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Saturday, 7 September 2013


The first place in the Glen Innes district where I looked for gemstones is the creek which runs through the heart of Glen Innes, the Rocky Ponds. I was camping at Craigieburn Tourist Park (the one with the granite boulders) at the beginning of 1988 and soon discovered that the creek contained sapphire and zircon. That was my one and only fossicking outing in Glen Innes as I looked for more productive places elsewhere.

I don’t know what the course of the creek was like before it was confined in a channel through the central parklands, but above Wentworth St and below Ferguson St the creek at least has a more natural look about it. The upstream section (from there to the granite outcrops at Craigieburn) has less road gravel and rubbish than the lower, but whether there is anything of interest to be found there, I have no idea.

I have heard stories from older people about sapphires being found in “the park creek” in earlier times, though where this was and what was found, who knows? About 20 years ago I was invited to look at gravel being brought to the surface in a trench near the Grafton St causeway and this gravel certainly contained sapphire, spinel and zircon. I have also heard stories of sapphires being found in various parts of Glen Innes, all of which drain into the Rocky Ponds.

The map is extracted from Quarterly Notes 103 (1997) (DIGS reference QN 103) and it clearly show gem bearing wash above the granite outcrops at Craigieburn. As with most of the town area, this is basalt country.

It is worth downloading the following document from DIGS: GS1969/576 Prospecting Reports Rocky Ponds Creek 1969. I have reproduced a copy of RE Brown’s report relating to it from Exploration Data Package for the Glen Innes 1:100,000 Sheet Area” (1995). The DIGS reference is GS1995/231.

It would appear, then, that this area is at least worth a second look (with permission from the relevant landowners, of course.)
You never know, you might be able to show off a fine gemstone found by yourself in Glen Innes’ own creek.

You can experience fossicking around Glen Innes through my YouTube site here. I also have playlists on Glen Innes, the Blue Mountains and New Zealand.

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