Phillip Mackenzie has been involved with the Toowoomba Lapidary Club for 20 years.
Phillip Mackenzie has been involved with the Toowoomba Lapidary Club for 20 years. Jayden Brown

Hundreds rock on up for big Easter swap

THE Warwick Showground was rocked at the weekend as hundreds of people passed through the gates for the popular annual Easter Rock Swap.

Lapidary enthusiasts, antique dealers and collectors of all sorts camped out for three busy days of trading and catching up with old friends.

Doing his best on the gate for a fifth year in a row was Alan Taylor.

Mr Taylor said the combination of good weather and flow of people from Easter Fair had the event bustling on Saturday morning.

"It's on par with last year," he said.

"The event has a really great following - it's a tradition."

Among the crowds was Toowoomba Lapidary Club member Phillip Mackenzie, trading a variety of rocks and gems.

Mr Mackenzie said he had been involved with collecting rocks for 20 years.

"The best part of it is going out and collecting the rocks," he said.

"I do an annual trip up to Agate Creek."

For Mr Mackenzie the weekend is all about socialising.

"I like meeting new people," he said.

"It's great to catch up with old friends."

There were a number of regulars at the event, including George Vanderpal from Peachester who has been involved with lapidary for 50 years.

"Other rock swaps are only one-day events," he said.

"Warwick, on the other hand, is three days so it's worth setting up."

It wasn't just rocks and precious gems that had the crowd's attention, a number of antiques and collectables drew a lot of interest over the three days of trading.

Among the collectors was Joyce McKenzie from Crows Nest, who had a large collection of glass bottles.

Mrs McKenzie said she had been collecting glass bottles for 45 years.

"I've used to come to rock swap about 30 years ago," she said.

"I like glass stuff - I dug a lot of there bottles up by hand."

The event attracted people of all ages, with families bringing their kids out to learn more about the rocks and the hidden gems within them.

One of the youngest rock collectors present over the weekend was nine-year-old Sophie Collins from Junabee.

Sophie said she enjoyed looking at all the rocks.

"They're all different - all different colours and sizes," she said.

The weekend has been heralded as a success by organisers, who were surprised by the large attendances given an upcoming national gem show in Gatton.



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