Opal Mine & Sculpture Tours

Chambers of The Black Hand
Lightning Ridge

The Chambers is open half days only, in December & January & CLOSED all of February.

Welcome to Chambers of the Black Hand
Opal Mine Art Carving Tours


Venture 12m underground for a truly immersive art experience viewing 900 sculptures hand carved into the sandstone walls. You will be amazed by the detail and variety of artist Ron Canlin’s sculptures as you make your way through all 26 Chambers. This is a one of a kind experience where there is something for everyone and you won’t believe it until you see it with your own eyes!

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Once you’ve done the Chambers, it’s time delve a further 6 meters underground into our 100 year old, worked out opal mine. Enjoy a fully guided tour with one our local opal miners who will show you opal, teach you about it, tell stories about the old timers and how opal mining has evolved into the modern day. Explore 100 year old belly drives and hear the wins and heartbreak from those who go on the endless search for opal themselves. This is the ONLY fully guided underground opal mine tour in Lightning Ridge!


Get in touch with Australia viewing our Australiana Chamber then transport yourself to Egypt exploring a chamber filled with humorous hieroglyphics and a replica of an Egyptian tomb. After that, take a short walk around the corner and be amazed by our 5m tall Buddhas followed by a journey through African wildlife. Be amazed by some of the world’s most well-known superheroes, followed by some recognisable faces and even a dedicated space to under the sea.

Explore Tours

Experience the magic of opal mining with our underground tours! 

Sculpture Tour

Be amazed by the talent of one man, a butter knife and an opal mine wall.

Opal Mine Tour

Go into a real opal mine and explore the workings with a local opal miner.

Package Tour

Book both the Sculpture and Mine tours as a package and save $11!
Save $11

Ron served 11 years in the Royal Marines S.B.S. and worked 8 years as a diver on oil rigs. He and his wife Glennis moved to Australia in 1980 and settled in Southport Queensland, later moving to Lightning Ridge in 1982 to pursue their interest in fossicking. They have one daughter and three granddaughters.

Ron Canlin

Ron Canlin – The Artist

How It All Started

Chambers of the Black Hand has been created by local opal miner and artist Ron Canlin. His love of opal drew him to Lightning Ridge in 1982 in hope of finding his fortunes in black opal.

Unfortunately, for Ron, his mine didn’t produce much opal which is when he decided to open it up to the general public.

From here, he conducted tours in his opal mine while creating an underground sculpture gallery for visitors to enjoy.

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What Our CUSTOMERS Are Saying

Best attraction in Lightning Ridge

This is a must visit when in Lightning Ridge. There are two parts to the tour being the carvings and mine tour. I recommend do both, the carvings are fantastic and the mine tour conducted by John was excellent and informative. He was more than happy to answer any questions and he was very knowledgeable. Go visit.



Even better than expected

We spent an enjoyable and informative morning here. The sculptures were amazing, and I especially enjoyed identifying all the famous faces. The highlight, though, was the mine tour with Sam. She was so knowledgeable and passionate about opal mining and taught us so much, from her own experience. 

Jenny C