Lightning Ridge Opal Fields Area

There are over 200 different Opal Fields that can be found on the ridges of Cretaceous rocks at Lightning Ridge. The different Lightning Ridge Opal Fields can be found in small groups dotted around the area but the main opal field groups in the area are Lightning Ridge, Jag Hill and Mehi, Coocoran, Wyoming, Grawin/Carter’s and Glengarry/Sheepyard.

At all the Lightning Ridge Opal Fields opals are being mined within the depth of 1 to 30 meters underground. The opal deposits that everyone is interested in where formed many 100’s of years ago during the Cretaceous period. During this period the area was filled with fresh water which created sediment that formed around the Opal.

The following is a list of the traditional fields at Lightning Ridge:

  • The Three Mile – this area is the most productive as of now and the busiest opal field in the Lightning Ridge
  • Thorleys Six Mile
  • Nobbys (Old Nobby)
  • New Nobby (or New Rush)
  • Deep Four Mile
  • McDonalds Six Mile (or The Six Mile)
  • Rouses Six Mile
  • Nine Mile
  • Nebea Hill
  • Shallow Belars
  • Hawks Nest
  • Bald Hill
  • New Chum and Old Chum

These opal fields are in the area surrounding Lightning Ridge:

  • Coocoran
  • Sheepyard
  • Grawin
  • Glengarry
  • Mulga Rush and Wee Warra North
  • Carters Rush
  • New Angledool (Mehi)

There are two forms of opals that can be found in the Lightning Ridge Opal Fields, one is the rounded nodules, termed ‘nobbies’, or in seams.

Let us look back how this lightning ridge opal fields were discovered. It was first discovered by the European in the year of 1880’s but it was not that improved or realized that time. The first shaft worked in the lightning opal fields are by Jack Murray way back 1901 to 1902 and the black opal is still strange during those days and was not readily accepted by the jewellery trade. But several years later, when the Lightning Ridge opal fields were established, this place became the most desirable place for opal mining and has won many big opals including Flame Queen, the Pride of Australia, the Red Admiral or Butterfly Stone, and many more.