News and Reports From General Meeting, August 7, 2021

Report by President

I’ve been pretty busy of late!

Our Web Administrator John Heenan will not be reapplying for the position due to other commitments.

I’d like to thank John for all his input over the years. He certainly has put our website and the club on the map. ** Round of applause from the meeting.

John has put us out there to the world. There has been a massive amount of traffic on the site and countless enquiries, phone calls etc. asking about the Gem Festival. A lot of excitement about the event and people seeking information. All linked to the Website, it has been great advertisement and promotion for our club. With the Website Administrator position vacancy coming up at the AGM, we are looking for a tech-savvy person to take on the job of updating the site. John has already done the hard yards and has built the site to be very efficient.

Further discussion and clarification on the position is included in the Web Report Section.

The Cairns Show was a mammoth effort for members demonstrating, 9am - 9pm for 3 consecutive days! Thank you to those people who dedicated their time to promote our club & demonstrate what we do at the club. Also thank you to members who submitted entries in the show. I applaud all those people who faceted stones & submitted entries in the various sections. It was great! It’s important to note that it’s a rule of The Cairns Show Association that all demonstrators must have an entry in the show. Entry forms should be in by mid-June. So I’d like members to bear this in mind for next year. I really had to badger people to get entries in and late entries create a lot of extra work. So I suggest as a club, that requests go out much earlier to get members prepared & get busy working on their entries. I think it’s really important we keep those entries coming in otherwise we may lose these categories. For example, there were no Gem Trees this year. If that keeps happening the section may just be cut from the show. Certainly something to consider for next year.

One week later and we stepped straight into our Gem Festival! So a lot of members need a big thank you! for the effort they put in. I was getting a bit worried just before the festival not knowing if everyone was going to turn up but true to form, everyone pitched in at the last minute and we did it! Thank you everyone who was involved. It was a fantastic festival. It is the major fund-raiser for our club. There were over 3,700 tickets sold! This might be a new record! It was a huge raffle with lots of prizes. A big thank you to all the people, members and businesses who donated prizes for the raffle. We had more people wanting stalls than we had room, with some late cancellations due to COVID concerns, we ended up with 3 spare stall spaces. The new location for the BBQ worked well. Tables and seating close to the BBQ created a real hub for people to sit and relax.

Our AGM is next month on the 4th of September. All committee members are stepping down, we hand our keys in and a new committee is elected. I encourage adventurous members to put their name down for a position on the committee. Don’t be afraid! It’s not hard work but it is a commitment of your time. You may need to be at the club at least once a week. It’s preferable Committee Members are people who can open and close the club or the doors remain closed. If there are not enough people on the committee to support the club, you may arrive to find the doors shut! Or if we don’t get enough interest from members to help run the club, the open hours may have to be cut back. It would not be good for our club to be seen in that light. So if you think you could help out on the committee then please come forward and nominate. Your help would be much appreciated. That goes for other positions too, like the Website Administrator. Nomination Forms will be up on the board this afternoon. You can nominate yourself or someone else.

Michael Hardcastle
President CMLC

Other Reports

Cairns Show Report

Thanks to Michael Hardcastle, Trevor Hannam, Kylie O’Brien, Richie Williams, Jan Saal, Amanda Roland, Matt Redgen, Jan Drenth, Amanda Roland and Jodi Sawyer for demonstrating faceting and silver smithing over the 3 days of the show. Jessica Colahan also offered to assist. All demonstrators submitted entries, along with some other members, with prizes being received.

Congratulations to Jan Saal for winning Champion of the Arts & Craft section with her silver chain. Jan put a lot of effort into the entry and it was a well-deserved winner of the section.

More information

Gem Festival Report

Thanks to all our sponsors, ticket sellers and volunteers for making the Gem festival the success it was. Thanks to our 29 stall holders for supporting the Gem Festival. They all reported doing very well. Thanks to the public for also supporting the event. It was a great success.

