Fossicking Area 1.

Fossicking Area 2.

Fossicking Area 2.

Fossicking Area 2.

The view at lunchtime.

Sign Posts at (-29.25239,150.898277).

The track leading to the Hall.

The Wallangra Memorial Hall.

Thursday 26th September 2013
Day 156 - relaxing in downtown Glen Innes.

It was a cold night, early morning I pulled on my sleepingbag. I awoke at 6:30am and got up and showered, Marg awoke about 7:00am, we were both still tired and decided to NOT visit Tingha Sands and 7 Oaks, as we had visited them on our previous stays at Glen Innes. This was a good idea, as we took it easy and about 10am, we walked all of 100 meters out the back gate to the main street of GI (Glen Innes to us locals).

First port of call was the RSL, we checked out what time the restaurant opens and what was on the menu. I think a steak and lamb cutlets will be the go. We left the RSL and walked up the main street heading north, checking out the various shops, until we came across the NAB, I remember I had a cheque from Mum and Dad for my birthday to bank, so I did. I also asked the teller where their coffee shops are hiding, she gave us directions. We continued our walk to the top (north) end of town where we crossed over to the other side and found the coffee shop, there were tables and chairs out the front, so we sat there, with another guy, that was it. Marg went inside to order our coffees, she said that inside was chockers, so I expected our coffees to take awhile, but they arrived quite promptly. It was actually very pleasant sitting there, it was very warm with a stiff breeze. After our coffees, we walked down the other side. We came across a shop which sold gems etc, so naturally, we went inside and started talking to the owner, after a good 15 minutes, we left with some more knowwledge of who to speak to in Inverell and another spot to fossick about 30kms out of town, very close to a fixed speed camera. We may visit that spot on another trip. Continuing our walk, we visited Wayne's World, the Reject shop and last was Mitre 10, where I bought some gloves for fossicking.

We arrived back at camp about 12:45pm, where did the time go? During the afternoon, the wind gusts ripped through the caravan park and I was glad that we didn't put up the awning. We did move our chairs over to another site that was in shade and it was quite pleasant sitting in the shade reading with the breeze keeping us cool. As the clouds came over it was cool then they cleared and it was hot again, my outside thermometer showed 33.5deg. About 3:45pm, we got changed and walked over to the RSL, I carried a woollies bag with my laptop, mouse and modem in it, so while Marg is playing the pokies, I am sitting in the bar area watching the ch9 early news and talking to my 'new best friend' Rick. It was my fault, the America's Cup highlights came on TV, so I said something. WELL. Rick had sailed in a previous life, so had I, but he was leading the Sydney to Hobart, when his boat was hit by a spectator boat, so he didn't finish. I knew that I shouldn't have asked, but I did, I asked him what was the name of his boat, but he changed the subject, then as I went on my laptop, he told me that he doesn't go on his computer until midnight, when he does his stock trading. Good on him. In the end, he wouldn't keep quiet, so I told him that I had to work on my laptop and he eventually stopped talking to me as I ignored him.
Currently, Eddie's Million Dollar show is on and Rick is answering the questions, out loud. Dinner is at 6pm, it is 5:35pm, I have another 25 minutes of Rick, before Marg finishes with the pokies. Hurry up dinner time. What I go through to keep my darling happy.

Dinner was Fillet New England, which was bloody YUMMA, while Marg had lamb cutlets, which she said were bloody Yumma. After dinner, we walked back to camp, probably 150 meters away. You wouldn't believe but as we left, it was dark BUT Rick was walking home very slowly about 10 meters in front, so we quickly crossed the road and didn't look sideways. It appears that Rick lives about 50 meters from the RSL.
I set the tape for Big Brother before we left for dinner, so now we are watching it.

Tomorrow we are going on an organised tag along, fossicking for sapphires run by Capt. Mendoza.

Our Lazza Rock (Labradorite) haul.

Our Tourmaline in Quartz haul.

Looking North - Main St of GI.

Looking South - Main St of GI.

Glen Innes Town hall.

Old memories - The National Bank of Australasia - former employer.

Friday 27th September 2013
Day 157 - Fossicking for Sapphires at Yarrow creek.

