2013 & 2012 & 2011 CLUB ACTIVITIES January, February, March, April, May, June, July,August, September, October, November, December February 2  2013   Club workshop reopens for 2013. See you there! 11/2/2012  HAPPY BIRTHDAY Lorna Lewis! Life member & ex-President, Lorna, celebrated her 88th Birthday today! March 17  Club members travelled to Mt Shadwell for a mornings fossicking.  The quarry has had a lot of material removed during the last year and the new faces looked promising. However we found no faceting grade peridot for our efforts! Louise (one of our new members) showed us some bombs she collected a few weeks ago. They were impressive with some large gemmy pieces which should cut nice stones. As always, it is a lottery as to whether or not you will find cutters on a given day. Members returned to Alan Woods home to enjoy a BBQ lunch and examine Alan’s lovely mineral & gem collection.
March 28 - April 1   Members travelled to Murray Bridge for the Gemboree. There were a large number of tailgaters at the show and several of our members had some excellent buys of mineral specimens and cutting material. The traders in the main hall had a large range of gems, minerals, fossils and equipment for sale. Some of the mineral specimens were very impressive. As has been the case at previous shows we have visited, some club members very quickly spent their budgets due to the great range of minerals available (No names mentioned Alan & John). Club member John Honan once again made a good showing in the faceting competition. Overall, the weekend went very well for all our club members.
Close up view of Canadian Ammonite shell
April 16 Four club members (Alan, Kay, Lorna, Diane) travelled to Geelong to visit life club member Ivy Harper. (Photo left: L to R Lorna, Ivy, Kay, Diane. It was a great chance to catch up with Ivy (now known as ‘Super Gran’ ) and bring her up to date with what is going on at the club. Ivy is a past President of the club. She fossicked extensively over the years, with her husband ‘Dave’, building up a great collection of gems and minerals. The club still makes extensive use of a large slab saw, now in our club rooms, that Dave built for Ivy many years ago! April 17  The club hosted a year 8 science class from Emmanual College. The group was well behaved and interested when shown how club members produce cabachons and faceted gems. They were shown the clubs mineral collection and given the chance to ask many questions. A good experience for both club members and the students. April 23 Today Alan Altmann and Alan Wood visited the Nullawarre Primary School to show students a range of gems and minerals as part of their geology program. There were some very enthusiastic students including some who had their own collections of stones at home. Hopefully amongst the class there will a few new gem collectors in the future. (Photo above) April 29 It is with great regret that the club has to announce the passing of Lorna Lewis. Lorna passed away peacefully, last night, after a short illness. Lorna has been a long term member of the club who was always ready to help new members learn the lapidary art. She provided a cheerful face at the club rooms and brought along greatly appreciated contributions to our afternoon teas. Lorna was a Life Member of the club. She had served as both Treasurer and President over a period spanning some eight years. Lorna had a great collection of gemstone ‘eggs’ she had created over the years, as well as ‘cabachons’ and faceted gems. She was working at the clubrooms the day before she fell ill, participating and helping other members and being her normal cheery self. It is members such as Lorna who readily contribute their time and enthusiasm who form the backbone of our clubs. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her! Photos L: Lorna Lewis (left) with club member Karen  R: Two of Lorna’s eggs, L.H. Egg Obsidian, R.H.  Egg unknown rock. 8/9 of May. Club members John Honan, Alan & Jenny Wood, Dianna Brown, Alan Altmann, Rosemary Keyburn & Anthony Marsh (photo to left) spent several hours packing up the gem & mineral collection of Ivy Harper (far left photo). Ivy’s collection is significant, representing many years fossicking around Australia during the 1960’s and 1970’s. As well as many mineral and gem specimens it also contained a substantial amount of lapidary work  including many fine examples of enamelling work. A large part of the collection will be displayed at the club rooms. Photos:Unpacking the Ivy Harper collection at the club rooms. Far Left., Alan A., Jenny W., Alan W. sorting boxes. Far Right. Kay K. And Alan A. cleaning/installing glass in display cases. Left. Alan W. sorting minerals. Some of the items in the collection.
