Australian Opal

Below is the entire list of Johno's blog posts relating to Australian Opal.

Who did discover the Coober Pedy Opal Field

15 February 2020 by Johno

I guess there will always be disputes about who first discovered a lot of things and that apparently is what happened with the Coober Pedy Opal Field discovery.In looking through old newspaper stories on "Trove" I came upon this story written in the Argus of 9th July 1932. Hope...

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Queensland Opal Fields in 1901

9 January 2020 by Johno

The following is a summary of an article in the the newspaper "The Worker" of 1901 relating to the state of the opal industry in that year. The Opal Industry In 1901,an employee of "The Worker" newspaper carried out an interview with a Mr K L Lindsay of...

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Duck Creek Opal Field Queensland - 1903

9 January 2020 by Johno

The following article on the Duck Creek Opal Field was published in "The Register" newspaper on Wednesday 24th June 1903. It is reproduced here to let you know what it was really like mining at Duck Creek in 1903. Duck Creek 1903 " The Duck Creek Opal Field...

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More about White Cliffs Opal Field in 1894

2 January 2020 by Johno

This is the second article about White Cliffs Opal Field taken from an article in the Sydney Morning Herald in April 1894. It was written by " The Tourist" and details what they observed on their trip to White Cliffs. The second part of the article states a lot...

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Opal Robbery at White Cliffs Opal Field in 1896

2 January 2020 by Johno

The following story was published in the Sydney Mail and New South Wales Advertiser of June 13, 1896 Extensive Opal Robbery "An opal robbery of a sensational character has been reported here by the Wilcannia visitors to the White Cliffs Races, who returned from the township on Saturday...

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A Visit to White Cliffs Opal Mines in 1894

28 December 2019 by Johno

In looking through some old papers I came across the following article written in the Sydney Mail in 1894. It is an article describing a tourists visit to the White Cliffs Opal Field in that year. I hope you find it of interest. The article was researched by Rusheen...

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Some Beautiful Andamooka Matrix Opal

2 December 2019 by Johno

Andamooka Matrix Opal Andamooka Matrix opal is a unique form of opal found only at the Andamooka Opal field in South Australia. It consists of a fine grained limestone rock with opal ingrained in this limestone matrix. The opal can exist in all sorts of patterns. Because of the...

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Opal Formation -An Alternative Theory

21 November 2019 by Johno

A little while ago "Mac" contacted me with his theory on opal formation. I have my theory on this topic but it is good to keep an open mind as none of us were around when opal was formed. Mac has given me permission to present his thoughts on...

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Opals for Sale

20 October 2019 by Johno

A friend in Ballina, who's father owned a mine at Andamooka many years ago, has reached the stage in his life where he wants to sell off his collection of opal. I have agreed to put some of them on this website to see if anyone out there is interested....

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History and Distribution of opal deposits in Queensland -1902

30 July 2019 by Johno

In 1966, my cousin Ken and I, set off on our first opal fossicking trip to Queensland This story is detailed in the post titled My First Trip to the Opal Fields. As a result both of us have remained interested in the history of opal discovery and mining in...

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How Was Australian Precious Opal Formed

21 January 2019 by Johno

How was Australian Precious Opal Formed. I have read many many different articles on how Australian precious opal was formed but have had some doubts on the commonly accepted theory of water seeping through sandstone and dissolving silica ,which then formed a gel and seeped into cracks and crevices...

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Minnie Berrington -Andamooka's First Postmistress

4 October 2018 by Johno

A short time after I had published the story of Minnie Berrington I was contacted by Stuart Wattison who had carried out a lot of research into Minnies life. He had dug up copies of certificates including her Miners Right and this has added authentication of her story as told...

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Noodling and Specking at Andamooka

16 July 2018 by Johno

Noodling and Specking for Opal Opal mining in Australia is in decline compared to the earlier days. Most of us cannot afford to spend the large amounts of money required to mine for opal and would not have the expertise anyway, But noodling and specking for opal at Andamooka...

