Read time: 12 minutes, 1 second
Written by Janice Hosegood
One of my favourite speeches was delivered by Tim Minchin at the University of Western Australia in 2013. Speaking to a group of 225 graduates, each receiving their degrees, and about to embark upon their next great adventure he concluded:
“Life will sometimes seem long and tough and, God, it’s tiring. And you will sometimes be happy and sometimes sad. And then you’ll be old. And then you’ll be dead. There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence, and that is: fill it. FILL. IT. It’s an incredibly exciting thing, this one, meaningless life of ours.”
Having collaborated with artists and makers for several decades, I’ve seen this resolute determination manifest in many ways. I hold boundless admiration for those who have the drive and commitment to start their own businesses, fearlessly embracing the inherent risks. Most of them acknowledge that this path is the key to unleashing their true creativity and living life on their own terms.
Mark Nuell, comes from a background of this quiet determination. A jeweller and gem cutter, Mark is known internationally for his distinctive style, incredible talent and unique approach to working with gemstones.
From an early age, Mark’s upbringing deviated from the conventional norms. Between 1947 and 1981, over a million Britons emigrated to Australia. Many of them opted for the ten-pound assisted passage scheme, generously funded by both the British and Australian governments. Various motivations drove their choices: some wanted to escape the lingering post-war austerity, while others were enticed by the allure of a warmer climate and a more outdoor lifestyle, and many simply craved the thrill of embarking on a new adventure. In May 1963, Mike and Shirley Nuell, accompanied by their two young children, plus one on the way, began their transformative journey to Australia.
The family’s early years in Australia were not easy, but Mike worked hard in his job for an oil refinery and gradually improved their living conditions with a home of their own. He loved the Australian bush and enjoyed fossicking for garnets, opals and chalcedony. When he learned of sapphire finds at the Central Queensland Gemfields, he and the family packed themselves off for a long holiday road trip which eventually found them in Rubyvale. Mark’s father quickly realised that he had found his calling and that he had not travelled to the other side of the world to be in yet another mundane job. Within six months, the family had moved permanently to their new life, with Mike establishing himself as a skilled and successful sapphire miner, with a career that spanned more than 30 years.