Compiled by Ron McKenzie Author of 'Sweat, Tears and Blood Red Opal'.
1869 Blackall Station overseer finds Boulder Opal on Listowel Downs near Adavale
1871 Pride of Hills first Opal mining lease near Toompine
1871 Eromanga fields discovered
1873 Opal miners Berkleman & Lambert launch Barcoo Opal at International Exhibition
1875 Bond takes up leases Aladdin, Scotchman and Cunnavalla mines in the Kyabra hills
In 1871 the first Opal lease in Australia was registered south of Quilpie. Very little work was carried out on the 360 acre lease other than the sinking a couple of shallow shafts, and the lease was abandoned after several seasons. Twenty years later, the discovery of Duck Creek further south brought renewed interest in the area, the lease was re-pegged and named Pride of the Hills.
The Winton Mining Area encompasses a vast region of intermittent opalisation, famous for patches of brilliant black boulder opal pancakes. Also home to ‘Lark Quarry’ - a fossilised dinosaur stampede, which showcases three different species’ footprints. Luckily discovered by an opal prospector and now preserved as a major tourist attraction.
Home of the Yowah Nut
Yowah township is situated 165 km West of Cunamulla and has a friendly population of around 100 people. A bore was sunk in 1912 for the mining settlement and has never failed since. There is a fossicking area for visitors, caravan park, golf course and numerous retail outlets and Opal cutters willing to help educate newcomers!