Wednesday 15th May. The article below appeared in the ‘Mortlake Dispatch’, describing a visit to Mt Shadwell, which club member Alan Wood hosted. Digging deep into Mortlake Wednesday, 15 May 2013 12:00 Fossicking for bombs: St Colman’s student Brodie Humphrey shoots another part of the school’s  documentary at Mount Shadwell Quarry with Artist in Schools artist Colleen Hughson and local gem collector Alan Wood. ICONIC Mortlake locations, events and personalities have been put under the spotlight in recent weeks. Yet it wasn’t the police, council or State Government doing the investigating, but rather the students at St Colman’s School. The students have been putting together a film project entitled ‘Mortlake Shines’ with the help of Artist in Schools artist Colleen Hughson. The former ABC Open producer has spent the term at St Colman’s giving the students a crash course in film directing and editing. The project has so far featured short documentaries about the Mortlake Fire Brigade, the Anzac Day march, Lyn Faull’s native animal reserve and Vin Gedye’s kelpie stud. Last Friday, the Year 5/6 students got down and dirty at Mount Shadwell Quarry as local gem expert Alan Wood took them fossicking for olivine and quarry supervisor Keith Hargreaves explained the workings of the quarry for another short documentary. Year 5/6 teacher Tracey Hickey said the students were learning about both film techniques and their local community. “They’re basically getting the full run down on how to plan, shoot and edit their own documentaries,” she said. “It’s wonderful that they are able to access the film-making experience that Colleen brings as well.” At the quarry, students recorded face-to-face interviews, found a range of different gems and made a time lapse video of trucks feeding the crushing machine. The entire series of documentaries were shot and edited using the students’ iPads. Last year, St Colman’s applied for the Arts Victoria ‘Artist in Schools’ program after an increase in information technology skills was identified as a priority for the school. Ms Hughson, with more than 15 years of film-making experience behind her, said she enjoyed sharing her knowledge with school students. “It’s great for the students to do these stories and find out more about the local area, because there are so many great stories around,” she said. “My role is to teach them the foundations of making a short film and to get the most  out of their iPads. “When I was doing my work with local communities through ABC Open, it wasn’t as intensive or in-depth as my work with schools is now.” Ms Hughson spends up to four days a week with the students in Mortlake. At the end of the term, St Colman’s plan to have a public viewing of all their work at the Soliders Memorial Hall. In the meantime, the school has set up its own webpage including blogs, videos, interviews, time lapses and photographs. Visit to see the full range of students’ work.
June-July Things have been relatively quiet during winter at the club. Many members have headed interstate for fossicking trips. Club President Kathleen has been in the N.T./W.A. She visited the ‘Top End’ Gem Club up at Darwin. Kathleen was very impressed by the friendly and helpful attitude of the club members. She also visited the Argyle diamond mine in the Kimberley region of W.A. and is the proud owner of one argyle diamond, albeit a ‘petit’ stone.  Kathleen also had some luck metal detecting and is the proud owner of her first nugget!
The club has gained some new junior members this month which is great to see. Welcome Liam and Oliver! Regretably the club received news of the death of ex-club member Ivan Peter New (Photo to right). Ivan died at home in Lakes Entrance on 19/7/2013, aged 58, Ivan was well regarded by all members of the club and he will be greatly missed. Ivan was involved with the Hamilton ‘Imperials’ F.C., the Collingwood U19’s, the Woodend F.C. and the Tooleybuc and Portland F.C.’S.  Peter served as a policeman in Melbourne, Portland, Hamilton, Swan Hill, Halls Gap, Benalla, Wangaratta, Seymour, Bairnsdale and Warrnambool. In July, Warrnambool Gem Club Members hosted a visit by the mens group from Terang. The visitors were shown the club’s collection and the club members using the workshop’s extensive range of equipment. A very enjoyable time was had by all. September 10  Club members hosted a visit by members of the Terang Ladies group. A pleasant time was had by all, including some ‘old time’ lapidaries in the ladies group. 20/9  The club hosted a visit of year 4 students from St. Johns P.S. in Dennington. The students were very attentive and interested in the gems & minerals on display. They each got to make a pendant or key ring as part of the visit. See the photos right. 24/9/13 Photo left: The club hosted a visit by the Terang Ladies group. The group was shown the club’s displays and workshop where the techniques in producing cabachons was explained. This was followed up with some afternoon tea and raffles. Both the visitors and club members had a good time.
