|The Yarrow Creek junction 2013|
Frenchies Swamp Creek is one of only two tributaries of Yarrow Creek over the entire length of the two properties we have regularly fossicked. The other one is a mere trickle and hardly noticeable. Just who Frenchie was I have no idea, but the swamp bearing his name covers a swathe of country between Yarrow Creek and the Mt Slow road near the Henry River bridge.
You might think that swamps are unlikely places to find gemstones, but it has been the swampiest ground at Pretty Valley that has been the most productive, so it doesn’t pay to jump to conclusions. In the case of Frenchies Swamp, the creek flows through some rocky areas along its course and gemstones have been found in all these places. I have followed the main creek up to the limit of the last swamp (about 4km from Yarrow Creek)
and gemstones are to be found
in the gullies running into the swamp there. There are more small tributaries
running into the swamp around its margin but I never had the opportunity to
check these out.
|3 carat zircon|
The junction with Yarrow Creek is not obvious except when water levels are high. It can be followed up to the first swamp (about 400m) through rocky ground with quite a bit of typical quartz gravel in places. How this got there through kilometres of swamp is one of those little mysteries. The junction is at “Sue’s Favourite Spot”, just below the Glory Hole section.
The gemstones are identical to those in Yarrow, with perhaps a lower
garnet percentage. The fact that there is any garnet at all is
significant, because it implies that the source of the mineral must be in the
catchments of both creeks. There is another possibility, that the swampy ground
represents a former course of the Yarrow and that there are in fact large
gemstone deposits present under the swampy areas.
|Corundum fragment 1998|
It’s been quite a while since I checked out anything but the lowest part of the creek. In fact, it’s been 12 years since I went much further than that. Access is complicated by the fact that we never had a 4 wheel drive vehicle and relied on others on the few times we went there. Walking from The Crossing is the best bet, allowing 20 minutes to the point where the track crosses the creek.
I’m looking forward to hearing of good finds there one day. The landowner certainly believes that Frenchies Swamp Creek has more potential than Yarrow Creek. I hope he proves to be correct.
Check out the videos and blogs of Sue's Favourite Spot and the Glory Hole for more information and ideas. To do that, click on "List of all Blog Entries To Date" at the top of this page.You will find my gem hunting playlist here. My other playlists are on the Blue Mountains, Glen Innes and New Zealand.
Photographs are unfortunately rather few. Sorry about that. The only one of a day's best finds was done on a scanner. Be assured that there were many good finds made over the years.
|Best finds from an outing in 2006|