O'Briens Creek Gemfield near Mount Surprise, a designated fossicking area, is well known for gem quality topaz and attracts visitors from all over Australia and overseas.
The O'Briens Creek fossicking area was established over most of the gemfield in 1995 by the Department of Mines and Energy with the co-operation of the landholder and the Etheridge Shire Council, to simplify tourist and recreational fossicking.
From the township of Mt Surprise go northwest across the rail line on the Mount Surprise Station road and travel 37k to cross Elizabeth Creek. After crossing Elizabeth Creek bear to the left following the main track for approx 1.5k where the sign defining the start of the gemfield is clearly placed on your left. A map marking the main tracks and boundaries within the gemfield is available when purchasing a licence. A licence must be obtained to fossick in this area. See the fossicking section for further information
The rocks in the vicinity of O'Briens Creek are mapped as the Elizabeth Creek Granite of Carboniferous age. The granite is pink, medium-grained, and slightly porphyritic grained containing minor mafic minerals. Topaz and tin were deposited in veins and altered zones derived from late-stage melts and fluids during cooling of the granite. These resistant minerals were liberated by erosion and later concentrated in creek alluvium and possibly hillwash. The area has been extensively worked for alluvial tin.
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Elizabeth Creek Campground