This is the next productive area upstream from the Glory Hole in Yarrow Creek. I don’t recall actually seeing it until 2006 simply because in walking to the Glory Hole we had always cut off the bend in which the Black Jack Hole is located. When I first fossicked there, it was immediately obvious that there was a large amount of black spinel in a hole just below a rock on which any self respecting fossickers would have upended their sieves. We clearly weren’t the first to fossick there.
Nevertheless, the place has continued to produce cutters of all the typical Yarrow Creek gemstones – in cracks, under rocks, in scratchy areas under tea trees – and I have no doubt there are many more there yet.
One of my first jobs was to try to lower the water level, even just a little bit, to make it easier to work in the deeper water. This involved digging a channel through a sand blockage which was forcing the water to flow over a nearby rock bar. There are times when a 10 or 20 cm drop makes all the difference and this was one of them. There is probably more that can be done there yet.
One curious event happened after I had been taking groups there over several years. Unexpectedly, small, highly polished pieces of what I assume is rhodolite garnet began to turn up in one spot. Over several visits I found at least 20, some of them in the top sieve. I assume that someone on one of our Wednesday trips deliberately “salted” the spot with a sprinkling of tumbled garnet. Thanks, whoever it was – it made a change from finding pyrope garnet (the unpolished variety). Throw some gold nuggets in next time, please.
Make sure you visit the Jewellery Pirate’s Blog here for The Captain’s version of gem hunting at the Black Jack Hole. It’s a good read. Also, visit my YouTube site here where you will find a video of the Black Jack Hole in the collection. I also have playlists on Glen Innes, the Blue Mountains and New Zealand.