You are not logged in.

  • Register to access all forum features  

#51

Heatho
Moderator
From: Central Coast, NSW
Joined: 29 April 2013
Posts: 13,953
Moderator
26 September 2013 09:00 am

Really liking this story Shauno.


Minelab GPX 5000, SDC2300, CTX3030, Equinox 800, patience, lot's of patience.

1 user likes this post: Syndyne

#52

Sw1fty
Member
Joined: 19 July 2013
Posts: 299
Member
26 September 2013 09:35 am

Please write the book, I can't wait for instalments here  big_smile


Don't procrastinate! Do it first thing tomorrow... ML Goldseekers 15000; CTX 3030; Pans,sieves,etc

1 user likes this post: Syndyne

#53

Syndyne
Moderator
From: Lightning Ridge, NSW
Joined: 09 April 2013
Posts: 863
Moderator
03 October 2013 02:48 pm

Hi all,

Hope everyone is doing great, both enjoying the weather and if you're out prospecting!
I've managed dig up a few of the old photos I took of the Jag Hill claim so I'll add a few to offer a better illustration of what we did.

Continuing on...

It was not too long after we'd got the few stones in the small main area under the fault that we were coming closer to the extremely wet Spring/Summer of 2000. We were getting fairly severe HP (high precipitation) storms during mid Spring that were dumping an inch or two at a time throughout September-October. Being that we were working out on the edge of a large dry black soil lake we knew trouble would be brewing once the ground was saturated from sequential downpours.
1380769074_jag_hill_claim1_2007.jpg
Here's a shot taken in 2007 looking East out over the lake from our claim across the others. It nicely demonstrates why we knew there was going to be major problems if the storms and rain kept on coming.

Looking at the forecast we knew we'd have to act and act fast as the La Nina cycle was now in full swing with storm troughs approaching ever few days. The sticky black soil out on the lake was soon saturated and this left the water nowhere to go but rise up and fill the lake to it's capacity. Even though I think it was only about two feet deep out in the centre we were still very low at the edge of our claim, only rising back up onto a ridge around mid claim (just behind me in the photo above).

All we could do was pull all the gear out of the holes to prepare for the worse case scenario as the water began to build up and come right towards the claims. We towed the blower back off the hole (actually selling it soon after that) and began building the dirt up about a foot or so around the two holes on our claim. I remember during the afternoon we were building the dirt up around holes up that there was a single large isolated storm cell sitting out over the far Eastern edge of the lake pouring huge amounts of rain into it (it was nearing full capacity by that point) and we could actually see the water rising about an inch every twenty minutes or so getting closer and closer to our main working hole. 

I'm not sure if someone was watching over us or we just lucked out, but the water finally stopped a mere six inches from our hole! By that stage M&A's claim, along with the two next door were already well inundated with water about four inches deep on the surface. As the surface black soil and gravel mix was about six feet in depth (before the hard sandstone cap started) it was all washed straight down into the holes on their claims. This action opened each three foot hole up in excess of twelve feet in diametre at the surface looking like huge funnels. Even the nine inch auger holes grew to five feet across as they washed in also. It got extremely dangerous as you simply couldn't see them under the surface of the muddy water.

All the gear left in the claims was now buried under countless tonnes of mud and dirty water. Even the small Wedgetail opal field across the lake from us was totally inundated and they had hoists and blowers all sink down into their holes once they opened up. Many miners around that area had hydraulic digging machines (worth between sixteen to twenty-plus thousand depending on their size) all lost and buried under the mud and water. They took aerial photographs of the fields and they were published in several papers at that time. All you could see was the odd blower and a few tops of hoists sticking up out of the lake like some sort of small mechanical islands. 

We still went out each day to keep an eye on things, even going underground at times to see how it was handling the water. We still had water coming into our claim via the tiny cracks and faults that are present in the sandstone roof, but nothing major at all compared to the others! When it was all said and done we had about a foot of water down in the working area and so decided to take another approach and a new angle of attack in other parts of the claim. This would give it time to dry out and we could still keep working.

