White Cliffs, New South Wales

White Cliffs is a small town in outback New South Wales in Australia, in Central Darling Shire. White Cliffs is around 255 km northeast of Broken Hill, 93 km north of Wilcannia. At the 2021 census, White Cliffs had a population of 156.

The primary school opened in 1895, and has operated continuously since then. White Cliffs was one of the many places visited by Bill Bryson in research for the book Down Under.

 Opal fields at White Cliffs

The town was established in the late 19th century when opal was discovered. Opal has been mined ever since. The first Australian opal was found 20 years before in Queensland in 1872, when a party of kangaroo hunters were operating in the White Cliffs area. One of them, who had left the party to track down a wounded kangaroo over some low stony hills, picked up a pretty stone which appealed to him. When taking back the stone, they suspected it could be opal which the local jeweller confirmed. He advised to get as much opal as possible since this could be more profitable than kangaroo hunting. When the group filed a claim, opal had not yet been listed under gemstones, and it was decided to file the claim under the "Gold Mining Act".[1]

^ Gems and Gemology, Volume XIII, Fall 1971, Page 334
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