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Mosquito Creek Wolfram Field, Wauchope, Barkly Region, Northern Territory, Australia

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 20° 17' 51'' South , 134° 30' 43'' East
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): -20.29759,134.51214

Three men are credited with the discovery of tungsten ore at this location.

The earliest is Nazir Deen. His father, Fazel Deen, had come to Australia as a boy, and was later one of the pioneers of the Tennant Creek Gold Field. He returned to Brisbane a rich man, investing in property and businesses, amassing a fortune. Meanwhile he owned 6 250 acres of agricultural land back in India. In 1945, he travelled back to his home village of Moga, East Punjab Province, just as violence erupted with the partition of India. Several of his relatives were killed, and he had to hide in a house for a month. Managing to escape back to Australia, his sons Nazir, Noor, and Nasib presented him with a Rolls Royce, in gratitude for his safe return. The article (Brisbane Telegraph newspaper, Trip Home Cost Him Thousands, 17/07/1948), mentions in passing the brothers were prospecting for wolfram during the war years, and Nazir discovering the Mosquito Creek field. This is backed by the Commonwealth Gazette, stating Nazir took out 46F, and his younger brother Nasib 47F in 1942 at Mosquito Creek for wolfram.

Tennant Creek gold miner, Alexander McDonald is also credited with the discovery of the wolfram field, mainly at the say-so of McDonald himself. A relentless promoter of the field, who would pounce on anyone who dared to be critical of it, and badger authorities over the perceived apathy they had to develop mining there. McDonald stated in response to criticism from the Northern Territory Mine's Director that Mosquito Creek was little more than a gougers field with: 'The public can be rest assured that Mosquito Creek will, in the near future be one of the biggest producers in the Northern Territory'. He formed the Red Terror and Falcon companies to erect a mill, and mine his leases in 1951. Two years later, shareholders were calling for his head, or at least a royal commission. The companies were thousands in debt, creditors seizing assets, and McDonald had purchased the mill costing the companies 10 000 pounds, for 2 350 pounds to use on his Tennant Creek gold mines.

The third candidate is Joe Drusetti. He is credited by some as recognising the value of scheelite on the field, which was being ignored by miners in favour of wolframite. His nick-name was 'Scheelite Joe'. He was a broadcasting inspector in northern Italy, before migrating to Australia in the late 1940's. For some reason he soon found himself in remote Mosquito Creek. He sold his leases to a company for a large sum, and moved to mining wolfram at Hatches Creek, elsewhere in the district.

Two trial parcels were sent to the Wauchope mill in 1950. A rush then occurred to the field in 1951, on the back of high tungsten ore prices, which was being used to harden steel in the armaments industry. In 1951, Alexander McDonald claimed to have found a pure scheelite nugget weighing 150 lbs, measuring 14 in. x 12 in. x 6 in. The ore was so valuable, theft was becoming a problem.

Several companies took over leases including Doria Mines NL, Wolfram Hill NL, Territory Scheelite, Central Scheelite, and Mosquito Creek Scheelite NL. About thirty miners were on the field, but by 1953 this had been reduced to three, and by 1955 the field was abandoned for good.

The main reefs strike north-south, and north-west to south-east, dipping variably north, north-east and east 40-80 degrees, the reefs widely separated and narrow, associated with shears. Scheelite and wolframite patches are found in quartz veins. Scheelite is the dominant tungsten ore.

Joklik/Tomich (Report on an Inspection of the Mosquito Creek Wolfram Field, Department of National Resources/BMR, 1951), were less than impressed, naming the following leases when they inspected the field, being McDonald's, Doria, Old Ghan, Makinson's and Curtis', describing briefly minor workings from the collection of surface material, to shallow trenches. None were described in enough detail to include on Mindat. The wolfram field also contains a small uranium mine called Munadgee, which will be listed.

Access is by taking a track east from the Stuart Highway, immediately north of the McLaren Creek crossing. The field is approximately 45 kilometres east of the highway, just after the track passes a gap in the ranges. Little evidence of mining could be seen.

Mineral List

Mineral list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities

12 valid minerals.

Rock Types Recorded

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Regional Geology

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 - 0.0117 Ma
alluvium 38485

Age: Anthropocene (0 - 0.0117 Ma)

Description: Channel and flood plain alluvium; gravel, sand, silt, clay; may be locally calcreted

Comments: regolith; synthesis of multiple published descriptions

Lithology: Regolith

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). [5]

Data and map coding provided by Macrostrat.org, used under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

Localities in this Region


This page contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.


Brisbane Telegraph newspaper (1948), Trip Home Cost Him Thousands, 17/07/1948

Centralian Advocate newspaper (Alice Springs) (1952), Company Miner Attacks Mine Branch Policy, 06/06/1952

Centralian Advocate newspaper (Alice Springs) (1953), Challenge by Falcon Director, 07/08/1953

Centralian Advocate newspaper (Alice Springs) (1953), To the Editor. Statement by Mines Director - Al. McDonald, 27/03/1953

News newspaper (Adelaide) (1951), Big Scheelite Nugget Found, 28/09/1951

Centralian Advocate newspaper (Alice Springs) (1953), 'Scheelite Joe' Wins Wolfram, 13/02/1953

Northern Standard newspaper (Darwin) (1950), Wauchope News, 10/01/1950

The Age newspaper (Melbourne) (1951), Scheelite Lode Reported Near Tennant Creek, 24/04/1951

The Advertiser newspaper (Adelaide) (1953), Support for N.T. Wolfram, 19/03/1953

Centralian Advocate newspaper (Alice Springs) (1952), Open Cut Mining at Scheelite Field, 14/11/1952

The West Australian newspaper (Perth) (1951), 'Fabulous' Money in Wolfram, 29/09/1951

The Advertiser newspaper (Adelaide) (1951), Doria Enters Wolfram Field, 25/07/1951

Centralian Advocate newspaper (Alice Springs) (1953), Wolfram Record-But Miner Warns, 06/02/1953

The Advertiser newspaper (Adelaide) (1951), New Wolfram Co., 29/11/1951

Commonwealth Government Gazette (1942), The Northern Territory of Australia, Mining Ordinance 1939-42, 19/11/1942

The Age newspaper (Melbourne) (1952), Gold Thieves Take Wolfram, 02/01/1952

Joklik, G.F., Tomich, S.A. (1951), Report on an Inspection of the Mosquito Creek Wolfram Field, Department of National Development/Bureau of Mineral Resources Geology and Geophysics, Commonwealth of Australia, Record 1951/53, 1951

McLennan, R.M. (1982), Progress Report. EL 2884 Mosquito Creek, December 1982

Cruikshank, B.I., Hoatson, D.M., Pyke, J.G. (1993), A Stream-Sediment Geochemical Orientation Survey of the Davenport Province. Northern Territory, Journal of Australian Geology and Geophysics, Commonwealth of Australia, (14), pp 77-95, 1993

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