Opal Fields

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

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

Stephen Aracic - His return to Lightning Ridge

12 July 2018 by Johno

Stephen and Family Head for Lightning RidgeIn February 1965 , after returning to Sydney, Stephen Aracic quit his job at Dunlop Rubber. Feeling restless he set up his own business called Rozelle Radiator Repairs which operated satisfactorily for a while but then became quite a struggle. At the same time...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

More old trucks on the opal fields.

19 March 2017 by Johno

Old Trucks in the Opal Fields There are more old trucks on the opal fields than anywhere else. Early miners usually had little money, and being very mechanically minded, worked out ways to convert old trucks into useful vehicles for the opal fields. Some miners today still use...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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,...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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....

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

Coober Pedy Opal Field - Original Discovery of Opal

13 February 2013 by Johno

It seems that the discovery of opal in Australia was often due to chance with many of the discoverers either looking for something else or drilling for water in the outback. When we understand how opal was formed it is not a surprise. Most opal is buried deep beneath the...

Read the full post...

Chamberlain 9G Tractor Run at Coober Pedy

24 January 2013 by Johno

Barbara and I love to travel in the outback. We don't go in for the arduous 4 wheel drive trips, crossing sand dunes and putting ourselves at risk, but we do love to head off and see where our travel takes us. In 2004 we set off up the Oodnadatta...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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...

Read the full post...

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,...

Read the full post...

To Top