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Old Mine Towns

Thomas Died 15/21912
Thomas Tame died 15/02/1912

Old Mine Towns.

To hot to look for Gemstones, we went exploring Old Mine Towns. Thomas Died on 15/02/1912, he  was from England (click on the picture to make it larger).

On valentine’s day 2016, we went for a drive, for something to do. We both like the open country side, Made a picnic lunch, lots of drinks . The temperature was going to get up around 42 degrees, so we were not going to be able to do much gem hunting.

We started out at 7am. McDonalds  was our first stop for coffee and hash browns. Left Mount Isa and headed towards Cloncurry, The turn off is nearly half way between towns. 58 kl east of Mount Isa And 60 kl west of Cloncurry. Next to the turn off, on the other side off the road ,there is a camping ground. In the winter month it is full off caravans. Free Camping. Summer months no one camps.

Fountain Springs.

A small bush near road
Two birds in a bush

Rosebud Station- sign when you go over the grid This road takes you to Fountain Springs. This road was used when  they filming the movie Crocodile Dundee. The road is dirt and it is around 26 kl, 4 wheel drive country. lots off wash out, along the road. The copper prices are low, so there no mining companies working out this way a the moment, so the roads  are not getting graded.  Do not go on this road, if it is going to rain.

This area has had a fair bit of rain this season, so we thought that the springs, water would be flowing  down the mountain, at least wash out the creek, nice and clean water. No sign of water. There were people camping in the creek, so there was no water to be seen. The waterfall was not to be seen , the whole area is really  over grown, not nice at all. We did not stop at Fountain Springs.

About Fountain Springs. I have not seen the falls flowing. I have only seen water seeping out of the hill, lower down.  Fountain Springs( was) is the main waterhole for the station owners  and mines in the area, Plus the animals. A Huge gash in the Fountain Range marks the entrance to Fountain Springs. This is where a geological faultline allows the watertable to come to the surface, providing a year round spring. Very nice place when we have a lot of rain.

Rough Roads Rough Roads[/caption]


Highville: We took the first turn to the left on our way back from Fountain Springs. At the start of the track there is a sign post about the area. This track takes you along a creek bed. There is a big stone-cement walls along the creek bed, how much work went into it and it is still standing today. This track is for 4 wheel drives only. There was no creek crossing with boggy conditions because we have not had enough rain, just slow driving over very rocky country roads.. Along the way there is evidence of a railway track. Highville Cemetery we stop and had a look around and took pictures. Lots of big pieces of mica lying around every where.

Highville was established in 1913 as working quarters for the Wee MacGregor Mine the other side of the ranges. The town was connected to Ballara by 2′ gauge tram line. The MacGregor Hotel and post office operated in the town from 1909 to 1914. A school also operated here and catered for the children of both Highville and Ballara. Ballara water supply came from Fountain Springs

Ballara Cemetery.

Next stop  on our way up to the Wee MacGregor Mine was Ballara  Cemetery. Local Councils have put sign up. The town of Ballara was established in 1913, After originally being named “mineral” Ballara was located  on the railway line from Malbon  in the south to the Wee MacGregor mine in the mountains to the north.(.Malbon town is still  there. It has a railway line, a couple of houses, and a phone box, in the only street through the town.)The last train pulled into Ballara in 1927, soon after, the rail line was dismantled due to a decline in copper prices.

The track up the hill to the tunnel has  ( road is marked with red poles) some very bad washout, slow driving big drop off, The car tilts to 20 degrees plus in some spots. It is mountain country

Beautiful Tree
This tree is on the road to the tunnel

Look down , lock out, what a beautiful sight. My partner jokes about if he had to turn around on this road, but them we came to a open spot on the hill (mountain) where you could turn around. We were not at Wee MacGregor mine, we were at the tunnel above the mine.  There was bats in the tunnel , I did not go through, On the other side of the tunnel you look down on what used to be the Wee MacGregor, over the years it has open up a number of times. there used to be a road around to the mine, but it just to rough now days, even for a four wheel drives because, it is all mountains rock country.

