Australian Stones - Peace
In October 1999, a new continent appeared on the horizon, promising new adventures, new research opportunities, and new stones! I drove more than 20,000 kilometres with an old off-roader. It was of course driven on the left, for me the wrong side of the road, an adventure in itself! I marveled at the country of kangaroos, emus and koala bears. The technical simplicity and artistic architecture of the Sydney Opera House fascinated me! I drove through deserts, bush, salt lakes, and flooded rivers. During that time I visited many quarries, gold, opal and ore mines, often feeling suffocated by temperatures above 40o C! I was in search of the 'stone of stones'. I enjoyed many dear people's readiness to help and often I had to defend myself against the merciless mosquitoes, flies and annoying midges.
In Tom Price, West Australia, at the Hamersley Iron mine, I found two banded-iron blocks, one to be installed in Canberra as the third stone, and the fourth stone to be placed in Berlin. At that time, I honestly confess, I was unable to recognise the intrinsic hidden beauty in those masses of rusty rock!
I kept on hoping for a miracle. Finally, after three months and with almost no patience left, I found in Mount Magnet, on a sheep station belonging to the Jones family, a white stone with a unique crystalline flower-like enclosure, called orbicular granite. The family generously donated the stone to me and helped me to get it out of the hillside. The nearby ‘Hill Fifty’ gold mine assisted me with a nominal 'one-dollar contract' for equipment and manpower to drill out a fifty tons block. After four months' hard work, the stone was hooked onto the crane. Expectations were high. The cables tightened, more and more ..... and the stone cracked! With a sense of sorrow and total defeat we lifted piece after piece of the broken stone. The disappointment and sadness on the faces of the people, who had become my friends, made it impossible for me to abandon either their hopes or the stones. I decided to include the orbicular into the project with the banded-iron blocks from Tom Price. I sent the orbicular to Jakarta, to be cut into pieces, which were then shaped and polished so that they could be placed surrounding the banded-iron block. The setting for the stone in Canberra had already been granted, so now I had to file a new application for the new, modified project, with the national authorities in Canberra, not knowing the enormous complications this would cause.
Fortunately the German Consul, Mr. D. Sulzer, the executive manager of Thiess, the daughter of the German Company Hochtief, came to my aid. He took care of all transport in Australia and even brought one stone right to the Tiergarten in Berlin. This eased the enormous stress on my limited budget. On 4th of January 2001, this stone was placed in presence of the Australian Ambassador Excellency Paul O`Sullivan and the media.
Life can be very merciful! After stress and disappointment, I enjoyed the shaping and the polishing of the stones, thus unveiling little by little the beauty nature has created during billions of years. They are pieces of art in themselves!