The subterranean opal-mining world of White Cliffs in north-western NSW, continues to lure residents and visitors alike.

Story By Chris Pritchard

Let’s not mince words. This back-of-beyond pinprick isn’t rural Australia’s prettiest town – although residents insist newcomers soon love it. No main street bisects White Cliffs. It is a higgledy-piggledy scattering of 30-odd utilitarian buildings, separated by arid-area vegetation, at the edge of a moonscape. There are opal-mining mounds, battered machinery, rusting vehicles and signs highlighting potentially fatal shaft plunges. A hard core of about 150 people are year-round residents, and the population doubles when fossicking Victorian grey nomads escape their homes in the chillier months.

This Story is from Issue #95

Outback Magazine: June/July 2014