Update 2019, there is a mining  company working in the area and you can drive to Wee MacGregor Mine the road has been graded.

Early Miners
Miners when there was no car or trucks only trains and trams.

The tunnel is the only railway tunnel in the north west of Queensland. to see it ,to think, how they did it, The stone work-cement work. Picture on right is the men working on the tunnel in the old days.

Wee MacGregor Mine. You can still get there, by going different ways. You can go around the hills and come out at Cattle yards. Do not follow directions  to turn of 48kl out of Mount Isa, the Mount Frosty Road. (Picture On top of this  page is Mt Frosty water hole all dried up). This road is for 4 wheel drivers only, there is very rough spots. 2019 yes. (Gutsack hill ) is very rough, We have heard of people freezing because this hill is very rough.Lotsof wash outs, and big holes.

Wee MacGregor mine Tunnel 2016
The Tunnel Wee MacGregor mine 2016

Overall it was a very nice day out, with my better half. The only stones we picked up was some mica (big Pieces). There was a lot of coloured glass lying around.

Not Gemstones Coloured Glass
Coloured Glass

This is my story about exploring old 2016. I will  add to it another time if you want to go to Wee Mac Gregor mine or look for Maltese Cross, Crystals, and more gemstones. Leave a  comment, and I will get back to you

Make sure you zoom in on the pictures. And have a look at some other picture in the  image post.  Have a nice day.

Please leave me a comment and share this page. Do you know who Thomas is, and how he got to Australia in the early 1900.

2019 update.

The road to Wee MacGregor mine has been graded. (Fountain springs) going the back way, is not as rough. Explore the old mine towns and the tunnel, follow the signs. Right will take you up to the tunnel, Left will take you to the old mine Wee MacGregor.

Bye For now.

Happy and Safe Exploring.


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Three main oxides of iron-Minerals.

The three main oxides of iron

Iron(III) oxide or ferric oxide is the inorganic compound with the formula Fe2O3.

Iron(II) oxide (FeO), which is rare,

Iron(II,III) oxide (Fe3O4), which also occurs naturally as the mineral magnetite.

As the mineral known as Hematite, Fe2O3 is the main source of iron for the steel industry.

Fe2O3 is ferromagnetic, dark red, and readily attacked by acids. Iron(III) oxide is often called rust, and to some extent this label is useful, because rust shares several properties and has a similar composition. To a chemist, rust is considered an ill-defined material, described as hydrated ferric oxide.[

Rust is an iron oxide, usually red oxide formed by the redox reaction of iron and oxygen in the presence of water or air moisture.

Standard Tumble Polish for Rocks and Glass Aluminum Oxide (1 lb)


A very fine powder of ferric oxide is known as “jeweller’s rouge”, “red rouge”, or simply rouge. It is used to put the final polish on metallic jewellery and lenses, and historically as a cosmetic. Rouge cuts more slowly than some modern polishes, such as cerium(IV) oxide, but is still used in optics fabrication and by jewellers for the superior finish it can produce. When polishing gold, the rouge slightly stains the gold, which contributes to the appearance of the finished piece.

Rouge is sold as a powder, paste, laced on polishing cloths, or solid bar (with a wax or grease binder). Other polishing compounds are also often called “rouge”, even when they do not contain iron oxide. Jewellers remove the residual rouge on jewellery by use of ultrasonic cleaning. Products sold as “stropping compound” are often applied to a leather strop to assist in getting a razor edge on knives, straight razors, or any other edged tool

More to Come

Leave me a comment and help me add to this story about oxides of iron-Minerals.

Have a great day.


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Mount Isa-Cloncurry Fossicking. Looking for Gemstones.

Mount Isa-Cloncurry Fossicking. Looking for Gemstones.

Country roads. Looking out for all the animals on the roads.

Mount Isa and Cloncurry Fossicking.

