2015 & 2014 CLUB


January   February   March   April   May   June   July   August   September   October   November   December January 2015. The club workshops are underway. Some modifications have been made to the faceting area which we hope to upgrade. The club has been fortunate to receive several donations of lapidary materials. These included a green gemstone coffee table top, selections of rough cabbing material, tumbled stones, fossils and a selection of grits and polishing powder. Thanks must go to the generous donors of these materials. If you are putting an entry into the 2015 Gemboree, remember that entry forms must be received at Mooroopna by 31/1/15. Ensure your entry form is in on time! The photos below some of the agates collected at Agate creek, by Larry Peterson last winter. These pieces were approximately 15cm long.
Close up view of Canadian Ammonite shell

March  The extended workshop on the first Saturday is being well attended. Several members made silver findings/rings

under the guidance of Anthony. Well done to all concerned.

8/3 Club members manned the BBQ at Bunnings as a fund raiser to help with the club’s running expenses. Thanks must go to all

the members who helped in the conduct of the BBQ. Well done Kaye for doing much of the organisation for the event!

Photos below:   Top row  Left photo L to R   Alan, Jeff, Linda Right Photo:  L to R Diane, Brian, Rosemary Bottom row  Left photo  L to R   Linda, Kathleen, Anthony, Jan. Right Photo:  L to R Gillian, Steve, John
April 3-6 Gemboree. Wednesday, 1/4/15, saw club members heading to Horsham for the Gemboree, with various members arriving over the following days. In all some 13 of our members visited the show with 10 members camping on site. Wednesday was hot, with a strong northerly wind before a cold front came through and we received a bit of a buffeting over night. The weather was sunny and pleasant for most of the show, with the rain not arriving till around 10 a.m on Monday, some 20 minutes after I packed up my camper trailer! Some highlights of the show included:  Kathleen B  who put in a lot of work running the field trips. She also showed she had a bit of ‘tiger’ in her at the fancy dress evening. The late afternoon ‘happy hours’ where club members got together to discuss the days purchases and who they had met during the day. One session stretched to late in the evening as we watched the eclipse of the moon under perfect conditions! Club members enjoyed the demonstrations on display in the exhibition hall. The ‘glass slumping’, ‘stone carving’ and ‘enamelling’ demonstrations attracted the interest of members. The trivia quiz was fun. To the amazement of members the Warrnambool team won the quiz and collected 6 bottles of wine to add to the ones awarded to the fancy dress participants. The Gemcad session run by the AFG was rewarding to those members who participated. Congratulations must go to all the hard working volunteers who made the Gemboree possible. John Honan performed well in the faceting judging and Kathleen Brockett was happy with her results in the faceting. Alan Altmann entered an ‘open lit’ display case and received a 2nd place.
MAY  Our new members are making good use of the club workshop. Both cab work and silver work are being  tackled by several members at present. Margaret has produced her first four cabachons (see photo right) which will form part of her display case at the club’s show in 2016.
May 20. Geelong club members joined Alan Wood and Alan Altmann of the Warrnambool club for a fossicking session at Mt Shadwell in Mortlake. After a cool start the day turned into sunny and calm conditions ideal for fossicking. The 10 fossickers spread out over the quarry finding some peridot (scarce today) and anthorclase. Some illmenite specimens on scoria and various shaped bombs were also collected. The geelong members came fully prepared for a well deserved lunch after several hours fossicking.
August.   After a cold July it is good to see the weather improving and more club members attending the club workshop! Vale Darren Lucas. Club members were shocked to here of the death of club member Darren Lucas. Darren had been a member for many years, obtaining several qualifications in Gemmology,  including diamond valuing. Darren developed a business in gems and minerals and was a keen lapidary. Darren covered the full gamet from tumbling and cabbing to faceting and silver work! Darren died suddenly at home and will be greatly missed by the members of the Warrnambool Gem Club. Darren’s farewell/service was held at the Warrnambool Surf Club as Darren was a keen surfer. His ashes were scattered in ‘Lady Bay’ (in front of the surf club) where he had spent many hours surfing. 24/8  Club  members (Alan A., Alan W., Jenny W., John H., Rod S. and Anthony M.) spent the morning packing up Darren’s rock and mineral collection. The club has purchased a number of pieces of machinery and cabbing and faceting rough belonging to Darren for use by the club. Some of the best mineral specimens will be put on display at the club rooms with information about Darren’s involvement in lapidary over the years. Surplus material will be sold on behalf of the family at the upcoming Gem Show in January. 29/8  Club members Jeff & Linda G. are back from there fossicking in N.S.W., Qld and the N.T.  They showed club members at the workshop some of their finds; including Peridot from Chudleigh Park, Topaz from O’Briens Ck, Agates from Agate Ck, Garnets, Zircons and Petalite from the Hart’s ranges.They had a great time and aim to head off fossicking again next year! It is a very addictive passtime.
PHOTOS: First row: L to R Darren at Gemboree, Darren fishing, Darren was a keen surfer, Darren with some whale bones he found Second row: L to R  A dinosaur bone cabochon Darren cut Shortly before his death, Darren fossicking at Moonlight Heads, Some of Darren’s ‘egg collection’, Darren Lucas.
