Sapphire Hunting at Frazer Creek
By Jenny Summer ville
The days of finding serious sapphires simply by fossicking in creeks and gullies around Inverell are gone. The day of the fossicking park has arrived and Frazer Creek Sapphires is one such place. Bill and Rhonda Dawson, formerly from Billabong Blue, have opened their working mine to the general public and your chances of finding a nice cutter are pretty good.
Around 1,820 acres of sapphire-bearing ground is yours to roam at will and while there is a big camping area complete with flush toilets, you can camp anywhere you like on the property. With a creek running right through the middle of it, it’s pretty good private camping.
The park is open from 9am to 4pm and when we drove to the house there was no one there so we followed the track until we came across Michael, the caretaker, who had us fill out a form and asked us to pay just the camping fee which is $15 a night. “After that, you work out what you want to do and let me know how much when you leave,” he said.
We thought that was pretty good. You have the choice of a soft dig, which is $20 a day and the sapphire-bearing ground is piled up for you; or a hard dig for $10 a day, where you have to get down and dirty.
Michael sent us along to find Mark who was fossicking under a tree down by the creek. When we found him he showed us how to dig the sapphire-bearing clay out of the seams and pockets in the bedrock with a pick.