A Taste for Topaz
By One of the Girls
Late in 2009 a friend of mine, Leanne,
decided she wanted to go to Mt Surprise to fossick for topaz. Her other half
wasn’t very interested in this type of outing but being the good little
munchkin that he is, he decided a day trip might be worth the effort. After
driving for a couple of hours to get there, he had a 10-minute look around (from
inside the car) and asked Leanne whether she’d seen enough? She didn’t even get
the chance to scratch some dirt.
Well, when this tale was relayed to a
couple of us other women with similar fossicking obstacles, we decided we’d leave
the men to do their thing and we’d do ours. The only disappointing thing was we
had to wait until 2010.
Last year’s dry season finally arrived and
with it came visitors from the south. Elizabeth Creek
was still too high to cross safely when Leanne arrived but after a few planning
sessions, the departure date arrived and we were off to Georgetown for fuel and few extra supplies.
Then it was on to Mt Surprise and a short visit to Pam and Peter Blackburn’s Mt
Surprise Gems. Our traveling companion; Gayle, had continued on to the camping
ground while we were in Mt Surprise and had selected a position some distance
from the other campers but with a fantastic water view.
After setting up camp and a quick lunch, we
went for a wander around the fossicking area and Gayle immediately found a very
nice piece of facetable topaz in the Nugent’s Gully area.
The following day, each of us decided we
really shouldn’t have had that last drink the night before but we were still up
and about before the sun and ready to hunt for topaz.
We poked around in a few places with some
degree of success before moving on to O’Brian’s Creek and once again Gayle hit
the jackpot with two nice pieces.
The next day Leanne and I got a bit of
stone at McDonald’s Creek before lunch and later in the afternoon, Gayle picked
up a beautiful piece of very pale blue stone that came in at 99 carats.
Because Gayle had some prior commitments she
had to leave the next morning, which left just Leanne and I to explore the
Tourmaline Gully area.
As usual I had the sieve out and was
digging and putting dirt through and getting zilch when I heard this strange
noise coming from Leanne. She was holding her hand in front of her and I didn’t
know what to make of her behavior. For a minute I thought she might have hurt
herself and she was still making this strange noise when she opened her hand. What
a beauty! She’d been scratching in a crevice and this particular stone just
didn’t want to budge. Well, it eventually did, all 127.5 carats of it.
After that the crevice got some serious
attention. Heavier gear was brought down from the car and numerous rocks were
moved out of the way. For a change the extra work paid off because Leanne
managed to prise another good piece of topaz from the crevice, this time a
71.5-carat stone that was a very pale blue in colour.
Saturday was our last day and because the
dew was going to take a while to dry off the camper, we decided not to waste
the morning and went out for a couple of hours. I finally managed to pick up a
few pieces but nothing like the quality stones the other two girls had found.
we were underway and after the short drive to Mt Surprise and a great hamburger
for lunch, we called home on the UHF radio and advised them we were on the
The trip was sensational fun and given half
a chance we will be doing something similar in the very near future.
This 127.5-carat topaz was the
big one for the trip
Crossing Elizabeth Creek
Gayle’s catch including a
Time out for the girls
E) Walking up
the jump up
F) The view from