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Stephen Aracic -

8 June 2018 by Johno

A few months ago, Stephen Aracic made a comment on one of the posts on this website. Stephen is a well known opal miner from Lightning Ridge who has written a number of books on opal mining including "Determined", "Fortunes from the Lost Sea","Fortunes in Australian Opals","Discover Opals Before and...

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Stephen Aracic -Determined Opal Miner - Part Two

8 June 2018 by Johno

In a previous post I summarised the part of Stephen Aracic's book "Determined" which covered his early life in Bosnia and his emigration to Australia. See the post, Stepen Aracic "Determined Opal Miner. This post is a continued summary of the book and starts with Stephen Aracic's first trip to...

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Mintabie Opal Town to be Closed Permanently

18 February 2018 by Johno

Mintabie Opal Town, one of South Australia's famous opal towns, is to be permanently closed and its residents forced to leave within a year. The South Australian Government found many of the residents had been living there illegally. The ABC reports that Mintabie Opal Town was an access point for...

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Truck Paintings from the Opal Fields

13 January 2018 by Johno

Wherever you travel in the opal fields in Australia you will find old trucks dumped in the bush. Miners used whatever old trucks they could obtain cheaply and used them to cart mullock (dirt from their mines) or bits and pieces used in their mining ventures. Whenever they broke...

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Ross Coghill's Return To Andamooka Opal Field in 2017

14 December 2017 by Johno

Ross Coghill's Return to Andamooka Ross Coghill has kindly written of his trips to Andamooka in the 1960's and these are presented in earlier posts. In 2017 Ross decided to return to Andamooka to see how things had changed since his earlier visits. This post is Ross's impressions of...

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Ross Coghill's time at Andamooka Opal Field

8 September 2017 by Johno

You will recall in the post "Early days at the Andamooka Opal Field" that Ross Coghill had accompanied his father Ben to the Andamooka Opal field in August of 1959. Ross only stayed a while and then decided to return to Sydney. Ross has kindly sent me another part of...

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Early Days at the Andamooka Opal Field

31 May 2017 by Johno

A Miners Recollection of the early days at Andamooka Opal Field Ross Coghill mined for opal for a short time at Andamooka in 1959 with his father Ben. After a few weeks Ross returned to Sydney, but his father stayed on. Ross has kindly written down his story so...

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Some More Andamooka Matrix Opal

24 May 2017 by Johno

Andamooka Matrix Opal Recently Ross from NSW contacted me and asked if I could treat some Andamooka Matrix Opal his father had found some time ago, when he mined at Andamooka. Ross apparently has quite a collection of Andamooka Matrix opal and is looking to sell it. If anyone...

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A Miners View of White Dam Opal Field

2 April 2017 by Johno

White Dam Opal Field White Dam opal field is situated about 11 km from Andamooka township. Opal was discovered here in 1965 and some beautiful gems have been unearthed. I have written a post about White Dam and you can read it by clicking on White Dam. In...

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How to find opal in Australia's Opal Fields

13 January 2017 by Johno

It isn't easy, as a fossicker, to find an opal nowadays but it is not impossible. You are going to need some luck and a lot of patience, but it can be done. It is not much use wandering over the mullock heaps on the opal fields as many thousands...

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Crystal Opal - The Worlds most beautiful opal

24 December 2016 by Johno

Crystal Opal Crystal opal is so named because you can see right through it when you hold it up against a bright light. You can't see any of the colour play when you do this but let the light reflect off a good crystal opal and you will see...

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Queensland Boulder Opal

23 October 2016 by Johno

Boulder Opal Boulder opal is a special form of opal found only in Queensland. "Boulder opal" is the result of opal forming silica penetrating cracks and crevices in ironstone boulders. Formed millions of years ago, amorphous silica seeped into random cracks or in between concentric layers of ironstone...

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Australian Opal - World's Best

6 March 2016 by Johno

Australian Opal Ausralian Opal is arguably the most beautiful and stable opal in the world. It is an amorphous form of Silica with a water content varying from 3 percent to 21 percent but usually within the range of 5-10 percent. Amorphous is defined as "without any clearly defined...

