Gemboree 2019 to showcase Gemfield treasures this weekend
FOR the first time in 17 years, the Gemboree is returning to Rockhampton.
This year, the 55th National Gem and Mineral Show will be held at Rockhampton Showgrounds and publicity officer Pat Handley expects crowds of at least 3000 to pour into the four-day event.
"We've made a big effort," Ms Handley said.
When the event kicks off on April 19, there will be around 60 traders from around Australia selling jewellery, gems, rocks, minerals and fossils to keen collectors.
There are also 60 caravanners who will be trading their interesting finds from their vans and at stalls.
"There will be gem traders from the (Gemfields) who will be making a cavern of gems," Ms Handley said.
"There will be about 10 traders from the Central Highlands and they'll have a movie theatre showing the Gemfields and what they do.
"With the Gemboree there will be 1100 entries displayed from the competition with entrants from all over Australia in 130 sections.
"There will be displays from the Queensland Boulder Opal Association and the Australian Opal Association with Lightning Ridge, and TAFE and CQUniversity will have displays of jewellery."
There will also be a number of exhibitions, demonstrations and lectures every couple of hours and a kids' corner where children can make their own pet rocks.
Food vans will be available and on Friday night there will be an auction of eight pieces of jewellery, with the funds raised going towards the QCWA Rural Crisis fund.
The public are invited to come along for a gold coin entry.
On Friday night there will be entertainment and games of trivial pursuit will be run with Easter egg prizes up for grabs.
Ms Handley said Rockhampton Regional Council provided a $25,000 community assistance fund for the event and it is expected the visitors from Western Australian, Tasmania, Mackay, Brisbane, Bundaberg and other regions will have a "big economic impact on the town".
There will be something for everyone and to suit all tastes.
"There's going to be some people called Soul Jewels who will have healing stones, so we'll have the spiritual side as well," Ms Handley said.
"Diamonds are a girls' best friend, aren't they?"
Tasmanians Rodney Kean, his wife Kadek and their children Sapphire, Jessica, Maxwell, Samual, Heather, Heath, Shane and Estyn were busy helping set up on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr Kean used to live in Rockhampton and was a member of the local lapidary club in the 1980s.
"I used to go out to the Gemfields looking for sapphires and Mount Hay looking for thunder eggs and so on," he said.
"I decided to bring the kids along. They can see things I've seen and I hope they get a taste for coming back.
"I got a taste for it when I lived here and worked for Cranston's Pies.
"We look for them in Tasmania and go to Coober Pedy and Lightning Ridge and (other places) looking for sapphires and opals and to Agate Creek looking for agates."
After developing a love for precious and semi-precious gems in Central Queensland, Mr Kean passed on his love for the hobby to his family.
"They go to the lapidary club where they polish and cut stones and they really enjoy all that," he said.
"At the Gemboree and other gem shows they sell rocks so they can buy lollies and that.
"My favourites are sapphires and opals for the vibrant colours and good ones are hard to find.
"When you get a good one, you cherish it."
The Gemboree begins on April 19 and finishes Apil 22.
When: April 19-22. Friday: 12pm-5pm. Saturday: 9am-5pm. Sunday: 9am-5pm. Monday: 9am-2pm.
Where: Rockhampton Showgrounds