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.
The field includes numerous historical mines; Brilliant, Little Wonder, Snake Jump, Conways, Dragon Fly, Kinder, The Great Eastern, Poverty Flat, White Cow, Black Dog, La Marseillaise, McLellans, Bald (Bally) Knob.....
The largest piece of gem Opal ever recorded in the world was found in 1899 at Conways in Opalton by Dick Shillington and his mate Greenwood. It was 11ft long, as thick as a man’s thigh and took four men to carry it.
The opal at Conways was found mainly in waves where the level dipped down and came up again.
Working the Gem, an opal cutter at Opalton in 1901 (pictured) has rigged up an old treadle sewing machine. Others used bicycles, designing innovative hand or foot operated cutting and polishing wheels.
Opalton was first known as the Fermoy Opal fields which were infact established earlier in 1878 northwest of the township.
Feelin Lucky Mate? Try your luck 'noodling' in the Opalton fossicking reserve!
Why not stay in your own caravan or tent, for more details contact the QBOA.
Mayneside - 'Opal Creek' area just south of Opalton and north of Mayneside Homestead was the greatest producer in the last 20 years, producing gem quality sandstone Boulder Opal with glorious patterns and dark colouring. Mayneside is host to numerous prospects, with the finest ironstone pancakes generally found in smaller concentrations and sporadic pockets;; Carbine, Devil Devil, Echo Mine, Yellow Jimmy, Wild Horse, Mud Mine, Tyson, Quartpot, Breadbox, Mayneside...further south in the Horse Creek - Vergemont area Arch Mine, Canadians, Hopal and more recently Red October and Twin Peaks...
Elvo- Minnirichi mine
Jundah - Field (396 S of Winton) includes Jundah, Lina Glen, Opalville and Hayfield mines, and Stonehenge - Evengy Station to the south-west. The area is renowned for red coloured Opal in large sandy boulders and manganese Black Opal pipes.
The Black Mine was Australia’s first Black Opal deposit and is significant as it was discovered 10 years before Lightning Ridge appeared in the annals of history. In 1900 there were several hundred men idle in Jundah during the drought. With no other prospects many went gouging, it is said there were 100 miners working at Opalville & Black Mine at the turn of the twentieth century.
Kynuna - Northern-most of the Queensland Opal fields (200 NW of Winton), the main field was discovered in 1894 and lies 40 km south of Kynuna township off the Landsborough Highway.
This vast area of potential Opalisation has been worked very little and is perhaps the deepest Opal profile in Queensland. The opal country is dominated by sandstone mesas in areas which are highly elevated (320m ASL) suggesting up to 35m to the bottom level. The prospective areas thereabouts are west of the main Kynuna field and south toward Dagworth Station.
Davenport Palpara (Kurran) - Field 150km NW of Jundah; Doreen's Glory, Anzac Hill, Jerry's Mine, Sandy, Blue Show, Boundar, Chinaman's.
Mt. Windsor and Tonkoro Stations are home to small scattered shows.