Thank you to all Raffle Ticket Sellers individuals & those filling the Stockland Earlville Roster. A big thank you to Secretary Jan Hannam for her exhaustive efforts to fill all time slots in the roster. There were a lot of emails that needed to be sent out to complete the roster and it shouldn’t have to be this way if members all participated and did their part. All members are asked to reflect on how they might help in the future, stepping up early to fill rosters, sell raffle tickets and to help in other ways to keep the Gem Festival going for years to come. It’s a massive undertaking and it is a major fund-raising venture for our club. It takes the club as a whole to run an event of this size and to keep it a viable option for the future.

After the meeting Debbie and John will be putting together a list of all Gemfest 2021 volunteers. Please see Debbie to ensure everyone is included and we don’t overlook anyone.

More information

Treasurers Report

Read out by Richie. Details are not reported on the website. Revenue exceeded expenses and so a profit was made.

Website Report Summary

All Traffic is still trending up. Australian traffic is dramatically up by over 200% using the first graph.

Referrals from Google are still trending up with dramatic increases for Australia

Regarding local traffic, which is not charted, and which is reported solely to the President,Michael Hardcastle, for use at his discretion, it is fair to say local traffic went ‘off the chart’.

There is one word to explain the dramatic increases: Gemfest.

Web Administration Position

Notes on Web Administrator position and responsibilities as discussed by Michael Hardcastle (President) and John Heenan (WebAdmin)

  • The original agreement was Website updates would occur once a month or every 2 weeks, such as updating with extracts from minutes and upcoming events
  • There is increased work around Gem Festival, updates are undertaken much more regularly; daily & often several times per day, which can be achieved quickly by just updating documents and deploying changes to web which takes a few seconds.
  • The website is designed such that the updates are very quick and it’s quite easy with markdown (see CI/CD below). Markdown is easy to pick up and is close to typing a document. This is not WYSIWYG but is close enough in practice.
  • Images are important on the website. Images are easily cropped with free Windows ‘Snip n Sketch’ and saved as reduced file sizes for the website.
  • There are a lot of templates that have already been prepared and are available for creating posts and updates
  • Renewal fees, passwords and emails use the club PO box address with Michael’s name, as president. This will be easily amended for the new president.
  • The Web Administrator position is ideal for a young person who wants to take up a career in IT because the approach is based on common industry practices of CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous deployment) that are revolutionising IT. The boundaries between those who do admin and write software are blurring and CI/CD is part of this approach. The website has a small amount of custom software.
  • The entire website is stored with local Git and backed up to a private Gitlab account that can be used for sharing, collaboration and review. This approach is common now and is an expected core IT skill for advancement.
  • The website uses Hugo, which is incredibly fast and growing in popularity. It is not as popular as WordPress. A simple command shows how website updates look. Another simple command updates a public version. Yet another command deploys only the changes in the public version to Google firebase in a few seconds for cloud deployment. All consistent with a CI/CD approach but not using a Gitlab CI/CD step.
  • The used Hugo theme is more complex than normal Hugo themes. It should and can be replaced with a simpler theme with little overall impact.
  • So if you know someone like that, and they want to get a leg-up in the field, or have a child interested to learn, with a lot of patience I’d suggest you tell them about the position.
  • In addition to developing these basic IT skills, having a demonstrated ability to work in an organisation, within a management structure will be of great value and a benefit to any career.
  • John stressed he is not going to disappear and will be there to help the new Web Administrator if they stay with Hugo and so don’t move to WordPress.

Fossicking Report, New Fossicking Areas

Mark Lister is the Principal Field Compliance Officer of the Dept of Resources. Leigh Twine provided some information from Mark who manned the Fossicking Info stall at our Gem Festival. Mark is working to establish new designated fossicking areas in Qld. and is looking for ideas and suggestions. This may include private property, leasehold etc. Areas not suitable include National Parks, World Heritage, Wet Tropics, Marine Parks etc.

