Willows, The Willows or Willows Gemfields is a small town nestled in The Gemfields along the Capricorn Highway West of Emerald.
The population is around 100 but it can swell with tourists during certain times of the year.
This was a really hard little town to find out information about, generally there is a lot of history information about the Gemfields as a whole and a few other little snippets here and there but no real information relating to the town over the years, if I do find out more I’ll update this as I go.
Willows is situated in a region which is called the Gemfields and sapphires and other gems are mined in the whole area.
It was reported that sapphires were found in this area initially in 1870 by a surveyor along Retreat Creek area and then the first ruby from this area was found in approximately 1892 and 1902 this area was proclaimed a mining field.
Gemfields that covers about 900 square km’s of land has 4 townships in it, these are Sapphire, Rubyvale, Anakie and also of course the Willows.
The Willows in particular is known for having a lot unusually coloured sapphires that have been mined and found over the years, this includes a 332 caret rough yellow which was named the “Golden Willow”.
The Willows and the gemfields and also the other towns in the area have experienced so many highs and lows in their long history reaching their peak during the 1970?s with the establishment of machinery mining.
Currently the Willows Gemfields has two caravan parks for accommodation, walk in mining tours and also has a fossicking park where you can learn to recognise and find sapphires that you dig up, it is also a part of the Gemfest festival that take place every year.