May 2019, Macs Opals were contacted by a German Film Company, Maximus Films.
They in turn had been contracted by the television program, Galileo, which challenges its actors with difficult tasks. Our actor had been given the challenge of ‘finding an opal’.
The challenge started in the Bellingen shop, where she was given an opal education. Not knowing what to expect, ‘I thought we could dig down by the river,’ she said, she was taken to a waiting van which we then drove to Lightning Ridge, a journey of approximately 7 ½ hours.
The weather was inclement, which didn’t stop our intrepid film crew of 3 from an ice-cream at a service station stop in Moree. Most impressive.
There were other stops along the way to film kangaroo signs, with the warning that they were readily seen for the next 5 kms. The next 600 kms is perhaps more accurate.
Mac is seen driving past with the reporter. This was filmed just twice. A kangaroo in the main street of Lightning Ridge delighted everybody, so he was filmed. Next, the opal mine.
She was given a pick and shown how to dig, how to fill the bucket and send it up the hoist into the truck, which when full was driven to the agi and unloaded. The agi is simply a concrete mixer wherein the dirt is washed, reducing it to a slurry.
The contents are then emptied onto a sorting table and any colour is closely examined. The filming continued. Mac and his mining partner, Michael and the reporter.
Her task was to find opal so this colour in the tailings and a small opal picked from the wall meant that she had won. The finished piece for television will be aired to the German public and then put up on Youtube, we will keep you posted.
July 18th, 2019, Mac was seen at the Yowah Opal Festival for 3 days, immersed in opal, opal and opal.
The opal was primarily Queensland boulder and matrix, but some Ridge material was also available. Sue White was there, displaying her multimillion-dollar free form black opal collection, giving attendees the opportunity to have a picture taken wearing the renowned Serena Williams opal necklace.
This opal, ‘Serena’, has a valuation of $30 million, and both Mac and his wife, Denene, took the opportunity for a princely sum of a gold coin donation for the well-deserved flying doctor service.
Mac took out 2 awards in the jewellery competition, a second and a third.
Monday saw Mac back on the outback road on the way to the Ridge. He made it as far as Angledoor, 50 kms away, before the motor in his Hilux seized.
“Michael, my mining partner rescued me by towing, but not before sending my wife into town with the next passing car who just happened to be a major German buyer on the opal fields.”
This was opportune as we had recently been in Ida Oberstein visiting his wife, daughter and grandchildren. The plan was for Denene to go into the Ridge and call Michael as there was no phone connection. Life in the wilds.
Mac limped into Angledoor and could phone Michael. He then spent the evening putting an ad on facebook for a motor. He gets a reply, just $1,000 and the rest is history, apart from the banged-out radiator needing replacing and the water pump, and did we mention the flat tyre?
The car has been practically rebuilt. Thanks to Dave, it is going better than it did before.
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