Conan ‘oneOutback’¬† interview

Where do you live and what do you do?

I live in the Andamooka Opal Fields, where the landscape has been described as looking like ‘Mars with Air’. South Australia’s opal fields supply 80% of the worlds opal production with Andamooka contributing a large share to this multimillion dollar export trade. I run the Andamooka Observatory, an independent, off-grid bookshop with astronomy and customised opal mining tours. We regularly collaborate with the Woomera Baker Observatory on arts, music and astronomy projects.

How long have you lived there?

This time a 3-month visit has turned into 3 years….again. This is the 3rd time I have visited Andamooka and stayed on. I visited Andamooka with family from the early 1970s and I lived in Andamooka in the late 1980s and then again in the mid 1990’s.

What brought you to the Outback / what keeps you in the Outback?

The desert, the timeless space and the stars. I love the strong community culture, the rich history and also the land, meteor showers, wild flowers, the elements, the Milky Way and the silence.

Favourite Outback Location?

Mt Borradaile, Arnhem Land

Favourite Outback Event?

Andamooka Camp Oven Cookout

What does living in the Outback mean to you?

Freedom! I love living in a nocturnal marsupial lifestyle, doing opal mining tours and opal mining in the day and reading, stargazing and studying the skies at night. I feel fortunate to have this work/lifestyle in such a strong supportive community.

What is the biggest change you have seen in the Outback?

Recently, Andamooka has seen a significant spike in people keen to learn about opal mining due to the interest created by the Discovery series ‘Outback Opal Hunters’. More and more people are coming to try their luck at opal mining and working with locals. Andamooka has also become a popular location hotspot for film, photography and music videos.

What is your hidden talent?

Having a siesta anywhere, anytime.

What would be a good theme song for your life?

‘Something Good’ by Utah Saints featuring Kate Bush ( Original Version 1992).

Where would you most like to visit?

Charlie Swamp Opal Diggings

Anything else to add

Each Tuesday morning 9.05am on ABC North and West SA ‘Breakfast, the Woomera Baker Observatory’s Rebecca Tayler and the Andamooka Observatory’s Conan talk what’s new and weird in space news, stargazing, science and astronomy