DARREN JAMES LUCAS July 1970 - July 2015 Darren was born in Warrnambool on 22/7/70. He was the second of four children to Doreen and Herb Lucas. Darren went to West Warrnambool State School then Brauer Secondary College. After trying several jobs he went to work with his father in a quarry where his interest in stones and gems began. He bought many books and studied online and quickly became obsessed with the whole gemmology world. When he wasn’t surfing he was out looking for rocks. He moved to Castlemaine where he continued fossicking and set up a rock shop, ‘Rens Gems’. Darren headed up to Emerald in Queensland where he purchased a V.J. faceting machine and other lapidary gear which he set up in his garage. He travelled extensively around Australia and made many friends overseas with whom he traded gems and minerals. He studied and completed his Diploma in Gemmology and his certificates in diamond grading and diamond valuation. The last stone Darren cut was a dinosaur bone cabochon of which he was very proud.
September Club member Kathleen B. is back after a fossicking trip in W.A. where she had success detecting for gold nuggets, one of which is shown left, (1 ½  oz). Kathleen had a great time and is most enthusiastic about the process of detecting for gold. Photos: Above Right: John Honan working on the bench base. Far Left: Steve working on a bench top!  Left: 18/9   Glass fusing area: Club members Alan A., John H., And Steve M., spent four hours constructing and installing the two new benches.  Steve Morgan arranged the donation of two ‘as new’ kitchen bench tops to the club. Along with Kay K. they  painted the room. October: The club was fortunate to obtain grants for the club’s ongoing upgrades of our facilities. The Warrnambool City Council has generously provided $1500 towards our silversmithing facility while the Moyne Shire has provided $1045 towards our glass working facilities. The Warrnambool City Council is also undertaking significant repair works on the roof of our clubrooms which should keep the rooms in good condition for many years to come. 10/10 Club members had a good time purchasing a selection of slabs of material suitable for cabbing. This material had become available as the result of a ‘collection’ coming up for sale. (Photo left) Photo Far left: New silversmithing area nearly complete with stainless steel bench plus timber bench installed. 29/10 - 1/11  Club members have manned two tables at the Warrnambool Agricultural Show, publicising the club and our upcoming show. Members also sold a wide range of minerals and gems to members of the public and budding junior collectors. A good effort by those staffing the stall, including Steve M., Alan A., Janice F., Jeff G., Linda G., Kay K., Robert H., Michelle M. Photos:   Far left: Linda & Jeff at show Left: Diana & John at show November:  9/11/15   Club members Steve M., Jeff G. and Alan A. spent the day installing new benches for our revised faceting area. This is part of the renovations necessary to enable the silversmithing and glass fusing areas to be set up. Photo far left:  New faceting benches with 3 faceting machines in place. Photo left: Rearranged display units adjacent to the new faceting area.
November  15 Several club members travelled to the Geelong show. A good day was had by all. The show had a good ‘vibe’ to it with a lot of visitors in the hall. Club members made quite a few purchases from traders to stock up on gear and gem material.
18/11 Congratulations to Robert Harvey and Anthony Marsh who have been elected President and Vice-President at the club’s A.G.M. Other member of the executive (Kay, Janice & Diana) have been re-elected for another year. John Honan was awarded a life membership, of the Warrnambool Gem Club, in recognition of “his extensive efforts in club workshop maintenance & development, plus the tutoring of club facetors’. 6/12/15  Club members had the ‘end of year breakup’ at the ‘Little Thai Restaurant’ in Koroit. During the afternoon Janice Fisher was awarded Life Membership of the Warrnambool Gem Club in recognition of her service to the club over many years. Later members spent a pleasant time at the home of Steve and Michelle Morgan.
Above:   Left to right. Club President Robert (in fine Scottish dress! Note: that is not Rob’s real hair!!), new life member Janice Fisher, Janice’s husband Keith
2014 CLUB ACTIVITIES January, February, March, April, May, June, July,August, September, October, November, December
January 10-12. The club held it’s biennial Gem Show which was most successful. See the Gem Show page for full details. On 3 days in January, club members cleaned up the club rooms and prepared the workshop for reopening. Thanks to all involved! February 16 Some club members travelled to Colac to a sale of rocks and lapidary machinery. Those present purchased some nice cabbing and faceting material. The club workshop has reopened and we have welcomed some new members to the club. Welcome to Robert and Isabel! March Good numbers of members are attending the club workshop. We have two new junior members Buster and Bluey King. Welcome to both. I am sure you will enjoy your time at the club. The club has received a selection of lapidary, fossicking and enamelling books from life member Ivy Harper. These will be added to the club’s library. New safety (toughened) glass has been installed in the Ivy Harper display units, to comply with council safety requirements. The club has also purchased two new electric motors for the workshop.The funding for these came from both a council grant and club funds . 