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September/October 2002 Newsletter

Andrew, Chris, and Shane made an expedition to Agate Creek and returned with enough material to sag the springs of their vehicle. Even though there was no wet season last year (the first time that's happened that anyone can remember) there were still plenty of agates to be found in the dry creek beds. For thousands of years the agate eroded out of the surrounding hills and collected in the creeks and washes. The Aborigines had no use for them, so by the time Nehemiah Bartley visited this remote area in 1892 he noted ". . . in the middle of the dry channel, where water runs in wet seasons, you may wade in tons of agates, sardonyx, onyx and carnelian . . .". The country at the head of the Gilbert River is pretty rugged and inaccessible , so until the invention of the car, and particularly 4-wheel drive, Agate Creek was rarely visited. By the 1960's, however, people were into it with bulldozers and heavy equipment in a big way. This went on until about 1966 when the Queensland Mines Department put a stop to it and introduced special regulations over 40 square miles covering the main agate deposits. Today when talking to the old-timers they say that Agate Creek is finished, all mined out. In comparison to the old pre-1960 days, I'm sure that's correct; but every wet season brings a new crop of agates, plenty for a rockhound to pick up a couple of milk pails full in a few days. I've always thought that Agate Creek would be the perfect spot to take a group of fossickers from the Braille Institute. You can guarantee that even a blind person will find agate at Agate Creek.

We've been putting time in on our Imahashi ultra-sonic drilling machine, turning agate nodules into beads. We've been accepted as stallholders at the upcoming Woodford Music Festival that runs from Christmas to New Year's Day every year. Last year they had 80,000 people pass through the gates. Our stall will be featuring beads made from material we've found -mostly agate, opal, and fluorite.


Past Newsletters: [Jun 2002] [Aug 2002]

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