© 2013-2018 Caloundra Lapidary Club Inc. All Rights Reserved
Field Trip - Agate Creek

view photo gallery

July 2010

Field trip to Mt Surprise/O'Briens Creek & on to Agate Creek

By Betty & Eric

I left the coast 6.15 am 14th June, Graydon & Judy a little later in the day. David & Lyn with Gavin & Elaine had left in late May for the Willows with Ray & Denise following later.  John, Edith & Barbara went early June for some sapphire digging around Rubyvale visiting Ron & Jan Schey on their claim at Bedford Hill.

The road north of Charters Towers was loaded with roadtrains & roadworks. Stop/start,  holdups & about 70 km per hr, but by next year it should be very good as they are spending a lot of money.

We hoped to all meet at O'Briens creek about the 17th. Ray & Denise were waiting in Mt Surprise when I arrived having been to Chudleigh Park for Peridot & Moonstone Hill. We spent the night in van park under a brilliant star filled sky & headed out to O'Brien’s the next morning. No phone for the next week, but a nice camp on the side of the river which was running about 400mm deep over the crossing. Cost $42 a week per person. Hot & cold water, nice showers & toilets, Red Claw in the creek. The Illawara club had been there for about a month & one of our neighbouring clubs was the talk of the town, having been spotted by the helicopter running all over the country outside the fossicking area. What a good advert ! No wonder we have difficulty getting onto suitable sites.

We had a look up to O’Brien’s the first afternoon & went up the two Jumpups to McDonalds Creek the following day, finding some smokey quartz but no Topaz. Arrived back to find Barb, John & Graydon in residence.

The field is only suitable for 4 WD. Plenty of boulders, washaways & steep creek crossings.  We struggled to find much Topaz & I feel we were just getting the feel of it when it was time to leave. We all got some stones, with some making purchases off a local resident. The find of the trip was Ray's Aquamarine crystal... about 60mm long. Time to move & Graydon’s got a flat battery. Jump start & don't turn it off!  

Into Mt Surprise & 92km to Georgetown. Fill up with fuel & Barb’s Tojo won't start. Call RACQ. Burnt out alternator. Ring around Australia... maybe 8-10 days. NOT HAPPY.  

Graydon decided to stay with Barb, they moved to the local van park, the Rodeo & street parade was on in George Town for the next few days, so after a visit to the TerrEstrial, Ted Elliot Mineral Collection, (breathtaking!), the rest of us went on to Forsayth for lunch at the PO shop/bakery, very nice cookies!!

On to Agate Creek 75km of corrugations & creek crossings arriving in good time & John losing a window out of the van at the entrance gate, he gained a little weight on the way - DUST.

A good camp. Plenty of Room. Cost $25 per week. Graydon & Judy were worried that it might be booked out. Hot showers. Toilets a little rough, but clean. Friendly people. Bill & Gayleen Ralph, together with the Hammer Bird Geoffrey were the long term residents. They displayed some of their beautiful finds & Geoff gave us some Banjo Patterson poems around the fire. The Hammer Bird would fire up 7am... ping ping ping, as the picks were sharpened & he melted all the aluminium cans into a solid blocks which he then would machine or cast into parts for cars or vans!  

By Friday we were getting anxious about all the time lost by Barb & Graydon & we managed to get somebody with a HF radio to call Graydon as Barb’s phone had no signal in George Town. We found that the alternator was due in on Monday, 3 more days, so we went in Sat morning & towed Barb’s trailer out to the creek. Plenty of Roos, Redtailed Black Cockatoos, Eagles, Cattle & Horses on the road. Barb later got a lift into town to pick up her car & big bill.

We spent most days at different locations finding our way around, Black soil, Vievers Flats, Knoll, Potato Patch, Crystal Hill, Simpsons, Spring Creek, Saddle, Blue Hill, etc some days specking, some digging. Washing & sorting our finds each day & discarding some. On return I sorted again & ended up with over 30 litres of stones only suitable for tumbling, a lot to cut yet so that will be more for the tumbler.  

John organised our union time... 10 smoko, 12 lunch, 2 knock off. Cart some wood for the fire & shower & keep the BEER COLD. Denise & Ray cooked us a lovely meal for the breakup. Roast lamb & vegies in the camp oven & a couple of bottles of red to wash it down. The locals put on two displays with a Fire pipe, a hollow log 8-10 ft long standing upright with a hole in the bottom so the fire would draw through giving an excellent photo opportunity.

A very enjoyable trip; come join us next time.     


The Gulf Savannah Country

This is one of the most exciting
areas for fossickers and tourists.
It includes the old gold mining
towns of Georgetown, Forsayth,
Gilberton Ghost town, Einasleigh
and other places such as Agate
Creek, Langlo Lake, O'Brien's Creek,
Einasleigh Gorge, Cobbold Gorge,
Tallaroo Thermal Springs and the
now famous Undara Lava Tubes.

O'Brien's Creek gemfield, near
Mount Surprise is well known for
gem quality topaz and attracts
visitors from all over Australia
and overseas. Other gems found
in the area are citrine, smoky
quartz and aquamarine.

Agate Creek is world renowned
for agates of superb colours and
patterns. Main areas of interest
are: Black Soil Creek, Crystal Hill,
Bald Hill, Simpsons, Blue Hills and

Text courtesy of The Queensland
Fossicking Guide

back to top