Close up view of Canadian Ammonite shell

2016  Club Activities

JANUARY 2016: The club’s efforts during January were focused on our biennial gem show which was held on the 8th and 9th  of January.  For a full report on the show, go to Page: 2016 GEM SHOW FEBRUARY: The new silversmithing room and glass fusing area are getting a lot of interest from members. Some of Diane W’s glass fusing work is shown in the photos ‘above left’.  MARCH: Club members visited the Gemkhana at Geelong. It was a good show with some great displays and some good buy’s were found by club members in the tailgating area. Diane topped up her faceting ‘rough’ , other members purchased cabbing/tumbling supplies.   On Sunday 27th club members manned the BBQ at Bunnings as a clubfund raiser. Thanks must go to Kay Keen, the club’s treasurer who did much of the organisation and helped run the BBQ . The funds raised will help pay for the club’s running costs.  L to R: Bunnings staff member, Janice, Diane, Steve, Diana. APRIL: Following demand from members to do silversmithing, the relevant area has been increased to enable Anthony to tutor more members in the enlarged area. The glass fusing area had been relocated and we hope this will improve facilities for all members. 24th. Three club members joined a dozen members of the Horsham club for a fossicking trip to ‘Morrisons’, located between Geelong and Ballarat. The weather was great and the Horsham members were a great bunch to fossick with. It took a little  time to locate what we believed to be the correct fossicking area. Morrison’s is a popular area and there were plenty of campers in the area including bushwalkers, trail bike riders and gold panners. The first significant find was a large snake! They tend to come with warm weather, water and lots of vegetation. Members kept a good lookout after that. There were some finds and two cabs I cut are shown above left. The chert does take a good polish! Left: Fossicking in dry creek bed. Kay Keen ‘speccing’ for chert. Lunch break at Morrisons!
May: Some of Kay K’s recent glass fusing work is shown in the photos below. A new area of activity for several of our members.
Therese fully focused on her faceting! Club members in the cabbing area June: Club members have been making full use of the silversmithing area since it was opened. One example of the lovely pendant is shown left. The setting being produced by Helen.
5/6/16 Three club members, Alan A., Kay K. and Diane W., travelled up to the Horsham gem show. The show was held in the club’s rooms located at 24 Roberts Av. in the centre of Horsham. The club’s rooms are in the ‘old police station’, adjacent to the current police station. A very secure location!! As always the club’s members are very welcoming and friendly, a great group of lapidaries. They make excellent use of the space they have with cabbing, silversmithing, faceting  and display areas. The photos below will give you a flavour of the show and clubrooms.
AUGUST   Good to see a few more members making use of the club rooms. The silversmithing and faceting areas are getting good use and thanks must go to John H. for guiding our new facetors; and to Anthony M. for running the silversmithing area. The club was grateful to receive some rocks from the collection of Roland Goldstraw (dec.), who was a member of the club in the late 60’s and early 70’s. The stones will add to the clubs stock of cabbing rough. Sat. 13th. Club members (Kay K., Janice & Keith F., Alan A., Helen, Diane, Diana, Robert, Anthony, Rod) spent the day manning the BBQ at Bunnings as a fund raiser for the club. Typical August day with sunshine, rain and wind but we sold a lot of sausages!  Thanks must go to all the members who participated, especially Kay who does the organisation. It is a great way for community groups to raise funds and Bunnings deserve credit for enabling these events. Photo below: L to R Bunnings member, Alan, Anthony, Rod, Kay  Sat. 20th  Eight members of the Warrnambool Gem Club visited the Ballarat Gem Club Show in Invermay Park. There was a good crowd moving around the show with many people making purchases. Our club members took the opportunity to obtain cutting materials, grits, polish and tools. A few photos below give some flavour of the show. September  15/9   The club is pleased to announce that we have received a grant from the Warrnambool City council to help us purchase a new ‘Hall Xtra faceting machine’. The council grant provides 2/3 of the cost of the new unit and means we will now have two ‘near new’ faceting machines as well as the two ‘ancient’ machines we have been using. This will greatly assist in our teaching of the faceting art to new and current members. Club members are most appreciative of the council’s ongoing support for our club. October:  23/11  Members from the Warrnambool, Geelong and Ballarat clubs met at the Mt Shadwell quarry for a mornings fossicking. Despite a poor weather forcast, conditions were good. Overcast but not windy or cold. Some 14 members met Rod Steffenson and Alan Wood at the quarry and quickly got down to the business of searching for the ‘good volcanic bombs’ that could contain gem grade olivine. Alan Wood found two good bombs and I understand a visiting club member also found a ‘gemmy bomb’. After three hours at the quarry we went down to Alan Wood’s home for a nice bbq and chat plus a look at his collection. All up a good day. November: Thursday 3/11/16  Alan Altmann and Alan Wood visited the Koroit Primary School for a ‘show and tell’ with class 3 and 4 students. Alan Wood explained the history of Mt Shadwell, volcanic ‘bombs’ and the olivine found there. He showed some of his lovely faceted ‘peridot’ and some olivine cabachons. Alan Altmann showed the varieties of quartz including amethyst, smokey and citrine. Faceted quartz, tumbled and carved agates and some fossils were also handed around. The students were enthusiastic and enjoyed the sessions as did the two Alans. 