It was a cold night, early morning I pulled on my sleepingbag. I awoke at 6:30am and got up and showered, Marg awoke about 7:00am, we took our time, had brekky and packed the mighty Navara with our fossicking gear.

We met at the Glen Innes Tourist Centre's car park (at the rear), heaps of parking just before 9am, paid The Captain $10 a head, filled out the Christian Life Centre Glen Innes - Fossicking and Friendship Group - Indemnity Agreement form and then away we went, following The Captain. Our convoy consisted of The Captain and his wife Tigereye and daughter (sorry, I forgot her name) and Marg and I, 2 cars in all. We headed south to Glencoe where we went east to a landowners property and then followed The Captain through his paddocks, dodging cattle and their calves. We arrived at a fossicking area, it is the upper part of the Blackjack Hole.
We parked our cars then The Captain and I walked along a couple of sections, before The Captain suggested a section to fossick, as he is the new Master (John The Baptist - Findem was the former Master), so I followed his advice and we carried our gear to the creek about 50 meters from the cars. I dug within the 2 square meter area in the creek for the whole day, you can see our haul below. Most of the time I was in chest deep (about 4ft) water, wearing my shoes, jeans, shirt, hat and gloves. The water temperature was 'slightly' cool but after a minute you were used to it, until it was time to get your nether region wet, but again you acclimatised to it, the water temperature wasn't a factor. It wasn't cold enough to wear my wetsuit, BUT it was to cold to wear Shazza's fluro green MANKINI, probably will be able to wear it in Powelltown, that should keep the ALFers happy. The Captain dug his spot about 3 meters from me and moved within a 5 meter area. Marg sat on the creek bank and as I filled the sieve, she checked and found our gems.
We sat on the big granite boulders which lined one side of the creek and had lunch and chatted, but no sooner had we stopped for lunch that we were back in the water, again it took a few minutes to get re-acclimatised. We spent another hour or so fossicking before leaving The Captain and driving back to Glen Innes.

We found some small sapphires, small garnets and small zircons and spinel.

We left Glen Innes Tourist Centre carpark at 9:00am arrived at our fossicking area at 9:40am, left at 2:06pm arriving back at camp at 2:49pm.
The scenery was just beautiful.

A highlight was the NON APPEARANCE of any reptiles this year, compared to last year's appearance of the black snake that swam within 10 feet of me. Lucky that I was wearing my brown jocks.

In summary: I would like to thank John the Baptist - Findem for starting the Wednesday Finds and in particular a VERY BIG THANK YOU to The Captain and his family for giving up their time to continue these tag alongs. Marg and I come to Glen Innes specially to join the tag alongs as they are absolutely tremendous and the company is wonderful.

Thank you Captain and Tigereye.

Dinner was Ham steaks with vegies, very YUMMA.

Tomorrow we are going fossicking with The Captain and Lord Thunda.

We are on our way.

The scenery is beautiful.

The scenery is beautiful.

Captain said 'Eat my dust'.

3 beautiful calves, they did move. Eventually.

The Captain and me. Check the depth, I'm in a hole.

The trendsetting, fashion conscious fossickers. Maybe not.

Me in action.

Marg in action.

Today's haul - Our good ones.

Our fossicking route.

Saturday 28th September 2013
Day 158 - Fossicking for Topaz at Scrubby Creek.

It was a cooler night, I used my sleepingbag all night. I awoke at 6:30am and got up and checked my fossicking jeans that I tried to dry overnight but they were still damp, so I put them in the camp's drier, 30 minutes later they were dry and beautifully warm to put on. Marg awoke at 7am and laid in bed watching Weekend Sunrise. As we didn't have to pick up The Captain until 9am, we weren't in any hurry. We had brekky and left camp at 8:50am, drove the 2 kilometers to Captain's house. I played with Hannibal, his 6 month old German Shepherd, he was very playful and beautiful. After packing his fossicking gear in the back of the mighty Navara, we drove the 44kms to Lord Thunda's Estate, where we met and picked up Lord Thunda and headed off to Torrington. After 33kms and stopping to photograph the numerous black headed sheep with their lambs, we eventually arrived at Mystery Face carpark. We parked and with our fossicking gear in hand we started walking to Scrubby Creek.

