Australian Adventure (Thursday, June 27, 2013)

40 Days Down Under (Day 14)

Thursday, June 27, 2013
So I've officially started sleeping in my warm cap. I hope it'll help. It did last night, but it may just have been a more temperate evening. Tonight I may add some gloves into the mix...or maybe even an extra pair of socks.

After waking up, we headed out to the Yellow Car Door Tour. We passed equipment used in various methods of opal extraction like windlasses, automatic hoists, long throw hoists, and pivoting work hoists. We also passed lots of mullock heaps on both sides of the road. The local tourist attractions tell you that you can fossick for free in some of them.

We easily arrived at the Chamber of the Black Hand for our 9am tour. Donning hardhats, we traversed the steep staircase into the cavern below.

The first portion of the tour is to the sandstone carving layer about 40 feet underground. Artist (and former military man) Ron Canlin has spent years upon years carving out beautiful art pieces in hand dugout subterranean tunnels. It really has to be seen to be believed.

From the Chamber of the Black Hand website:
"Ron Canlin started the Chambers of the Black Hand in 1996 and it took 6 months to dig to the opal level of 60 feet for the purpose of showing visitors the opal mine. Over the past 18 years, he hasn't stopped.

At this point the carvings were not even thought of but after the first year of unofficial business showing a few people the mine I decided to dig a Little extra room at the 35 foot level to give visitors a demonstration of opal cutting.

As the sandstone was excavated for the new room I decided to carve a welcome on the wall and the Chambers of the Black Hand was born. One carving led to another and then when one room was completed the next room was excavated to allow for more carvings."

Chambers of the Black Hand Website

Kris, Skitler, and I enjoyed the Chamber. If you look closely, you can see Skitler...and, in another photo, you can see Waldo. They have several depictions of Waldo hidden throughout the place.

The second part of the tour is a trip down to the 100-year-old mine that resides 60 feet underground. You learn a bit about the mining industry in Lightning Ridge and the now scarcity of opal.

After the Chambers tour, we continued on the car door tour passing further open cut mines.

Pretty soon, we found ourselves at the old church specifically built for the arthouse film "Goddess of 1967".

Kris tried his hand at fossicking with a stick. He found some dirt.

After bestowing the gift of rocks to me, we left for our long drive to the town of Nyngan and our overnight stay at the Nyngan Riverside Caravan Park.

Along the way, the GPS took us on a sealed dirt road detour. This would have been fine if not for the fact that it was on a floodway, and the area we were traversing was strangely getting rain. It was a bit spooky to know that if you were to get stuck in the mud, it was likely nobody would hear you scream.

Back on the main road somewhere, there was an odd sculpture.

The only highlight of the detour was that three wild kangaroos decided to race our car as we were driving along. They beat us, of course.

The drive allowed me to finish book number five of the trip...The Mysterious Benedict Society: Prisoner's Dilemma.

1 Response
  1. Anonymous Says:

    I kept thinking of Harry Potter and Chamber of secrets. Another wonderful find! I saw Skitler in the arms of a chimp. I saw Kris among the OTHER famous superheroes:)
    I hope opals are your favorite gem, you must have learned a lot about them.

    Love, Marlene