6/11/16   Eight club members attended the Geelong Gem show on Sunday. We had a good drive down and it was great to catch up with many of the lapidary community from Geelong and Melbourne. Members took the chance to stock up on grits, tools, faceting rough and some cabbing material. Cor Melis had a win in the spot raffle and we had a good lunch and chat with Geelong members. The quality of the competition show cases was impressive with some lovely work being done by the Geelong club members. Well worth a look. Cor Melis:  It is with regret that the club has to announce the passing of long term club member Cor Melis on Friday, 11/11/16. Cor was with club members at the Geelong show only last weekend and was organising a visit by the club to the gem/mineral display in Portland (which he was instrumental in establishing) early next year. He had recently donated a collection of gem magazines, from the USA, to the club library. Cor had fossicked extensively around Australia and had cut/cabbed/tumbled agates, topaz, sapphires etc over many years as a lapidary. He was active till the end, suffering a stroke on the Thursday before passing on the Friday at the age of 97.  He will be missed by all who knew him. 17/11 Club members Alan A., Kay K., Janice F., Helen B. and Robert H. attended the funeral of Cor Melis at the Catholic Church in Portland. The church was packed with the many members of the Portland community whom Cor had known over the years.  A few facts about Cor Melis. He was born in February 1919 in Eindhoven, a city in the south of Holland. After finishing high school he entered the textile industry, and later studied chemistry. Early in 1939, when war in Europe appeared to be a distinct possibility, he was called up into the Dutch army at the age of 20, and after training, served in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. This was a motorised unit equipped with modern anti-tank guns. On the 10th of May 1940, Germany invaded Holland without warning, and for the next few days, he and his gun crew were continuously in action in the south-east of Holland, defending bridges, firing on German tanks and troops, and on one occasion derailing a returning German troop train. Four days later on May 14th, a message was sent out to all Dutch forces to lay down their arms. Commanders were ordered to stop fighting and to destroy all their ammunition, although skirmishes continued for another two days. After Holland capitulated, he was made a prisoner of war pending the disbanding of the Dutch army.  On being discharged, he returned home and took up his former occupation as a textile worker and industrial chemist. However, like many young people in occupied Holland, he was eventually sent to Germany in November 1942 as a forced labourer and put to work in the oil industry as an analytical chemist.  He was initially stationed near Hanover, but a year later in November 1943 he was sent to an oil field in Austria close to the Czechoslovakian border where his job was to analyse oil samples taken from the drill field. He was still there in late 1944 when the Germans were forced to retreat ahead of the advancing Russian army. Left to his own devices when the Germans abandoned the oil field, he attempted to return home but was caught up in the front line fighting. He was arrested by the Russians who suspected him of being an escaping enemy soldier disguised as a civilian, and it was only by nervously singing the Dutch national anthem that he was able to convince the Russian interrogator that he was on their side, and so escape a firing squad.  When the war finally ended in 1945, he was simply one of millions of displaced persons left stranded throughout Europe. Over the following months, he made his way to the west on foot, jumping trains, and travelling by any means possible. He finally returned home in mid-September 1945. In 1945 he was awarded the Bronze Cross and bar by the Dutch Government for exceptional war service.   In 1947 he married Nelly, and in 1950 they decided to leave Holland and make their home in Australia, because it offered a much better future than post-war Europe. Because of his chemical engineering background, he was offered the job of completing the partially constructed cement works in Port Fairy, and so became the Works Manager. He later resigned and took up a position at Glaxo Allenbury as head of the fermentation division manufacturing penicillin.   In the meantime he had developed a keen interest in photography, and joined the Warrnambool Camera Club. In 1963 he was offered the opportunity to take over a photographic business in Portland at 11 Julia St which he operated till 1982.  In 1966 Cor was invited to join Rotary, an organisation with which he was associated for the rest of his life.  He was also a Life Member of the Portland Camera Club. L:  Nellie and Cor.  R: Cor Melis the industrial chemist.            L: Cor Melis.   R: Cor Melis the photographer.       Nellie and Cor sold the photography shop and retired in 1982, and then began a second career as enthusiastic gem diggers and collectors. It was a great partnership. Cor found, cut and polished the stones, and Nellie picked out the best ones and kept those for herself. Somehow, they both seemed to be happy with this arrangement.  They also particularly enjoyed attending the various markets displaying and selling their stones and gems.   Steve Morgan (below), with help from other club members, produced this ‘Gem Shield’ for use by the Warrnambool Hospital. It contains petrified wood, Moonlight Head agates and Mortlake Peridot on a timber base. It will be used in competitions between units in the hospital. A great effort by Steve. December 8/12/16   Club members Alan A., Janice F., John H., Gillian H., Steve H. and Siobhan V. ran pendant making and ‘pet rock’ making activities at the Bunning’s family Christmas night. We were all ‘flat out’ for the two hours as many children took part in the activities. Members enjoyed the evening and the enthusiasm shown by the children.
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