October  Congratulations must go to club member John Honan who competed in the AFG 2013 National Faceting competition, in the novice section. The AFG October magazine lists John coming 3rd, obtaining a score of 90.84. This is John’s best result to date! 13/10  A dozen club members travelled to Mortlake for a morning of fossicking at the Mt Shadwell quarry. New junior members Liam, Oliver and Zanda, plus their parents joined the trip. As is usual on these trips, Alan Wood was the most successful fossicker at the quarry. Other members found some cabbing material and specimens before a heavy downpour finished the mornings efforts. Members returned to Alan & Jenny Woods home for a BBQ and once again Jenny looked after members extremely well! All up, a good outing! L: Oliver looking for peridot. R: Liam looking for peridot. L:Alan A., Liam and Oliver searching Mt Shadwell R: Below, looking at finds at Alan & Jenny’s house. 22/10  An article appeared in the Warrnambool Standard on 19/10/13. It features 94 y.o. Club member Cor Melis, who spent time in forced labour camps in Germany during WWII. The article was titled ‘The remarkable war stories of Cornelius Melis’ . To read the article, follow the link below. of-cornelius-melis/?cs=72 26/10  Left: Fossickers from the Ballarat & Essendon clubs came to Mortlake to fossick at Mt Shadwell. Alan Wood hosted the visitors, who after a week of ‘cold & windy’ weather had a comparatively mild day for fossicking. In the morning Warrnambool President Kathleen found her first facetable piece of peridot! Among the visitors a number of pieces of peridot and some felspar were found. 10/11/13 Ten members of the Warrnambool Gem Club visited the Geelong show. Members caught up with friends from other clubs and made quite a few purchases. It was a good day out for all concerned.   Several members visited life member Ivy Harper who now lives in Geelong. She was pleased to catch up with the latest news of the club’s activities. Photos: Far left two display cases at Geelong show.

Right: Top Photo  ‘lunchtime’,  Bottom Photo  Liam & Oliver looking for


Ivy is still keen to be informed as to what is happening in the lapidary area. December: 7th  The club was busy with members making preparations for our show in January. Thanks to all those who helped out! 8th Club members had a lovely luncheon for the end of year breakup. Good to see so many there! Special feature at the 2014 Gem Show: A special feature will be a large display of Agates from the Otways. Many of these agates have been collected over recent years by a member and are larger than any I have seen before. The upcoming show will be a once only chance to see the large collection of spectular agates in one place!!! Three of the agates are shown left with $1 coins beside them to provide an indication of their sizes. MOONLIGHT HEADS AGATES AND PETRIFIED WOOD: HOW OLD ARE THESE ROCKS? 'The pebbles of agate and petrified wood from the Moonlight Head district probably have different ages and it is not known how old they are as their sources are not known exactly.  Most have probably been eroded out of pebble layers within the Cretaceous sedimentary rocks of the Otway district that form the Otway Ranges and coastline. However they are obviously from older sources, which we don't know much about. It's possible that some of them might have been brought in to Victoria by Permian glaciers then recycled through several episodes of erosion, transport and deposition. Note: The Permian is a geologic period which extends from 298.9 ± 0.2 to 252.2 ± 0.5 (Million years ago). The Cretaceous is a geologic period from circa 145 ± 4 to 66 million years ago. So these rocks are very, very old!!!!!!!
2012 CLUB ACTIVITIES JANUARY  FEBRUARY  MARCH  APRIL  MAY  JUNE  JULY  AUGUST  SEPTEMBER  OCTOBER  NOVEMBER  DECEMBER January 2012 WARRNAMBOOL GEM CLUB SHOW The show ran from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th of January and was a great success for the club. See the report on the 2012 Gem Show page. 18th & 21st  Thanks to Ted M., Kay K., Lorna L., John H., Alan & Jenni W., Kathleen B., James H. and Alan A. for reorganising the meeting area and the faceting room prior to the start of the new year for the club. The new display cases are in place and some repainting and a general cleanup have done wonders for our clubrooms. February  Alan Wood showed members photos of 2 pendants and a ring, produced from peridot from the Mortlake (Mt Shadwell) quarry, which Alan cut. Each item is set in gold. The first pendant (far left) has just been created, the largest stone is around the 8 ct mark. The stones were found last december. The second pendant (left) and the ring are also Mt Shadwell stones which Alan cut for his wife. On Sunday 4/3/12, members from the Ballarat & Warrnambool clubs fossicked at the Mt Shadwell quarry. The weather was good and members enthusiastic, but only a few finds were made. Michael K., Alan Wood & Rosemary K. fossicking. Fossickers at work at the quarry at Mt Shadwell. March  On the weekend of the 10 & 11th, 10 club members attended the Gemkhana in Shepparton. Despite the recent rains the weather was excellent and the site dry. The showcases were of a high standard and there was plenty to look at and buy. Some members also had a good look around the town itself. All up a great weekend away for the group. See the slide show below!
