Author: Brad Pillans, Chair NRG Steering Committee

Extract from National Rock Garden Newsletter No. 13, September 2016

Graziella Caprarelli at the NRG booth with microcline crystal at left front.
Image courtesy Brad Pillans.

The NRG was given a complimentary display booth at the AESC, held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 26–30 June 2016. The AESC is the major conference of the Geological Society of Australia (GSA), held every 2 years and attracting several hundred delegates. The NRG booth was in a prominent position just inside the main doors of the Exhibition Hall where morning/afternoon tea and lunch were served, and where posters were on display throughout the conference.

I was capably helped in running the booth by local GSA members, Graziella Caprarelli (University of South Australia) and Ben Kimpton (Adelaide University). Two impressive mineral specimens, for display, were kindly provided by Ben McHenry from the SA Museum – a 30 kg crystal of microcline feldspar (KAlSi3O8) from Harts Range, NT and a 5 kg ‘Painted Lady’ opal slab from Andamooka, SA.

Booth visitors were invited to make a gold coin donation and place their business cards into a prize draw for a lovely specimen of azurite (Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2), a bright blue copper mineral from the historic Burra Burra copper mine in South Australia, donated by the SA Museum.

Copper was discovered at Burra, 160 km north of Adelaide in 1845 and within a few years was one of the world’s largest copper mines. The prize was enthusiastically won by David Tilley from the NSW Geological Survey in Maitland.

The booth was visited by a good number of conference delegates with whom I had many enjoyable conversations about the NRG. Many people were familiar with the NRG, but quite a few had either not heard of us or had heard very little about us. In that respect, the booth was successful in raising the profile of the NRG among conference attendees.

I also gave a talk about the NRG, further informing conference attendees of NRG activities, both past and present, as well as some of our exciting plans for the future.