Robert Moore, the manager of Muggarie Station, known now as Angledool, made the first record of, pretty coloured stones’ from Lightning Ridge in 1873. A former Ravenswood gold miner, he had picked up the stones on the Nebea Ridges and sent them to Sydney for evaluation, only to be informed they were of no commercial value.
Discovered early in 1915 by a 14 year old boy, Coober Pedy is the world’s largest opal bearing region and produces over 80% of Australia’s opal. It was originally named the “Stuart Range Opal Mines”, after the explorer John McDouall Stuart, who narrowly missed the area in 1858 when he circled the present site of Coober Pedy and named the range after himself.
As far as can be ascertained the history of opal in Queensland dates back to 1872. It is one of heartbreak, frustrations, determination and, of course, success at times against incredible odds. Rich in legends and myth, it is the birth place of our present industry.
Many discoveries were made during the 1870’s but it wasn’t until 1889, when Tully Wollaston successfully marketed the gem that the industry became established.
Lambina Opalfield, 100km south of the Northern Territory border in South Australia’s remote Far North, is Australia’s most recently worked source of precious opal.
Although diggings on this field have been worked intermittently for at least 30 years, it has only been in the last decade that production of precious opal has become significant. This update of Lambina includes information on the opalfield’s history, geology, production, and