58th Australian National Gemboree – Mudgee
The National Gem and Mineral Show is an annual event held in a different town each year and is organised by the Australian Federation of Lapidary and Allied Crafts Association (AFLACA). The 58th Gemboree 2022 was in the small town of Mudgee, NSW.
Date: 15th – 18th April 2022
Distance: Kanwal to Mudgee and back (via Bylong) – approx 670km
Show location: Australian Rural Education Centre (AREC) Mudgee
Friday – Drive to Mudgee Gemboree
Keen as to get out to Mudgee, we left home around 6:15 am. We drove out through Jerry’s Plains and Denman way. Given that it was Good Friday and quite early in the morning, there was literally no one in the town of Denman, the only reason we pulled in there was I needed a toilet break but there was nothing around.
We arrived in Mudgee just after 10 am on and headed straight to the Gemboree at the Australian Rural Education Centre in Bombira. Karina and I spent the day walking around the pavilion to see what all the stallholders had on offer and then ventured outside to all the tailgaters. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of tailgaters at the Gemboree. Considering all the rain we had back home in the lead up to the event, the weather out in Mudgee was beautiful the whole weekend.
Within minutes of walking through the tailgaters, I found a lovely lady with a small stall that had some minerals, jewellery and books. Jackpot! After rummaging through what she had, I walked away with a handful of Australian lapidary books and 4 Minerama books.
As I made my way down the long row of tailgaters, I got to meet Trevor Dart in person. I’d previously bought Trevor’s book ‘The Mineral Wealth of the Arkaroola and Mount Painter Area’ and he had copies of his other books (The Minerals of the Broken Hill and Olary Districts & The Minerals of the Mount Biggenden Mine) so I got both of them to add to the library. Trevor also had a fantastic range of minerals for sale, I bought a range of Broken Hill minerals from him (view my Australian Minerals here) including a Broken Hill Apatite. Broken Hill Kutnohorite, Broken Hill Inesite, Reaphook Hill Scholzite and a Mount Gee Arkaroola Fluorite. I ended up going back the next day to get a specimen of Apophyllite from a new 2022 find from the Potosi Mine, Broken Hill.
Bruce Whittaker (Mineral Collector) was next to Trevor with a nice range of minerals and crystals. I found an Amaroo Turquoise amongst the mix as well as a Vivianite nodule from Demons Bluff, Anglesea VIC.
Further down we met Bruno and Helen who had a huge range of slabs as well as stunning jewellery that Bruno creates himself. I purchased quite a lot of slabs from them that I’m sure will keep me busy for quite a while.
Yet even further down we met Barry and Jodie Schubert from Minerals on Eyre along with their son Matt. Awesome people, had a great chat with them and browsed their extensive range of Mt Gunson Gypsum. I got a few nice pieces for the collection including a deep yellow piece that has lustrous transparent yellow-brown prismatic gypsum crystals in an elongated cluster fully crystallized all around. These gypsum clusters precipitate from the mineral-rich waters in the lagoon and colour varies widely depending on the impurities. The lemon colour is quite uncommon for the area.
Back in the pavilion, I caught up with a few other people including Ed Richards from Pristine Minerals and Dehne McLaughlin from Dehne and Maureen Minerals.
For dinner Friday night, Dave, Janelle, Karina and myself went to Galangha Thai in Mudgee. The banquet for 4 was plenty of food for us. Some of the Tripadvisor reviews are pretty bad but the meal for us was nice.
Saturday – All day at the Gemboree
To get the most out of the show while we were out there, we got up early on Saturday and went for breakfast at The Dancing Goat. I’ve never really been a fan of Campos coffee but the bacon and egg roll was nice.
Although I’m sure quite a lot of people went through on Saturday, it didn’t feel that busy. I took the time to get some video footage and talk to people.
I met James from Elemental Formations who had a stall next to Dave (Mineral Store Australia). He gave us an overview of his journey, the range of crystal lamps and handcrafted wire wrapped jewellery was insane! By this stage I had spent quite a lot of my budget, so we opted to get a small citrine lamp.
After a good chat with Dehne McLaughlin, I purchased a small but very nice Azurite in Kaolinite from the Down Dip Drive Fault Zone, Malbunka Copper Mine, Western Aranda country, Areyonga (Utju), Central Australia, Northern Territory, Australia. I also browsed through Bruno’s selection of slabs and purchased a few more.