Alan Altmann has tumbled some agates he collected from Calder in N.W. Tasmania, in February. The agates are mainly black & white with some having red bands also. Many have calcite sections/cavities and show some cracking. They have been transported and eroded over time and some have cracks. However, many have lovely banding and make attractive specimens. The agate below left is 100 mm wide with dense clean banding.
April  On Sunday the 15th, 9 club members travelled to Portland to view the gem & mineral display which is located in the tourist Tram Depot at Henty oval. The display, which contains part of the lapidary efforts of a local lapidary/collector has been put on display by the efforts of Cor Melis and other enthusiasts in the area. It contains a large selection of polished slabs and spheres and specimens. Most are Australian from famous localities such as Agate creek and Wyloo station, to name two. There are also a good number of Mexican agates on display.
May 27  Some 14 club members had a great day out. Starting off at Alan Woods gem & mineral display in Mortlake & an hours fossicking at Mt Shadwell. The weather was kind to us, cool but fine. Several members found material suitable for cabbing plus some nicely formed bombs and some Anorthoclase Felspar. We then travelled to Burn Brae homestead near Penshurst where we had a fantastic/delicious/healthy lunch and a good look around the homestead. We should have allowed 3 hours instead of the 2 we spent there. Mid afternoon we visited the Volcano Discovery centre in Penshurst where members viewed the displays and had a very informative lecture/discussion session. Once again the time went far too quickly. Club members then drove up Mt Rouse to view the lava flows and geography of the area. Great views and plenty of kangaroos. Photos: Top Tucking into a great lunch at Burn Brae! Middle Club members at Penshurst Volcano Discovery centre. Bottom: Club members at Burn Brae homestead. September  Club members are back from fossicking and tripping during winter. At the club rooms the Doris Sizeland display unit has been painted by Kathleen Brockett and now looks much improved. This involved carefully removing a few hundred specimens and labels (photographed beforehand), painting the unit and then replacing all the specimens. Thanks must go to Kathleen for the time and effort she devoted to this improvement to our displays! Congratulations must also go to Kathleen on the arrival of her new ‘baby’, a ‘Hall-Xtra’ faceting machine, which she has introduced to club members over the last few workshops. A vast improvement on the equipment she had been using up to now. We will hopefully see a nice selection of faceted gems over the next year! Alan Wood brought some interesting agate/chalcedony specimens, from the south island of N.Z., To the club for members to view. These specimens consist of 2 to 6 layers of agate/chalcedony which fit together like a 3D jigsaw and can be partly or fully dismantled into individual layers. See the slide show below!
October  The faceting room at the club has been well used of late. Kathleen B., Dianne W. and James H. have been faceting regularly and making good progress. Left: James H. getting some advice from John H. on the finer points of faceting Centre: John H. assisting Kathleen B. who is using her new ‘Hall’ faceting machine. Right: Diane W., the third of our keen facetors at the workshop this month.
November  On Sunday 11th, eleven club members travelled by bus to the Geelong Gem Show. The show was held at the community centre in Vines Rd. It was a good trip down and back. At the show club members had a good look at the display cases and purchased laps, rough, loupes etc. A good chance for a chat with fellow lapidarys!
