Willunga will be hosting the 54th GEMBOREEŽ from the 30th of March till the 2nd of April 2018. After Coonabarabran in New South Wales hosted the first GEMBOREE in 1965, it has been held every year since in towns all over Australia. GEMBOREE is the national gathering of lapidaries in Australia and is an opportunity for lapidary clubs to get together, share their best work and enjoy a weekend dedicated to rocks, gemstones and minerals.
The weekend will showcase lapidary clubs from around the country through competitions and displays, but there will also be opportunities to go on field trips and listen to guest speakers. The specific field trips aren't finalised, but there will likely be a chance to go fossicking at a local spot. The field trips are only available for up to date financial members of lapidary clubs to ensure that all participants are covered by insurance. The last time the GEMBOREE was held in South Australia, there was a field trip where attendees could go fossicking for fossils.
There are many competitions open for entry. These range from carvings and cameo work to opals, wire wrapped jewellery, tumbled stones, and facet cut stones. Competition entry forms are available in the GEMBOREE 2018 booklet, which can be downloaded online or picked up from your local lapidary club. Competition entries must be mailed to the competition committee by Monday 15th of January to be considered. There is even a special category for GEMBOREE Prince and Princess with a junior category for young lapidarists between 6-12 years old and a senior category for those over 13 years old.
The GEMBOREE 2018 Booklet also has forms for booking camping sites or for volunteering at the event. Powered sites can be booked for $130 and unpowered sites are $100, while tent campers have fees ranging from $50-$70. The site fees cover two adults and up to four school-age children as well as entry to the GEMBOREE. For those who will not be camping, or who will be staying off site, adults can purchase a GEMBOREE pass for $25 and students and seniors are $20. Check the GEMBOREE booklet for the full fee list.
For those visiting from further afield and there is also a chance for some local site seeing. Geology enthusiasts can visit the Hallett Cove Conservation Park where a walking trail takes visitors through the park's cultural and geological history. Hallet Cove Conservation Park's Black Cliff lead to the discovery that South Australia has been through an ice age. Another site to visit is the Willunga Slate Museum, housed in converted police stables the museum tells the story of Willunga slate became a booming export in the mid-1800s.
If you're new to the world of gems and stones, then the GEMBOREE could be an opportunity to learn a little more and perhaps make connections with your local lapidary and rockhound club. For lapidary enthusiasts, it will be an opportunity to meet others, see some great displays, chat about all things to do with rocks, stones and gems, and perhaps even win a few prizes. The GEMBOREE runs for four days from 30 March till 2 April 2018 and will be held at Willunga Reserve on Railway Terrace, Willunga. For more information head to the AFLACA website. Contacts for specific members of the GEMBOREE committee can be found within the GEMBOREE booklet.