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INVERELL GLEN INNES

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This Write up is for a region not a mine

Corundum and sapphire deposits are found in many areas along the east coast of Australia but the concentration is most prolific in the highland regions of the Great Dividing Range. Particularly around the New England Districts of Inverell and Glen Innes. One of the most attractive features of the Inverall - Glen Innes sapphire and corundum deposits, is the presence of the the New England gemfield's famous blue sapphire.


The Famous Blue Sapphire is Found Along the Reddistone Creek
Reddistone Creek sapphire is known for producing a higher proportion of sapphire that displays blue on both axis, particularly its main axis, as some display a lighter blue or even green or a greyish cross on the other. These sapphire are known locally as 'blue on blue' and draw a greater price that the more 'run-of-the-mill' sapphire that exhibits a less desirable colour. Wellingrove Creek sapphire is noted for its very fine yellow colours.


Commercial Sapphire Mining Began at Inverell in 1919
Commercial mining of sapphire in New South Wales did not occur until 1919 when a mine belonging to C. L. Smith began production near Inverell on Frazers Creek. The success of Smiths sapphire mine encouraged others to try their hand at both Inverell and Glen Innes with this activity continuing in the area for the next 10 years, until the advent of the Great Economic Depression of the 1930's, forced them out of business.


Inverell and Glen Innes Were Home to over 100 Sapphire Mines in the 1970's
No serious mining of sapphire and corundum occurred in the Inverell and Glen Innes district from the 1930's until 1959 when a world shortage occurred and sapphire mining once again became viable. Sapphire mining reached boom conditions in the New England Region of New South Wales during the 1970's when there were over 100 different mining operations taking place in the district.


Sapphire Boom Weakens in the 1980's at Inverell and Glen Innes
By the 1980's sapphire prices began to weaken and many of the previously rich alluvial sources became exhausted. Continuing difficult marketing conditions saw mining activity decline further in the region until today only a small number of mines remain commercially active. The main sapphire deposits in the New England Region have been found along the Reddestone Creek, Kings Plain Creek, Wellingrove Creek, Frazers Creek, Horse Gully and Swanbrook.


Inverell is Known as Sapphire City
Diamonds were discovered in the Inverell district, at Copes Creek, in 1875 and mined at Copeton between 1833 and 1922. Inverell has become known as the 'Sapphire City' because of the high number of sapphire found in the district and for its contribution to Australia's sapphire production generally. Corundum makes up a small percentage of mine production in the Inverell district with most finds being opaque, heavily included or translucent. Corundum specimens that have been found tend to be rather small when compared to finds elsewhere, although, gem quality sapphire has been found over 30 carats in weight but this is fast becoming a rarity.


Inverell and Glen Innes is Popular Among Fossickers
Glen Innes is experiencing increased numbers of people coming to the district to fossick for sapphire, especially the famed royal blue sapphire with its deep rich colouring. Some of the most popular areas to fossick are along Reddistone Creek at the following sites:


- Boolabinda
- Bullock Mountain Homestead
- Three Waters High Country Holidays


Other good sapphire fossicking sites are at:
- Fossickers Fossicking Park
- Glencoe
- Kookaburra
- Seven Oaks
- Wellingrove Reserve
- Torrington State Conservation Area
 

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Following are the resources mined at Inverell Glen Innes

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