New attractions on offer including "Twilight Fossicking"

The 29th Minerama festival of fossicking, gems and jewellery was due to get underway on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Les Beeching, one of the people behind the Minerama gem and jewellery show.

Les Beeching, one of the people behind the Minerama gem and jewellery show.

At the time of writing, the organisers said that between 90 and 100 traders had registered for the big annual festival to be held this year in the Services Club, the King George Oval behind it and in sites for field trips across the wider Glen Innes area.

Some of the traders have registered from as far away as Melbourne in the south and from Bundaberg to the north. The organisers said that they expect up to 1,500 people to attend the three day festival and the field trips before.

One of the highlights was to be a speech given by renowned geologist, Doug Stone, at the Minerama dinner on Saturday night.

He has built a national reputation as a writer on gold prospecting, gemstones, minerals and fossils and spent 20 years with the Geological Survey of Victoria where he became editor of the “Mining and Geological Journal”.

One of the big draws to the festival is the series of 10 field trips to a range of sites were gems and precious metals might be found. The great attraction for fossickers is that these places are often on private property and so not normally accessible. Minerama gives them access to places to which they wouldn’t otherwise get access.

This year, there will be “Twilight Fossicking” to seek fluorescent rocks. One of the organisers said: “It’s a quite unique event and people who love fossicking love it.”

Coordinator of the event, Navanka Fletcher, said: “You will usually find something on every trip.” Some people took part for the sheer fun of it, she said, and others with a more serious intent to find material of monetary value.