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A scale model of the new Australian Opal Centre, which is currently being built in Lightning Ridge
A scale model of the new Australian Opal Centre, which is currently being built in Lightning Ridge

Opal museum gets the green light in Lightning Ridge

After more than 10 years of struggle, plans for a national opal museum in the town of Lightning Ridge have been approved, with $19 million of the $35 million budget funded by federal, state and local governments.

The Australian Opal Centre project is being led by architects Glenn Murcutt AO and Wendy Lewin, who told The Australian that the museum has “already attracted overseas interest in Spain, Italy and Japan” and will marry their interests in “the environment and technology”.

The museum – which will be built largely underground, near the historic Three Mile opal field – will focus on the history and significance of the opal in terms of geology, palaeontology and human culture.

It’s set to include a mix of permanent exhibitions, educational facilities, gallery spaces, an opal vault, a laboratory and underground gardens. The environmentally-conscious design will be energy and water self-sufficient.

Lightning Ridge is home to the world’s largest deposit of black opals and has also yielded opalised fossils, including those of dinosaurs dating back more than 100 million years.

As a world centre for opal knowledge, it’s hoped the museum will boost tourism and passion for Australia’s national gem.

 

More reading:
Australian Opal Centre seeks patrons
















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Friday, 24 May, 2019 08:59pm
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