The Scottish town of Dysart has been dependent on mining since the Middle Ages. Its namesake on the Peak Downs in Queensland’s central highlands sprang up in the 1970s to service the Saraji and Norwich Park mines operated by the BHP-Utah coal conglomerate.
There the similarity between the towns ends. Because of its function, Dysart is one of the more remote Peak Downs settlements, but, in the way of the bush, is within comfortable driving distance of towns such as Clermont, and Capella.
The gemfields of Ruby Vale, Sapphire and Anakie are also within range. This is hands-on fossicking territory where, providing the girth is on the taut side, you can shimmy down a shaft to try you luck at the mine face.
The not-so-lithe can join the wheelbarrow brigade at Ruby Vale where the site operators will lead you through the digging, sifting and gem-spotting process.