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Coocoran Opal Field

19 January 2016 by Johno

Lightning Ridge Opal Fields The Coocoran Opal Field is just one of many fields in Lightning Ridge, where a number of different mining fields are spread over a significant area. If you wish to see the extent of mining in the area check out the site of NSW Resources...

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Lightning Ridge Fossils

2 January 2016 by Johno

Lightning Ridge Opal Field Lightning Ridge Fossils are among some of the most amazing fossils found any where in the world. At Lightning Ridge opal is usually found near the interface of the Wallangulla sandstone and the Finch clay facies (called the opal dirt). The opal is found...

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Lightning Ridge Opal Field - Local Humour

7 December 2015 by Johno

Lightning Ridge Opal Field In 2015 Barbara and I found ourselves at Lightning Ridge again. This time we met up with friends, Dianne and Ken, who had not been here before so it was up to us to show them some of the treasures of "The Ridge'. Opal...

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Charlie Nettleton - Opal Miner legend

26 November 2015 by Johno

Charlie Nettleton Opal MinerCharlie Nettleton has been attributed as having sunk the first opal shaft at Lightning Ridge.It is commonly believed that Jack Murray, a boundary rider on Dunumbral Station, near Angledool NSW, was the first to find opal in the Lightning Ridge area, in a dry creek bed and...

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Opalised Fossil photographs

17 November 2015 by Johno

I am sorry to have to delete the content of this post. Andre has instructed me to remove all of his photographs. Johno...

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The Desert Sea Collection of Opals - Stolen

10 November 2015 by Johno

The Desert Sea Collection The Comfort Inn Experience Motel at Coober Pedy is famous for it's owners great collection of opalised sea shells known as" The Desert Sea Collection". In March 2014, Andre was in Coober Pedy and was shown this collection. He also photographed the Desert Sea...

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More Andamooka Matrix Opal

5 November 2015 by Johno

Andamooka Matrix Opal Andamooka matrix opal is still a much maligned form of opal in many people's minds. The fact that it is a treated form of opal seems to ignore the fact that it is still basically one of natures treasures with it's beauty enhanced by changing the...

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Opalised Fossils You Must Not Miss

1 November 2015 by Johno

Opalised Fossils Opalised fossils are one of natures greatest treasures. Opal can hide many surprises. Because opal was generally formed at the bottom of the sea or swamp, it has replaced many interesting things. Sea shells, fresh water shells, sea creatures, bones and plants have all been found transformed...

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Tullie Wollaston - Birth of the Opal Fields

30 October 2015 by Johno

Tullie Wollaston, Opal Buyer and Seller, was present at the birth of Austalia's opal fields. In an earlier post I told of his exploits in tracking down Joe Bridle in Queensland with the end result that Tullie Wollaston managed to purchase some Queensland opal and then set up a market...

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Tullie Wollaston - One of the first Opal Dealers

22 October 2015 by Johno

Tullie Wollaston was one of the first opal dealers in Australia. He recognized the value of Australian opal and went to great lengths to travel all over Australia to buy opal directly from the miners and then traveled around the world to establish a market for this gemstone. He describes...

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Lunatic Hill - Lightning Ridge

28 July 2015 by Johno

Lunatic Hill The Lightning Ridge Opal Field has a large number of "mining locations' with very exotic names suggesting strange things happened in the past. Names such as "Deadmans, Revolver, P & O Jacks, Killing Yard, Hornet's Rush, Poverty Point and Frying Pan" can send the mind into a...

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Mintabie Opal - A Schoolboy's Project

19 July 2015 by Johno

Opal Mining at Mintabie Opal Field I have written quite a few posts on the various opal fields in Australia to share information I have been able to glean over the years. I always hope someone will read something that will fire their interest and give them a little...

