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Terry Hearl’s delightful book comprises a collection of true stories about fishing and gem exploration in outback Australia spanning several decades. Dispensing with city life and a steady job as a young man, Terry visits remote areas to shovel through red dirt, dust and clouds of clinging black flies in search of colourful and rare gemstones such as zircon, amethyst and garnet. En route and while fossicking on the gem fields, he meets characters – some veteran, some naïve and some with doubtful backgrounds – all infused with the lust of discovering hidden treasures buried in places time forgot. Somewhere in between digs, Terry also manages to tangle with barra, crocs, friendly goannas and giant groper when visiting the Gulf of Carpentaria and other places off the beaten track in the NT. If you enjoy a good yarn about the bush, with a dash of Aussie humour, and yearn for a flickering campfire under a clear night sky at the end of a rough, dusty track – or even if not – you will most likely enjoy this gem of a read. Horsefish & Hard Won Treasures is 248 pages with 12 pages of colour photos. Postal orders are available from Face Book page Secretcreekcrystal or email Price: $35 including post.


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