One location Mark mentioned specifically was a potential designated gold-prospecting site in the Davies Creek area on the Atherton Tablelands. It is council land designated for camping adjacent to a gold-bearing creek. Current hurdles: access via 100km/hr speed zone and funding and council support required to improve maintenance and provide safe turn-off access.

Debbie Bloomfield encouraged members to get involved. Mark is motivated and working on behalf of us all, so spread the word. She suggested we could look at ways to help secure funding, rally support from the other clubs in the region. Whatever it takes to add momentum to this!

Leigh has Mark’s contact details so please come forward with your ideas !!

Please also see opening new fossicking areas

Fossicking Report, Mount Gibson Designated Fossicking Area

Leigh and Mark from the above report discussed the poor state of road access to Mount Gibson designated fossicking area, near Innot Hot Springs . This situation remains unchanged with no improvements in sight.

Contributors to the discussion were Leigh Twine, Michael Hardcastle, Bill Reece, David Croft & Debbie Bloomfield. The lengthy discussion that ensued is summarised as follows:

  • Access roads to Mt. Gibson were jointly constructed many years ago by The Mines Dept., property owner and Herberton Shire Council, later amalgamated into Tableland Regional Council
  • Despite attempts from individuals, clubs, QLACCA representatives, Qld Mines Dept., nobody wants to provide funding to provide a gazetted road access to designated fossicking area
  • The property owner would like to improve the road, in principle. However, they would then become legally liable for activity/accidents on the road. So the situation remains unchanged.
  • While permission is NOT required to fossick at the Mount Gibson designated fossicking area, permission MUST be obtained to access the Fossicking area via the private road
  • Roz at Innot Hot Springs Hotel remains the contact for access to Mt. Gibson fossicking area

Fossicking Report, Club Lease and Access Agreements

Michael Hardcastle stated the club’s constitution states the club can peg claims and take up leases in the name of the association. This idea has been raised before, but didn’t get off the ground due to lack of support. Other clubs also have agreements in place with properties that are privately owned or under lease.

Contributors to this discussion include Michael Hardcastle, Bill Reece, David Croft & Joe Ferk. The lengthy discussion that ensued is summarised as follows:

  • It was emphasised that any lease, claim or agreement for access to non-designated fossicking areas MUST be strictly for club organised and approved field trips ONLY
  • NO individual or unauthorised group access would be permitted.
  • Examples of past successful arrangements and southern clubs holding mining leases was discussed
  • An example in the Biggenden Mine area where an individual returned unauthorised, after a club field trip, and, in this case, that individual took legal action against the leaseholder when they injured themself ruining it for everyone else. At some point Biggenden Mine would transport mullock heaps to the roadside for fossickers, keeping people safely away from mining operations.
  • Joe Ferk mentioned briefly that something similar used to occur in an opal mining district
  • On the question of any additional fees to members on field trips to a club-owned lease, the experience was that no additional fees were charged by other clubs. Bill reported being welcomed as a visitor from out of the region, taken to the club’s lease and permitted to fossick with no charge.
  • Bill raised concerns with people doing the wrong thing in designated fossicking areas, such as the situation that arose at Chudleigh Park some years back, almost losing the designated fossicking area altogether.
  • President Michael Hardcastle said that it’s for all of these reasons we have trouble finding areas to fossick. Whether you’re on private property or in a Designated Fossicking Area, stay within the boundaries & do the right thing otherwise you may ruin it for every other club member and the fossicking community. We could lose hard-won agreements & access to new areas or even be excluded from designated fossicking areas.

It’s simple - don’t break the rules !

Fire and Safety

Vacant Position


New members

New members were welcomed into the club. These are Yuka Matheson, Sean Sullivan, Marcia and Tia Muir, The Clarke Family (three children), Sharon McQuade, Alex Chapman, Wayne Zollner

Courses, Classes Dates and News

  • CABOCHON COURSE: Completed
  • SILVER COURSE: Some participants completed the course, these certificates will be presented at the September General Meeting, prior to the AGM
  • FACETING: Ongoing
  • TREVOR’S FACETING COMPETITION: Judging to date has been put on hold till Trevor is back from his trip. Michael said that as the judging is not complete, members are encouraged to enter.
  • TRAINEE FACETING JUDGES: Kylie O’Brien & Amanda Roland trained under Trevor judging the Lapidary section at the show. Michael applauded their interest and encouraged anyone interested to get involved and take the opportunity to train as judges while the expertise is available. Active participation by entrants and gaining knowledge from the expert judges available will keep lapidary as an active section of the Cairns Show.