So after about a week's wait to let the water subside to the point where it wasn't coming in through our roof and knowing the forecast was improving we drilled two new three foot shafts closer to the middle of the claim then brought out the hoist, set it up, and then we were ready to start afresh. This allowed us to open the claim up properly and start a drive back towards the flooded area under the fault where the opal came from.

1380769788_jag_hill_claim2_2007.jpg
Here's where the hoist ended up once we drilled the two new holes closer to the middle edge of the claim. The other three foot air hole was just to the left of this one and out of the picture. This photo was another one taken in 2007 when we returned to do further work after several years away and working about another dozen claims over the six years in between. I knew there was still opal in that claim so we just hung onto it and kept it registered the entire time.   

I took us about a week to open up the hole and get a few drives established. The ground was extremely hard in places and we had to get hold of a compressor and air hammers to get through certain areas that the electric 900 Kango's were struggling in. Some areas there were so hard that the hydraulic diggers couldn't dig it either. I still haven't come across many areas that had harder sandstone than that.
We found another major Z-Wall fault just off the new hole on our way back towards the flooded area, though this one didn't seem to throw any opal from what we could see (at first...). I think it took us about three days to dig the thirty feet back to the old area as we were gouging and checking the ground carefully making sure not to miss any good traces or opal along the way. The fourth morning we finally broke in properly and it looked like a small lake in there! John and I decided to leave a small dam wall to hold back the water until we could lower or remove it entirely and with a bit of quick ingenuity we grabbed a 20ltr black plastic oil drum (old empty one), cut off the top, fixed it into the hoist bucket and then used ordinary buckets to fill it back and forth and simply send it up on the hoist to empty on the ground. The plan worked perfectly and by mid morning cuppa time I think we had all the water pretty much out. It only took the day for the area underground to dry out as we had good airflow between all the now linked holes, plus our floor was hard sandstone so there was no real mud to worry us. Crisis averted!

1380771269_jag_hill_claim3_2007.jpg
This was also taken back in 2007 (after another subsequent flooding event), but was pretty much the identical site that greeted us once we broke back into the main ballroom (what we call a large open, mined out area underground) area. You can clearly see the darkish "tide mark" about a foot up off the floor around the edges.
We had done a fair bit more work after as you can see in this photo. When the flood happened we only really had the one main drive in under there. The drive immediately off to the right was the first one we put in down towards the opal and you can see the remains of the central pillar where Dad found the four good pockets of opal (centre of photo). It's only subtle, but you can also see the roof dropping down towards the left of the shot (other than where we had hammered it out to make head room) as the main fault is out on the right of shot here.

To be continued... smile

Kindest regards,
Shauno.

Edited for grammer/spelling.

Last edited by Syndyne (04 October 2013 02:05 pm)


Opal Miner & Gold Detecting Addict. GPZ7000, GPX5000, SDC2300.

6 users like this post: headbut, WalnLiz, HeadsUp, Hunting the yellow, Sodabowski, Ryan1981

#54

headbut
Member
From: Sydney, NSW
Joined: 13 May 2013
Posts: 1,449
Member
03 October 2013 08:07 pm

Good insight to opal mining Shaun , loving the stories mate, thanks again for sharing

Cheers Paul


Gem & Gold Walbanker /Minelab X-Terra 705 Dual pack/12v mini sluice/Determination

#55

dezman
Member
Joined: 26 July 2013
Posts: 253
Member
04 October 2013 06:45 am

Great yarn as always.


Watch where your walking for Gold does not float in the air.

#56

Heatho
Moderator
From: Central Coast, NSW
Joined: 29 April 2013
Posts: 13,953
Moderator
04 October 2013 08:06 am

Seems you guys had the best spot all along with that lease Shauno, lucky it was'nt 1 foot lower.


Minelab GPX 5000, SDC2300, CTX3030, Equinox 800, patience, lot's of patience.