Between Mount Isa and Cloncurry Fossicking for Gemstones is a Hobby. Looking for Gem Stones is very addictive. You can go to the same spot several times looking for that perfect stone.

You can do lots of Gem Holiday’s , and Gem Camping trip.

Half way between Mount Isa and Cloncurry there is lots of different area’s to go fossicking. Then you have lots of area around Mount Isa, and around Cloncurry.

North West Queensland Fossicking Area’s.

You have to have a Fossicking Licence, before you can go Gem huntering/Fossicking in Queensland.

Out here you can explore the country side, bush,  You should  have a 4 wheel drive and a good GPS, if you are going bush.

Tag A Long Tours.

You can arrange to get some one to take you out to some of these places. Tag Along Tours –Find Gemstones- Find Rocks-Where To Go- What to look for.

Cloncurry Name.

January 1861,  Burke and Wills expedition through central Australia reached a creek that Burke named Cloncurry, he named it after his aunt, Lady Elizabeth Cloncurry of County Galway.


Looking For Gemstones.

Some of the places I have been fossicking-looking for Gemstones.

I will be add stories about my Gem hunting over time so kept coming back to find out more about finding gemstones.

Places I have been so far.

Mount Frosty

Crystal Mountain

Toms Mountain

Fountain Spring

Maltese Crosses


Amethyst Castle.

Mary Kathleen


Selwyn. Amethyst Castle.

Otherside of  Cloncurry.

Fullarton River.

Chudleigh Park.

Moonshine Hill.


Agate Creek.

To visit the places above, you have to get permission. The land all over our beautiful country is owned by someone.All it take is a phone call.

I am learning every day about the gems and minerals that are out here.

Contact me if you would like to go down to the Mount Isa Club House.

Contact me.

Happy Fossicking.




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Fossicking-Rockhound- what do they do.


What is Fossicking.

What is a Rockhound.

Rockhound and a Fossicker are the same thing. People that look for Gemstone -Rocks- Stones-Minerals.

They search every where for gems.

What you need. How do you start looking for gemstone.

Finding Gemstones.

What to look for when collecting rocks/ gemstones .

My Story plus things I have learnt while looking for gemstones.RocksMinerals.

I will tell you different things and places to go to look for gemstones, this is my Website, my Story, if you want to add something to it please do.

Contact Me or leave a Comment

Fossicking Means Or Rockhound Means.

1:      To search for gold or Precious stones in abandoned workings , rivers  ect.

2:       To search for something amongst other things.

Fossick Means

To search for minerals for a purpose other than commercial gain to a depth 2 meters by.

  1.     digging by hand
  2.     using hand held instruments

Fossicking is a unique and fun way to see and explore some of the most scenic out back landscapes where ever you live. Just love to go out on weekend trips, do nothing. but digging holes.

Queensland Fossicking Laws

In Queensland Australia, the government has dedicated fossicking area’s, they are located throughout the state. There is a lot of places you can go fossicking outside these dedicated area’s. A lot of stations/ mining company will have camping area’s , some times you have to pay camping fees.  You always have to get permission before going . Ask lots of Question before you go.

Fossicking Laws are Different in All States in Australia and overseas. Do your Research, before you go.

Fossicking Licence. For Qld.

First thing you need is a fossicking Licence. go to

I live in Queensland I  buy  my fossicking  Licence monthly, as you do not go out every month fossicking, If you are going out fossicking it is to easy to get a licence on line before you go. Send yourself a  receipt to your e-mail account. Other wise most tourist shop sell them.  One month Fossicking Licence is around   $11.

Have your Licence on you.

I have been out fossicking in Queensland and a mining department employee came and ask us if we had a licence. We were 200 kl from a town. So It pays to have a  Fossicking Licence.  In Australia every state is different.

Lapidary Club.

Join your local Lapidary Club.

Lapidary clubs have field trips and they show you what  gemstones to look for. They take you to some great spots. Our club have a lot of stones on display at there club house,  from all over the world, None of  them have much valuable.