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Glengarry Opal Field

6 May 2015 by Johno

Glengarry Opal Field About 45 km from Lightning Ridge there is another extensive opal mining area where mining is still being carried out today. Fields have been established at Glengarry, Grawin, Sheepyard Flat, Carters Rush and Mulga Rush. These fields are all relatively close together and a lively community...

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Opal Cutting Using Flat Lap Machines

5 May 2015 by Johno

Opal cutting using flat lap machines has many advantages. For many years I had cut and polished opal using the conventional grinding wheels. I started on a two wheel carborundum grinder as that was all I could afford. By being very careful and ensuring I used the full width of...

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Andamooka Rainbow Matrix Opal

5 May 2015 by Johno

Andamooka Rainbow Matrix Opal is fast becoming popular with those who can't afford a "Real Opal". Originally it was called "concrete" because that was what it looked like although you could see small specks of opal in amongst the concrete like grains. It is a porous quartzite host rock...

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Coober Pedy celebrates 100 years

3 April 2015 by Johno

Cooper Pedy has just celebrated 100 years since it was founded as an opal field. Opal was found at what is now called Coober Pedy by 14 year old Willie Hutchison. He had been out prospecting for gold with his father and two other prospectors in January 2014. His father...

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Lightning Ridge Opal Field 2014

16 October 2014 by Johno

Lightning Ridge Opal Field 2014 As with many of our trips to the opal fields we did not really intend to go there. We set off to escape Melbourne's winter with our destination as Wooli, near Grafton, on the New South Wales coast. We took the kayaks and the...

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Opal Tree - Lightning Ridge Opal Field

15 October 2014 by Johno

Lightning Ridge Opal Field There are many interesting things to see and people to meet at Lightning Ridge and indeed at any of the opal fields. These towns are unique and have attracted a great diversity of characters. I don't think we have visited any of the opal towns...

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Amigo's Castle - Lightning Ridge

13 October 2014 by Johno

Amigo's Castle at Lightning Ridge Opal Field The last time we visited Amigo's Castle was in the 1990's. Amigo was still constructing it with no finish date in sight. He also didn't like visitors at that time so Barbara was lucky to be invited in to take some photographs,...

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More Andamooka Matrix Opal

6 October 2014 by Johno

More Andamooka Matrix Opal During the last month I was contacted by Andre who told me he had a couple of pieces of Andamooka matrix opal he had collected some time ago. He purchased one of these from Cash Converters and they were part of a deceased estate. Andre...

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Crystal Opal

4 August 2014 by Johno

Opal is a form of silica which has water molecules attached to it (varying from 3% to 21%) and is called hydrated silica. It is an amorphous material, which means that it does not have a crystalline structure. It's internal molecular structure can be ordered. Opal consists at a micro...

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Minnie Berrington - Update from a relative

19 April 2014 by Johno

On this website I have written a few blogs on the life of Minnie Berrington, the first woman opal miner at Andamooka. I was fortunate a month or so ago to hear from relatives of Minnie who had read the posts. Both Peter Berrington and his daughter Stephanie contacted...

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Opal Fields - There are some strange creations out there.

10 March 2014 by Johno

The men who work in the opal fields are a hardy lot. The work is extremely hard and the weather conditions are deplorable for much of the time. They are often forced to live in primitive shelters and with few of the modern comforts that we have today. You would...

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Architecture in the Opal Fields

17 February 2014 by Johno

The opal field towns were established at a time when building materials were very scarce and hence the early architects had to very inventive and had to recycle almost everything they could find. The first miners arrived on foot or by horse, or in the case of Andamooka, by primitive...

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Opal Field Relics

13 February 2014 by Johno

As you travel around any of the opal fields, particularly Andamooka, Coober Pedy and Mintabie. you will find a proliferation of old abandoned vehicles. Miners have obviously purchased these at some time to use on the opal fields and when they have become un-repairable they have been left to rot....

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Noodling and Specking for Opals

2 February 2014 by Johno

Most of us who visit the opal fields do not have the expertise or knowledge to actually mine for opal. A lot of us though, do have a desire to find a piece of opal. There is a way that this desire can become reality, and that is by noodling...

