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Peter’s Story is a series of articles written by Peter for a magazine called Metal Stone and Glass. The magazine is published every 3 months and to be fair to the magazine, the stories will appear on the web site shortly after they are published.

Peters Story Part 26

The Last Claim

I had just finished the exhilarating task of digging out a large pocket of exquisite opal from our Prize Fighter claim. It was towards the end of the year and I was on an absolute high.

Not all those at Mintabie were feeling the same.

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Peter’s Story Part 25

The prize fighter claim – Part 2

I felt on top of the world and digging out breathtaking opal in our newly named “Prize-fighter Claim”. The opal seam was becoming wider by the day and there was some wonderful opal amongst it. I had already taken several buckets to Stafford’s camp for storage so knew the value of the pocket was building nicely.

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Peter’s Story Part 24

The prize fighter claim

Stafford owned an investigator drilling rig and had been grid drilling a claim he owned beside a successful finished claim. This claim had produced quite a large amount of opal and was in a productive area in the middle of Crystal Valley, one of the prime mining areas at Mintabie.

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Peter’s Story Part 23

The Bits and Pieces claim

We had just found an incredible pocket of black opal in our Jet Black claim and I was still on a high. I had roughly faced a couple of stones at Mintabie and the result was astonishing. I couldn’t wait to finish off a few.

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Peter’s Story Part 22

The Jet Black Opal Claim

I was feeling intensely excited and keen to get back to Mintabie and start work on the Jet Black Opal claim. I had a good feeling and as a lot of miners will tell you ‘having a feeling’ sometimes leads to a find. ‘Having a feeling’ is different from anticipation or dreaming.

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Peter’s Story Part 21

Return to Mintabie

Mintabie is a long 3 days drive from Canberra and I swear crossing the Hay plain that every blade of grass, every salt bush and the three trees on it had not changed since we crossed last.

The hamburger at the last garage out of Port Augusta tasted deliciously the same as it always did and a couple of kilometres out of town my mind drifted in to opal fever mode.

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Peter’s Story Part 20

My Life in Turmoil

My life, now in a perceived state of upheaval was in turmoil. I was feeling totally insecure with our permanent return to Canberra. With our mining days at Mintabie finished and all bridges burnt, with the sale of the camp and the giving away of our leases,

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Peter’s Story Part 19

Finding the Balance

Running my shop ‘Mineshaft’ and being a full time opal miner made my life very busy. Somehow amongst all this I had to juggle a marriage and spend time with our young son Michael. There are periods in every body’s life where circumstances mean we probably take on more than we can handle.

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Peter’s Story Part 18

Preparing a New Opal Mine

We had bottomed on opal at our new grasshopper claim and were really keen to go down and dig it out. This might appear a ‘ready set go’ procedure but the fact is there is quite a bit of preparation work to be done before this can happen.

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Peter’s Story Part 17

A Comfortable Routine

My life had developed a certain comfortable routine over the time we had been mining at Mintabie. Whilst in Canberra I would run our business and around Easter, when the weather cooled, we would drive the 3000 odd kilometers to Mintabie and chase opal. Perhaps once or twice during the year we returned home to fine tune any problems in the business and have a break.

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