Chinese Opal Miners In Australia

Chinese miners have had long relationship in mining in Australia

Since the start of the Gold Rush in 1853 Chinese have come to Australia seeking their fortune.

Chinese have proven themselves to be excellent opal cutters more so than opal miners

Even in the gold rush the Chinese would not work gold mines but worked in tailings that the European workers had gone over.

Opal mining suited the stocky build of the Europeans,so for last 50 years Chinese have concentrated on buying and cutting opals.

Many Opal fields had permanent Chinese opal buyers just waiting for the opal miner to bring his rough opal to view.

In Coober Pedy, south Australia there were dozens of Chinese buyers buying rough opal.

But there were only few Chinese buyers at Lighting Ridge ,home of the black opal.

Lightning Ridge has over 70 nationalities represented ,including Chinese.

In 1800s British pastoralist came to this area and Chinese workers were bought in to work the gardens.

This introduced Chinese to this remote area of Australia.

Commonwealth Legislation act also covers listed migratory species ,a s listed under the China Australia Migratory Bird for International Agreement

Black opal needed highly trained experienced cutters where as South Australian opal was very easy to cut and polish

Chinese buyers would drive around opal fields south Australia and ask miners did they have any opal to sell..many would just drive up to miners camp,motor still running and ask if they struck opal and if answer was yes they would turn the motor off and view the parcel of opals

The area to visit opal mines was over hundred of miles

Today the Opal miners trade Expo entices Chinese jewelry manufactures to visit opal fields to appreciate the outback experience of opal mining and how beautiful it looks made into jeweller

The 2010 Gem Trade Show received considerable interest in China with feature articles appearing in two newspapers, the Shandong News on Gem and Jade; and Te Bie Bao Dao.

This year the Opal Expo will be held 30th march 2013

Opal will also be the Feature gemstone at May 2013 Gem and Opal exhibition at

CMGS the first China(Changsha) Mineral & Gem Show(CMGS) will have its first showl in Changsha city, capital of Hunan Province

Chinese Miners on The Australian Gold Fields

Mining for gold is physically demanding work. Here, Chinese miners are using a sluice box and puddling mill to search for gold, while another miner has a massage to relieve his aching shoulders. Ref National Museum of Australia.

When gold was discovered in 1853 people for all over they world flocked to the aussie gold fields to make their fortunes.

By 1861 over 24,000 Chinese miners were on The Gold Fields of Australia.

In China most workers did not have enough money for the journey to Australia so wealthy Chinese businessmen lent money to these workers so the Chinese had to constantly send money back home to repay their debt and not their families.

They did not work underground as it has been said that they feared offending the mountain god so they worked in areas with round sluices instead of square sleuths so they made good income from tailings left over by the European miners.

Black Opals displaying unique pattern known a s CHINESE WRITING -This pattern is rare and similar to writing design. It is even more rare to find other opals such as boulder or Ethiopian that has this unique pattern

You can find some of these beautiful Australian black opals at

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