#57

Ben78
Member
Joined: 18 February 2013
Posts: 913
Member
17 October 2013 09:16 pm

Hi Shaun, I'm coming out to the Ridge next week for a couple of days for work. Not sure how much time I'll have but I told my boss there will be some time spent looking for opals on mullock heaps. Just wanting to get some info on if there is a 'designated' fossicking area. Just read through the thread and not sure if anything has changed out there over the last year.

Ben


Digging for gold in the Peel Fault. Currently using Gold Bug SE and all sorts of other paraphernalia!

#58

Syndyne
Moderator
From: Lightning Ridge, NSW
Joined: 09 April 2013
Posts: 863
Moderator
19 October 2013 01:05 pm

Hi Ben,

Yeah, things are still the same pretty much as far as fossicking goes. I can organise something a little different for you if you like.

I'll drop you a PM.
Cheers,
Shauno.


Opal Miner & Gold Detecting Addict. GPZ7000, GPX5000, SDC2300.

#59

boobook
Member
Joined: 25 October 2013
Posts: 179
Member
01 November 2013 08:27 am

A great yarn about the Ridge you are telling there Shauno.
A mate and myself had a go there in around 1983, bought a claim/camp at the "pony fence" then 4 adjoining at the 9 mile.
As newcomers to the field we got terrific help from the Association, who every Sat would meet at the Diggers and give advice about the value of your parcel before heading to the buyers.
Never made a lot out of it, but didn't go broke either.
We only lasted 18 months though, the mate could not tolerate the climate.

Then after very nearly going broke chasing Qld. sapphires, (1 underground claim, 3 surface) we joined a mate in a partnership mining boulder opal in SW.Qld. That was in 1996, finally gave it away 2 yrs. ago.
Bloody OH&S (excavator/dozer defects), ever increasing site regulations, PL insurance, fuel costs, access problems nearly always ending up in the Wardens Court, ILUA's etc. etc.
Just not worth it with nearly every gemstone now available in synthetic.

Not all a tale of woe though, we hit some bloody nice boulder over the years, some of it with black manganese backing rivalling top Ridge opal for colour show. cool
Mike

2 users like this post: Syndyne, HeadsUp

#60

Syndyne
Moderator
From: Lightning Ridge, NSW
Joined: 09 April 2013
Posts: 863
Moderator
01 November 2013 02:35 pm

Cheers very much Mike!

When was the last time you were out this way? I'll bet it's changed dramatically since then. Those were definitely the golden years up here and a great time to be mining.

I know the Pony Fence very well, though it's almost one large old open cut dam today. My Dad had a small open cut down the bottom there in the early 70's (That I have photos of here so I can post those at some point) where they were processing the shallow level and biscuit band. They got one large lump of biscuit band from the cut that had a pocket of large, gem quality blue green stones in it. That was all they really got down there. It was just sitting on a heap that was dug prior to them working there and he managed to spot it one day while pushing dirt on the Drott.
They also worked a claim up higher on the main road near the Butterfly field just after that, but missed the money by not following traces in behind the old hoist due to a partner not wanting to do the work. A couple of brothers by the names of Mick and Chris (know locally as the Frenchmen) ended up getting that opal. Back then they were only driving with was large mattocks, picks and candles so they had to choose their drives carefully, often resulting in a lot of missed opal.

I know exactly what you're saying there as far as costs are concerned. It was a major factor in my decision to pull up stumps and say enough is enough for the time being. Even though we only ran on a minimum $40-odd a week for fuel, if the opal doesn't come you soon have to start selling everything off that you've worked very hard for just to support yourself and pay the bills. Not a good way to live. No enjoyment comes from that side of mining, just headaches.

It's funny just how many of the miners from here went onto the Sapphires and Boulder over the years. I'm sure most of them began in that way and just wanted to try something new or a different interest. Once you see your first gem opal, there's no turning back! I guess it's just the same for me with a love of Gold. I've yet to do anything serious with it as yet. I like the hobby side of it so far as it doesn't cost a fortune! wink

I've seen some extremely good quality lumps of Boulder over the years also, so I know just what you're talking about there. The quality and pattern is just unbelievable at times!

If you're ever out this way drop me a line. Always welcome here for a chat and cuppa anytime.     
Kindest regards,
Shauno.


Opal Miner & Gold Detecting Addict. GPZ7000, GPX5000, SDC2300.

1 user likes this post: HeadsUp

#61

boobook
Member
Joined: 25 October 2013
Posts: 179
Member
01 November 2013 03:21 pm

G'day Shauno. Nothing like reading a bit of history to bring a few memories back.
A couple of names I recall:
Rudy? had a claim at the Pony Fence with a couple of dark girls working it for him!
Bushy Bill. We borrowed his washer at the dam in return for me fixing his drive.
George Borger? At the 3mile, had a room in the Club named for him. A keen chess player maybe.

The last time we were there (should have introduced the other part of "we", Chris, my wife!) about 7/8 yrs. ago trying to sell at the Ridge Opal Fest? We had a small parcel of cut worth about $15k., another boulder miner (Keith Smith) about the same and neither of us could get a decent offer.
In fact that ? Matson claimed mine were doublets. Amusingly they just happened to be clean faced firsts! cool

Yes Shauno, chasing a bit of gold makes for much interest, for me looking at the ground trying to see it the same way an opal prospector looks for faulting and surface float. Have been over to WA last 2 winters, enjoy the meeting of new people all with a similar interest plus a bit of gold via the detector making a good bonus.
Looking forward to more of your 'Ridge yarns. smile
Mike

1 user likes this post: HeadsUp

#62

Philski
Member
Joined: 16 October 2013
Posts: 32
Member
02 November 2013 11:50 pm

Hi Shauno

Fantastic read and photos mate and some stunning opal. You brought back some wonderful memories for me.
I never worked the Ridge itself but further out west. I spent a bit of time at Sheepyard during the initial rush and my mum is still up there at Glengarry. I cant forget the staggering 52 degree heat in the summer, flies all day and mozzies all night. Coming from Tassie, i simply went troppo. And, swore i would never ever return to the damn place, but i did, as you do, And was greeted with the most beautiful and amazing landscape i think i have ever seen. The first return trip up i saw hundreds and hundreds of Roo with an amazing sunset behind them just south of Walgett. And it was like waves of them. Very beautiful. And it had greened up. amazing.

One of my fondest memories of the place.

Thanks again
Phillip

1 user likes this post: Syndyne

#63

Matty_K
Member
Joined: 12 October 2013
Posts: 35
Member
03 November 2013 10:34 am

That was an excellent recount mate. Made me want to look for opals even though ive never seen one lol

1 user likes this post: Syndyne

#64

Syndyne
Moderator
From: Lightning Ridge, NSW
Joined: 09 April 2013
Posts: 863
Moderator
03 November 2013 01:16 pm

Thanks for the kind words all. I'll continue on and finish up this story in the coming days, then possibly move on to another or go into opal in a bit more depth. I only got opal in two claims over the sixteen years I spent mining (and the odd stone here and there while gouging various claims around the older fields) so I can tell the story of the other good claim. It's not a bad yarn in itself.

boobook wrote:

A couple of names I recall:
Rudy? had a claim at the Pony Fence with a couple of dark girls working it for him!
Bushy Bill. We borrowed his washer at the dam in return for me fixing his drive.
George Borger? At the 3mile, had a room in the Club named for him. A keen chess player maybe.

Hi Mike,
I knew of a few Rudy's around town over the years so I can't narrow that one down so well.
Bushy Bill is still around according to my Mum. I don't know that name personally but I may know his face should I come across him.
George Burger is the guy your after there. He did well back in the mid 90's out at the Sheepyards after doing work with a bloke by the name of Williamson (known for Williamsons Corner and was the first to find a bit of opal at the Sheepyards. He also used to run the old Ampol opposite Nobbies on the left just as you come into town). They worked together in the claim for a while, but George went back in later and got a lot of opal down in the floor of the claim so he must've known something but had kept it quiet. He ended up building a nice house out at Cumborah, but Dad thinks that he may have left a few years back as we haven't seen him around for some time now.

Philski wrote:

Hi Shauno

Fantastic read and photos mate and some stunning opal. You brought back some wonderful memories for me.
I never worked the Ridge itself but further out west. I spent a bit of time at Sheepyard during the initial rush and my mum is still up there at Glengarry. I cant forget the staggering 52 degree heat in the summer, flies all day and mozzies all night. Coming from Tassie, i simply went troppo. And, swore i would never ever return to the damn place, but i did, as you do, And was greeted with the most beautiful and amazing landscape i think i have ever seen. The first return trip up i saw hundreds and hundreds of Roo with an amazing sunset behind them just south of Walgett. And it was like waves of them. Very beautiful. And it had greened up. amazing.

One of my fondest memories of the place.

Thanks again
Phillip

Cheers Phillip!
Sounds like you experienced a bit of everything out here. It can be a stunning place at times and conversely it can be the harshest place to be during a bad Summer. Even growing up here I never really got used to the heat, particularly when it gets up over the mid to high forties. 1988 was one of the nastier Summers hitting 52˚C in the shade.

We did a fair bit of work out at the Sheepyards back in the 80's also. My father Alan, uncle Dave and our partner John were working down the bottom of the hill -a bit too far away from the main patch up near the pub unfortunately. We got a small amount of good quality crystal seam, but it never hit the black. Dad made a lot of beautiful doublets from it though. I think that was the first claim I had ever actually gouged opal out of as a kid. I would've been only around seven years old or so. I remember some of the nights we camped out there in the back of an old station wagon during the school holidays that were absolutely freezing, to the point of it just being to uncomfortable to sleep. Seeing that warm sun rising over the trees in the mornings through the icy car windows was truly a blessing in disguise!
I hadn't been back out there for almost twenty years, but made a visit there with my Mum (who lives at Grawin part of the time) a couple of years ago and it hasn't really changed much. Maybe a few more camps here and there and very little work going on. Our claims were just as you turn in onto the field coming in from the Glengarry side. My name is still carved on a large tree branch there funnily enough (done by a good friend of ours working nearby using a chainsaw).

I remember seeing one of the best lumps to come from the area up near the pub back in those days. It was broken in two, possibly while gouging by the look of the clean break. Both pieces were slightly larger than tobacco tins (about four or five inches in diametre each) and they were about an inch thick. They had half an inch of good green-orange quality opal on half an inch of good glassy black potch. They were bought by a friend of ours (at that time) and part time buyer called Johnny Jones, who then came down to show us as he was leaving the field. You'd probably be looking at half a million dollars or more just for each of the two pieces alone in the 90's when the prices peaked. The mind boggles to think of the money they all got in the gun claims up there. I guess that applies to all the good fields here. They can get some very large pieces around the seam fields in places. The sheer quantity of a good run of seam opal definitely makes up for the lesser quality than that which we get with the nobby opal around town. Millionaires Gully at Glengarry (just next to the Hilton) still remains one of the better areas ever found out on the seam and very aptly named. smile

All the best,
Shauno.

EDIT: For further info.

Last edited by Syndyne (03 November 2013 01:24 pm)


Opal Miner & Gold Detecting Addict. GPZ7000, GPX5000, SDC2300.

1 user likes this post: Golden Tiger

#65

Philski
Member
Joined: 16 October 2013
Posts: 32
Member
03 November 2013 02:04 pm

Hi Shauno smile

I would have been there in 88, so that's the summer i remember so well.
We, probably know each other! I used to knock about with young David "i cant remember his last name sorry" i saw him pulling a bucket load of good opal out of his claim and i would imagine he did pretty well out of it. He was a really awesome young man, and deserved ever cent of it. My time was spent down a hole or noodling pretty much.

