Rivervale: WA Lapidary and Rockhunting Club putting on gem of an exhibition


WALRC president Bill Woolrich is looking forward to
sharing the club’s activities.  Picture: Jon Hewson �������   d470092
WALRC president Bill Woolrich is looking forward to sharing the club’s activities. Picture: Jon Hewson ������� d470092

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.

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