Going out by yourself,  which we do all the time is ok,  Try to get enough information about what to look for and where to go. It took us two years to find a easy way to get to one fossicking area, everyone told us different stories on how to get there. That is why field trips, tag along tours are great way to find and learn about Gemstones.


When we first started looking for Gemstones everyone, sort of did not want to tell you where to go. Even now they all tell you different stories.  So it is a good idea to do research before you leave.   One place we went to was O’Brien Creek, there is a lot of stories there to find topaz. We dug in the creek, unsuccessful. The other people we were with went over the other side of the hill and found a nice blue Topaz Three times Fossicking to O’Briens creek we found a nice blue 59ct  topaz, plus a lots of  smaller ones.

Field Trips Take along tours. Contact Me

Field trips is a group of people that go out together looking for gemstones. Day trips or overnight. It is good to go out with a groups of people. Showing of your finding  is great fun. Tag along tours is great when you do not know what to look for and if you do not have any equipment. We did a tag along tour for Sapphires, so we could learn and understand more about how to find them, what to do, it was a great help.

What you need To Fossick:

Sunscreen and shade.

When going fossicking make sure all of your own needs are catered for first. First off you need to cover up from the sun. Sun screen and shade is a must have items. We put a shade cover up over our dig.

A chair, Lots and lots of water drinking and washing water, food. Safety  Kit  for injuries like rock splinters cuts . Safety Equipment  and safe tools are a must have items. Safety Goggles ,Gloves, closed in shoes. Tools  Every year rock collectors are injured – including being blinded, by using the wrong hammers.

Hammer and Hammers.

Geologists hammers are made of special steels, and the striking ends are bevelled to prevent steel splinters from flying of them. Special geological chisels are made for the same reason.

Where do I dig.

When starting of in Queensland , designated fossicking areas,  you can get a map of the area on the internet at Queensland Department of Mines and Energy, ( Or Stop at the tourist  shop in the town nearest to where you are going to dig these people are very helpful) It  will show you tracks where you can dig. When arriving you will see a lot off holes every where. If the hole has a bucket , pick, or  some thing else in it, it is a no go area. You can do the same to your hole when you start digging. It is a known rule with fossickers. But be careful because there are people out there that steal equipment. So you have found your hole.

  1.   Know were to dig.

Move a lot of dirt.


You have to move a lot of  dirt , to find a Gemstone .most/sometimes you wont find what you are looking for. We use a sieve . We look through most of the dirt we move. Sieve come in all sizes. We have a  steel stick about 5 feet tall, that holds our sieve, so we fill and shack.

How dip to dig.

The dirt at the Top/Sides of your hole you  are in you have top soil, which is were grass grows/what we walk on. Then you have another layer which is  called sub-soil, you will see the different colour or grit/dirt of the soil. All that soil  has to come off.

You can find gemstone on the surface too.

Next layer off soil is called the wash, this is where you find the gemstones. The next layer is clay that you don’t have to move. Using sieve is a good idea when first starting out. Some gemstones like sapphire do show there colour/shine , until they have wash on them.  Opal is the same.

Virgin Ground.

Some areas the soil that has not been worked,  it is virgin ground. Meaning it has not been dug up.

I can remember digging  a hole 2 meters deep, and in our sieve was a one cent piece.

2  Known were to dig. Luck.

Tumbled Amethyst From Amethyst Castle
Tumbled Amethyst From Amethyst Castle

Amethyst Castle.

At Amethyst Castle there is Amethyst everywhere.  The mine has graded  the roads and have a very nice camping area. We found a nice shady tree and started our own hole. Very easy work. You just have to pick a spot and dig, the soil is very rocky with amethyst.  Amethyst Castle you need permission to go there. The mining company only want to make sure you return home safely from your trip out fossicking.


