Some of Doug's earliest memories are of fossicking in the bush around Bowen, North Queensland, looking for quartz crystals with his father. So I guess you could say that his love of gemstones had an early start. Time passes and after 20 years as a professional computer programmer and designer of computer systems and databases he finds himself back where he started.
Doug began teaching himself to facet in 2004. At this time he was still doing the computer thing but found that he simply wanted to go more and more into the world of stones. He has a passion for gems and all things lapidary. One day serendipity came knocking and he chanced across a small advertisement in a stone magazine - a small gemshop at Mt Surprise in Far North Queensland was looking for someone to help out in the shop and take customers out on topaz digging tours. Just outside of Mt Surprise are the famous O'Briens Creek topaz digging fields and the job was for the winter tourist season, about 3 months worth. Things quickly fell into place and Doug was offered the job.
After approaching his computer boss for three months leave and subsequently being told no, Doug simply said fair enough, in that case I just have to go anyway and he resigned from his high paying, high stress computer job. Sometimes to follow a dream you have to take a leap of faith.
That first season was fantastic and Doug took to it like a duck to water. Being paid to work in a gemshop, to take people out digging topaz and having a dig himself and then spending the rest of his time cutting gems... well, you could say he was pretty happy about all that.
Doug now divides his time between Mt Surprise (his "Winter Pasture" as he calls it) and Bowen (his "Summer Pasture") and is either digging gem stones, cutting them, photographing them or working on his (this) website. The call of the topaz is strong and he is looking forward to another season up at Mt Surprise and seeing all the old diggers and the familiar faces again.
Here I am working hard!
Yours truely in his hole looking for topaz. Found some good topaz in this hole but move tons of dirt and rock to get it. It must have been about 37 degrees C that day and no shade!