Well... we're bloody glad you asked!
Opal miners come from all walks of life, there are both women... and men!
Opal mining is - and has been since day dot - one of the most inclusive and multicultural industries.
Opal Miners are interested in what you're finding, not your race, creed or colour!
There are Opal miners that are Indigenous Australians and migrants.
Many migrants have flocked to the opal fields since early European settlement, finding solace and acceptance amongst their opal mining peers, many being been shunned by Australian society because of their ethnicity or ill spoken English.
The opal mining industry throughout Australia afforded them the opportunity to prove their salt, with many of these new Australian's excelling and becoming industry leaders and experts in their field.
Some opal miners today are second, third, and even fourth generation, many with their surnames a testament to their heritage and ensuing generations with a way of life that opal mining can afford.
Opal miners can be doctors, lawyers, carpenters, concretors, masons, mechanics, retailers & shop assistants, hair dressers, soldiers, sailors & spies, butchers & bakers & candle stick makers, teachers, & students, farmers & graziers, they can be rich or poor, you name it we have it, we’ve even have public servants, but by and large any one can have a crack, and encourage you to do so, as you will find curiosity can lead to a vocation from which you may never return, and daresay you won’t want to.
Many women excel at running and working in opal mining and processing operations, they are great machinery operators and excellent opal cutters , more kinder on the gear and a lot more patient!
Opal Mining is one of the last bastions where anyone can come and have a go!
Anybody can become an opal miner – and often the "New Chum" often finds "big opal," it's a beginner's luck thing...
The only thing you really need to have is a love for opals and a keen interest to keep you motivated!
It really helps if you love the bush, don’t mind flies, dust and can tolerate 40 degree + heat if you’re mad enough like some of us to work over the summer!
If you can handle digging for months, sometimes years without any meaningful financial return really helps as this game will try you, the opal gods sometimes don’t make it easy!
We've have had many opal miners die waiting for tenures to get granted and statistically speaking, "starving to death waiting" is the single largest cause of death of Queensland's opal miners !
Who would have thought that when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA ,now EPH or DES) was created to protect the environment, they had all the tree's knocked down, turned into wood pulp, reincarnated into compliance documents and now safely stored away in filing cabinets!
The Department of Mines (or is it Department of Lands) don't fair any better!
The DNRM Executive Management, seem to excel at concocting brain farts and designing and applying un-consulted legislation, regulation and policy, then sit as smug as Prius driver as they watch the carnage to mining industries and challenge their work associates to "one up 'em!"
It seems like history repeats and nothing really has changed with the Departments since the QOMA's Industry submission in 2008.
Its time for Governments to wake up and help to promote the Opal Industry and gain form the "Cost Benefits" of actually supporting a worthwhile industry that has managed to survive despite the lack of any government assistance and jumping over (or sometimes going round) all the hurdles and obstacles that have been thrust upon us...... as we are absolutely awesome ...and resilient!
Opal miners are committed to their vocations, and have outlasted many bureaucrats and governments!
No... no... don't do that... don't be disillusioned, luckily the QOMA are there to assist a “New Chum” if they want to have a crack!
Besides you look resilient!
Mark Twain famously quoted "find a job you like doing and you'll never have to work a day in your life".
If you think like this, then Opal mining might be for you!
So don’t just sit there, stop tapping on that bloody iphone, get off your bum, learn about opal, particularly Boulder Opal, get a Prospecting Permit and get out here to Queensland's West and ... have a bloody go!