Please enjoy this brief history of our National Gem and Mineral Show GEMBOREE ® in Australia.

Paul Howard’s suggestion in 2015 that the work of GEMBOREE committee members and volunteers is recognised with reports on future GEMBOREEs is appreciated and reports are available at the links in the table below.

Recent Past and Future GEMBOREEs

2029 Queensland QLACCA 2030 South Australia
2026 Queensland QGCA 2027 Tasmania 2028 NSW
2023 QLACCA 2024 South Australia 2025 Victoria
2020 Victoria 2021 Tasmania 2022 NSW
2017 Lithgow 2018 Willunga 2019 Rockhampton (QGCA)
2016 Tasmania 2015 Victoria 2014 Gatton
2013 South Aust 2012 Bundaberg 2011 Bathurst
2010 Devonport

For host cities for GEMBOREES prior to 2010 see the table at the end of this page.


Coonabarabran in New South Wales has the honour of conducting the first GEMBOREE in 1965 after suggestions were made to the editor of Australian Lapidary Magazine, Mr. Norm Patison. Norm had the vision and organised the GEMBOREE which has continued on every year since as the national gathering of lapidaries.

There were a few lapidary clubs though there was little thought about interaction and communication.

The GEMBOREE held the following year with even greater success was again organised by Norm. Norm then laid down a challenge “for any, one, two or three clubs to host next year’s GEMBOREE”. Three Sydney Clubs took the challenge with the 1967 GEMBOREE held at Nundle in northern N.S.W. Then in 1968 it was organised by four clubs at Gundagai, even further north. Its future appeared set.

The newly formed Combined Victorian Gem Clubs Association decided to start small holding a Gemkhana to bring their state members together in 1968. It was held in March to avoid clashing with the Gundagai GEMBOREE. Buoyed with the success of their Gemkhana the Victorian Association sought permission to conduct the 1969 GEMBOREE. One of their objects was to seek that the GEMBOREE should be held in a different state or territory of Australia each year.

With the support of the Australian Lapidary Magazine and previous organisers the first GEMBOREE held outside NSW was organised at Beechworth in northern Victoria. The result was the largest gathering of lapidaries and the general public witnessed so far.

Since 1969, the GEMBOREE has been staged in all states and territories. 1972 was the first year for South Australia, and Queensland’s first was in 1974. 1980 was the debut for Western Australia, and Tasmania hosted their first event in 1981. In 1988, the GEMBOREE was staged in Canberra and in 1993 it was held in the Northern Territory at Alice Springs. Sadly, due to Western Australia’s very small lapidary population combined with distance forced WA to withdraw as a GEMBOREE host – at least for the time being.

Norm Patison lived to see the GEMBOREE become a truly national event, and his name is commemorated on a perpetual trophy at the National Gem & Mineral competitions held in conjunction with each GEMBOREE.

Host cities for GEMBOREEs Prior to 2010 are listed below

2009 Horsham 2008 Murray Bridge
2007 Gatton 2006 Hobart 2005 Bathurst
2004 Warragul 2003 Gawler 2002 Rockhampton
2001 Wagga Wagga 2000 Ballarat 1999 Rockingham
1998 Gawler 1997 Launceston 1996 Toowoomba
1995 Glen Innes 1994 Ballarat 1993 Alice Springs
1992 Midland 1991 Loxton 1990 Bundaberg
1989 Devonport 1988 Canberra 1987 Shepparton
1986 Loxton 1985 Wanneroo 1984 Mount Isa
1983 Broken Hill 1982 Glen Innes 1981 Devonport
1980 Wanneroo 1979 Tanunda 1978 Gympie
1977 Shepparton 1976 Gunnedah 1975 Broken Hill
1974 Nambour 1973 Inverell 1972 Tanunda
1971 Coleraine 1970 Nundle 1969 Beechworth
1968 Gundagai 1967 Nundle 1966 Coonabarabran
1965 Coonabarabran

Our Historian is:

Janett Maunder janettmaunder@hotmail.com

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