Old Station Well, Mt Riddock Station, Harts Range (Harts Ranges; Hartz Range; Hartz Ranges), Central Desert Region, Northern Territory, Australia
|Latitude & Longitude (WGS84):||23° 7' 12'' South , 134° 36' 4'' East|
|Latitude & Longitude (decimal):||-23.12005,134.60119|
Situated south of Mt Riddock.
The Mount Riddock Station owner has closed this public fossicking location (2017). Reports are trenches have been dug across tracks to prevent access. This was apparently the result of people needing to be rescued, trail bikes tearing up countryside, and station equipment damaged. The following article is for arm chair fossickers only.
Remote and difficult to locate. Northern Territory Mines and Energy maps online show the route as a track south from the Plenty Highway, about a third of the way between the Ongeva Creek crossing and new Mount Riddock homestead. This travels 10.7 kms to a garnet location, and at this junction head on a track south-west to the Cattlewater Pass track. An easier route would be to travel down the Cattewater Pass track which leaves the Plenty Highway just east of the Ongeva Creek crossing. This will arrive at the same location as above. This is after the Blackfellow's Mine Mindat location is passed, after which the track turns sharply east around the base of some ranges. The Ongeva Creek is to the south. Several tracks leave this intersection, the Cattlewater Pass Track to the south-east. Instead head on a fairly straight track east 6.7 kms, parallel with a fence line. It crosses a creek and shortly after arrives at the Ramberanna Dam, in what appears to be a fairly flat barren area between the hills. From this point are several gemstone fossicking sites for the adventurous.
According to the map, the disused Old Station Well is several hundred metres north, along the prior mentioned creek, and former old Riddock Station homestead site just south of this. It should be noted that the old homestead was dismantled and relocated to the Gemtree Roadhouse in 2014.
Satellite images show nothing of the well or former homestead site, and an on the ground inspection is needed.
Elbaite (verdelite). Acicular crystals in milky and clear quartz. The surface dumps had been picked over when reported in 1986, although decent specimens can be found by digging. Also found on the dump is elongated schorl crystals, and quartz rocks. The schorl is also found as inclusions in muscovite. There are also good specimens of mica books, some spotted green. Also obtained is clear and milky quartz, and feldspar. (N.T. Government website) This site is described as along a faint track 500 metres north of the dam, then a faint track one kilometre east to the Old Riddock Homestead Mica Mine. The creek and/or river bank also contains mica and epidote. The older 1986 (Thompson, A Fossicking Guide to the Northern Territory) states a walk is needed 200 metres upstream from the old Riddock homestead site, over a low ridge to the head of a valley. The verdelite it states is an excavation of the creek on the other side of the ridge. Satellite images show a faint track heading north along an ephemeral creek 'flowing' into the dam for 500 metres leading directly to the mine, which seems to be the easiest instructions now.
Aquamarine. Head on a track for 2 kilometres south-east from the dam, then a faint track 500 metres north-east to a very prominent quartz outcrop. However Thompson states take a track south of the dam, but it appears it should be correctly south-east. Walking cross country is then needed, the outcrop containing good schorl crystals, clear and smoky quartz. Aquamarine can be found 500 metres east north-east, around an old single mica pit at the foot of a slope. Aquamarine occurs here as chips, and needs digging/sieving. Its source is unclear, and they suggest the material may have been dumped at the site from elsewhere. Also moonstone and some schorl in the area.
Schorl can be found via a cross country walk, 2 kilometres from the above location at the north-east head of a valley. Schorl occurs in a long pegmatite dyke 0.5 kilometres north-east of the valley head, north of a prominent peak. The pegmatite forms a north trending ridge in low hilly country. Found are radiating schorl needles, quartz and feldspar in outcrops and large boulders at the southern end of the pegmatite. Mica books are found at a mica digging on the western side of the ridge.
Please be aware this area is remote, the dam is dry as are the creeks most of the time, and Old Station Well is derelict. Care should be taken, and be prepared for emergencies as there is no help nearby. Mindat map shows location of Ramberanna Dam.
At the time of writing (2017), the owners of Mount Riddock station are negotiating with the Northern Territory government to close the area off to fossickers due to damage caused. The station owner has taken matters into his own hands, and blocked access tracks. Online chat sites state recent requests to visit areas on the station have been met with a NO. The neighbouring station owner to the south in the Harts Range, threatens fossickers with legal action.
6 valid minerals.
This geological map and associated information on rock units at or nearby to the coordinates given for this locality is based on relatively small scale geological maps provided by various national Geological Surveys. This does not necessarily represent the complete geology at this locality but it gives a background for the region in which it is found.
Click on geological units on the map for more information. Click here to view full-screen map on Macrostrat.org
0 - 2.588 Ma
Age: Pleistocene (0 - 2.588 Ma)
Comments: regolith; synthesis of multiple published descriptions
Reference: Raymond, O.L., Liu, S., Gallagher, R., Zhang, W., Highet, L.M. Surface Geology of Australia 1:1 million scale dataset 2012 edition. Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia).