"MINES & MULLOCK HEAPS" Lightning Ridge Things to Do Tip by balhannah
Lightning Ridge Things to Do: 36 reviews and 92 photos
The Red Car door tour, wound us around many mullock heaps, and miner's humpys.
The land is barren and harsh, there are Trees, but not a lot. We didn't see people around, I guess they are all working underground.
Opal was first discovered at Lightning Ridge in the 1880s, and the first recorded mine shaft was sunk in 1901.
For years, mines were dug by hand using picks and shovels, extremely hard work in the harsh climate where extreme heat, lack of water, and lack of facilities were experienced. The miners dug square-sided shafts, just big enough for a miner to crawl through, and dirt was hauled to the surface in buckets made of hide, tied to ropes.
No major advances until the 1960s, when an automatic hoist to carry dirt to the surface was invented. In that decade, artesian water became available to wash the opal dirt, making separation of opal from the dirt more efficient.
It isn't easy to find opal. A miner may work for weeks, months or years without finding enough gem opal even to cover expenses. So deciding where to mine is one of the most important decisions an opal miner can make.
At Lightning Ridge each opal mining claim measures a maximum of 50 metres by 50 metres. Each person may hold a maximum of two mineral claims at any one time. There are more than 4,500 mineral claims at Lightning Ridge.
A steel picket must be placed and protrude at least one metre out of the ground. Trenches then must be dug from each corner post along the direction of the claim boundaries.
Be careful where you walk and drive, mines seem to pop up anywhere!
One sight, was quite a big Kangaroo on a Miners huge mullock pile, I wondered why he was there when there was nothing to eat!
The tour takes about 20mins to drive, longer when we stopped and got out and had a look.
Address: RED CAR DOOR TOUR
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