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Lightning Ridge - Discovery of Opal

2 January 2014 by Johno

Lightning Ridge is located in New South Wales, north of the township of Walgett and south of the Queensland border. It is renowned as the largest known deposit of black opal in the world. Black opal is found in much smaller amounts at a number of other localities such as...

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Water Supply for the Coober Pedy Opal Field

2 January 2014 by Johno

One of the major impediments to the establishment of any of Australia's opal fields was the lack of available water for the miners and their animals. The opal fields are located in areas which were once a vast inland sea which had later turned into desert. The opal was formed...

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Gemville - Forgotten Opal Field Near White Cliffs

10 November 2013 by Johno

We had visited White Cliffs Opal field on a number of occasions but had not even considered that there were other fields discovered and worked in the area. While reading some of the old opal books I discovered there were quite a few areas worked around White Cliffs. This makes...

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Coober Pedy and Andamooka Opal Fields - Iron Man Jim Shaw

1 November 2013 by Johno

Iron Man Jim Shaw In the history of the opal fields there are always some very eccentric people who pop up. You probably had to be a bit different to head off into the desert to toil in extremely hot and uncomfortable conditions to dig for opal, especially in...

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Minnie Berrington - Life at Andamooka

25 October 2013 by Johno

This post continues Minnie Berrington's story as told in her book " Stones Of Fire". The previous post relating to her story told of her life in Coober Pedy and this one relates to her life at Andamooka, now a small town located approximately 120 km from the Woomera Rocket...

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Andamooka Opal Field Trip - October 2013

20 October 2013 by Johno

It was October and we were off on another trip to Andamooka. Normally we wouldn't go there at this time of the year as the temperature can be well into the thirties but there was to be a memorial service for Brian Tansell, an old time miner at Andamooka, and...

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Minnie Berrington - Summary of her life as told in

23 August 2013 by Johno

Minnie Berrington Minnie Berrington, first woman opal miner at Andamooka, wrote a book about her adventures in Coober Pedy and Andamooka. This book is called "Stones of Fire" A Woman's Experience in Search of Opal. This book was published in 1958 and is well worth reading to gain...

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Queensland Opal Fields - The Eulo Queen

23 July 2013 by Johno

If you have ever driven from Cunnamulla to Thargomindah in southern Queensland you will have passed through the small township of Eulo. If you blink twice you will miss it as there is not much there.It has a cafe, post office, police station, a date farm and of course, the...

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White Cliffs Opal Field - A lovely place to visit

14 July 2013 by Johno

White Cliffs is a small town located 95 km north of Wilcania in New South Wales. Opal was 1st discovered there on 1889 and by 1897 there were thousands of miners in the area. The opal was found in white sandstone country indicating it had once been part of a...

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Wooli Beach - How to find Sapphires

1 July 2013 by Johno

It was late May and the weather in Melbourne was getting colder and wetter. It was time to escape north to a better climate and to do some fossicking and fishing. Barbara and I packed the caravan and Hilux with all of the essentials for an unplanned trip. Plenty...

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White Cliffs Opal Field - Early Days

1 July 2013 by Johno

Early Days at White Cliffs The early days at White Cliffs were quite interesting and somewhat different to most other opal fields. The information in this post comes mainly from the book "They struck opal" written by E F Murphy, "The Opal Book" by Frank Leechman and "The Lightning...

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Amazing Patterns in Gemstones

27 May 2013 by Johno

Whenever we think of opal we usually think of gems used in jewellery, but there are some opals and other gemstones which portray beautiful and intriguing patterns, but which are not necessarily suitable for use as jewellery. Some of the stones shown below are from my collection and while...

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Lightning Ridge Opal Field - Amigo's Castle

14 May 2013 by Johno

There are many amazing sights around Lightning Ridge, but few better than Amigo's Castle. Vittorio Stefanato, known locally as "Amigo", opal miner and castle builder, started his project in 1985 when he started getting tired of opal mining. Initially he sourced his stone from his mining lease but soon...

