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Minister King explores the new Rocks That Shape Australia exhibition

The Hon Madeleine King MP with the Yowah Moon opal

Minister for Resources and Minister for Northern Australia Madeleine King has visited the Rocks That Shape Australia exhibition at Geoscience Australia. This exhibition showcases how rocks have shaped Australia’s environment, economic and social history – and how they will be important to our nation into the future.

Minister King admired two additions to the exhibition that tell new stories about different and diverse ways rocks can be valued, including a stunning specimen of Australia’s national gemstone, and a Ngunawal healing stone.

The healing stone shows how rocks can be important for more than their monetary value. Senior Ngunawal man Tyronne Bell has loaned the stone, and some accompanying grinding stones, to Geoscience Australia for inclusion in the exhibition. These rocks demonstrate the deep and continuing connection to Country that First Nations people have had for thousands of years.

“Different stones have different spiritual purposes and roles,” Mr Bell says.

“When I was walking on Ngunawal Country, Mother Earth spoke to me and told me this was a healing stone. Healing stones bring good energy to people who touch them by connecting people to Mother Earth. When people touch healing stones like this one, they should think about the Country they walk on and live on and the care it gives them.”

Ngunawal healing stone

The other new addition is the 'Yowah Moon’ opal, a precious opal infilling an ironstone concretion (commonly known as a Yowah Nut) from Brandy Gully Mine in Queensland. Waanyi/Garawa man David Darby comes from a family of opal miners and found the ‘Yowah Moon’ while filming a popular TV show. Geoscience Australia purchased the specimen with generous support from the Australian Government through the National Cultural Heritage Account.

Mr Darby says it is important to him the Yowah Moon is on display for all Australians to visit and to inspire an interest in opal.

“I’m glad it’s here now, and it’s presented well and everyone’s going to enjoy it,” he says.

Mr Darby hopes seeing such a beautiful opal will inspire the next generation to be passionate about Australia’s national gemstone.

“A lot of people in Australia don’t know what opal is and it’s good to be here because students can come in here and have a look at it.”

The Rocks That Shape Australia exhibition is inspired by the paper The seven rocks that made Australiaby Dr Marita Bradshaw. Each element tells a story about how rocks have contributed to Australia’s history and will be important to our nation into the future.

The new additions are now on public display in the Geoscience Australia foyer in Canberra.