My name is Michael Gompert, born in Los Angeles. I learned Navajo Indian silversmithing from Dee Morris (Ninabah) in Sedona, Arizona and became interested in Queensland opal when my mother remarried to a lapidary rockhound. In 1972 I made my first buying trip to Australia and have lived here ever since.
1973 was my first trip to the gemfields, digging for opal and sapphire in the Queensland (Qld.). Outback. I met a lot of good people, professional miners, and compared to them still consider myself an amateur. The group who brings you this page is also comprised of amateurs, even though they've been involved in mining and gemstones for decades. Most hold down other jobs, waiting for that break when they can go on another trip to the gem fields. All of us cut our own stones. We've been based in Kuranda for 30 years at the same address, same phone, same bank. Located in the World Heritage tropical rainforest of north Qld., Kuranda is a market town that draws a million tourists a year, and provides us with an outlet for our stones.
Over the years we've acquired a bit of equipment like 4 wheel drives, slab saws, trim saws, diamond wheels, Imahashi ultrasonic driller, 80,000rpm diamond handpiece, picks pans sieves shovels etc. We handle everything from the mines to the jewelry designs, and have our own school for beginning silversmiths, the Kuranda School of Encouragement. Auscopes Pty.Ltd has been in business since 1990. Not all of us smoke. Those of us who do, inhale.
Auscopes Pty.Ltd. trading as #1 Australia Stoned Opal has been located at 24 Coondoo Street, Kuranda, Queensland since the place was built. Mailing address: P.O.Box 69 Kuranda, Qld.4872. phone (61)07 40939640. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
We trade with Bendigo Bank 19 Coondoo Street, Kuranda phone: 40937444
Brian Clarke is a director of Auscopes, and first president of the Kuranda Chamber of Commerce, and was a director of the North Queensland Tourist Assoc. He also runs Kuranda Rainforest Tours, operating the only riverboat cruise on the Barron River . . . a must-see if you ever choose to visit.
Kuranda, a 30 minute drive from Cairns International Airport, is accessible by a historical scenic rail journey up the Barron Gorge, stopping at the famous 860' Barron Falls (a sheer drop), or Dindin in the Tjapukai language (the local Aboriginal tribe, and originators of the world famous Tjapukai Dance Theater).Bus and rent-a-cars travel up the winding road through the World Heritage rainforest. SKYRAIL will give you a bird's eye view of the rainforest; it's a great ride. Bill Clinton and Queen Elizabeth II seemed to like it. The departure terminal for SKYRAIL is down the range at Carivonica, next to the Tjapukai Dance Theater.
Our million tourists a year arrive in town about 10am and leave around 3:30pm. We're a daytime destination with scant overnight accommodation available, like 6 rooms at the pub, and a trailer park (the Rainforest Retreat, beautifully situated on the banks of the Barron River). We also have a world class gay resort, "Liberty", less than a mile's walk from town. Kuranda's a very eclectic village, making room for all sorts of lifestyles. To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Hitch your wagon to a star. Let us not fag in paltry works which serve our pot and bag alone."