The Central Highlands Gemfields

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Old Qantas Building in Longreach
outback queensland
Outback Queensland

Just 40 mins from Emerald on your way to Longreach are the largest Sapphire fields in the world with 90% of the Sapphires on the market today originally coming from these fields?

The Gemfields of Sapphire and Rubyvale are by far the greatest attraction during the Winter, Spring and Autumn months. The sapphire fields date back to 1875 when the first gem was found by a Railway Surveyor.

Did you know Sapphires come in every colour of the rainbow, that Sapphires called "parti-colours" as multicoloured and red Sapphires are Rubies? You never know your luck!

Visitors come from all over Australia, indeed the world to search for the blue, green, yellow and part-coloured and star sapphires that are found.

Sapphire is just 10 k north from Anakie (on the main highway west) on a sealed road and features a couple of caravan parks, cabins, shops, souvenirs, and gem cutters.

During August each year, the region becomes a hive of activity with thousands attracted to Gemfest. Recognised as Australia's premier gem show the event showcases large and rare sapphires found on the central Queensland Gemfields.

Miners, merchants, and traders from all around the country come to exhibit their glittering wares. The festival is not just for the gem enthusiast.

The Wheelbarrow Derby which is held bi-annually usually in June during the Winter school holidays. The idea of a race of this kind is based on one of the Gemfields' many legendary characters from the past. Darkie Garnet came to the Gemfields pushing a wheelbarrow containing all of his worldly possessions. He struck it rich with sapphires and became quite wealthy; but he lived quite lavishly and reputedly won and lost three fortunes before finally leaving the Gemfields pushing a wheelbarrow containing all his worldly possessions.

The race is not for the faint hearted. Competitors have a push a wheelbarrow containing a pick and shovel and a ten kilo billy boulder from Anakie to Sapphire where they discard the boulder and use their shovel to fill a bucket with sand, tip it into the barrow and continue to Rubyvale, a distance of 18.3 ks. The last 6 k. is rough and corrugated, just to make it interesting.

Certainly worth heading west for ....

Destinations:

North Queensland has it all ... the Great Barrier Reef ... World Heritage tropical rainforests,
and the vast and rugged outback. Your visit to North Queensland will be one to remember.

Holiday North Queensland... Accommdation and Where to Go in the North
Post Office Box 987 Castletown. Q. 4812. Townsville Australia.

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