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Quartz, Australia

Posted by Ralph Bottrill  
Trevor Dart September 19, 2011 11:32AM
Hi Everyone, I'm resurrecting this thread with some local information that might help identify the mine where the big smoky quartz crystals came from near Olary. When I lived in Adelaide many years ago I purchased a specimen of green beryl in a grey quartz, labelled "Baxter's Prospect". In 2003 the Broken Hill Mineral Club visited the area and went to the Maggie Feldspar Mine at the southern end of the valley and it was a bit disappointing. We then headed north to another quarry that was marked on another map I had as the "Domenic" Mine with the "Bortoli" Mine close by. This turned out to be one large quarry going into the side of the hill with dumps spread out over a large area on the flat below. Here I found a green beryl in grey quartz, almost identical to the one that I had bought years before. This could be the "Baxter's Prospect" from where my first sample came from but the location misidentified. After this we explored the "Boundary" or "Varischetti" claim near Bimbowrie homestead, known for big beryls but like the maggie claim this was a bit disappointing.

There is a twist to my story. Many years before this, old Joe who owned the famous Joe's Rock Shop in Broken Hill had some large smoky quartz crystals for sale. When asked where they came from he said that he had come across a dozer scrape on the side of a hill near the old Radium Hill mine where someone was starting to open up a mine and the crystals were just lying all over the ground, so he picked up a few. He said that he thought it was called it the Domenic Mine. The problem with this story is that the actual Domenic mine is north of the highway not south near Radium Hill. This mine was opened by Tess Alfonzi of Triple Chance fame and named after Domenic Alfonzi. When you read reports of the Domenic mine it does mention large smoky quartz crystals, however I didn't see any during our brief visit there in 2003. I like to think that there is a hillside south of the highway with large smoky quartz crystals still there and waiting for me to rediscover it...

One day...


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/19/2011 02:23PM by Trevor Dart.
Mark Willoughby September 19, 2011 12:00PM
Howdy Trevor,

Looking through all the records I can find, both Bortoli and Domenic (also known as Dominic), are definitely separate mines to 'Baxter's Prospect (Maggie mine)'.
Bortoli is also listed as being in 'feldspar-quartz-white mica pegmatitic granite' according to the SARIG database. So it is quite likely the place the smoky quartz crystals came from.
I have been slowly getting through the records of the mines in this area, and had not got to either Bortoli or Domenic until I saw your message. So far, Bortoli is the listing with the highest chance of these 'smokies' that I have come across. So thank you for putting the names into the mix!
And personally I think you’ve found the mine we were after to solve this one!

Cheers Mark.

We will never have all the answers, only more questions!
Trevor Dart September 19, 2011 02:17PM
Hi Mark

Even though the Domenic and Bortoli are marked as separate mines, when we visited the site we could only find one hole. This hole would have been around 30 x 10 metres and 4-5 metres deep. The two mines may have been merged into one quarry. The dumps were extensive and covered a good 100 x 40 metres in area. What I found interesting was that the sample I had labelled as from Baxters Claim and the piece I found at the Domenic were so alike that their origin was probably the same location. There was also a lot of the grey quartz at the Domenic and none visible at the Maggie. You can see the mine and the spread out dumps quite clearly on Google Earth - S , E . The Maggie mine is 2.6 km south of the Domenic. You follow the Bimbowrie / Outalpa boundary fence line to get to it. Perhaps some of the other mines apart from the Maggie, along that valley were also referred to as Baxter's Prospect, as he did own the whole property...

You can also rule out the "Chick in green" mine, south of the Domenic for the quartz crystals. There were small pits on a pegmatite with lots of feldspar but very little quartz. It did have beryls visible in the the outcrop of the pegmatite but they were pretty badly weathered.

Ronald J. Pellar March 25, 2012 10:34PM
Here is a candidate for Best Quartz, Entia Valley, Australia. It is 23.9 x 13.4 x 13.3 mm in size. It is a pseudocubic scepter. The picture Id is 430539. Ron
Ralph Bottrill April 01, 2012 01:57AM
Added, thanks Ron

David Sheumack April 01, 2012 09:10AM

Hello Ralph, a potential for your article, from the Harts Range. A double terminated reverse sceptre amethyst, 3.7cm X 1.4 cm
open | download - Reverse sceptre amethyst.jpg (951.4 KB)
Ralph Bottrill April 03, 2012 10:03PM
Added, thanks David

Patrick Gundersen April 05, 2012 10:56AM
Great photo David, thanks for sharing here!

Here's a classic double terminated crystal from White Rock Quarry in the Adelaide Hills of SA, measuring 85mm x 10mm.
Rock Currier April 05, 2012 10:02PM
Very cool. I want a dozen of them of all different lengths. Can you tell us something about the quarry? What kind of rock is it there? How are the crystals formed? Any associated minerals minerals? How may quartz crystals are found there?

