The Newry fossicking area is located on Newry Station, a large pastoral lease south west of Darwin in the Northern Territory. It adjoins the Territory's border with Western Australia and is operated as a cattle station.
Named after the Irish port of Newry, the property was first taken up in 1886, with a homestead built on the banks of the Keep River. Cattle were introduced after the lease was bought by a pastoralist who spent two years droving a herd of 7,000 cattle and horses 5,000 km across northern Australia to the Ord River region where they established several cattle stations.
A deposit of rare zebra rock was found on the station in 2011, which is now being mined by the Kimberley Stone company located adjacent to the fossicking area.
Much of the pastoral lease lies within the Keep River Important Bird Area, so classified because of the importance of its habitats for conservation of the endangered Gouldian Finch.
A 400 ha site within the property - the Newry Station Gouldian Finch site - is listed on Australia's Register of the National Estate.
Zebra rock, primordial stone, fire stone
Like the name suggests, the zebra rock (also known as Kimberley siltstone) is famous for its unique striped and spotted patterns. So far, the only place in the world where this stone has been found is the Lake Argyle catchment area.
This distinctive reddish-brown and white-banded sedimentary rock is composed essentially of small particles of quartz and 'sericite' (fine-grained white mica); zebra rock also contains the minerals kaolinite, dickite and alunite. The colour banding is probably formed by the rhythmic precipitation of iron oxide (hematite) rich bands during the alteration of the rock by percolating fluids (fluids migrating through the rock).
Primordial stone is a siltstone that occurs in one location within the Northern Territory, being Newry Station. It is known to be about 610 million years old and is sometimes referred to as ribbon or dreamtime stone.
Please remember that the fossicking area lies within Newry Station and care should be taken not to interfere with the movement of cattle or other station activities.
The fossicking area is located south of the intersection of the Victoria Highway and the Duncan Road approximately 12 km east of the NT/WA border.
The turnoff to the Zebra Rock Mine is 5.1 km from the Victoria Highway and is well signposted. Go through the gate at this turnoff and follow the road through the fossicking area for 6 km to the Zebra Rock Mine.
Extractive Mineral Permit 28313 & Mineral Authority 27908: EMP 28313 and MA 27908 lie within fossicking area 7 and written consent is required to fossick on these titles. Consent can be sought by emailing a Fossicking Notice/Fossicking Request form to Ms Ruth Duncan, Manager, Zebra Rock Mine on firstname.lastname@example.org (phone 0400 767 650)
Camping is available at the Zebra Rock Mine where you can partake in fossicking and various tours.
'Bush Camping' IS NOT permitted on Newry Station.
Travelling in the NT
Driving in the Northern Territory can pose unique challenges even to the experienced traveller, and road conditions can change rapidly. Check road conditions, rest stops and National Park closures prior to setting out.