2011 CLUB ACTIVITIES Use the links below to navigate to the relevant month.  January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September October  November  December January  The club installed a flat lap in the club workshop during January. Thanks must go to John Honan for his work on this unit. Back to top February  1 The club has just learned of the death of long term club member Doris Sizeland. Doris has been a member since the club’s earliest days and has attended club activities until recently. She will be greatly missed by club members. March 12  Some 9 club members travelled to Ballarat today for the Gemkhana. Conditions were warm and sunny, excellent for the many tailgaters at the show. The number of tailgaters appeared to be greater than last year and the range of materials on sale was good. Inside, the traders were many in number and the range of mineral specimens, fossils, gems, findings, equipment and faceting and cabbing rough was impressive. Club members made many purchases. John Chivers was operating as a trader inside the pavilion while Darren Lucas, who has recently opened a shop in Castlemaine, was trading as a tailgater. Overall, a good days outing for club members. April  The club has purchased two wall units for display of gems and mineral specimens. Doors with safety glass need to be fitted to the units. Keith & Janice Fisher and Ted & Val Morton have returned from their fossicking holidays in Tasi. Sounds like they had good trips all up. May/June  Club President Alan Altmann visited the USA and Canada. I spent time at the Smithsonian Museum of National History and his report/photos are shown on the Smithsonian Museum page on this site. Well worth a look. While in Nova Scotia, Canada, I visited the town of Parrsboro on the shores of the Bay of Fundy. The bay is world famous for its high tides (some 14’ tidal variation) which result in significant erosion of the shoreline. Combine that with an interesting geological history (igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary regions along the shoreline) and you have good conditions for finding gemstones and fossils. At Parrsboro their is a geological museum which is well worth a visit, displaying the geological history of the region, local fossils and gemstones. At Parrsboro I also had the pleasure of meeting Eldon George, a well known fossil and mineral collector. I purchased some local agates from him and then went to have a look at a beach nearby which he recommended for a bit of fossicking. I had no equipment with me but went to have a look any way. It was worth the effort as I could see the quartz seams in the cliffs and agates embedded in the rock platforms (how I wished I had a geo-pick at that stage). I did pick up 3 agates on the beach however, to add to the ones I had purchased. Photos of the visite are contained in the slide show below. In 1984, Eldon found the world’s smallest dinosaur prints near Parrsboro. About the size of a penny, the dinosaur foot print was left on the muddy shores of a drying lake 200 million years ago by a sparrow sized dinosaur, Coelophysis,and was found on the shore of the Bay of Fundy. The photo below right shows the size of the foot print compared to an Australian 20c coin.
July Club member Larry Peterson took a short trip to the Harts Range in the N.T. recently and collected some mineral specimens while there. Some of those specimens are shown in the slide show below. While examining the above specimens, Larry showed me some of the Agate Creek agates he collected last winter. A selection of these are shown below. Most of these measure around 50mm or so in length. These agates display some of the impressive range of colours and patterns available at Agate creek. Australian lapidaries are lucky to have such a fossicking locality available to them!
September 11   Some 13 club members spent the morning at the Mt Shadwell quarry at Mortlake. The weather was cool but dry and sunny. The peridot was scarce, but Gillian found a nice bomb with gemmy peridot late in the morning.It was the first bomb she has found with facetable peridot at Mt Shadwell! Lucy also picked up a nice piece of peridot which should cut a nice small stone. John Chivers got onto a nice pocket of Illmenite crystals up to 50 mm long and an Aegirine specimen. After the mornings fossicking members retired to Alan & Jenny Woods home for a BBQ lunch and cuppa. It also gave newer members a chance to view Alan Woods collection of Mt Shadwell gems & minerals. September 17-18 Some 39 fossickers from the Nunawading, Mount Gambier, Shepparton, Cheong Park, Warrnambool club etc took part in a VGCA field trip at Mortlake. Alan Wood led the activities at the quarry where olivine, peridot, calcite balls, aragonite needles and ilmenite crystals were found. On Saturday afternoon the group had the opportunity to see Alan Wood’s collection of minerals and cut gems from the quarry. The ‘out of town fossickers’ enjoyed the stay at the Mortlake Caravan park and the meals at the Mount Shadwell Hotel. September 13  I was able to visit Darren Lucas’s ‘Castlemaine Crystals’ shop, located at 1 Halford St. in Castlemaine. Darren, a long term member of the Warrnambool Gem Club, is a fully qualified Gemologist, Diamond Grader, Registered Gem & Jewellery Valuer and member of the FGAA. Darren is also developing his gem cutting, faceting, silversmithing and goldsmithing skills. Darren has set up his new mineral/gemstone shop in Castlemaine and has a good range of local, Australian and international gems/minerals.
October  The club has been fortunate to receive financial support from the Warrnambool City Council. At a meeting on the 25th, the council provided a grant of $3000 to help upgrade the lighting in the workshop and to improve our displays at the clubrooms. This expenditure will be supplemented by club funds.    The club also had some good fortune when club member Ted Morton obtained a high quality display unit, at no cost to the club, which will be used to display some of our mineral/gem collection. Well done Ted! Thanks must go to the local ‘Good Guys’ store for their generous donation of the display unit. November 13   Club members took a bus trip to the Geelong Gem Show. It was a good drive down and back. At the show members caught up with friends from other clubs and made many purchases of equipment and gem material. Overall a good days outing. December   A number of good finds of gem quality peridot have been made recently at the Mount Shadwell quarry at Mortlake. Some bombs containing large gemmy chunks of peridot have been collected by a number of fossickers including one local who found a bomb with some large clean pieces around the 27 carat mark, which should cut around 10 carat gems! The photos below show some of the recent finds.
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