Proston
Kilkivan
Chinchilla

PROSTON

Written by Paul Clacher Copyright 2000

(Recent Information advises that the Garnet Dig at Proston has closed)
 Proston is a sleepy little village west of Wondai. Whenever I go there I feel like I am at the end of the Road. Like many other country towns Proston is shrinking (Unfortunately). It used to be a thriving cattle town but now it is struggling to survive. It has an old dairy milk factory, which sadly is now closed. These old country towns have a lot to offer, as they have the infrastructure of a town which was built for a much larger population than they now support. This generally means that they are pleased to see you and will look after you. As external money being injected into the town is always enthusiastically received. While you are in Proston, if it is still open to the public, you must go and see Sidcup Castle. It is pictured and is well worth a look. It is something else. I have been told that it is no longer open to the public. If this is so, then it is such a shame as it was well worth a visit. Just the same, it is worth a look from the outside if nothing else.

I mainly go to Proston to dig for Garnets, as pretty good Garnets can be found in the area. (They are actually dug from a pay dig on a private property at a place West of Proston called Brigooda. The farm is called Leura Joy and is directly opposite the Brigooda Hall. The dig cost $8.80 per person per day. (2002) If you wish to pay a bit more you can actually camp there. The phone number is 07 4168 0177. The toilet used to be infamous but it has been moved to the dig now and the new toilet at the farm is septic. I am told). Alas Leura Joy now too has closed. I am told. I wasn't brave enough to go back and try it. I have stayed at the Proston Caravan Park (07 4168 9152) in town and the Golden Spur Hotel (07 4168 9272) also in town, and both are quite good. I just hope the Caravan Park improve their on site vans. Excellent Garnets are now being obtained from a deep hole which the farmer has opened up. There is also Lake Boondooma just North of Proston and I have been informed there is camping and it is good for fishing (gold and silver perch) and boats, but I have no personal experience of this. The contact phone number for this is 07 4168 9694 / e-mail LakeBoondooma@Wondai.qld.gov.au web Site http://www.wondai.qld.gov.au/boondooma.htm.

Northeast of Proston and Hivesville is a location called Cloyna. In this area  one can find excellent Jaspers, Agates, Crystals, Bloodstone and a form of Ribbonstone. At Bill and Joyce TREVOR's property there is camping facilities available. This includes a barbecue and the contact phone number is 07 4168 6210. (I have also been advised that TREVOR's Farm now too has been closed to the public) Another location for similar stones is at KRATZMAN's on Kratzman's Road near Windera. The contact phone number for Kratzman's is 07 4168 6130. There is also "Windera Glen" and is owned by Noel and Narelle CHESHIRE and the contact phone number is 07 4168 6139. (These locations may also have been closed to the public) This area is the only location where you can find black agate. It is sad that many areas now are closing to the public for fossicking. Reasons for closures include, Public Liability issues, Mining Leases ending, bad behaviour by visitors, native title, native heritage and other various issues. Many privately owned fossicking areas are now closed to the public, however there are still several areas open to the public throughout Queensland, which are run as commercial ventures. It is vital to the recreational hobby of fossicking for fossickers to nurture these areas and to ensure assistance in their ongoing survival and viability.
 

KILKIVAN

Kilkivan is really an area for people interested in fossicking. Kilkivan advertises itself as the Western gateway to the Cooloola Region, but I personally think it is the centre for minerals and history. Kilkivan is located 40 kilometres West of the highway. It has a major part in Gold discovery in Queensland and as a result it has all of the things which go hand in hand with gold settlers. The township of Kilkivan has some historical old homes and shops and a small but interesting museum. To see in the museum phone 07 5484 7174 or 07 5484 1191. There is the Boat Mountain Environmental Park, the Kinbombi Falls, The Mt. Clara Chimneys, The Prophet Mine and Rossmore Park (07 5484 1340). The contact phone number for the Prophet Mine is 07 5484 1226 and ask to speak to Jon PARSONS. I actually found the township of Kilkivan a little uninspiring, but with a little presentation it has a lot of potential. I would recommend visiting Kilkivan in a four wheel drive as many of the sights are off the main road.

