Tomahawk Creek A Story from the Early Days

(Information for those who may not know, Tomahawk Creek is in central Queensland just North of Rubyvale which is North of Emerald.)

Copyright 2002 posted by permission Author Ted LEE

A story from years ago from Tomahawk Creek and the Self Clearing Sieve Concentrator.

Hi Paul, My name is Ted Lee, I am a member of the Ipswich Gem Club. I got your address off the Facetors Guild page. I've come full circle, we used to live at Sapphire in the early 60s.

My father bought an ancient gem cutting factory, I used to help him roughing out the stones and sometimes polishing stars but mainly I did the hard work carting wash to the puddler etc. all loaded with a number 5 shovel. We had an ex army 3 ton blitz and a Willeys Overland with a 1 cubic yard trolley top ( curtsey Reward ) on the back also a 36 Chevy set up the same. Just a lot of hard work for a teenager & I took the first opportunity to carve my own way in the world. Now I'm polishing gems and fossicking etc.

As I remember it water was a big problem in the Tomahawk Creek area but my Dad and us boys had a very different water problem out there. It was about 1962 and Dad thought we should check out the Tomahawk Creek area. We loaded the blitz up and headed out, my 2 brothers aged 13 & 15 followed us in the Overland' "It just might be handy," said Dad. The road then was just a bulldozer track through the back of Mt Loura station. We arrived at the first lot of workings just on dark and it looked like rain, so we backed the blitz up to a suitable tree, cut a long pole and put it from the blitz cab to the tree, swung the ex army tent over that and down came the rain. It rained for 4 days, all we could do was speck between showers.

When it cleared all the creeks & billabongs were full and the frog symphony was in full swing. Dad decided we needed a pump and piping, so back home in the Overland ( some trip 4 people but only 2 seats) to get our 1915 hit-n-miss engine & pump plus all the piping we had. Loaded up the Chevy with the pipes over the left front mudguard. On the way back the chevy would not stay on top of the ground, especially in what we called "bottomless ground" where just under the grassroots is just gray mush and down about a foot there is yellow clay. The Overland would go anywhere but the chevy kept getting bogged so we did a double shuffle to lighten the load, it took all day to do 25 miles.

After 10 days we tried to get out but the blitz bogged in the first 100 yards, we went back for it after about 3 weeks.

I have built your Rocking horse gravel sorter (Self Clearing Sieve Concentrator) and what a great idea, haven't been out to try it out yet but it quickly sorted the couple of shovels of driveway I threw into it. Built it in a couple of afternoons, I've built an adjustable stand for it, no bending backs. I spent months building an engine powered pulsater only to find there is virtually no where it can be used. http://www.steamengine.com.au/se/info/misc/tedengine.html I've also built a willaby that pumps its own water but with your machine I don't even need that. Thanks for the great idea Ted

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