Yowah Opal Field

20 March 2020 by Johno

Categories: Opal Fields Characters | Opal Fields History | Australian Opal

While looking through old newspaper archives I came across this story from the "Worker" Brisbane of Monday 21 November 1949 entitled " When the old Grey mare ate the flour and the hops" and now will share it with you.

When the old grey mare ate the flour and the hops.

"I am writing to tell you how much I enjoy reading "The Worker". I too can remember this time of life spent on the Yowah opal fields and Duck Creek mines not forgetting the old Southern Cross claim. Many were the hardships we experienced - going miles for water with one big beer barrel tied to the dray and the old grey mare to pull it home. She was the only mare on the mine owned by Bill Evans, known as the opal king. He had a very valuable mine, Bowler Opal.

The Southern Cross was renowned for its black matrix opal, and Hunters claims for pipe and potch.

Our groceries were conveyed to us by buckboard and wagon, likewise our mail. Big footed King was the coachman. His size in boots were tens.

When the drought broke we were at the verge of starvation, as creeks were all flooded and the Bulloo River un-crossable. When we did get supplies one family was unlucky enough to get tapioca that had been placed in a rabbit bait bag and every member of the family was poisoned. This caused a stir in the old mining camp and brought out the real loyal feeling in every man.

It was about this time that Paddy Monaghan rode into Eulo to wed his pretty Poppy Wheeler. Poppy's mother was cook at the Gladstone hotel, Eulo. Billy Macgilveray made a plum duff to celebrate on his own behalf the happy event and built up the fire. On his return from the shaft he found a large piece of quartz tied up in a rag and the pudding gone. I guess Billy has had many a laugh since then.

Mr Evans old grey mare pushed its way into the old slab kitchen and had a good feed of flour and hops set on the warm ashes to rise by Miss Vausey for the daily batch of bread. By the time the mare had devoured the lot she had swollen so much she could not get out, so decided to sit down and wait.n the morning when the door was removed what a joke and everybody enjoyed it

Many good times were spent in the old fields, every one each others equal. Hunter will always be remembered for the good work done. Many were the shafts he sank and many a noble piece of opal was lost in the diggings to be found by the noodling of the Driver family children of Arthur Driver who built the Sun Rising Hotel at Thargomindah while the kiddies enjoyed the free and easy life in and around the mines on the open plains or rambling over the mountains in search of Evans's goats which had to be milked to keep the mine in milk."

The story goes on to mention other names and you can read the whole story by clicking on to " When the old grey mare ate the flour and the hops"

To Top