More and more tourists are flocking to the new tourist attraction in Lightning Ridge where you can go 11.2 metres underground to explore hand carved images sculptured out of the sandstone walls and pillars of an old opal mine.  Then tour an old opal mine that was started over 100 years ago.

Ron Canlin – The Artist

Ron served with Royal Marines S.B.S. – 5 years on oil rigs as a diver. Ron is married with one daughter and 3 granddaughters .

Ron and his wife Glennis came to Australia in 1980, making their home in Southport Queensland. Having always been interested in “fossicking” (digging up Victorian rubbish tips in the UK), he decided to visit Lightning Ridge at Christmas 1980 was totally captivated in the lifestyle and possibility of making a fortune in the black opal – so went back to Southport’ sold the house and business, and moved here permanently in April 1982.

Setting up a shed on a claim Ron began mining in earnest have a bit of luck here and there, but no fortune! He gained a nickname “have hoist will travel” as he changed his mining claims as often as he changed his mind. Ron relinquished The Black hand mine at least twice – but finally registered it a third time and was determined to work it until the colour came.

The purchase of The Flash Newspaper put an end to fulltime mining for a number of years as he and Glennis were kept very busy. In 1996 they sold the paper and retired from the workforce.

Ron went back to mining with enthusiasm and having the creative abilities he is well known for decided to build himself a “Walk Down Mine”. Noting the beautiful sandstone, he started caving animals in the walls and pillars, the idea and skills grew and grew, as did the interest of friends in the Ridge and visitors from overseas that is when Ron thought that tourists might also find the mine of interest, which has proved to be the case.

There is no end to Ron’s artistic abilities as our visitors can see for themselves.