This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1998 Travels December 17

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THURSDAY 17 DECEMBER     RUBYVALE

We left to go out to Mt Leura at 6.30am. Another early start to beat the heat.

The property is named for the nearby volcanic cone. It was the volcanic activity in the area that accounts for the formation of sapphire. It is pretty country out there.

JJ and L took us out to an area on the property called Katie’s Gully. We dug in a dry creek bed there and filled a half 44 gallon drum with rough screened gravel, and then took that back to the home area to wash and sieve. This saved having to cart water and more gear out there.

We were introduced to the Willoughby washing apparatus, which holds the sieve of gravel suspended in a half 44 gallon drum of water, and allows you to jiggle the sieve around to concentrate the heavier stones (hopefully with some of value) in the centre of the bottom of the sieve. That’s the theory anyway. It is much easier on the back than bending over and manhandling the sieve oneself.

12-14-1998 willoughby.jpg

JTJ washing gravel – doing the final sieve

12-14-1998 john Saphire Sieving.jpg

John using the Willoughby to wash the gravel

We found a few little bits of sapphire and zircon.

12-14-1998-mt-leura-fossicking

Picking over the sieved gravel looking for something of value

We were done by 10am and drove back to town.

John realized that he had forgotten my birthday, and got cross – with me, because it was somehow my fault!

The day grew very hot and we stayed in the air conditioned van for much of the afternoon.

However, I did do the washing when we got back from Mt Leura. It did not take long to dry.

We did venture out to go buy a box of beer to give to JJ, in appreciation of the effort he has gone to. He collected this from us, when he was in town, later in the day. He seemed very happy to receive the gift.

Walked the short distance to the Post Office at the front of the park. Our mail was in, containing bills, Xmas cards and some letters. I wrote cheques for the bills and got them ready to send. Read the cards and letters – it is great to start hearing from people.

Tea was chicken, bean shoots and cashew stir fry. It was very nice. We had a bottle of champagne that John bought at the same time as JJ’s beer. It was a belated birthday celebration.

It was a very hot, heavy, oppressive night and we kept the air con on all night, despite its noise. We have no neighbours to disturb and we were tired enough to sleep through it.

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