The Australian Opal Centre (AOC), an icon for outback Australia and the home of all things opal has been funded! The local, state and federal governments have come together after almost 15 years of lobbying and put aside almost $19 million dollars to stage phase 1 of the project. Along with community contributions and the Founders program, the AOC has a total available pool of over $20 million dollars. We are so very excited for all those involved and the community of Lightning Ridge at large.
The Australian Opal Centre as a centre of education, training and certification has been a project close to the hearts of many in the community for over 15 years. An audacious plan was devised to build a world renowned environmentally sustainable centre.
To quote Architecture Australia
“The Australian Opal Centre has been designed by Pritzker Prize laureate Glenn Murcutt and Wendy Lewin.
To be located on a 3.1-hectare site adjacent to the disused Three Mile open cut opal mine, the museum will include subterranean spaces that will take visitors deep into the opal field. A gently sloping ramp will lead towards a space suspended inside of an open-cut mine, with its geological strata exposed for visitors to see.
A two-storey, 100-metre-long, 30-metre-wide building at ground level will provide spaces for permanent and temporary exhibitions; curatorial facilities; education and learning facilities; a library; workshops for opal cutting, carving and jewellery making; research laboratories and theatre spaces for events and conferences.”
A key component in the revitalisation of the New South Wales north west economy, the Centre is expected to attract tourists and opal related industry to the region.
To learn more about the Australian Opal Centre and their work – or even to donate – go HERE.