I had read online that a tailgater would be at the show offering Rainbow Lattice Sunstone and as I was making my way through the tailgaters I see this small sign in texta that says ‘Rainbow Lattice Sunstone!’ Happy days! I had a chat with Jenny Mason and she showed me what she had left. I ended up purchasing a rough specimen as I have always wanted to add one to the collection.
As I was walking around the Gemboree, I noticed some of the vendors were selling badges from past Gemboree events. I thought this would be a great opportunity to start my own badge collection of Gemborees I have attended, so I purchased a Gemboree 2022 badge along with a Gemboree 2017 badge that I went to in Lithgow.
Saturday was a busy day, as I was one of the last cars to leave.
Saturday night dinner, Dave booked us a table at the Courthouse Motel. Matt also dined with us on this night after arriving earlier that day. After ordering at about 6:30 pm, and not receiving our meals by 8:20 pm, we asked how long they would be and they said it would be another hour! We ended up getting a refund and leaving. We tried the Paragon Hotel but the kitchen had just closed. The lady was nice enough to refer us to Jumbucks as that was the only place open apart from Macca’s. Just after 9 pm, we finally got to eat. A night out we’ll never forget that’s for sure. Dave is no longer allowed to organise dinner.
Sunday – Adventuring Mudgee
Waking up to another sunny day on Sunday, we headed into town for breakfast at a nice cafe called Outside the Square. Great coffee and delicious bacon & eggs for myself and Karina had pancakes with banana and strawberries. After feeding our faces, we went for a stroll around town window shopping and taking in the beautiful architecture.
A work friend told us to visit Mudgee Honey Haven, it’s only a short drive out of town so we thought we would go check it out. Glad we did because I got some choc-honeycomb and it’s the best I’ve ever had! I also got some lemon butter for my mum and some hot chilli relish for myself. So good!!
After a bit of research online, we found that the old Mudgee Railway Station now has an art gallery, as we drove into the station, there was a handful of nice cars on display which I couldn’t resist taking a peek at. The gallery had some stunning artwork and other handcrafted items. For all the trips Karina and I do, we like to purchase a fridge magnet of the area as a reminder of our travels and the gallery had a nice little handmade wooden magnet that we added to our growing collection.
Sunday lunch at Smokin’ Bros & Co. If you go to Mudgee, this place is a must! The brisket burger accompanied by an alcoholic ginger beer from Three-Tails Brewing was amazing! We were in a food coma after it so we headed back to the cabin for an afternoon nap.
Club Mudgee for dinner on Sunday night with Dave and Janelle called for a scotch fillet steak and veggies followed by an apple pie and ice cream, not bad! Barry, Jodie and Matt Schubert from Minerals on Eyre were staying at the same park as us and were a few cabins down, so I went and had a few drinks with them after getting home from dinner. Great people, I could have stayed and chatted all night.
Monday – Lunch with friends and the long drive home
After a good sleep in on Monday, we got up and packed our things before heading out to breakfast at Alby & Esthers who also had great coffee.
I’m currently waiting for a trim saw so I’m able to trim the slabs and not have to use my wheels as much, however, it’s not going to be ready until June. I remembered seeing Peter and Denise Whitehead who were tailgating at the show with preformed cabs available. I figured having a few of these would be great for me to cab while I’m waiting for the trim saw. So after breakfast, we headed back into the Gemboree and I raced down to the end of the tailgating section knowing that they would be packing up soon. Thankfully, I found them and was able to get a bunch of preformed cabs off them.
After sticking around for a while and having a chat, we left the show and had some time to kill so we took a drive out to Gulgong, quite a nice drive out there from Mudgee. My car started making weird noises at this stage and I thought we were going to be in for some trouble. We drove back into Mudgee to meet up with a mate I went to school and have lunch at the Oriental Hotel. The place has a great atmosphere and delicious food. After a good catch up, we left for the long drive home. This time we went via Bylong which turned out to be a much nicer scenic drive.
Seeing as it had been so long since my Lightning Ridge trip, we thoroughly enjoyed getting out and about and seeing more of NSW. We are definitely looking forward to next year’s Gemboree in Dayboro, QLD.