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Sapphire Fields
Sapphire Fields

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson / John Huth

The monument commemorates the discovery of sapphires and zircons at Retreat Creek in 1878 by Archibald Richardson

Archibald John Richardson was born in Edinburgh in 1836. In around 1862 or 1863 Richardson emigrated to Queensland, and he was sufficiently established as a surveyor in Rockhampton to be identified by the Queensland government as a suitable technical member of the Jardine brothers’ expedition to Cape York in 1864.

In 1878 Archibald discovered sapphires near Retreat Creek, Anakie – some 200 miles inland from Rockhampton. Archibald bought the surrounding land and struggled for years to develop the site but ultimately failed to find any market for the sapphires. However, the site developed as more people became interested in its potential and a railway link to Anakie was established by the mid-1880s.

By 1900 the Anakie sapphire trade really started to take off. By 1923, the total sum realized on the stones from excavations in the area had reached £3,545,335. Archibald died in 1900.


Address:Quarry Road, Sapphire, 4702
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -23.465833
Long: 147.723333
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Technology
Approx. Event Start Date:1878
Approx. Event End Date:1878


Front Inscription

"The Sapphire Fields"

This monument commemorates Archibald John Richardson's discovery of sapphires & zircons on the Retreat Creek here at 
Sapphire in the year 1878. 

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au