GAA Trip to North East Tasmania March 2014

Every year around March the Gemmological Association of Australia Tasmania Division (GAA) does a trip to the North Eastern portion of Tasmania where a weekend is spent fossicking for gemstones, mainly sapphires along with eating, drinking and having fun. (Not necessarily in that order).

This year the main contingent flew over from Victoria (on the BIG island) and about twenty happy fossickers had a great time paddling around in rivers and turning over dry river beds in search of the elusive gemstones found in the area.

Here is a gallery of pictures from the weekend, you may even recognise someone  🙂

Click on the first photo to view as a slide show

Melbourne GAA had a great trip to Launceston – Branxholm – Gladstone in March 2014.

Much of the food was provided by Jewel and Paul . We were delighted to find that many of the delicious treats were homemade by our hosts – unexpected and truly appreciated!

John and Peter guided and helped the group to fossick in the river near Branxholm. This was great fun and quite successful. Rachel found a facetable topaz in her first sieve, and Sasha found a giant topaz!!!. For the rest of us it was the thrill of the chase, with plenty of small pieces of blue sapphire, clear topaz and black spinel uncovered.

The dry fossicking at Gladstone was not as successful but still tremendous fun, with lots of laughter and the sharing of discoveries.  We were also lucky enough to see the beautiful blue lake.

On the last night Jewel presented everyone with a certificate of participation. (see below) The raffle was great fun, with some of us hitting lucky streaks and collecting a few prizes.

A special thanks from number two van to Sasha and Eddie, who went out of their way to get the missing keys and rescue number two van! (Paul forgot they were in his pocket and drove off to Gladstone..DUH .. ed)

Overall, we had a very enjoyable trip and will take home fond memories of our time in Tassie with our fantastic hosts – THANK YOU!

Chris, Ken, Nicole, Laura, Rachel & Bobbi

The Grand Award Presentation

Report from Victoria Division
Gemmological Association of Australia

While Melbourne was enjoying the 2014 Moomba weekend, a band of intrepid gemmologists and friends crossed Bass Strait and met up with our associates from GAA (Tas) whose reputation for hospitality is famous and well deserved. We stayed at the Imperial Hotel in Branxholm which is in the tin mining area of north-eastern Tasmania.

A visit on day one to the Tin Dragon Interpretation Centre just up the road in Derby (that’s Derby not Darby) was well worth it. They have created a very impressive audio visual presentation about the history of the area and the disastrous rains and floods of 1929, when the dam that was under construction broke and claimed the lives of 14 people and countless animals.

An interesting time was spent in the Derby pub that afternoon talking to the locals about gem deposits in the area and they were quite generous in their advice, considering the usual taciturn nature of people who might like to protect their claims. The publican brought out her collection and it really whet the appetites of the gemmologists in the group, who couldn’t wait to start shoveling and sieving.

That all happened next day, when the sunshine was consumed by storm clouds as we headed out to a quiet riverside spot with soft rain falling, which however, was hardly noticed as gumboots were pulled on and eager gemmos waded out into the Weld River (to find that the height of the river was over the top of their gumboots…). We came away with numerous small sapphires and diamonds … diamonds?!!! Killiecrankie diamonds, or rather, topaz, as well as hercynite and cassiterite. Other material common in the area is zircon and chrysoberyl, but I’m not sure if anyone actually found those. I found a beautiful strong sapphire-blue piece measuring over a centimeter across that I pretended to myself for an hour or so would have to have been the biggest sapphire found on the day, but I really had to admit that it will test as silicon dioxide. Someone else found a similar item in green that she named “Boagsite”.

After a fabulous lunch, including some of our national emblem steaks and Jewel’s stained glass dessert, we went dry sieving in a creek bed and some people turned up some lovely specimens there. Also in this area was the biggest redback spider I’ve ever seen in my life, but I did persuade Paul to walk away from it without taking his .22 to it. Rachel found a very cute and tiny lizard that she had her photo taken with. Or the lizard had its photo taken with Rachel, not sure which way round that went.

On our last day we headed back into Launceston with various stops along the way and after yet another lunch catered for by Jewel and Paul (the BEST smoked salmon I have EVER tasted), we went our separate ways.

From GAA (Vic) to GAA (Tas) thank you so much for a fabulous, relaxed, entertaining, fun and rewarding weekend. Memories to last a lifetime!

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