I am writing to you this morning from a peaceful spot at the back of the White Cliffs Hotel in NSW. White Cliffs has a population of 100 people, which includes the 50 people who live in town and the other 50 who live on the stations which range out hours either side of the town. It is a completely different world out here from where I grew up and live.
I performed at the hotel on the Saturday night and have been welcomed into the town by the locals since then. Yesterday the publican took myself and Mum for a flight in his plane to sight see the town of White Cliffs, and to have lunch on one of the many stations out this way, which holds one hundred and eighteen thousand acres.
What an unbelievable view it was! White Cliffs is known for its opal mining so when we were in the air, I felt as though I was on the moon due to all the mines. Houses out this way are also dug into the ground to help keep that cool temperature during the horrendous heat in the summer. Besides the mines and the hotel, there is not much else out this way besides a vast land of red dirt, kangaroos, emus and feral goats. Australia is such a large country so it is very interesting to see how the land changes quite quickly from green grass and crops to red dirt with salt bush.
From growing up in Young and living in Canberra, it is amazing to talk to people and see how they live here. It is usually populated either by holiday miners or workers on stations.
The Australian opals they find here are stunning; usually white with purple and blue opal veins streaming throughout the stone. One miner spoke to me about what they commonly find and what they are aiming for. The usual discovery is a small stone with a coloured opal vein running through it. Once they find that, they continue to dig to attempt to find either a flat opal vein in a larger rock; which they would slice open to find opal throughout, or they would hope to find a pineapple opal. A pineapple opal is a rock the size of a pineapple that is completely made of opal. These are rare to find but once they do, they can sell for prices that start at $3000.
It is all about luck out here though. From the early 1800’s, people have been testing their luck mining so now it’s all about location and depth. I asked another miner about how they know where to start and he simply answered that they don’t know, they just start digging and hope to find something good. People come from all over the country to spend weeks to months testing their luck.
White Cliffs should be one place that’s on your bucket list to visit. It is an extraordinary place that will make you see how wonderful our country is.