Garibaldi Calcite Mine Loinsville

Garibaldi Calcite Mine Loinsville

Rich alluvial diggings gave way to deep mining on the field, as the miners followed the gold- bearing reefs underground. In c.1912, when diggers were trying to sink a shaft to cut the Garibaldi reef, the ground sounded hollow when struck with their picks. It was decided to put in a shot of explosives. When the dust had cleared, they saw that they had broken into a fairyland - a crystal cave lined with calcite crystal. Tourists came from as far as Grafton to gaze on this spectacle. It must have still been a sight years later, in the early 1920's, when George Smith, Inspector of Mines for NSW wrote this report for the NSW Department of Mines:        

"A very interesting occurrence of this mineral (calcite) may be seen in a large vugh in the Garibaldi Mine (Lionsville). It was interesected obliquely at one end by a tunnel... As exposed, its largest dimensions are 70 ft. by 16 ft. and 9 ft. high. It is lined with crystals of calcite of all sizes up to 2 ft. or more in diameter, some are cloudy, but most are transparent of light sherry colour, or colourless, and fine examples may be obtained of the variety which shows double refraction clearly and is known as Iceland Spar. Further exploration might show that the cavern extends beyond its known limits, but nothing has been done to enlarge it, and it remains as when first discovered. Though many of the crystals have been broken and removed, there yet remain so many intact that the damage is hardly noticeable...... Liquid inclusions from small to large bubbles as much as 2 inches long were seen containing possibly a desert-spoon full of the liquid..... upon some of the large crystals, short stout, hexagonal prisms of secondary calcite have been deposited. As single crystals and groups they are attached to the polished surfaces of the large crystals, and a very slight jar will detach them from their smooth base."

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