These instructions come from Findem from Aussie Sapphire Forum:

At the car park there is a track that goes through a gate into private property. It actually goes into the site of the Scrubby Gully bismuth/wolfram mine. While interesting, I haven't found any mineral specimens on the dumps. You can also get into the head of Scrubby Gully Creek and follow it down. Once again, beyond a few quartz crystals, nothing exciting turned up. Remember that you are on private property too.
Meanwhile, back to the gate. Turn left and follow along the fence. I know this is private property but it sures beats thrashing through the bush on the Conservation Area side. After about 15-20 minutes you will come to a little creek (which might well be dry, of course). This is Scrubby Gully. Upstream (private property, of course) is the site of the Scrubby Gully alluvial tin workings. They weren't neat and tidy in those days so it is all badly eroded. Downstream (and in the Conservation Area) there are small alluvial workings along the creek and sometimes some distance away from it. Go as far down as you like (all down hill in rough granite country). There is plenty of gravel to dig but lots of other fossickers have been there before you.
Minerals to be found include topaz, tourmaline, quartz crystals (not many), beryl (some excellent crystals have turned up) and the occasion zircon and sapphire (very worn). Altogether worth a visit but preferably not in dry, summer, snakey weather.

We found a spot to fossick in and we only found very small maybe upto 5mm topaz, until just before we were leaving, we found our largest piece, so we did a few more sieves. We all packed up and compared our hauls and Captain appear to win on the day. It was a good 20 minute walk up a steady raise from the creek to the carpark, we made it with a few stops along the way.

We arrived at Scrubby Creek carpark at 10:34am and left at 3:01pm, dropped Lord Thunda off at his Estate at 3:41pm and dropped the Captain off at 4:17pm. As we were slightly buggered, we arrived at Maccas at 4:27pm and finally arrived back at camp at 4:38pm. We had dinner (Maccas) quite early, then I unpacked the mighty Navara and had a few chilled refreshers after another great day.

We would like to thank Lord Thunda for his company today and Captain Mendoza for his tagalong yesterday and leading us to Scrubby Creek today.

The joy of fossicking, last time Captain and Lord Thunda were at Scrubby Creek, they found some large blue topaz, that didn't happen today, unfortunately, but Marg and I still enjoyed it immensely and the company was great and the scenery was magnificent.
Getting out in the bush is just magic.

Dinner was maccas and Yumma. Marg was ready for bed at 7pm, but she managed to stay awake until 8:00pm, I got my 2nd wind and decided to update our website.

Tomorrow,if we haven't died, it will be a very easy day, with packing up camp slowly for our departure on Monday.

We are on our way.

Today's haul - Our good ones.

Entering Torrington.

The extremely rare 'Torrington Black headed sheep'.

Some of the scenery.

Me in action. Still wet.

Marg and The Captain.

Lord Thunda in action.

Marg and the Captain again.

Marg in action or just relaxing this time.

The Captain's fossicking spot.

On our way uphill to the carpark.

Lord Thunda and The Captain leading the way back to the mighty Navara.

Sunday 29th September 2013
Day 159 - Visited Emmaville museum and packed up.

It was another minus night, I used my sleepingbag all night. I slept in until 7:30am, Marg got up before me. We buggered about camp until 10am, when Marg said we are going to visit the Emmaville Museum, SO about 10;30am we drove the 45kms to the museum and what a great place it is. The various mineral collections were outstanding. Ron Jillett is one of the fossickers wwho has his collection on display and he was there, so we chatted with him. Nice guy. After spending over an hour just checking it all out, we couldn't leave with buying some rocks, which we did. Back at Glen Innes, we topped up with food, fuel and air.

We spent the arvo just slowly packing our 20 bags of rocks into the mighty Navara. We are two sick people.

Dinner was curried sausages with rice. Bloody yumma. followed by watching TV.

Tomorrow, we drive to Moree for 2 nights with one day fossicking at Bellata for agate. Hopefully.

Parked out the front of the Police station.

These black sheep were next door.

Emmaville Mining Museum.

A 3 tonne rock of Calcite, Not Marg, the rock.

Some of the collections.

Some of the collections.

Some of the collections.

Some of the collections.

Some of the collections.

Some of the collections.

These guys were being walked.

A battle of wits. He won.

Today's trip to the museum. - 90 kms round trip.

*2013 - Index page*

Heading to Moree.