Photo of Apple Isle Prospector doing some botany.

Contemplating a plant

My name is Miguel and I’m a Tasmanian mad about fossicking and prospecting. I’ve been prospecting around Tasmania since shortly after I arrived in the early 1990s. I started off with an interest in lapidary, mostly agates, petrified wood, and petrified fern, such as you find at Lune River.

From there I focused more on gemstones, and I go to northeastern Tasmania at least a couple of times a year to look for sapphires around Weldborough, and I also metal detect for gold, coins and relics. My main interests are sapphires, gold and lapidary materials.

When I got started fossicking and prospecting, information about places to go, and what one was allowed to do was fairly hard to come by. If you wanted to research old historical reports you needed to travel to one of the State or University libraries. If you wanted to trawl through historical newspapers, you needed to consult the microfiche files. Information on rules and the law as it applies to prospecting was also difficult to find.

Today most historical Australian newspapers are available online from the National Library of Australia’s Trove database. Most historical published and unpublished reports on Tasmanian mining and prospecting have been digitised by Mineral Resources Tasmania. All of this information is now searchable online, but even so, I still sometimes get frustrated about how hard it can be to find information about prospecting in Tasmania.

Corinna, Jan 2015

Corinna, Jan 2015

As well as having spent a lot of time researching historical records to look for places to go prospecting, I’ve also spent a lot of time getting to know our current mining act, the Mineral Resources Development Act of 1995. I was surprised to find that advice given to prospectors by the regulating body (Mineral Resources Tasmania), about what they are and aren’t allowed to do, was not supported by the law, and this happens surprisingly often.

So what do you do with a ton of knowledge on the history of mining, Tasmanian goldfields, fossicking areas, different Tasmanian gemstones and minerals, and mining law? Well, since I still found it frustrating how little information there was online, why not tell others about it myself? That is how the idea for this blog was born.

I will be blogging about places to go, minerals, history, or rules, approximately once a week. If you like the blog contents, you can get them though email, when they come out, through our mailing list. If you’d like to write a guest post, or you have questions or want to know more, leave me a comment, or write a message in my contact page!

In late September 2015, I was interviewed by 936 ABC Hobart. We chatted generally about prospecting and fossicking, how to find locations, and the gear you’d need. You can listen to the interview in the post I wrote about it, or in the SoundCloud frame below. If you have trouble playing off here, you can listen to the interview directly off the SoundCloud website.

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10 Comments ABOUT ME

  1. Chris Vonderborch

    Hi…I am a rewtired geology bprofessor, and I love fossicking for potential gems etc. I have just tried my first sieving exercise near Derby, and found 3 tint blue sapphires and a topaz. But I need to know where is the best location form sapphires!

    1. TasProspector

      Hi Chris,

      The area around the Frome River Road bridge, behind the Moorina golf course, always produces small sapphires, but great colour and quality and the occasional cutter. If you feel more adventurous, the Frome River, Main Creek, the Cascade River and Black Creek all carry them as well, and probably a lot of other places. The deposits are more patchy and you need to prospect around doing a sieve here and another there to find a decent place.
      Good luck!

  2. Rodney Stagg

    Hi Miguel, I used to like going to Penstock Lagoon digging and collecting the agates, petrified wood, crystal nodules, mixed and plain jaspers. This was back in ’67 to till about ’74. I collected a good collection of polished slabs and still have them and about 3 or 4 buckets of uncut agates as well that I hope to get back to when I retire one day.

    1. TasProspector

      Thanks Rodney!
      I have a few Penstock stones from Lapidary Club auctions, but I’ve never been there myself. By the time I got into fossicking it was hard to get into there. Beautiful material. I got some similar but smaller stuff from Tunnel Marsh.

  3. Ruth Manning

    G’day Miguel, thanks for your site, just by chance I was hoping to find some info about gems and gold in Tassie….and found you. My husband and I are fulltime gypsies and are coming to Tassie for the Summer and we do a bit of gold and gem fossicking. We have covered some of Victoria and NSW, but are really looking forward to our stay over the water. Dave has been to Tassie a few times when he was still working and knows a few towns etc, but I will be a novice to your lovely state. Can you please reccomend any map books or info sheets for us to get before we head out into the unknown!! We have 2 x Minelab detectors….a 2300 and xterra 705 and panning gear….can’t wait to start playing. We will be over on the 16th Nov. to 3rd May next year, so have plenty of time to go fossicking. We love the history of pla es we go to, so anything that you can advise to get would be appreciated. Thanks again Miguel for taking the time to read my story and I look forward to your reply. I have applied for your emails also. Ruth and Dave Manning. ⛏⛏⛏⛏

    1. TasProspector

      Hi Ruth,

      There are no gold maps as such, like Doug Stone ones they have in Victoria. Books and or info sheets are also hard to come by. That’s part of the reason I started the blog!
      The Tasmanian Prospecting forum can be a good place to find information, and of course my posts on various goldfields. Mineral Resources Tasmania issue prospecting licences. They have a good mapping engine called MRTmap that you can use to find the location of various mineral deposits and tenements. Well worth getting to know how to use it. I go into how to use it a bit here: http://appleisleprospector.com/tasmanian-prospecting-maps/
      Good luck!

  4. Roger

    Hi Miguel, heading down Zeehan for the weekend hoping to find stichtite in serpentine at melba flats any other area worth a look while we are down that way?
    Cheers Roger

    1. TasProspector

      Hi Roger,

      I’ve never looked for stichtite, so I can’t say. I have heard that the main areas are Dundas and the Serpentine Hill area, but I have no first-hand knowledge.

  5. Bruce Tiffin

    Good day again, where are you based north or south?
    I have a friend in weldbrough, that has land were the Weld river runs
    Before the golf course would it be worth checking it out?

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