Tasmanian agates

Agates have been found on many Tasmanian localities, and the Mineral Resources Tasmania publication Occurrences of Gemstone Minerals in Tasmania mentions the following places:

  • Blakes Opening
  • Bothwell
  • Bronte
  • Camden Plains
  • Campania
  • Cape Portland
  • Carrick
  • Cornelian Bay
  • Cradoc
  • Cranbrook
  • Dee Lagoon
  • DroughtyPoint
  • Fingal
  • Flinders Island
  • ForthRiver
  • Gladstone
  • Hagley
  • Heazlewood
  • Howrah
  • Huon River
  • Ilfraville(Beauty Point)
  • Interlaken
  • Lake Sorell
  • Lake St Clair
  • Leven River
  • Lindisfarne Bay
  • Little Pine Lagoon
  • Little Swanport
  • Lobster Creek
  • Longford
  • Lune River
  • Lymington
  • Mangalore
  • Mt Barrow
  • Mt Cameron
  • Oatlands
  • Penna
  • Penstock
  • Petcheys Bay
  • Preolenna
  • Randalls Bay
  • Richmond
  • Ringarooma Bay
  • Rose Bay
  • Stony Head
  • Supply River
  • Swansea
  • Tunbridge
  • Westbury
  • Weymouth
  • Windermere
  • Wynyard

Out of these, the main locations near Hobart are Lune River, which I covered in a previous post, and Penstock, which is in private property and nowadays out of bounds. Tunnel Marsh, near Penstock, which I also wrote about in a previous post, produces similar material. Drip Beach produces pebbles of lace agate which I wrote about three weeks ago. The Lune River Fossicking Area is getting a bit overgrown, but is still a good place to find some agates.

The conditions of the Fossicking Area say that collecting is not permitted inside the Lune River Fossil Site. I’m a bit dubious about this, for two reasons: Firstly, the fossicking area specifically excludes the fossil site, as per the legislated schedule here, so any conditions pertaining to the fossicking area do not apply to the fossil site. The only conditions that would apply to you are those about prospecting outside designated fossicking areas. Secondly, it is illegal to collect fossils from a declared fossil area, but there is no ban on collecting other minerals, according to the relevant section (163) of the Mineral Resources Development Act. My take on this is that you might get hassled if you went digging there, but technically you wouldn’t be breaking the law unless you collected a fossil (petrified wood, or fern). I’m not trying to encourage anyone to necessarily go digging at the fossil site, but I do want to illustrate that what you read on the web, even sometimes in official websites, is not necessarily the whole truth, and it’s up to you to know your rights.

The same goes for my opinions here. You wouldn’t automatically believe something just because I say so. There’s no substitute for reading up the relevant laws and regulations and making up your own mind.

In northern Tasmania the Carrick / Hadspen area has produced some great material as well, and the gravel quarries at Calder are renowned for high quality lace agate similar to the Drip Beach material.

Agates are a type of chalcedony, which also includes onyx, carnelian, and sard / sardonyx. They’re often found in strong association with petrified wood (most localities) and fern (Lune River, Swansea), as well as Jasper. There is also a very strong association between Jurassic and Tertiary basalt flows and Tasmanian agates. Agates can form in vughs (air bubbles) inside the basalt, and vegetation that is covered by pyroclastics and basalt during volcanic events has a higher chance of surviving by becoming petrified.

Here’s a selection of Tasmanian agates and onyx, mostly from Lune River and Penstock:

Is there anything else you’d like to hear about Tasmanian agates? If you like the content at Apple Isle Prospector, feel free to get in contact, or leave a comment.

2 Comments Tasmanian agates

  1. Jenny

    Very informative.would it be worth a trip to Tass to fossick or is it like most places no longer assessable. Is loon river still open to public

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