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“We think having a focus on our national gemstone where it will be displayed well is just wonderful.”

Randall and Rosemary Wynn
$10,000 AOC Founders 

A former geologist turned stockbroker with a Diploma of Gemmology under his belt, Australian Opal Centre Life Member Randall Wynn is a big fan of Australia’s national gemstone. Despite only visiting Lightning Ridge twice in his life - once in the late 1970s and more recently in August 2018 - Cairns-based Randall and his wife Rosemary signed up to become AOC Founders without hesitation, believing the new AOC building to be a fantastic investment for the future of Australia’s opal industry.

“I started my working life as a geologist and that’s where my interest for gems and rocks has come from. When I was a kid I lived in Mount Morgan, one of the richest gold mines in Australia, for a time. I worked as a geologist until the Australian tin industry collapsed in the mid-80s, then I had to reinvent myself and did 20 years in stockbroking. I retired about 12 years ago.

I’ve always liked opals and bought my first opals before I went to Lightning Ridge in the late 1970s. I think they’re a magnificent stone and Lightning Ridge black opals are truly spectacular and unique to Australia. I was fortunate when I did my geology course that there was one lecture on gemmology I was able to attend and in 1977 after I graduated and was working, I did the full Diploma of Gemmology. Because of that course, which I did for interest only, I was aware of the investigation into opal crystallography and learned all about opal, its colour and why it does what it does.

After that I bought into a company that was trying to locate opal using geophysical techniques in Jundah, Queensland. However finding opal is not that easy - you’re better off with two or three men and a dog and a lot of luck. I also went on a trip through the South Australian opal fields, to Andamooka, Mintable and Coober Pedy, in 2008 with my wife Rosemary, who has worked in opal jewellery stores here in Cairns. But overall, I just have an enjoyment of opals and think they are excellent.

I first came into contact with the Australian Opal Centre (AOC) a few years ago when they were selling calendars with beautiful mineral specimens in them through the Gemmological Association of Australia. I already had quite a few opal books, so I bought a few calendars and then joined as an AOC member to give some support. I started receiving the newsletters and learned more about things they were doing like the Fossil Digs, which interest me from my geology background. Then about a year ago I became a Life Member and when I saw they were raising money to build the new AOC building, I decided I was happy to contribute some funds towards that.

You come to a stage in your life where you’ve got some money you can do something with, and although you have to juggle it with what else you’re doing, we were very happy to contribute $10,000 towards this wonderful project. We believe Lightning Ridge is the ideal location for this building in terms of it’s accessibility and the surrounding opal fields. It’s a sensible decision and good for the region too.

“We think having a focus on our national gemstone where it will be displayed well is just wonderful. So we’ve been happy to make a small contribution and support the AOC in this way. When governments see public donations for a project then, when it can be seen to be worthwhile, a significant multiplier effect can result from the public’s contribution.”

If you’d like to join Randall and Rosemary as an AOC Founder, please click here for a Founders Brochure and Application Form. For more information contact Olivia Ward by calling 0400 225 751 or emailing founders@australianopalcentre.com. We look forward to hearing from you!