Bio-Security and Fossicking rules and responsibilities

All visitors to any farm in Queensland must obey Queensland Bio-Security rules and regulations and are subject to the Bio-Security Act (Qld). All visitors are required to comply with the Bio-Security plan for the farm they are visiting.  Visitors to Palmerville Station must comply with their 'Landholder Consent to Fossick' and 'Palmerville Bio-Security Plan'.

Palmerville Station PIC (Property Identification Code) QGCO0073




All vehicles and people are bound by these rules. 

To enter a bio-security area without consent is a breach of the Bio-Security Act (Qld)

Fossickers must obtain a fossicking licence and are required to get written consent from the landholder to access private land to carry out fossicking activities.

By purchasing your 'Landholder Consent to fossick' included in your camping fee, you are granted 'landholders consent for the duration of your stay'

There are strict Queensland laws surrounding Bio-Security on farms, and

  • fossicking; 
  • mining; 
  • tourism;

are not exempt from these laws. 

Fossickers must also follow rules and responsibilities while carrying out their activities. 

Responsibilities of fossickers

The Fossicking Act 1994 and associated regulations contain requirements for fossickers to maintain safety, hygiene and a high standard of behaviour during their visits.

Landholders should contact the local mining registrar if unacceptable activities occur.

Infringement notices (on-the-spot fines) and prosecutions may be used to enforce the provisions of the legislation. Breaches may also result in cancellation of licences.

Please watch this brief video prepared by the Department of Agriculture about your responsibilities surrounding bio-security. The fines and penalties for breaches are very severe.



Mandatory - Bio-Security Check in

All visitors to the Station, tourists, campers, miners, transport companies, Government Departments etc, must comply with the bio-security legislation.

An Example for filling in your form:



General responsibilities

These responsibilities apply to all fossicking areas.

When fossicking, you must not:

  • destroy or injure any trees
  • clear any vegetation except above an actual excavation
  • pollute any watercourse, dam or the like
  • create areas likely to erode
  • interfere with any livestock, wildlife or property infrastructure (e.g. windmills, bores, pumps, tanks, fences)
  • interfere with any heritage or cultural site
  • undermine any banks or dig pits to create any tunnels or overhanging sections.

On leaving a site:

  • refill all excavations
  • remove all camping structures
  • bury human waste at least 20cm deep and 20m away from the high bank of any watercourse
  • remove all rubbish, unless established bins or pits are in the vicinity
  • ensure the site is in a safe, tidy and sanitary condition.

Fossicking in watercourses

Within watercourses, you must not:

  • excavate within 40m of any bridge, weir or other structure, unless signs indicate otherwise
  • excavate on the slopes of banks, or within 3m of the top or toe of banks, where such activities may cause the collapse of the banks
  • significantly interrupt or divert the flow of the stream
  • cause any significant turbidity more than 300m downstream
  • interfere with any trees or shrubs in the watercourse
  • erect any structures in the watercourse.

On leaving, refill all excavations and place excess material so as to minimise disturbance to the channel and significant streamflows.

Designated fossicking lands and areas

Within designated fossicking lands and areas you must not:

  • erect any permanent or semi-permanent structures
  • make any new tracks or roads without approval
  • drive on any fossicking land
    • in an unregistered vehicle or without a licence
    • at more than 50km/h
    • off a made track or road
    • in a hazardous or noisy manner
    • in a way that would harm the road surface
  • use a weapon, trap or explosive
  • operate any generator, radio or other electrical appliance with excessive noise that may annoy other fossickers
  • damage any sign or other structure
  • light any fire except within a fireplace or a cleared space with a radius of at least 2m
  • light a fire if a notice indicates that this is prohibited
  • bring any dogs or cats if a notice indicates that this is prohibited
  • allow any water supply to run to waste
  • fossick, camp or light a fire when instructed not to do so temporarily by a sign or authorised officers.

On leaving a site, you must make all excavations safe for future fossickers, stock and landholders if necessary, as instructed by the authorised officers.

General permission areas

Fossickers must comply with any special conditions of access.

Fossicking rules and responsibilities

Personal protection and safety

Stay safe while fossicking by observing the following principles.

Personal protection

  • Wear suitable clothing for the conditions, including a hat and sturdy footwear (shoes or boots).
  • Apply sun protection and wear sunglasses.
  • Use an insect repellent when appropriate.
  • Wear gloves when digging and sieving to avoid wear and tear to the hands.
  • Wear rubber boots if working in water for long periods.
  • Wear proper eye protection (safety goggles/glasses) whenever breaking rocks.
  • Carry a well-stocked first-aid kit.

Before leaving home

  • Check all equipment, including tools and camping gear, to ensure that it is in working order and safe to use.
  • Check your vehicle to ensure that it is in proper working condition and that adequate supplies of food, water, fuel and spares are on board.
  • Advise someone of your plans (including when you expect to return) and contact numbers.
  • Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closure and conditions.
  • Check the current bushfire situation.
  • Check weather forecasts and road conditions.
  • Carry a mobile phone or other suitable communication equipment to maintain contact or to get help.
  • Avoid going out alone.

When fossicking

  • Be careful when digging around large boulders because they may roll or move suddenly, causing severe injury.
  • Never burrow into or undermine a stream bank or earth face or work under overhanging rocks or earth faces.
  • Never dig holes deeper than the permitted depth.
  • Use existing roads and tracks only and avoid cross-country driving.
  • Beware of noxious weeds such as parthenium that can cause serious allergic reactions.
  • When visiting old mining areas beware of open shafts and avoid getting too close, as the surrounding ground may be unstable. Never enter old underground workings.
  • Be careful when fossicking on mine dumps, as much of the material is loose and may move without warning.
  • Never set a fire to clear grass or undergrowth.
  • Don’t carry or use firearms or explosives.
  • For the safety of others, make safe and refill any excavations before leaving, remove rubbish and bury human waste.

When camping

  • Position your camp site well away from any stock watering points.
  • Be careful with fire—use gas for cooking or set camp fires in a proper fireplace with a cleared space around it.

In an emergency

  • Dial 000 from a telephone or 112 from your mobile phone.


Permitted activities and materials

Your fossicking licence allows you to search for and collect fossicking materials using hand tools and for recreational, tourist and educational purposes only.

Permitted tools and extent of diggings

  • Hand tools such as picks, shovels, hammers, sieves, shakers, electronic detectors (metal detectors) and other similar tools can be used.
  • No machinery is permitted. This includes water sluices with electronic pumps and dredges of any kind.
  • You can collect from the surface or by digging, but you are not permitted to dig below 2m of the natural ground surface of land or below 0.5m in streams.
  • Overhangs and tunnels are not allowed.
  • On road reserves, no digging is permitted but collection from existing exposures is allowed.

Materials collected

You can collect gemstones, ornamental stones, mineral specimens, alluvial gold (including nuggets) and some fossil specimens, but not meteorites and fossils of vertebrate animals.

Sale and trade of collected material

You can sell the occasional ‘lucky find’ of a gemstone or sell and trade to hobbyists or through fairs and exhibitions. However, repeated removal for sale through shops or businesses, or as part of making a living, is considered commercial, and requires tenure under the Mineral Resources Act 1989.

Royalties are payable on fossicking materials that are the property of the Crown, but threshold exemptions of $100,000 mean that generally most fossickers are not liable.