Search This Blog

Sunday, 27 October 2013


The Crossing (C), The Cascades (L) and the Black Jack Hole (R)
Readers will have noticed that we have given names to the various locations along Yarrow Creek where we have taken fossicking groups over the years. There are 14 named places and this has turned out to be a useful way of describing where particular gems have been found or to let regulars know where we intended to go next week.

The Crossing is one of the first places to which I took groups for Minerama field trips. It marks the point where 2 wheel drive vehicles can go no further and even 4 wheel drives would have trouble with it today. The landowner uses the place we know as the Upper Crossing. I’ll tell you more about that place in another blog.

The finds that started it all. March 2007
I had not paid a great deal of attention to this spot believing it to have been well worked over on those earlier trips, until I observed a fossicker on another trip removing a few rocks from a hole in the bed of the creek. He had some nice gems, including some topaz, and I determined to pay it a visit on one of our regular Glen Innes Baptist Church outings. It was then that I realised what we had been missing.

9 carat garnet September 2007
January 2008
There is a series of cracks running across the creek and each of these has been followed under the bank until the overburden has become too great.   There are also several holes jammed up with granite boulders which have yet to be cleared out, if they ever can be. 
We always seemed to be beaten by a combination of factors – the weight of the rocks, the depth of the water and the problem of where to put the rocks if we ever got them out. Maybe future fossickers will succeed where we have failed.

There are other possible traps in old channels or beneath deep sand. Who knows?

30 carat sapphire January 2008
My You Tube gem hunting playlist is here .There are three other playlists – on the Blue Mountains,  Glen Innes and New Zealand. 
My video on The Crossing is here .Enjoy and please SUBSCRIBE!

All New England and other Geology blogs and videos

Bladderwort March 2012

Finds from my last fossicking day at The Crossing - February 2012

Monday, 14 October 2013



 In 2003 and 2004 the Glen Innes Baptist Church Fossicking Group had so many good sites to search for sapphires along Yarrow Creek that it wasn’t easy to decide where to go each Wednesday. “Let’s go to my favourite spot”, Sue would often say to me, and so this place got its name.

February 2004
We had found it at the end of 2003 by the simple process of walking into the creek and finding that there was lots of gravel in one place, which we eventually extended along the channel for about 100 metres. Our fossicking guests found lots of sapphire, zircon and garnet cutters there. As late as the beginning of 2007 another new patch of gravel was found and I’m sure this won’t be the last.

There have been several highlights of our many trips to this productive spot. One happened when Mal Leyland – well known in Australia for his documentaries – came out with us to get some fossicking     
October 2005
footage for a video on Glen Innes he was working on. As it turned out, I got a nice blue cutter in the first sieve which was all he needed to see. Then he was gone! If you can find a copy of this video, the magic moment is preserved for all to see.

A second interesting event happened right back at the beginning when Yarrow Creek stopped flowing in a dry summer. Long stretches of the creek were dry, but we were concentrating on the Glory Hole at that stage and didn’t even get to check the rest of the creek out. By the time we did, the water was back to normal and hasn’t been down that far again since.

40 cutters in one day from the 2007 patch
The rich patch we found in 2007 was in a deep hole I hadn’t even noticed until then. It turned out to be chest deep (or deeper) and there was a submerged log down one side. Under the log was where the goodies were trapped. Unless you were standing in the water you could never have found this patch of gravel.

We use the name “Sue’s Favourite Spot” for a nearly straight 500+ metre stretch of the creek which starts where the “Glory Hole” area ends and finishes where the “Blockup” begins. At least half of this is reedy and uninviting, but who knows? There might be another bonanza or two in there.

There is a video on Sue’s Favourite Spot on You
My last day's finds from SFS - September 2012
Tube here . My You Tube playlist is here.
I also have playlists on the Blue Mountains, Glen Innes and New Zealand. Enjoy and please SUBSCRIBE!

All New England and other Geology blogs and videos
16.8 carat sapphire from the 2007 patch

The long straight stretch of Yarrow Creek

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


This location takes its name from the fact that an old wire fence runs next to the entire length of the place. As we got to know it better, we began to call parts of the creek further upstream “Through the Fence Extended”. It merges with the next productive area upstream which we know as “The Old Mine” at a point where the creek moves away from the fence. Downstream becomes “Down the Hill” where the fence crosses the creek.
I can identify 6 or 7 distinct sites where gemstones were most common and one of these yielded 3 sapphires each more than 30 carats in weight. Of these, I sold one blue for $330, the only time I’ve been persuaded to part with a really good stone. An almost identical stone was found by one of our group in the same place several weeks before. There are still several areas where little has been found yet and these need closer examination.

The creek in this stretch, just as almost everywhere else, is confined in a granite channel. There is only one small sandy area and no pools deep enough to make fossicking impossible. I expect that there will be many good finds amongst the rocks in the years ahead.
My finds from one fossicking day at Through the Fence
Visit my YouTube site here for videos on gem hunting in the Glen Innes district, including one on "Through the Fence" (here). I also have playlists on Glen Innes, the Blue Mountains and New Zealand.