Agate Creek
The Worldís Best Source of Quality Agates...

 (written and produced by Mike Long - ardent rockhound and lover of agate. )

My trip to the legendary Agate Creek in far North Queensland during May of 2006 was a week long trip during which the weather was fine and cool and some rain had fallen over the area. Parts of the creek itself were still running, albeit it very slightly. Run of mine agate in the creek itself was available although not in the quantities one would pickup ten to twenty years ago. On the slopes and cut-away gullies more agate was found, some of which would ultimately prove very satisfying to cut and polish. I noticed that some runs in the creek were sand only and rubble areas were in the minority, particularly in the down stream sections. I have some theories on rock buildup in the creek which I have based on facts gathered over many trips to the area :

* Agate Creek has not had huge runs in the last 10 to 20 years and many a fossicker has scoured the creek gravels in pursuit of agate,

* In many parts of the creek the banks are soily and sandy, and if a big wet occurred of which the creek has recently seen few of, only sand and soil is getting carried into the creek, not rock and rubble.

* Agate is a finite resource - there is still plenty under the ground and in sediments laid down over millions of years, but ever increasing exploitation means less and less is invariably available to the small fossicker. Hand digging is nowadays the only real way to get quality agate, with the occasional prize find still found in the creek itself.

* Many fossickers who currently travel to the field would concur with the above findings.

There were other visitors to the field during our stay there, some of them there for the digging and some like us happy to scour the creek and surrounding hills.

 The two camps were occupied and both provide basic facilities. These camps are shown on the map attached to this web page below. A Government publication is also presented below with valuable information about Agate Creek.

About 30% statistically of all agate collected from Agate Creek is flawless enough for cutting. Oneís wishes are dashed when a perfect looking agate has a hair-line fracture in it or cracks after cutting. The fun lies in the unknown and many ordinary looking stones have been absolute beauties.



Small, but striking specimen with a lantern like interior. M Long collection.

A discussion of the main fossicking areas now follows with some pictures of agates from these areas. Agates from the creek can be linked to a particular area based on certain characteristics eg colour, banding, skin type etc but this is sometimes difficult to assess. The first area of discussion is :

Black Soil - this has been one of the most prolific areas in terms of quantity and quality of agate over the years. Some of the fine flawless agates which I have personally collected are shown below and generally display vibrant reds and purples with good swirling and density.

Flawless red and purple with good swirling - M Long collection. 70w*35h*35d

Flawless pink and white with vivid banding & entry point. M Long collection. 52w*40h*30d

Flawless pink, white & blue-grey - cut pair with interesting banding. M Long collection.

Flanagans - a good area for collecting adjacent to safari camp and at the end of the road. Much digging has been done here over the years, and much quality agate has been the reward for good speccing and digging.

A quality scenic agate from Flanagans area with a  grotto like centre - M Long collection. 40w*30h*27d

An unusual specimen with good banding and colour. M Long collection. 50w*50h*65d

A creek specimen with floating centre and small red dots . Interesting to cut deeper. M Long collection. 35w*32h*50d

Flaw free specimen with sardy and swirls - prominent colouration. M Long collection. 52w*40h*27d

The Flanaganís area produces agates of great variety in both colour and size. Good digging can still be done in this area and much surface material is now gone unfortunately.

The following specimens come from various locations within Agate Creek and all show vivid colouring and banding. From M Long collection.

1 - Grey with floater

3 - Striking colours from unknown location.

2 - Typical Black Soil - great colour & contrast

4 - Flawless Black Soil stone with vivid colouration.

Vibrant stone with good banding - from creek gravels. M Long collection. 50w*32h*45d

This was picked up in the creek and will polish to a worthy specimen. Pronounced red and blue swirling. - from M Long collection.

Beautiful sardonyx and swirl in-fill. From earlier days at Flanagans when these types of stones were abundant, but now rare. From M Long collection.

This pretty stone was dug from ground around Flanaganís deposit in 1996. A flawless stone from M Long collection.

A trip to Agate Creek is on most rock houndís minds and is a must visit. I have travelled up there for the past 15 years and have picked up and dug much quality agate. No doubt much stone is still buried under the ground somewhere. There is no better feeling in picking up your own stone and take it home to cut and find unimaginable colours before your eyes - this is the true adventure. People will be a little disappointed these days at the apparent lack of agate on the field, but if you are prepared to dig, there are rewards to be made. A keen eye will still find good stone in the creek and surrounding hills, but much patience and time is required nowadays.

I would like to be part of an agate interest group, where we can discuss common themes, have a swap arrangement and share common ideas.

I hope that the foregoing has been of interest to those who specialize in agate and other collectable stone. I will be updating my website periodically and hope to do a site on the Collinsville area in the near future.

Final few specimens found throughout the creek - all from M Long collection.

All these from Black Soil area - M Long collection.

Striking Black Soil specimen with ruin like interior. Unpolished and flawless.

Thank you to the Queensland Government and the Etheridge Shire Council for allowing me to reproduce the attached map and creek guide.


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