Course Certificates and Presentations

Cabochon Course: Presented to Lisa Thomson. Atma Majda (yet to be presented)

Lisa Thomson with her cabochon course certificate received today

Silver Course:
Faceting Course: Dale Beal (still to be presented)

General Business

  • SOLD: Mike Rashleigh’s Slab Saw purchased by the club for $2,400
  • CHAIRS: This matter is resolved. 11 chairs have been donated and chairs no longer need to be purchased. The donator chose to remain anonymous and has been recorded as such.
  • AGM: September 4th - Current positions will all resign and all positions will then be up for voting. Nomination Forms are on the counter. Michael advised that after 4 years it was time for him to step aside and give someone else the opportunity to stand for president. Several Committee Members have indicated they will not be accepting nominations for positions on the committee. Michael strongly encouraged members to consider standing for nomination, to keep the doors open to members and the public. Without people in these positions of responsibility the doors simply cannot open.
  • MICROSCOPE ROOM: David Croft asked members to avoid unnecessary gatherings in the Microscope Room. Noise from people congregating made it difficult to show visitors the display, and impeded identification work being conducted by himself and Vic Lahtinen (Gemologist).
  • SAW ROOM MACHINERY TEAM: David Croft raised concerns with the difficulty of managing the machinery without a team made up of people who have the skills or are willing & capable of developing these skills under instruction. David asked that the absence of a machinery team be addressed as a priority by the incoming Management Committee.
  • CABOCHON WORK ROOM: Bill Reece raised similar concerns with lack of Supervision and misuse of equipment in the Work Room. People are often observed using the wheels inappropriately, despite having completed in-house cabochon courses which include proper use of the equipment. Supporting Bill, David noted that use of Nova Wheels (flexible wheels) had in the past been for the finishing stages of polishing a stone NOT for shaping. If the misuse continues this will mean more regular and unnecessary replacement of expensive equipment. This may lead to increases in membership fees because of the misuse. And nobody wants that! In response to maintenance and misuse concerns raised by Bill Reece and David Croft, Debbie Bloomfield suggested that members could help in building teams to support elected supervisors of these areas. If you have an interest in an area, you may be able to join a team and be available on a day-to-day basis, to help keep work areas in order, provide reminders on correct use of machinery and report problems as they arise and to share the workload.
  • LIBRARY BOOK MISSING: Bill Reece noted that a set of 6 books about Qld Fossils printed in the 1960s, have gone missing from the club library. Bill showed his own set of the same books to the meeting. The donated books are a fabulous resource on the subject matter & will be very difficult to replace. If anyone knows anything of their whereabouts or knows of anyone referencing them recently, they need to be returned to the library. Debbie has taken photographs of them for distribution to members (perhaps via email) to try and locate the missing books.
  • KITCHEN: Betty Reece is unable to attend the meeting today. On her request, Bill spoke on her behalf. The Kitchen Rules are simple. Clean Up After Yourself. Betty warns that she will start throwing away things left out in the kitchen. Dirty cups, cutlery not put away etc. We are all unpaid volunteers here. Everyone needs to do their part. Bill added the BBQ had been left in a terrible state after it’s last use at the Sunday staff BBQ after Gem Festival.
  • GEM FESTIVAL ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Josh Chamberlain called for a round of applause for President Michael Hardcastle for pulling everyone together for the Gem Festival and for not losing his mind in the process !! ** Round of applause from the meeting. Michael said it would not have been possible without all the members who pitched in. He again thanked all the members who came to help set up & pack up (too many to list individually) and people manning the stalls.