Crystals from Crystal Mountain

The hardest thing is climbing up the hill.  It again is rocky soil,  just dig softly, you don’t want to brake that cluster of crystal. There  is 3  ways to get to Crystal Mountain.

Toms Mountain.

Toms. mountain again you have to Climb. Lots of different Rocks/Gemstone to pick up in this area.




One of My fossicking trips

Fossicking for Agate July 2015

My first gemstone is The Agate. We did a day trip to Agate creek in Central Queensland.  July 2015. The road is dirt,  It has lots of ups and downs, ( creek/gullies, and hills) This is one road not to be on in the wet season.

Camping Grounds.

After travelling for a good hour we came to a camping ground on our right. Because we did not know,  what or where to go ,we decided to follower the road to the end .( we did have a map of the area) At the end of the road was another camping ground. We turned around and turned off, at the first turn to right, drove in as far as we could, got out and had a look around , there was smashed rocks everywhere.

Tumble the rocks.

I picked up a lot of small whole agates. knowing I can put them in the tumbler. when I get home.

Moved On After Lunch.

Had lunch and move on, We did the next turn to right, stopped at the creek bed first , there was agate in the creek bed, drove on where there was a lot of cows,  we had a look  around picked up a few more agates.

First turn Right.

Our next turn to the right was a long drive in. You have to stop and look around all the time, this  is where we found most of our agates. There was diggings everywhere, smashed agates everywhere. The different colours were everywhere. I picked up a lot of broken agates the colours were beautiful, they can be used for everything, like jewellery , cladding pot ,soap container and more, beautiful colours.

Going Back to Agate Creek.

Agate Creek is must go back to places.

Second time we went to agate creek 2017.  We camped at the first camping grounds. The people there are very helpful. Spent. a week there, at the camping grounds, there is toilets and showers. Cost was $7.50 a night each.

We will be going again one day.

Lake Moondarra Mount Isa.

Another place I went to for Agates. Lake Moondarra near Mount Isa. These we call Gooseberry Agates. Over time I have picked up a lot of broken ones, They have a lot of fractures in the stone, so they just crumble when you cut them, I don’t know if there is a chance of getting a whole one. But again There is  lots of things you can do  with them. They have lots of colours like greens, red, dirty yellows and browns.

Gooseberry Agate.

They are call Gooseberry because the outside of the stone looks , is like a lot of small berries stuck together.

There is a lot of different agates across our beautiful country. The colours are just beautiful.

Please leave a Comment.

I would love to hear about your fossicking trips, love hearing about other people finds. Need any help please leave  a comment and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Thank  You Wendy

Contact Me.


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Lead Rock-Lead Mineral.

Lead Rock-Lead Mineral.

What does a lead rock look like.  Images of a beautiful lead rock.

Out in the sun it looks like, it has millions of  shiny silver sparkles

Lead it a very soft material, cutting this big rock was a easy cut, using water.

There is other minerals that show up in this beautiful Lead Mineral Rock.

You can see native  copper  running through it.

This rock is beautiful, If is a very shiny rock.


Image of a lead rock that I cut in half.

Lead rock

Lead rock cut in half.

This  lead rock has natural copper running through it. Has sparkles of the Peacock ore.
To touch and hole this beautiful rock, if is a beautiful Rock. The inside of the rock show other minerals, and is not as pretty as the out side.

When cutting this rock, Lead rock  was so soft the blade just went through it  with ease.. The rock it self is very heavy to pick up.  Lucky the rock is so shinny, as it would be impossible to polish it being so soft.

Sources: Of Lead

Lead exists in its native form, though it is rare. Lead may be obtained from Galena (PbS) by a roasting process. Other common lead minerals include Anglesite, Cerussite, and Minim.

More pictures of this beautiful Lead Rock/Mineral, I found.



I Hope you Enjoy these pictures.

I live in a mining town, where lead dust is. They have TV adds, about what you can do to avoid getting lead poisoning.

How bad is it.?.

Lead toxicity, also often referred to as lead poisoning

Have a great day.