Boat mountain is located twenty minutes drive from Goomeri. It is a haven for local flora and fauna. It also commands special views from the top. On the way to Goomeri is Kinbombi Falls. How this place has remained such a secret is beyond me. It may be because it only runs after heavy rain fall. The ravine which has been cut by the flow of water is quite stunning. There are concrete stairs to the falls and up the gorge. Whoever laid these stairs, have done a massive job. They go on forever. Kinbombi falls area is absolutely huge. It is quite a job just walking in and around them. The rock here is totally conglomerate concretions. This must have been millions of years ago a massive water flow. I would not be surprised if there is gold imbedded in this rock.

Also near by at Kilkivan are the Mt Clara Copper Smelting chimneys. There is really only one chimney which is open to the public and it is quite impressive. It is a rather tall square chimney made from parent rock and is accessible up the Rossmore Park (07 5484 1340) and Prophet Mine road. The chimneys are about 8 kilometres from the caravan park and the Chinese grave is about 7 kilometres from the park. The Chimney is listed by the National Trust and was used for smelting copper by the Chinese between 1872 and 1875. The Chinese operators worked three shifts. Further up this road, (and it is definitely four wheel drive only) quartz crystals can be found. I think the creek up this way might be worth a pan or two also.

Rossmore Park is a very clean and pleasant location and well worth considering if you wish to stay in the area. The contact phone number for the Rossmore Caravan Park is 07 5484 1340. The Prophet Mine  is also a MUST on the list of things to see for the area. The owner runs demonstrations and tours of his mine. For a small fee you can also pan for gold here and  chances are you will probably find some. Many of the local creeks are also good spots to find gold. Now I also understand there are Garnets to be found North of Kilkivan up near the Mt Neureum area. I have been told they are in books of mica. I have also been told that small sapphires and zircons have been won from creeks in the area.
 

CHINCHILLA

The reason why I was originally drawn to the Chinchilla area was mainly for the petrified wood. There is heaps of the stuff in the Chinchilla / Miles area. I am told the petrified wood from Chinchilla is the best in the world. I must admit though is does work beautifully from a lapidary point of view. A very good location (WAS) a pay dig at a place called "Magic Stone" which is about 20 minutes drive North West from Chinchilla. Sorry it has recently closed. A real shame. It was quite inexpensive and just about every second rock is petrified wood. An alternative to this dig is "Jeffery's - Thompsons"and is just across the road form the old "Magic Stone". Their contact phone number is 07 4668 9564. There are quite a few motels and a couple of caravan parks in Chinchilla.  One favourite is the "Chinchilla Mobile Park 07 4662 7314. Just out of town on the Wondai road is a caravan and camping park called "The Overflow" 07 4665 5144.  I am also sorry I am advised that this park is now also closed. This is a special camping and caravan park. It has barbecue  and picnic areas, conference facilities, canoeing and swimming, fishing, bush walking, a flying fox a kiosk and camel rides. It is a very good spot for a family holiday which is out of the way and different. Yabbying is good here too.

I would not say that the area could be known for its beauty, but there are a number of things to see and do in the area. There is quite a good Historical Museum in Chinchilla and if you have the time I would recommend a trip to the Miles Historical Museum too. In the Miles historical Museum is one of the best stone collections I have seen. It has a large display of local Pentoxylon and Fern. The local R.S.L. in Chinchilla is quite good too. Down the Tara road is the Chinchilla Weir, which I understand is good for fishing. Other places of interest in the Chinchilla area is the township of Bell which is a quaint old country town on the side of a hill. It is a very clean and neat township just within reach of the Bunya Mountains. Just up the road from Bell is the Rimfire Winery at Maclagan. The Rimfire Winery is a very nice place to visit. It has a nice outdoor eatery where the enjoyer of fine wines can also have a pleasant meal in the shade of the pergola in the paved area.

On heading back to Brisbane it is well worth a trip into the Jondaryan Wool Shed. Nearby is also the Acland Coal Mine Museum. In the vicinity is also Lake Broadwater. It has picnic areas, showers, camping and drinking water. I understand that Lake Broadwater Conservation Park is excellent for bird watching.

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