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Monday, 6 January 2014



10.2 and 4.9 carat sapphires

Many visitors to Glen Innes have enjoyed a day’s fossicking at “Down the Hill”, both on our Wednesday Baptist Church trips and during Minerama. I’ve written about the place in two previous blog entries (Quartz at Down the Hill and The BigSapphire). Several videos have also covered the area (one, two and three). Click on the links to go there.
Thanks to Google Earth. "Down the Hill" is in the centre
 “Down the Hill” lies downstream of “Through the Fence” and upstream of “Underground River”.
Down the Hill is an area with many rocky outcrops and, most notably, an abandoned channel through which the creek only flows in flood. At one time this was the most productive area, but the old diggings have mostly filled with sand and no-one seems too keen to spend the day removing it when they could search among the rocks. At the lower end of the channel the wash was at least two metres below the overlying sand. The last we saw of it, there was lots of black jack and           
Cliff O'Brien digging in the old channel 1998
presumably gems, but we were beaten by inflowing water and finally by a flood which filled up the hole with sand. Maybe one day, during a drought, fossickers will get another chance to experience the thrill of working this spot.
At some time, probably in the 1960’s, a small mining operation operated at Down the Hill. There was the remains of a shed or hut when I first visited the place in 1988 but hardly any sign of actual mining. This was on the flat immediately below where we parked. The only other sign of previous visitation was a Tamworth 1 pint milk bottle I found in the creek just below old hut site.
4.3 carat sapphire, 11.6 carat zircon (July 2008)
One day's small finds - December 2009
The gemstones are the usual ones for Yarrow Creek – sapphire,        
zircon, pyrope garnet, the occasional topaz and enstatite and, of course, quartz. My one and only cuttable ruby came from here, as well as my largest sapphire, best dog’s tooth crystal and biggest quartz
0.3 carat ruby
Snowing July 2008
crystal. This is more a            reflection of the sheer quantity of wash we found than its superior  quality.
It’s a place I have never tired of visiting.

Snowing: July 2008 - the same day as the gemstone group above!

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