Tiger Eye & Tourism
Travelling from Point Sampson to Port Hedland, refuelling and then moving south along the Port Hedland-Newman Rd, we decided to camp at Auski roadhouse as they have a reasonable bush Caravan Park at the rear. This gave us a good secure point to investigate Wittenoom, the home of Blue Asbestos. Wittenoon, the township, is derelict, no water or electricity & no back up services of any kind. The Western Australian government has been trying to shut the town down for years. As far as we could see there were still a couple of residents, but generally everything is in a state of disrepair and is falling to bits
The location for Tiger eye that we had was behind the town rubbish tip. After searching around we finally found the tip; we fossicked through the mounds of dumped rock and earth finding some pieces of banded jasper of different colours. Then looking beyond the tip to the cliff face where some small, rather poor quality Tiger eye was located. All leaverite quality.
We left the tip and entered the Wittenoon Gorge. We drove very quietly along this rather rough bush track until we came to the dry creek; the wooden bridge across the creek was a bit unstable so this was the end of the road as far as we were concerned.
Exploring the creek for waterworn material proved to be rewarding as there were some good samples. One piece of Blue Asbestos is an excellent example of how the asbestos was formed in veins and consequently what the miners found and extracted. We also found a few pieces of Tiger Iron.
The next morning we headed for Karijini NP where we stayed for four days at Dales Camp Ground at $10 per night camping fee. This National Park is certainly amongst the best in the country with its many gorges, bush walks, lookouts etc. The park is huge and magnificent, well worth the stopover if you are in the area. Hammersley Gorge, in our opinion is the best of the several that the park contains.
Moving on to Tom Price, the significant mining centre for Rio Tinto iron ore. We booked in here for a week as we were still searching for the elusive good Tiger Eye and we also wanted to take the tour over the mine.
The conducted tour was very interesting, taking in the machinery areas, crushing, grading and sorting as well as the train loading facilities. Fortunately the place is full of hematite and we were invited to pick up a few samples. We managed to pick up a pocket full or two.
We spent a few days searching around Tom Price for the elusive Tiger Eye. Walking around the dry creeks beds we managed to pick up a few different types of jasper, Opalite and some small agates. As for the tiger Eye, this still proved elusive until one day we were checking out the hill of Black Jasper behind the Shell Service Station. I decided that we had enough of the black and upon returning to the car I tripped over a rock. Yes, you guessed, it was a reasonable piece of Tiger Eye which someone had been using for a wheel chock and left in the middle of the car park for me to trip over. Unbelievable!
We travelled many kilometres looking for Tiger Eye; it’s getting very hard to get your hands on any quality material. Nonetheless, we added a bit more to the collection.