Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

7-Apr-2005
   
From the Carnarvon Gorge, we headed 200km north to the gem fields to stay a night at a place called Rubyvale. This journey took us across the Tropic of Capricorn again and so we are officially back in the tropics. To get to Rubyvale we had to pass through Emerald and Sapphire so it gives you an idea of what they do around here. Rubyvale and Sapphire is the centre of the sapphire mining industry in Australia. (Ruby's are just red sapphires apparently!). Emerald is also a citrus growing area but at the moment, they have a big problem with citrus canker and are having to burn vast areas of fruit trees to try and get rid of it. The other crops we saw growing was Cotton and Milo. Milo is used to produce chocolate like products.

We stayed in a very nice little campsite in Rubyvale and as usual, the local birds were after my nuts as soon as I got my kit off.

Lorikeets after my nuts

Lorikeets after my nuts
Rainbow Lorikeet

These are Rainbow Lorikeets and they weren't shy in introducing themselves.

Rainbow Lorikeet

There were also some Sulphur Crested Cockatoos who had adopted the campsite as their home. I didn't know but these birds can live for up to 150 years!

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Sapphire Mine

Well being in the gem fields, the navigator had her eyes set on the jewellery that was being sold everywhere, so being an old softy, I took her to a mine so that she could find some.

Sapphire Mine

We had a tour of an underground sapphire mine and were shown how the rough sapphires are separated from the rest of the soil. At the end of the tour I lashed out $7 for a bucket of 'wash', which is the soil dug from the mine containing the sapphires, and told her to get on with it!

Ali Fossicking, Trev doing the hard work.

Ali fosikingTrevor doing all the hard work
Ali getting her haul valued

I had to do all the hard work of course! When all of her bucket had been sifted and sorted, she took her haul of sapphires into the buyer to collect her takings.

Valuing the haul

How did she get on? Well she did find some sapphires but they were too small to be cut and I was too tight to buy anything else!