Field Trip To Daylesford & Castlemaine

As one of the many fossicking trips planned throughout the year by our enthusiastic field trip officers (Gavin and Darryl), it was decided that the Daylesford and Castlemaine areas needed further exploration, with the help of a local geologist – Julian Hollis. More than twenty ELC members chose to attend and with the sun shining on Mount Franklin, we met at the Mt Franklin Crater and proceeded to the lookout for the start of Julian’s tour.

Mt Franklin

It was a steep walk up to the lookout but we enjoyed meeting up the top in the sun!

Julian was a great guide for our club members, enthralling us with fascinating tales about the volcanic activity around Mt Franklin. Scoria, orthoclase and tito-aragonite were found in the area.

Mt Franklin lookout

Club members chat past the lookout.

Terri was the most well-prepared fossicker in our party, with a tool belt containing many useful items.


Terri with her famous tool pouch.

Up hill and down dale we all travelled, and the leafy track on the way down was beautiful in the autumn sunlight.

Mt Franklin

Leafy track on the way down from Mt Franklin lookout.

Next stop was a spot off the Midlands Highway, where Julian treated us to some useful information about historic geyser remains in the locality and showed us some “natural cement” made up of different bits of stone clumped together.

Geyser chat

Geyser chat off the Midlands Highway.

After that, we stopped in Lushington Reserve in Castlemaine for a well-deserved BBQ lunch. Julian told us more about his role as a local geologist and even pointed out the sign he had helped create for local tourists and sightseers.


BBQ courtesy of Gavin and Darryl.

Parks Victoria signage

Julian's Parks Victoria signage on flora, fauna and geology for sightseers.

We all had a good chat and, after a few too many sausages, cakes and yarns, Julian took those of us still able to walk up the top of the hill to show us where the underground creekbeds were and also showed us the old diggings where original gold prospectors had tried to make their fortunes in pioneering days.

Walking to the top of Lushington Reserve.

Julian's suprise photo!

Large 1m quartz boulders.

Some large quartz boulders 1 metre in width were found at the top of the reserve, as well as some more natural cement and ochre (red and mustard), used by aboriginals for painting.

Old diggings left over from early gold prospectors.

"Natural cement."

Red ochre found at the back of Lushington Reserve, near the road.

Next stop opposite Lushington Reserve was the Pyranees Stone Yard, where many weird and wonderful types of marble were cut on huge diamond saws.

Pyranees Stone Yard in Castlemaine.

Teresa near the machinery, happy with a marble sample.

Club members were able to watch some cutting by employees and chat with Julian about the different types of local and imported stone. Marble and granite were for sale and some free samples also given.

Julian points out a special formation in a large marble slab.

An employee cuts open a zircon-embedded slab.


All club members agreed it was a fantastic day out, although we were worn out with the climbing, walking, sightseeing and huge lunch enjoyed! Special thanks go to Julian Hollis, who was a fantastic speaker and made the history and geology into outstanding storytelling with lots of witty jokes thrown in. Also, special thanks to Gavin and Darryl, for planning this trip and also to Margaret, who recommended Julian to the club. We look forward to more field trips like these in the future!