"Out in the Out-Back" Chasing the Boulder Opal
Bill Kasso and I arrived in Brisbane, Australia on the 4th of November, jumped into a twin engine plane to Cunnamulla, than drove a Toyota Hilux for 2 hours to Yowah; we have been chasing opal ever since.
Boulder opal mining is an incredibly difficult job... it's been upwards of 104 degrees with hot winds blowing constantly. Each boulder opal mine produces different looking material; matrix, clean boulder opal, petrified wood, etc. So far, we have purchased from 3 different miners, the excitement of wondering what is within the boulders helps with ignoring the extreme temperatures.... it is Bloody Hot! Not to mention the flies buzzing around your head & body hoping for a tad of moisture (which we have precious little of) to quench their thirst. This particular parcel (see below) we did not purchase.... The saying around here is "only pay for what you can see" so we passed on this one, but who knows, ha!
The citizenry here is like being at a G20 convention; Greeks, Yugoslavians, Germans, Croatians, Brit's, Australians, Scot's, New Zealanders, Serbians, Italians, Americans, etc... all chasing Boulder opal. It's a frontier way of life, small camps dotting the landscape totally self sufficient with solar power, rain water tanks, & generators. Enormous equipment, that looks like the dinosaurs that preceded them millions of years before, stand ready or not so ready if broken down, to pull away the over-burden of Iron Stone to reveal the elusive gem opal. The love of the chase is palpable with these men and women, each new day promising the big strike.
Bill's former camp in Opal Creek (see below)
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