22/3 Club members travelled to Mortlake for a day of fossicking and relaxation. We started the day at the Mt Shadwell Quarry with ideal conditions. At 9 a.m. it was overcast but not too hot or too cold with no rain! Some 20 members from the Warrnambool and Colac clubs were present for what turned out to be an excellent days fossicking. Alan Wood gave those present a list of what to do (and what to not do!) and showed how to look for the rocks most likely to contain peridot. Members spread out for a solid mornings fossicking. Our two new junior members Buster & Bluey were enthusiastic and searched up and down the slopes, finding some anorthoclase feldspar, some olivine and some Aegirine-augite specimens. Several members of both the Warrnambool and Colac clubs found faceting grade pieces of peridot which was great to see. However, the find of the day went to Colac member Russell Adams who turned over a large rock to find it was already broken in half. He asked a fellow club member ‘is this the sort of stuff we are looking for?’ The scoria rock had a large cavity in it with good sized chunks of peridot throughout. It is one of the largest specimens of its type to have been found at the quarry, if not the largest! He was a very happy chap, but the other half of the specimen could not be found despite extensive looking. Around 12-30 we drove down to Alan Wood’s home for a BBQ lunch and an examination of Alan’s extensive collection. Jenny had put on some extra’s in the form of cakes and desserts, which were enjoyed by all. Overall a great outing!
Above John Honan
Left: a very happy Russell Adams with his find! APRIL: 19/4  At the club workshop members had a chance to purchase a good range of cutting material and some mineral specimens which were donated yesterday by an ex-member of the club (from the 1970’s?) who is moving into smaller accommodation. The material included jade, smokey quartz, agates, chrysoprase and topaz. Some specimens of Jade, quartz crystal clusters, aragonite and zebra stone were placed into the club’s display units. 20/4  It is with regret that the club must announce the passing of life member  Ivy Harper. Ivy was a long term member of the club, having joined soon after it was formed. Ivy was a President of the club and a ‘life member’. The club makes regular use of a large slab saw in the workshop, which Ivy’s husband Dave constructed. Ivy also donated her gem and mineral collection to the club where it is on permanent display. This collection can be seen on the ‘Ivy Harper Collection’ page of this website. Ivy was a good friend to all of us. I can recall club meetings being held in Ivy’s home where we admired her great collection of Australian Gems & Minerals and enjoyed her great cooking. It should be mentioned that Ivy cooked up the most wonderful Pavlova’s and cakes. We sampled many of these at club BBQ’s and outings over the years. She will be greatly missed.
MAY 1-4 Club members travelled to Palmer in S.A. For the annual ‘Palmer Rockerama’. The weather on the Thursday was fine, but on Friday conditions were cold, wet and windy as a cold front swept across S.A. and Victoria. Apparently Friday was the coldest day in 30 years in Adelaide! Fortunately the weather improved greatly during Saturday and was fine and warm on Sunday. Club members were both tailgating and purchasing at the show. Those tailgating did well given the conditions. Several members came away very happy with the purchases they made. Anthony got some nice blue topaz, boulder opal and garnets; which he plans to cut and set into his own silver settings. He also had a good time in the metal detecting competition. Other members enjoyed boat trips on the paddle steamers at Mannum and all enjoyed the fine food available. Once again the caterers at Palmer provided great meals for those attending the Rockerama! Despite the ‘rough weather’ at the start of the weekend club members enjoyed the Rockerama and the chance to catch up with friends.
June  Some club members have been making good finds at Mt Shadwell of late despite the restricted access. However, the reduced access has prevented other members from visiting the quarry, due to work commitments when the quarry is open. July Quite a few members are off fossicking up north. Larry Peterson spent some time at Agate creek and came home with a good selection of agates plus some nice crystal sections (smokey and clear quartz crystal) with agate banding. Larry indicated that the access roads to Agate creek have improved markedly over the last few years. The club has purchased a new ‘Hall Extra’ faceting machine for use by members. This was possible as a result of obtaining a Warrnambool City council grant and the use of funds from our last gem show. This is our third faceting machine for use in the club workshop. August  Club member Brian Charles had an interesting find at our local beach recently. A piece of amber. It is brown/red in colour and it will be interesting to see what gems Brian can produce from his find. A photo of his find is shown to the right. It is about 6cm long. Reports from fossickers travelling through Victoria indicate that many have given up their habit of spending several days at Mortlake to fossick for peridot. Given that they have to wait a week to spend 2 days at the quarry, as they can only fossick on Fridays, it is no longer viable to spend more than a day (or less) in Mortlake. This is a pity for Mortlake as it removes a source of income for local shops and the caravan park and motels. Hopefully at some stage in the future the shire will change to a more open access policy. In the 30 years I have gone to the quarry I am not aware of any claims by fossickers as a result of accidents.
November  8-9  Club members travelled to the Geelong Gem Show by private car on Saturday and Sunday. It was great to catch up with Geelong members and view the displays. Members had a good time purchasing cutting material and mineral specimens.
Club member John Honan has continued to do well in VGCA faceting competitions. The photos below show some of his recent medals and faceted gems. John’s scores have shown continual improvement over the last year. Well done John!
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