I think that opal above was my mums. We where 2 claims from the sheepyard pub down the hill and perhaps the 3rd family on the field? Chris and Col Hundy at the time. it went for $650000 that stone. At the time huge money. Westpac in the Ridge had the second largest cash holdings in the state apparently. Mum had another big strike 2-3 years later. And did pretty good at it. The Aboriginal guys next to us towards the Mission did even better. She and col parted ways, and mum is now with Richie Hobden. I think Richie may have even hot dogged the area, but not sure. Richie's family have been in the area for generations too. Do you know fatty? or Alan Hobden? Great family. Mum is pretty crook now a days, but still kicking along and i think she is where she wants to be.

Anyway, have a really fantastic day up there. And thanks for the reply

Kindest Regards
Phillip

1 user likes this post: Syndyne

#66

Syndyne
Moderator
From: Lightning Ridge, NSW
Joined: 09 April 2013
Posts: 863
Moderator
15 November 2013 06:46 pm

G'day all,

I hope everyone has been doing very well and finding plenty of whatever you're out there searching for! smile
I finally have a chance to put a lid on this story and move on to another. There's not really too much left to tell here with this one, but I have a few more shots that I can post up to go along with it.

After the second flooding incident we decided to leave the claim to dry out for a while. During this time John had left us to pursue other claims where good opal was found and that he'd had in the back of his mind for some years. Dad had also fallen victim to health issues throughout this point and the years leading up to it in the form of a large hernia so I was to spend the next few years working by myself right up until the time I finally called it quits in 2010.

Upon returning to the claim in mid 2007 (around April) I knew exactly where we had to start driving as I had found very good traces in an area a fair way in from the working shafts. I think I had gone in about 130 feet in or so right up through the top part of the claim and even though we were pumping air down the drives from the open shafts it was doing no good. I had bared with the hot and stale conditions for about a week as I had come across another large fault/step and as the trace was running along the high side of it I knew there was a very good possibility that opal would be present near by.

1384495700_opal_mining_iv_copyshaun_galman_2008.jpg
The fault was just in front (towards the camera) of where I'm standing in the photo above. Dad still came out for a gouge now and again when he was well enough. He was on point with the pick while I was shifting the dirt. I widened the drive to eight feet (as we normally did once we thought there was a chance of opal around as it offers a much larger scope) and then lowered the floor down flat to the new working floor level so there was headroom in under the sandstone roof as the step came down about two feet in that area. We ended up finding very good pockets of large black nobbies and a little bit of weak coloured trace running along the fault.
We spent the first afternoon after I opened the area up just gouging around the newly found pockets and we noticed two nice white, sandy blows (breccia pipes) in the face and good nobby pockets were present around and in both of them. White sandy blows are always present around and with opal.
I remember a bit later on before knock off time I was taking the dirt dug up from the floor (as I was still making it smooth and flat for the rickshaw) back round to the hoist and I had thought I had heard Dad call out faintly, then before I could reply, he came back around the corner to see me at the hoist while I was waiting for the bucket to return to the bottom of the shaft.

1384496998_jag_hill_nobby_copyshaun_galman_07.jpg
He opened his hand this is what I saw.
I was amazed at what he had just dug out! What had happened here was that the pocket of nobbies Dad was digging into were inside the white sandy blow and there was usually no clue as to where they would be located in it. Dad was using a large gouging pick (which we only ever used to remove unwanted opal dirt) and trying to clear away the dirt surrounding several nicer looking, large black nobbies. This opal nobby was hidden right in behind and underneath one of them (I should also mention in Dad's defense that this was the first and only stone he'd ever hit while gouging in fifty years of opal mining). However, all was not as bad as it seemed here  as the sand inclusion that had caused it to split on impact would've only had to be cut away during cutting and shaping of the stone anyhow. The bar wasn't clean as the pocket was a bit trace-like and different to the others we'd found in the claim. More of a fluke than anything really. And here's how it finally cut...

