The road from Mount Isa to Cloncurry is a beautiful and rugged display of red rock and scattered native trees and plants – a pleasant drive to get you in the mood for the region’s only Rockhana festival which was held over three days at Mary Kathleen Park.
The annual Rockhana saw locals and tourists from New South Wales, Tasmania and as far as Western Australia mingle and chat as they looked at the variety of specimens from the North West region and beyond.
Stalls showcased raw, cut and polished minerals and crystals, such as local Staurolite – better known as the Maltese Cross and other specimens from around the area like Garnet and Amethyst.
The Cloncurry Shire is rich in gold, copper, garnets, amethyst, quartz, maltese crosses as well as minor minerals.
Show coordinator Gail Wipaki said they had up to 30 stalls set up selling rock-related wares, lapidary suppliers and activities such as jewellery making with precious and semi precious stones.
“There was gem faceting demos, displays and workshops and the Stake a Claim game,” she said.
Stall holders were happy to chat about their unique artistic specimens, some made from Zebra Rock and Pink Quartz, while the crowd was entertained with live music throughout the whole weekend. Several food stalls and an undercover lunch area was erected for those who wanted to take a break during the beautiful weather.
“The children had heaps of fun trying their luck with fossicking through the mounds of ore samples from various mines in the Shire and they also enjoyed panning for Gold,” Ms Wipaki said.
John Walton – a fourth generation mineral explorer – said his grandfather Clem Walton was one of the founders of Mary Kathleen and has a park named after him at Corella Dam.
“Rocks and minerals are the wealth of the district and Rockhana celebrates that. It’s an event loved by locals, tourists and exhibitors alike,” he said.
Mr Walton thanked the Cloncurry Shire Council for their donations and their major sponsor Ernest Henry Mining and presented plaques to all the sponsors.
“Ernest Henry Mining have been with us every year since we started and we thank them.”
Cloncurry Mayor Greg Campbell congratulated the organisers of the event, stall holders and sponsors.
“It’s growing and growing every year, next year promises to be even bigger,” he said.
The event was sponsored by Cloncurry Shire Council, Ernest Henry Mining, Mitakoodi Aboriginal Corporation, Post Office Hotel, Hit 102.5, Southern Cross Television, Wal’s Camp, Cloncurry and Cloncurry and District Historical and Museum Society.