16 Carats of Glenalva Green
by Ngaire Hart
We had two weeks off over the Easter break and opted to head to Rubyvale in Queensland for a spot of sapphire hunting. We left Brisbane around midday and set out for Roma, deciding to spend two days on the road, rather than tackle one very long, tiring drive. This was a much better option as the road from Roma to Springsure was littered with road crews attempting to repair the flood-damaged roads.
When we finally arrived at the Gemseekers Caravan Park in Rubyvale we were welcomed by the owners, Terry and Vicky, who reminded us it had been 2½ years since our last visit. In that time a number of improvements had been made to the park and the common room now boasted a digital TV, fridge, freezer, microwave, BBQ, plates, knives, spoons, forks, an electric kettle – you name it, it was available. That night we wandered up to the pub for a meal of beef stroganoff and lamb cutlets.
At 6:00am the next day the daily cockatoo chorus woke the caravan park and after a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs, we headed out to Glenalva. Even at this early hour it was hot but we set out prepared with lots of frozen and fresh water to drink.
Signs of the recent flooding were everywhere and even the causeway to the caravan park still had running water. The mosquitoes were also vicious managing to inflict their bites through clothing. We only managed to find a few chips here and there and called it a day early in the afternoon.
We went to the same place on day two but this time we were confronted by a sign that read ‘Keep Out, Private’. We ignored it but the man who’d erected the sign up (we later learned he ran paid tours to that area) arrived a short time after us and said the area belonged to him and if we didn’t know the rules we shouldn’t be fossicking. Rather than risk escalating the confrontation we decided to leave even though we knew he was in the wrong. Glenalva is a public fossicking area and he had no right to say we couldn’t dig there.