1384497327_jag_hill_stonecopyshaun_galman07.jpg

That was the very last stone to come from the claim. I had chased several other large pockets of trace around there after drilling the new working shaft and moving the hoist over closer. I then began working the area much more thoroughly, but something was just not right in that part of the claim. It was extremely hard from the floor to the roof and the level was fairly blown and mixed up in parts. The nobbies in that area were also all quite sandy and mixed up. The ingredients just weren't right for opal.
I did about two hundred and thirty feet of prospect drives out further through the claim and put in an extensive ballroom area along the fault where we were digging the trace pockets over the next three weeks, but not a single stone was anywhere to be found.

I think it was at this point in late April that Dad ended up copping a bout of Shingles somehow and as I'd never had Chicken Pox as a kid I manged to catch a nasty dose of the virus from him that almost took my life. I was out of it for two weeks and upon returning to work once fully recovered I then managed to tear the muscles in my lower back between my hip and spine the very first morning simply by pushing the rickshaw into the dirt as I had done thousands of times before. I just could not believe it!
So down I went there and then and once the very painful forty kilometre journey home (partly over badly corrugated roads coming off the fields) was done, I crawled into the house to my bed and that's pretty much where I stayed for the next week unable to move. Two days later I then managed pinch a nerve in my shoulder while trying to awkwardly put on a shirt while immobilised. roll lol! Very much a comedy of errors on my behalf.
I'm so glad I can look back on it now and see the humor at the ridiculous run of events that had unfolded. I had truly thought it was game over from that point onwards as far as my mining career went. It took me about a month of exercise and regular weights to regain full movement again and to once again feel comfortable while mining, but those of you with back injuries would certainly know that once you've done it, it's pretty much there for life. I've managed to injure that same part of my back twice more since just by doing silly little things that you wouldn't even think twice about. It's a funny old life sometimes.

So I'll wrap this story up here and hope you've all enjoyed the read, hearing the tales of misfortune and of some small success to go along with it from a closer perspective.
The next story won't have the negative connotations as this one did. It was the only other claim we'd found opal in (and my very first patch of opal) during my time mining and it's one I remember every single day of. Very good times to look back on.

I'll add a few more photos from the Jag Hill claim to give a little something extra to finish up.

1384499007_opal_mining_vi_copyshaun_galman_2008.jpg
Here you can see how I followed alongside the step which had now reversed itself on the slide as I drove along it and it now fell lower on the right. The actual sandstone roof under the fault is about the height of my shovel handle here. The slide came up and was on a lean from right to left (opposite to the Z-Wall) and this is what threw the traces out to the left of shot (or what we call the front of the slide).

1384499048_opal_mining_copyshaun_galman_2008.jpg
1384499075_opal_mining_iii_copyshaun_galman_2008.jpg
Just a few shots of how I did the work.

1384499792_opal_traces2_copyshaun_galman_2013.jpg
This photo above was a small crystal trace nobby that was part of a fairly large pocket. It was all running in a softer sandy band and in the odd small round sandy pocket amongst it, usually about three+ inches under the roof.

1384500489_opal_traces_copyshaun_galman_2013.jpg
Here's the nobby pictured above freshly dug out. You can see the sandy nature of the traces we were digging here.

1384500123_opal_traces3_copyshaun_galman_2013.jpg
The nobby from the two photos above is in my hand here along with the entire pocket of trace nobbies that we dug out from that area. That particular pocket was about four feet in diametre all up. While the colour was decent amongst this pocket, it just wasn't settled enough to cut nice clean stones. We sold all this lot uncut and in the rough just as you see it here (after it was tumbled down in a cement mixer just to clean it up a little). What we locally call Potch & Colour or Rough Opal.

All the best and kindest regards,
Shauno.

Edited for grammar/spelling and updated info.

