SATURDAY 29 SEPTEMBER YOWAH
We went to the weekly market, where a number of miners and fossickers set up stalls to try to sell their finds.
The Yowah opal is mainly form of boulder opal. It is known for its Yowah Nuts – little rocks with knobs of opal inside. From what we could tell, it is virtually impossible to tell these without cracking open the rock, Not easy for amateur fossickers like us!
I paid $5 for a chunk of rock with a tiny flash of opal in – I want it for a doorstop at home!
John talked to a man who runs a tourist accessible mine south of here, at Leopard wood. He said that people can go can camp at his place and dig for opal there – for a fee of course. It sounded reasonable, so that information was stored away for next year.
We also got directions for how to drive out to Duck Creek, a mining area to the north of here. John has wanted to go to Duck Creek and suss it out, for a while, now.
We drove a little way to the east of the township, to the Bluff which gave an outlook over the surrounding country.
Then we went to the mining area on the southern edge of town. There was an area set aside for amateur fossickers, like us, and then there were areas where claims had been staked – off limits to the likes of us.
Our little bit of poking around in the designated area did not yield anything, but then we really did not know what we were doing! We had no idea how one went about looking for Yowah Nuts – whether they were found on the surface or had to be dug for!
I tend to think that places like this are very well dug over anyway, and the chances of finding anything worthwhile are remote.
The fossickers who come up here for a month or two in the cooler weather, generally have their own claim, I think, rather than relying on the open-to-all public area.
After that, we walked around the township, seeing some places with “For Sale” signs – mostly lean-to’s.
Back at camp, I decided to have a bath in the unique bath house that is part of the caravan park. This is an artesian bore area, and Yowah is reliant on its main artesian bore, which was in the caravan park, and which we had looked at in our wanders around the town. The water comes up into a type of well and some is piped off to the bath house. The bore overflow goes into the bore drain, which runs through town and out to the north.
The bath house does actually have baths, in cubicles – these have no roof – kind of open air bathing! The bath was hot but very pleasant and relaxing. There was a sign outside the establishment warning that it was for caravan park patrons only. I imagine otherwise there would be quite a lot of demand from miners who have no such facility out on their claims.
Earlier in the day, I took a couple of photos of quite a large dragon lizard in the campground. It allowed me to approach quite close. It was quite a fearsome and aggressive looking critter. I found out later that this area is also known as “Dragon country”.
We’d had a rather full but enjoyable day. I decided I quite liked Yowah.