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Thursday, 31 December 2015


This is another old mining area I haven’t visited, or if I have I didn’t know its name and it has faded from memory. There are quite a few mineral deposits in the area, of which Gaden’s appears to be the best known. It has been the site of several Emmaville Gemfest field trips and I am indebted to Jewellery Pirate for information and photographs from his Blog (here).
If you examine the satellite image from Google Earth you will see the site of Gaden’s Lode marked in pink in the centre (source: Mindat). The most notable feature on the image is the joint pattern in the Mole Granite which occupies a broad swathe of country across the centre. Observe how these joints disappear around Torrington/Torrington State Forest where the granite is still covered by part of its original “roof”. This is the Torrington Pendant of older sedimentary rocks. The joints have controlled the deposition of ore bodies both in the granite and in the adjacent areas where the granite is still concealed by these older rocks.
The map was extracted from the Grafton-Maclean Metallogenic Map; the numbers locate the various mines and prospects. I know that some of the numbers are hard to read and I can’t interpret them all, but here is a list of those I can (lowest to highest) with some information (from Mindat) about each, where there is any. The names in brackets are alternative names or nearby mines/prospects.
0300 Chinaman’s Gully Sn vein (Murphys lode; Suicide tunnel). Operated as underground workings, adits, shafts and shallow pits. Production from 1878 to 1965. Chinaman’s Gully alluvials: Dredging operations until the late 1960s.
0312 Gaden’s Lode Sn W Cu U monazite vein (Gaydens lode; Garths lode; Garths wolfram lode; Garths uranium lode). Operated as underground workings, open cut, shafts, adits and shallow pits from 1877 to the late 1960s.
0313 Stormer’s Lode Sn fluorite Cu U vein (Garths lode; Garths wolfram mine; Garths uranium mine; Gadens uranium mine; Gadens lode; Gaydens lode; Gardens lode). Operated as shallow pits, open cut, shafts and adits 1913 to 1954.
0314 Garth’s Lode Sn vein.
0315 Heiser’s Lode U Sn vein (Garths lode; Fish & Chips). Operated as shafts and pits 1877 to 1968.
0330 Stevens and Charlton vein Sn W (Stormers reef). Operated as shafts and shallow pits 1887 to 1970.
0331 Mineral Tunnel Sn As Zn Pb vein. Operated as adits, shafts and open cut 1889 to 1893. Also alluvials.
0332 Suicide Tunnel Sn vein. Operated as underground workings, shaft and shallow pits 1889 to 1893. Located slightly West of Mineral Tunnel workings.
0329 McKinnon’s Reef vein Sn W As Cu Bi (Paradise lodes; Blue lode; Murphys lode; Garths tin lode; Mineral lode). Operated as underground workings, open cut, shafts, adits and shallow pits 1878 to 1950.
0754 Small prospect Sn vein.
0755 Mineral tunnel alluvials Sn placer.
0757 Minor Lode Sn vein.
0758 Hill Crest deposit beryl pegmatite. Operated as shafts from 1890 to 1890. (This may be a wrong identification)
Ore minerals in Gaden's Mine (photo Jewellery Pirate)
There are three principal types of ore bodies in the area: tin (Sn) veins, which consist largely of quartz and cassiterite, polymetallic veins which contain a wide variety of sulphides such as pyrite, chalcopyrite and arsenopyrite as well as cassiterite and wolframite, and pegmatites, which frequently contain fluorite, topaz, tourmaline and beryl as well as some of the ore minerals already mentioned. All types occur in this location.
Where is this mineral collectors’ paradise? You are 50 years late for the easy pickings, but if you are diligent in searching out the locations listed above (not forgetting the alluvial deposits) you are sure to find something of interest.
The area lies between Flagstone and Paradise Creeks. Coming along the Gulf Road from Emmaville Jewellery Pirate’s Blog here. Thank you Captain for the photographs I’ve used here. Another useful reference is Geo-Log 2011 – a publication by the Amateur Geological Society of the Hunter Valley, beginning on page 42 (here). The whole publication is worth reading, as are the other Geo-Logs in the series.
Dump at Gaden's Mine (photo Jewellery Pirate)
The track to Gaden’s branches off to the right just after the Torrington State Conservation Area is reached. This is after you have crossed Flagstone Creek. Naturally the track condition is going to vary according to weather conditions but it’s unlikely to be drivable by 2 WD vehicles. Searching DIGS (here) will produce many reports on the area which are easily downloaded.
Photo Jewellery Pirate
Of special interest are the references to radioactive minerals from some of these mines
Photo Jewellery Pirate
and prospects. During and after World War 11 there was a lot of prospecting for uranium minerals in particular when it was commonly believed that the world would soon be using nuclear energy as its major power source, as well as for making nuclear weapons. (The extensive uranium deposits in the Northern Territory and South Australia had not then been discovered.) The publication “
Radioactive Prospects in NSW” (here) dates from this time. It should be noted that monazite, which contains the radioactive metal thorium, is also found in this area.

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