There’s no way you can miss Irvin’s place. His property sits at the top of a hill where he has somehow managed to acquire more random, insane shit than you have ever seen in one spot. Ever. We spent about four hours in his office, and even then didn’t get through a millionth of the schmack that was smothering every available surface.
Irvin is a jovial Hungarian who loves a bad joke. The first thing he said to us was: “You know the archaeologist who found a tampon? He couldn’t tell what period it was from!” We’d print more Irvin hilarity but our lawyers basically gave us a look that said, ‘Sure, and why not just buy a gun and shoot rounds into your dicks while you’re at it.’
’ve lived here for 45 years and I love it. I have a mine under my house and I think I have only just scratched the surface. In 40 years I’ll find the big one. I came from Hungary when I was in university because there was a revolution and we were being overrun by the Russians. We had to flee. Those who didn’t flee have been buried. We went to Austria and to France. I have a son there. Back then my uncle was in Adelaide and we were writing letters to each other. He wrote to tell me, “Come, it’s nice and warm here”. So I came here with my wife. She is married to my best friend now. One day he said, “Look, I’m in love with your wife.” I couldn’t believe it. People ask me why I am still so kind to him and I say that I have to be; otherwise he’d bring her back. I think I’ll be selling opals here for a long time. I’ve been in every movie that came through. We’ve had: Mel Gibson, Bruce Willis, Tina Turner, Rutger Hauer, and they have all been here to buy opal from me. I collect stuff from everywhere. This is the car park at Irvin’s place. I mainly stay here for the freedom mate. Once I was washing my car and I noticed that it was three years since my registration expired. That kind of thing’s not a big deal here and it’s great. The other great thing is that there’s always occasion to drink. This is how I see it: Over the years, we drink because we don’t find opal, then when we find opal we drink to celebrate. Because the wife is with us we drink, and then when she leaves us, we drink too. The Police only moved here about 25 years ago and a couple of fellas responded then by blowing up the Court House because they weren’t used to the authority. My friend Crocodile Harry, who just died, was so drunk when he had to go to court one time, that his friends had to take him there in a wheelbarrow. The people of CP weren’t used to authority and then suddenly there were policemen stopping them for a low exhaust pipe or something and they didn’t like it. I guess they’re used to it now. This is a big sophisticated town compared to how it used to be. There’s one story I tell everyone about a miner who had a mongrel dog and said that when he found opal he was going to travel around Australia in a brand new car which would mean he’d have to kill the dog (as he didn’t want to take him along). He eventually did find opal and went to Port Augusta to buy a new car. When he got home, he got some gelignite and a short detonator, strapped it to the dog and said goodbye. Just as he did that, the dog ran under the car and the miner lost everything. It was karma and I think it’s a good lesson for life. IRVIN WENCH