Innisfail Gem Fest shines again in 2021

Locals, Graham and Daphne Kirkman, had a selection of opals and gemstones from Lightning Ridge for sale.

AFTER it was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19 and flooded out in 2019, Innisfail and District Gem Club’s Annual Gem Fest returned better than ever, with a strong turnout at its venue opposite the Con Theatre, River Avenue.

This popular event, which has been running for over fifteen years, is a major fundraiser for the Club.

Close to twenty traders, who are following the gem circuit, set up their displays and sold precious and semi-precious gemstones, rocks, and jewellery.

Stall holders came from the local region, as well as Ingham, Atherton, Cairns, Brisbane, Townsville, and Tasmania.

The “hidden treasure”, where people could fossick for their own gems such as agates, moon stones, garnets, topaz, and crystals, in a trailer of river gravel proved very popular amongst adults and children alike.

A raffle was run on the day, and the lucky winners of unique prizes made by club members were: Venita (blister pearl), Maria (crystal opal pendant set in sterling silver), B. Corfe (chrysocolla pendant on silver chain), Queenie (blue agate ring), Narelle (jasper wind chime) and Emily (tiger eye pendant).

The club has been in operation since the 1970s and has been run out of the Innisfail Cultural Complex, opposite the Con Theatre, River Avenue for around 30 years.

Single membership is $30 and $40 for a family, which offers access to equipment, and includes a 12-month fossicking licence.

Members also go on fossicking trips to O’Brien’s Creek, north of Mount Surprise searching for topaz, smoky quartz, and aquamarine, and recently completed on a 10-day trip to Agate Creek, south of Forsyth. 

The clubhouse is open every Thursday and Saturday from 10.00am to 6.00pm. Each day costs $6, which includes all consumables, full use of machinery, and expert instruction. 

Some of the skills that can be learned in the club’s workshop include cabbing, faceting, jewellery making, and slabbing.

Four times per year, the club runs a two-day jewellery course which costs $60 and includes all materials.

The club will be running a Christmas raffle with lots more amazing prizes up for grabs.

Currently, there are 26 members from across the region, ranging in age from 16 to 70, however the club is open to new members of all ages from 14+. 

For further information, please contact President Robert Hunt on 0407 633 172, or visit the Innisfail Gem Club Facebook page.

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