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/05/2012 10:06PM by Rock Currier.
Patrick Gundersen April 05, 2012 11:12PM
Hi Rock,

I wish I had a dozen of them myself, I only have a handful left now and was lucky enough to purchase the one pictured above just recently! Actually at one point many years ago I did have literally hundreds of these, ranging in length from 4cm to about 15cm, all of them perfect and double terminated. I was lucky enough to be living in the Adelaide Hills and did several covert trips up to the Quarry. The only way to collect these crystals was sneak in at night, as they operated the quarry for road-base gravel, and I'd hate to think the number of world class crystals that have gone through their crusher over the years!

The quarry itself is a mix of Quartzite and Slates, and the vughs can occur in both rock types. I've hear of "room-sized" open vughs being found there and have seen crystals up to nearly a meter long in personal collections. The vughs I have seen in-situ were all clay filled, and on the night I found all those slender double terminated ones, the kaolin clay in the vugh was dry and powdery, so these crystal would "tinkle" together (don't know how else to describe that sound!) as they came out of the vugh. I think nearly 400 crystals came out of that one pocket!

At a guess I'd say the geology is similar to the Arkansas deposits, maybe someone else can confirm this?


Trevor Dart April 06, 2012 12:49AM
Hi All

I've just finished our latest newsletter for the Broken Hill Mineral Club and inside I have included an article on the MacDougall's Well (Corona) amethyst fields. I thought it might be useful for extra information to go into this article. You can find it (along with the last four years worth of our newsletters) on our website Broken Hill Mineral Club

Cheers Trev
Patrick Gundersen April 06, 2012 01:18AM
Great newsletter Trevor, one of the best I've seen here in Australia, thanks for sharing with us.
David Sheumack April 06, 2012 03:27AM
Brilliant job Trevor, I want to join for the newsletter alone. (tu)
Ralph Bottrill April 06, 2012 04:36AM
Trev, you put us all to shame with your newsletter, but many thanks for the article.

Patrick, I would like to use your photo and collecting info in the article if I could please?

Mark Willoughby April 06, 2012 12:59PM
Howdy all,

In relation to Rock’s question about White Rock Quarry.

The quarry lies in the Stoneyfell Quartzite Group, which is in turn part of the Adelaide Geosyncline. It is believed, to have formed during the late Proterozoic thru to the end of the Cambrian (approx 900-500 million years ago).

The quarry itself is well known for its large clear crystals of quartz, showing many different forms, from single crystals thru to multiple crystal groups. It is especially well known for its spectacular ‘Japan Law’ twinned specimens. It is also known for producing some of the largest 'totally clear' crystals in Australia.

The South Australian Museum has dedicated an entire display case to the specimens of White Rock Quarry. It is quite surprising and somewhat upsetting to see that we only have 5 specimens currently (as of 6th April, 2012), showing here on Mindat! I know many collectors that have numerous specimens from this locality, all of which are great examples of this locality.

The quarry itself is now off limits to collecting; mainly because of people sneaking into the quarry to collect without permission.

I have added a copy of this onto the page listing too.

Cheers Mark.

We will never have all the answers, only more questions!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/06/2012 03:33PM by Mark Willoughby.
Tom Kapitany April 07, 2012 11:05PM
I was very fortunate to get access with the quarry operators permission in the 90s
Peter Shelton had made arrangements to commercially collect the qtz crystals .
He collected there for about a month or so , with Kevin Davies being the main purchaser .
The volkwagen size mud filed vugs were lined with crystal plates and double terminated crystals loose in the mud
You just had to stick your had into the mud feel around and extracted a beatiful 6 inch double terminated crystal
Many were iron coated and need to be acid cleaned , Jap Law Twins were to be found as well
The Sth Aust Museum appears to have the very best . I sold a wonderful cluster to Warren Sommerville many years ago with spectaular epitaxial growth,
I believe this is on display in the Bathurst Museum .
There are a number of fault structures with the quarry faces , these allowed the hydrothermal solutions to deposit (seed) the crystals
One of Peters staff had an altercation with a quarry staff member and collecting permission was rescinded.
Permission was never given again. Security was upgraded due to the illegal night activity as public liabily and safety
was and still is a major concern .
Rock Currier April 08, 2012 05:05AM
Now that't interesting, I'm sure that some of that information will find its way into the article.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Ralph Bottrill April 08, 2012 05:35AM
Tom, Mark, and others, this info is great, I will incorporate it. I remember trying to get in there with no success, but there was a lot of material about in the 90's, so it s great to see a few good photos appearing now. The Ashton quarry was another good producer, where we need some good photos. There were other good sites we used to collect, now apparently closed, worked out or built over sadly. Hopefully some of these may appear here soon also.

Ralph Bottrill April 08, 2012 07:39AM
Other photos still required for Australian quartz:

Queensland, Mt Isa - Cloncurry area, Mary Kathleen District, Hightville, Crystal Mountain
Queensland, Mt Isa - Cloncurry area, Cloncurry District, Starra (Selwyn), Amethyst castle
Queensland, Southern Downs Region, Stanthorpe, Thulimba
South Australia, Flinders Ranges, North Flinders Ranges, Arkaroola Station, Mt Gee
Tasmania, Moina
Victoria, Terip Terip
Western Australia, Mitchell Plateau

Mark Willoughby April 08, 2012 02:25PM
Howdy Ralph,

Mount Gee is already listed on here.

Cheers Mark.

We will never have all the answers, only more questions!
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