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Astronomer's Castle - Lightning Ridge Opal Field

14 May 2013 by Johno

Lightning Ridge is famous for its "black opal" but it also has its share of strange buildings. The strangest of all has to be the "Universe Observatory" or "Astronomer's Castle" built by Polish Alex Szperlak. Alex built this monument to the great astronomer...

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Andamooka Opal - Painted Ladies

30 April 2013 by Johno

Opal at Andamooka is found in a narrow band of depths varying up to 600 mm. In this bed there are many boulders of strongly bonded quartzite of varying sizes.,Today, as you wander among the great piles of disturbed overburden which is mixed with the old opal level , you...

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Opalised Shells

30 April 2013 by Johno

The opal fields of Australia were formed at the bottom of a large inland sea. In this sea there were all sorts of marine creatures including turtles, crocodiles, dinosaurs, all sorts of fish and of course shellfish. As these creatures died their bodies sank to the bottom of the sea...

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Tullie Wollaston - Epic journey to seek opal

29 April 2013 by Johno

It was all very good finding opal in the early days but if no-one wanted to buy it, then there was little use risking your life trying to find it. Still this did not deter the brave souls who ventured into the harsh environment of central Australia to chase opal....

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Yowah - Opal Town in Queensland

8 April 2013 by Johno

Yowah is a small town in south west Queensland and is famous for the Yowah Nut which is only found here and nowhere else. The yowah nut is a relatively small, hollow ironstone concretion in the shape of a nut. They occur in closely packed horizontal layers with sandstone overlaying...

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White Cliffs Solar Station

24 March 2013 by Johno

White Cliffs White Cliffs is famous in Australia as an Opal Town but it is also unique for another reason. It was the site for world's first experimental solar station for supplying power to small outback towns. In 1979 New South Wales was experiencing major political problems. Premier...

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Yowah Nuts - Found only at Yowah Queensland

14 February 2013 by Johno

Yowah is a small outback opal town in Queensland located about 1,000 km west of Brisbane and about 130 km west of Cunnamulla.There is a sealed road all the way so it is very easily accessible. The opal field surrounding Yowah is quite small, being about 4 square kilometres. It...

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Cutting Opal - Doublets

13 February 2013 by Johno

If you have any thin pieces of opal with nice colour but believe it is too thin to cut a cabechon then think about making a doublet. A doublet is basically a fairly thin layer of usually opal glued to a thicker layer of opal potch or some other...

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Gwalia Gold Mining Town - Western Australia

1 February 2013 by Johno

While my main interest is in opal and the opal towns, I still can't resist visiting some of the old gold mining towns as they share a similar kind of history. It never ceases to amaze me how seemingly intelligent men (and it was mainly men) would give up everything...

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Coober Pedy Opal Field - Harry the Crocodile Man

24 January 2013 by Johno

If ever you travel through any of the opal towns it pays to stay awhile and talk to the locals. For some reason these places attract some of the real characters from all around the world. If you are looking to buy a small parcel of opal it gives you...

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Buying Opal

23 January 2013 by Johno

For all of us amateur opal cutters getting a regular supply of reasonable quality is one of the major problems. As opal mining slows down due to rising costs and lack of new finds, it is getting harder and harder to access. I have been lucky living in Australia...

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Things at Coober Pedy Opal Field - 2012

23 January 2013 by Johno

Whenever you visit the opal fields there is much more to see than just opal mines and shops selling opal. There are all sorts of amazing and innovative machinery. There are all sorts of interesting buildings and there are other "things". This post includes pictures of machines, cars, buildings and...

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Bendoc - 2012

21 January 2013 by Johno

No this is not a new opal field. It is, in fact an old gold mining area in north east Victoria. Years ago Barbara and I visited the area to see the Eranundra Forest. This is an old growth area which has been heavily logged in the past but...

