The club rooms are in the old Tea Tree Gully School, Dowding Terrace, Tea Tree Gully, South Australia, 5091.
Postal Address: PO Box 40, St Agnes, South Australia, 5097.
(The old Tea Tree Gully School, originally named Steventon School, was opened for students in April, 1870.)
Our club welcomes new members and seeks to promote the hobbies of gemstone, rock and mineral collecting, and the lapidary arts in particular.
President: Ian Everard
Mobile: 0417 859 443
Secretary: Claudia Gill
Mobile: 0419 841 473
Faceting Instructor: Doug Walker
Silversmithing Instructor: John Hill
A brief history…
A small group of enthusiasts met at the Golden Grove Community Hall in 1971. An inaugural Committee was formed, led by Bill Simmons, with Rose Simmons as Secretary. Meetings were held initially on the first Thursday of each month at the Scout Hall in Elizabeth Street, Tea Tree Gully.
Speakers were invited, and Field Trips arranged. Bill Flowers was the Club Field Officer for the first number of years. The Club has travelled far-and-wide over the years, with repeat visits to iconic collecting areas such as Woolcunda, Mooralla, Mt. Gunson, Lake Gilles, and Coober Pedy.
In 1974 Bill discovered that the Education Department was unaware that the old Tea Tree Gully Primary School was vacant, so he arranged for a lease (peppercorn rent) conditional that the club members maintain the interior of the premises. Eventually, the Education Department decided to sell the building, which had been listed as being of heritage importance (several members had attended it as pupils). The Club could not afford the purchase price, so the local Council was approached, which purchased the building then negotiated a rental for the Club; on a share basis in the early years with the Naval Association.
Social events were held regularly, generally on Saturday evenings, with the intent of raising funds so that equipment could be purchased and classes in faceting and cabochon cutting, mineral identification and later silversmithing could be established.
Competitions in minerals, stone cutting, and silver work were held at the meetings, as were raffles, and sometimes a trading table.
Some members undertook the Gemmological Association two-year course, and eventually 8 graduated as gemmologists and were made Fellows of the Association.
Every year, until 2013, the Club held an annual exhibition, which helped pay the rent on the premises. Exhibitions are now held biennially, and are well attended, with displays and local and interstate dealers.
The Council has done a great job in maintaining and renovating the building, which has now been the Club’s home for 44 years. The Club remains responsible for the interior maintenance of the building, within Council guidelines.
The Club continues to be active with 4 workshops weekly and a monthly meeting on the first Thursday of each month. Speakers attend when we can find them, otherwise DVDs are shown or some other form of entertainment. Unfortunately, Field Trips are becoming a thing of the past due to Occupational Health and Safety and other restrictions on landowners. On rare occasions, a field-trip may be arranged; usually in conjunction with other clubs.
John Hill (July 2018)