Australian Opal from Coober Pedy

Outback South Australia

From the Miner


      As a 14 year old Boy Scout in 1960, I passed through Coober Pedy on a jamboree trip. On the dirt track main street there, I picked up a piece of opal which had some rainbow colours. That experience has made Coober Pedy an attraction for me ever since.
      In 1973 I passed through Coober Pedy again, as a professional folksinger. In mid 1982 I visited Coober Pedy, travelling with a fellow bible college student, and stayed with his family. In late 1982 I returned to Coober Pedy to do some part time unpaid work for an opal miner, in lieu of a small share of any opal we might find. We didn't find any.
      In 1983 I moved to Coober Pedy and started part time, casual work as a contractor's offsider. In between time, I had other part time jobs, and scavenged the opal fields, which, in those days, were a massive dumping ground for all kinds of "rubbish".
      I worked on shares as a partner in some opal mining ventures, which had varying degrees of success. Then I started prospecting, and later, registered a claim, and found opal, and made wages.
      An added bonus was that my claim, when I first pegged it, was just outside the town boundary, and then the town boundary was extended, so I was able to buy the land inside my mining pegs, from the Crown as a town block, and all the ground that I had dug out was then underground living space - a dugout.
      At TAFE in Coober Pedy I learnt opal cutting and polishing and carving, and setting, and basic silversmithing.
      I have lived in Coober Pedy since 1983, and have always had involvement in some way or another, with opal mining.
      "Thank You, Lord" is my self-published autobiography, describing nearly 40 years of my life in Coober Pedy.