Last edited by Syndyne (16 November 2013 06:23 pm)


Opal Miner & Gold Detecting Addict. GPZ7000, GPX5000, SDC2300.

7 users like this post: Braddo, WalnLiz, Nugget, Hunting the yellow, Beagleboy, headbut, Sodabowski

#67

dezman
Member
Joined: 26 July 2013
Posts: 253
Member
20 November 2013 05:04 am

Great story and gee I'm looking forward to returning next year for a dig, oh btw good pics too.


Watch where your walking for Gold does not float in the air.

1 user likes this post: Syndyne

#68

Heatho
Moderator
From: Central Coast, NSW
Joined: 29 April 2013
Posts: 13,953
Moderator
20 November 2013 07:36 am

Great insight into how you guys do it, really enjoyed that mate and looking forward to the next one.


Minelab GPX 5000, SDC2300, CTX3030, Equinox 800, patience, lot's of patience.

#69

Syndyne
Moderator
From: Lightning Ridge, NSW
Joined: 09 April 2013
Posts: 863
Moderator
20 November 2013 12:40 pm

Cheers Heatho,
The next one is a very nice story. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I didn't have a camera back then (a few years before the digitals became affordable) but I do have one or two shots of the opal that I can share and hopefully my writing can do it some justice! 

Kindest regards,
Shauno.


Opal Miner & Gold Detecting Addict. GPZ7000, GPX5000, SDC2300.

#70

Nugget
Member
Joined: 27 November 2012
Posts: 6,041
Member
20 November 2013 01:27 pm

I absolutely love reading your stories Shauno.

This sort of thing we wouldn't normally get to read about, but thanks to your wiliness to document (in detail) and share with us, you provide everyone here with an amazing insight into the great amount of effort and hard work that goes into extracting this beautiful Australian Opal.

Thanks for sharing your journey with us mate, it's truly inspiring.

1 user likes this post: Syndyne

#71

David R
Newbie
Joined: 28 November 2013
Posts: 3
Newbie
28 November 2013 02:38 pm

Great story!

I stayed for almost two month at Sheepyard back in 2003 noodling and have tried to find information if that is even possible today.
The last thing I've heard was that they made two dumpsites and the one they dumped at was off limit for everyone except the miners.
What I can remember the dumpsite was illegal to be at even in 2003.

What have changed and how is it controlled?
What can you do today as a tourist out on the fields?

Good fun to fight the mullockheaps against/with the locals!

Last edited by David R (28 November 2013 03:33 pm)

#72

Heatho
Moderator
From: Central Coast, NSW
Joined: 29 April 2013
Posts: 13,953
Moderator
28 November 2013 02:47 pm

Syndyne wrote:

Cheers Heatho,
The next one is a very nice story. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I didn't have a camera back then (a few years before the digitals became affordable) but I do have one or two shots of the opal that I can share and hopefully my writing can do it some justice! 

Kindest regards,
Shauno.

I like the way you write mate, whenever I see a new installment I usually go grab a coffee or a beer and sit down and have good read.


Minelab GPX 5000, SDC2300, CTX3030, Equinox 800, patience, lot's of patience.

#73

Hunting the yellow
Member
From: down a hole
Joined: 20 December 2012
Posts: 1,803
Member
28 November 2013 05:09 pm

amazeing story m8 love it and the opals aswell big_smile thanks for shareing it with us smile


A dream written down with a date becomes a goal a goal broken down into steps becomes a plan a plan backed by action becomes reality.

#74

Danielkrupski
Member
Joined: 02 July 2013
Posts: 348
Member
28 November 2013 06:31 pm

Last time I was there there were 2 dump sites. 1 would close and allow the public in for specking while the other was only allowed for trucks. They would rotate the sites every couple days I think

#75

spottedgum
Member
From: Central Tilba
Joined: 06 November 2013
Posts: 121
Member
28 November 2013 07:10 pm

Great pics and awesome stories mate! Thanks for the insight  smile


Top