Yowah Opal Festival July 2010

YOWAH 2010 July. The rain finally stopped, the bush was spattered with the wildflowers for which it is famous and the July 2010 Yowah Opal Festival opened its figurative doors. Figurative because the 100 stall holders literally set up on the dry red gravel dirt of the Queensland outback, and the great crowd of buyers, lookers and interested ones from overseas bought, sold and swapped opal with alacrity and aplomb.

The president was ecstatic with the results as a large amount of monies was raised for the very necessary flying doctor service. Familiar faces abounded from all walks of the opal industry, including Jurgen Shultz from Germany with his very good eye for colour, and Steve Aracic and Len Cram, both of literary fame and incredibly good, foremost, photographers of the boulder opal for which this area is famous. Not to be overlooked by anyone with a cause for complaint was Simon, representative of the Occupational Health and Safety of the Mining Department of Queensland. Julia was nowhere to be seen.

The opal display and the jewellery competition was as always a real feature of the festival, with the winners being announced at the Saturday night dinner, which is traditionally held in the open air around a huge gigee wood open fire. (Gigee being a particularly dense and hard wood that grows in this God forsaken ,dry country and will burn silently and with great heat for hours. It is not unknown for the fire to be relit the following day from the embers of the night before.)

The Winners are for the July 2010 Yowah Opal Festival:

  1. Advance Jeweller NSW
  2. Chris Ware QLD
  3. Jade Hodgson NSW

One of the most talked about pieces and one that attracted a good deal of attention was a highly commended belt with the title of ‘CRIKEY!’ Yes, it drew attention to our Australian iconic here, Steve Irwin, who we lost a few years ago in a tragic deep sea tragedy. His life was taken by an unfortunate dance with a sting-ray. This belt was made from sting-ray leather, with the buckle made from barramundi leather, and the feature being a large, predominantly green South-West Queensland opal. The judges were very taken with it, but it’s clasp was not quite strong enough to warrant it being the winning piece, and henc e the Highly Commended. Mac was not unhappy with the result, and wears the belt with pride and has taken home a very nice opal as a prize for all his hard work.


Opal and money changed hands throughout the weekend and at the festival, money, opal, beer, wine and spirits flowed.

It was a highly successful event and one that everyone enjoyed and looks ahead to as a highlight of the year and a reward for all the hard work. An opportunity to display one’s blood, sweat, tears and joy.

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