An incredible collection

Closeup of the surface of a theropod dinosaur tooth preserved in crystal opal. Opalised fossils may show exquisite surface detail and sometimes internal structure.

Closeup of the surface of a theropod dinosaur tooth preserved in crystal opal. Opalised fossils may show exquisite surface detail and sometimes internal structure.

The Australian Opal Centre is building the world’s greatest public collection of Australian opal and rare opalised fossils from the Age of Dinosaurs, as well as opal from around the world and geological samples that may shed light on opal formation. At the Australian Opal Centre, Australia will finally have a fitting treasury for its spectacular National Gemstone. The Centre will also celebrate the distinctive heritage and social history of Australia’s opal mining towns – including the lives and achievements of their Aboriginal people, the remarkable multiculturalism of these areas, and the extraordinary lives of the opal miners and their families. The collection includes historic photographs and documents, artworks, opal mining and cutting machinery and other artifacts of life on the opal fields, complementing the marvelous collection and records of Lightning Ridge Historical Society as well as collections held in White Cliffs, Queensland and South Australia.

A tiny 110-million-year-old opalised 'moon snail,' or naticid.

A tiny 110-million-year-old opalised ‘moon snail,’ or naticid.

In 2010 the Australian Opal Centre collection contained more than 4000 opalised fossils and it continues to grow in size, beauty and significance. Some of these fossils are currently the subject of scientific study and all are being carefully curated.

We even have a collection of poems, penned by ‘The Shovel’, available as the brilliant book ‘Old Matey Over There: Poems from Lightning Ridge’, published in 2010 by the Australian Opal Centre.  

The Australian Opal Centre’s remarkable collection is being built by the community. Beautiful, valuable, scientifically and historically significant items are being donated by opal miners, collectors and enthusiasts who want their treasures to be kept safe and made accessible to people of present and future generations. If you have something you think may belong in the collection of the Australian Opal Centre, please contact us to discuss your special pieces.