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Andamooka Matrix Opal

17 January 2013 by Johno

The term matrix opal refers to a type of opal where there is a base stone with tiny pieces of brilliant opal interspersed within this base stone. The base can be limestone, sandstone or even ironstone. At Andamooka and apparently nowhere else in the world, two types of matrix opal...

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Andamooka Opal Field Trip - 2012

16 January 2013 by Johno

In 2012, my wife Barbara and I went on a trip into central Australia to escape the wet and cold of Melbourne. As with most of our trips we tend to get diverted into at least one opal field. On this trip I was lucky enough to get to visit...

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How Opal was Formed

15 January 2013 by Johno

There are quite a few theories on how opal was formed and I will try and give a summary of the most popular theories in as simple language as I can. I am not a chemist, nor a geologist, so I may get some details wrong but I hope you...

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Mintabie Opal Field Trip - 2012

9 January 2013 by Johno

We have driven on the Stuart Highway many times but have always sailed past the turn off to Mintabie just a few kilometres past Marla. This time we were determined to visit Mintabie as it is only about 35 km off the Stuart Highway. We camped at the Marla...

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Minnie Berrington - First woman opal miner at Andamooka

13 January 2012 by Johno

In 1926, Minnie Berrington, a young typist from London arrived at Coober Pedy becoming one of only 3 women on that opal field at that time. Conditions may not look all that good at Coober Pedy today but at that time they would have been much worse. Access to...

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Brian Tansell - Long time opal miner from Andamooka Opal Field

4 January 2012 by Johno

This is a brief story about Brian Tansell, a regular resident of Andamooka since 1968. This story was told to me by Brian himself on 30th June 2011. Below is a photograph of Brian taken in 2012. Brian is well known in Andamooka...

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Andamooka Cemeteries - by Brian Tansell, opal miner

10 September 2011 by Johno

In the early 1930's there were a few miners working at Andamooka. One of these miners was an old European who lived in an old dugout away from the main centre. He was regularly seen walking across the hill to collect water from the well in the main centre, but...

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My First Trip to the Opal Fields

13 May 2011 by Johno

In my teens I had a strong interest in fossicking for gemstones. This led to gold panning and gemstone fossicking trips to Beechworth, Walhalla and other similar places, In 1966 my cousin Ken and I decided we should try and find some opal as we had read about its...

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Andamooka Opal Field - A Brief History

9 January 2011 by Johno

Andamooka is situated approximately 360 km from Port Augusta. It can be reached by turning off the Stuart Highway at Pimba and travelling along sealed roads via Woomera and Roxby Downs. Andamooka was one of the later opal fields found in Australia.Opal was first found on the Andamooka Station...

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Treating Andamooka Matrix Opal

15 November 2010 by Johno

Andamooka matrix opal is basically a limestone base rock impregnated with tiny pieces of precious opal. Because the limestone is very pale it is often difficult to see the play of opal colour in the stone and hence a method of darkening the limestone background was developed so the colour...

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Cutting Opal

12 July 2010 by Johno

Cutting Opal is really about grinding away the colourless opal or potch and shaping your stone to an appealing shape while revealing the best colour on the prominant face of the stone. As explained elsewhere great care should be taken to study the stone before any grinding is carried...

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Dopping Opal

23 June 2010 by Johno

What on earth does "dopping opal" mean? If you have ever tried cutting and polishing opal or any other small stone by holding it in your fingers you will know it is very difficult to do and will often result in grinding a hole in your finger as well...

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Items Needed for Cutting and Polishing Opal

7 June 2010 by Johno

The cutting and polishing of opal will require some machinery in order to shape and polish the stones. There are many different types of machinery available and it can be very expensive. If you are just starting to cut opal or any other gemstone, you can do so without spending...

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White Dam Opal Field - 2007

2 May 2010 by Johno

The photograph below is of the White Dam Opal field. In July 2007, my wife Barbara and I visited Andamooka. We camped in the Andamooka Caravan Park which is on the main road into Andamooka township. Andamooka is a small town but still has 2 hotels, a supermarket,...

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