This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1998 Travels December 18

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We were off out to Mt Leura again, at 6.30am. It was quite pleasant driving out there at this time of day. If one lived here, there would have to be a regimen of utilizing the cooler mornings, retreating in the heat of the day, and having early nights.

JJ and L told us we could go out to Katie’s Gully alone, as L had a bad night with a sore back and they would not be going out. I suspect the bad night – and morning – had more to do with the box of beer we gave them yesterday!

Anyway, it was good to be out there on our own, and we explored our hunches, digging up and bringing back four large and one small buckets of gravel for washing. Even though it was early, it was still hot work.

12-18-1998 Saph Mining 1.jpg

Sapphire fossicker at work in Katie’s Gully – digging out a gravel layer


Rough, dry, sieving the gravel to get rid of the dirt and large chunks of rock

12-18-1998 Saph Mining 3.jpg

Is that an interesting bit?


Thirsty work – pretty grotty too

Washed the gravel, back at JJ’s place. We got some small pieces of sapphire and one very big yellow and blue piece, bigger than my thumb nail. This generated much envy and disbelief from JJ, who confidently predicted it would cut beautifully and be worth thousands. Maybe $50,000! John was very pleased!

We said our farewells to the men – who we suspected might be heading out to Katie’s Gully in a hurry, to see where we had dug. Drove back to town and straight to J the cutter. She did not take long to pronounce that our big yellow chunk was too fractured to cut, or even polish. Well, it had given us lovely thoughts and feelings for an hour or so. We will certainly keep it as a little “treasure” – a piece of might-have-been.


The chunk of parti-coloured sapphire we found

From the bits that we have found here, we did arrange for her to cut two stones for earrings, and set them, and one ring stone – a pale greeny one that she thinks will cut to nearly a carat, and set that too. So I will end up with some new jewellery from this stay – special pieces because of having found the stones ourselves. It will cost $270 for the cutting and setting. Good value, we think. When the work is done, she will mail them COD to a designated Post Office – and we will pay at the Post Office before collecting the goods.

We had a counter lunch at the pub, to console ourselves for the “loss”. We both had the seafood basket. It is a long way from the sea, here, but it was very nice.

Then we went and again admired the jewellery at the Rubyvale Gallery.

Back to the van and cool air and a nap for a couple of hours. All that temporary excitement was too much!

After that, although it was still hot, we packed up what we could. Sat outside watching the clouds build up and a most impressive lightning display.

John had sausages and bread for tea; I had some biscuits with tomato and cheese. Neither of us was very hungry, after the big lunch. The leftover cooked sausages will make a nice sandwich filling for tomorrow’s lunch.

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