Business: Crystal Kingdom, Coonabarabran
The Crystal Kingdom in Coonabarabran is a mineral and fossil museum that was officially opened in 1974, with an attached retail store selling gemstone jewellery, crystals, minerals, fossils and giftware. It is owned by Wolfgang and Nola Bredereck who ran a seed, fertiliser and agricultural supply business for 30 years prior to taking over the Crystal Kingdom in 1996. Rock, mineral and fossil collecting has been a lifelong hobby for them.
In 2004, a new museum building was added and the old museum converted into a modern shop.
The business owes its existence to finding the world’s best zeolite crystals in the local area. As such, it was the first display in Australia showing specimens from only one local area.
Entry to the museum is free and a visit is the ideal introduction to the geology of the nearby Warrumbungle National Park. The museum has world class specimen of crystals, minerals and fossils from the Warrumbungle Range on display. Highlights include crystals from the Zeolite family, which are the largest and most colourful examples of their kind in the world. There are more than 400 unique and rare specimens in this collection, which sets the Crystal Kingdom apart from other collections.
This was the first museum in Australia to preserve minerals and fossils from one local area for the enjoyment and education today’s and future generations. As an eco-tourism experience, a visit is a must for students of the earth sciences.
The business is operated primarily by Nola and Wolfgang, a World War II refugee who came to Australia in 1953.
They have a volunteer who assists on weekend.
The Crystal Kingdom has more than 25,000 visitors each year, with a large proportion repeating their visit.
As a major attraction in the town, the Crystal Kingdom contributes to the overall tourist experience of the region.
The business has highway frontage and ample parking and is close to accommodation. This is a drawcard for visitors but they can also be impacted by the economy, road closures, drought conditions or competing with cheap overseas holidays.
The biggest threat to future profitability is the proposed highway bypass of Coonabarabran. Crystal Kingdom is located at 16 Chappell Avenue, Coonabarabran.