A Travellerspoint blog

Lightning Ridge

Day 76 - Thursday 11 September 2014

Fine and clear and about 25 degrees.

We were up early this morning for our Black Opal Bus Tour along with about a dozen other people from our caravan park. The tour took us to a number of sites around Lightning Ridge including Fred Bodel's Camp, the Lunatic Hill open cut mine, Amigo's Castle, and the Black Opal Tour Shop. At the shop we were provided with morning tea, an explanation of the different types of opal found around Lightning Ridge, and we were shown the difference between solid opal, doublets and triplets. Our bus tour was essentially a trip around the red and yellow car door tours.

Over the 100 years or so since opal was first discovered at Lightning Ridge the miners have built been allowed to build their homes at their mine sites with little in the way of rules and regulations. Homes vary from tin shanties to quite elaborate constructions using local materials collected by the miners. Mining equipment is likewise constructed from old vehicles, trucks, tractors - nothing is wasted and nothing is ever thrown away. Lightning Ridge is therefore one of the biggest junk-yards in the country!

One of the most elaborate residences as Amigo's Castle built by an Italian miner using stones collected from the local vicinity. No machinery was used in the construction of the building and everything was done by hand using scaffolding constructed with oil drums and timber planks.

Courtesy Bus pick-up point

Courtesy Bus pick-up point

Black Opal Tours bus

Black Opal Tours bus

Fred Bodel's camp

Fred Bodel's camp

Fred Bodel's kitchen

Fred Bodel's kitchen

Di at Fred's camp

Di at Fred's camp

Nearby mine shafts

Nearby mine shafts

Another lunatic at Lunatic Hill

Another lunatic at Lunatic Hill

Lunatic Hill open cut mine

Lunatic Hill open cut mine

Haleys Comet opal found in 1986 valued at $6 million

Haleys Comet opal found in 1986 valued at $6 million

Modern drilled mine shaft

Modern drilled mine shaft

Old style shaft dug by hand

Old style shaft dug by hand

Di looking for opal

Di looking for opal

Nearby homes

Nearby homes

Black Opal Tours Shop

Black Opal Tours Shop

Amigo's Castle

Amigo's Castle

Amigo's Castle with the shaft in the foreground

Amigo's Castle with the shaft in the foreground

Another shot of Amigo's Castle

Another shot of Amigo's Castle

Di on the balcony at Amigo's Castle

Di on the balcony at Amigo's Castle

Lance Armstrong's grandfather's bike perhaps

Lance Armstrong's grandfather's bike perhaps

Ridge Castle

Ridge Castle

Car doors built into the wall to provide opening windows

Car doors built into the wall to provide opening windows

After our tour ended we returned to the caravan park for lunch and in the afternoon we paid another visit to some opal shops without spending any money. We ended the day by doing the last of the car door tours - this time the Green Car Door Tour to the First Claim Lookout.

View from the First Claim Lookout at Lightning Ridge

View from the First Claim Lookout at Lightning Ridge

Kangaroo on the track to the First Claim Lookout

Kangaroo on the track to the First Claim Lookout

Posted by TwoAces 05:47

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Login