Dig, dig, dig! Yowah 4490 ½



  • Dig, dig, dig! Yowah 4490 ½
  • Street Stories, ABC Radio National
  • Executive Producer: Claudia Taranto
  • ABC Regional Production Fund


Man needs space to feel free. You can be desperately lonesome in a crowd, but in the outback you can be alone without ever feeling lonely.

Johnny Kovac in “White Man in a Hole” by Rena Briand (both residents of Yowah)


The evocatively, enigmatically named Yowah is a remote opal mining town in south-west Queensland. This shanty town has evolved slowly since the first mining lease was signed in the late 1800s. It’s now home to about 60 people.
Yowans will invariably tell you they “came for the opal and stayed for the lifestyle”. A curious concept. Yowah can hit 50 in summer and drop well below zero in winter. While this generation of diggers enjoys electricity and running water, phones and TV, there’s still no pub.
Even more curious, many of the locals have no interest in opal.




  • Dave Broome—Yowah Nut Café proprietor, miner & cutter
  • Sharon O’Hare—teacher
  • Peter Broome—Manager, Yowah Rural Transaction Centre
  • Uwe & Verena Barfuss—Queensland Opal Mines, Yowah
  • Eddie Maguire—collector, artist, miner & cutter
  • Ojai Maguire—home school student
  • Ossie & Carol Nelson—Yowah Museum proprietors, graziers-cum-miners