Rock your world

Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - FRONT PAGE -

From fire opals to fos­silised wasps, the WA Lap­idary and Rock­hunt­ing Club has many a story and per­fectly pol­ished gem­stone to share at its an­nual ex­hi­bi­tion.

FROM fire opals to fos­silised wasps, it’s a wild world out there for rock hun­ters.

The WA Lap­idary and Rock­hunt­ing Club (WALRC) is cel­e­brat­ing its an­nual gem­stone ex­hi­bi­tion this month, with its most prized gem­stones, jew­ellery, fos­sils and min­er­als on dis­play.

WALRC pres­i­dent Bill Wool­rich said he was drawn into the world of rock hunt­ing in the ’70s.

“I started back in Townsville, joined in about 1974,” he said.

“I al­ways had that sort of like of cut­ting and pol­ish­ing stones, so I joined a club up there and it got me hooked.”

His best find so far has been a big sap­phire in cen­tral Queens­land.

He re­cently re­turned from a trip to Laver­ton.

“There’s newly dis­cov­ered opal de­posits out there, but not the same kind of opals you’d find over east. What they call ‘fire opals’,” he said.

It is com­mon for mem­bers to bring back their spoils from in­ter­state and over­seas trips, with their fel­low rock hun­ters por­ing over Burmese jade and other ex­otic finds.

Mr Wool­rich said mem­bers of the pub­lic of­ten came in to ask for help iden­ti­fy­ing rocks.

“That’s what we’re here for. We don’t be­lit­tle them for not know­ing. That’s not the point, we’ve all been there and done that,” he said.

As for the strangest “rock” brought to the club?

“Fos­silised wasps nests. We get a lot of fos­sils and those sorts of things. The wasps nests are fairly un­usual but com­mon in WA,” Mr Wool­rich said.

The ex­hi­bi­tion will be on June 17-18 and June 24-25, 10am-4.30pm, at 31-35 Gladstone Road, Rivervale.

There will be a gem­stone lucky dip and fos­sick­ing for the kids, demon­stra­tions of lap­idary and jew­ellery mak­ing, and sales of spec­i­mens.

Ad­mis­sion is $2 for adults and 50c for chil­dren.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son­mu­ni­ d470092

WA Lap­idary and Rock­hunt­ing Club pres­i­dent Bill Wool­rich in­spects one of his finds un­der a mag­ni­fy­ing glass.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son

WALRC pres­i­dent Bill Wool­rich is look­ing for­ward to shar­ing the club’s ac­tiv­i­ties.

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