Community / News / Business / Featured / 22nd May 2023
New owners for historic Crystal Kingdom
Anyone with nostalgic memories of Crystal Kingdom will enjoy visiting the museum again, with new owners planning to preserve history while conducting renovations.
Coonabarabran’s unique collection of crystals, fossils and minerals from the Warrumbungles, which has been the work of two local families, has recently been handed to new owners, Ken and Debbie Newton.
I was once a regular cust omer at Crystal Kingdom, so it was a bittersweet moment to be interviewing Nola Bredereck on her last day at Crystal Kingdom.
When I sat down with Nola, she told me about the history of Crystal Kingdom and how a unique set of local crystals had become a world-recognised collection.
“Brian Head and Wolfgang Bredereck were involved from the beginning of Crystal Kingdom when, in the early 1970s, Brian and Janet Head found these unique crystals,”
Mrs Bredereck explained. “Wolfgang and a few others suggested that they should open a museum – which they did in 1974.”
And so, Crystal Kingdom was born.
Twenty-two years later, in 1996, the Bredereck family purchased Crystal Kingdom, with the museum being run by Nola and Wolfgang Bredereck. The couple made major expansions to the museum to include their own family fossil collection and their crystal and mineral collection from the local district.
They even expanded the building itself to include a crystal shop where the previous museum had been.
“The museum is unique in that it is a single district collection which showcases a 360-million-year-old geological history,” Mrs Bredereck said.
"The Newton family are exactly the right people to take over the shop."
Of particular interest in the museum are some rare 200-million-year-old Zeolite crystals. These crystals were formed from the eruption of the Garawilla volcano, which created a massive pile of pyroclastic debris and lava fows over a large area.
“The Bredereck family is so pleased that the legacy of this unique and important collection, which has been recognised by many scientists as the ‘finest of its kind in the world’, will be preserved for the beneft of the Coonabarabran community,” Mrs Bredereck said.
“We’ve had a happy life here and the Newton family are exactly the right people to take over the shop, because they love the area.”
When I asked the new owners, Ken and Debbie Newton, about their future plans for Crystal Kingdom, they said their main goal is to keep the business going as is, with hopes to preserve the collection for the Coonabarabran community to enjoy.
Crystal Kingdom will celebrate its 50th anniversary in August next year and owner, Mr Newton, said he hopes the business will keep running well into the future – hopefully for another 50 years.
New owners of Crystal Kingdom, Debbie and Ken Newton, pictured with Nola Bredereck (middle).
When it came to purchasing Crystal Kingdom, the Newtons said that it was almost a spur of the moment purchase and that it was their granddaughter’s love of crystals that inspired them to take on ownership of the business.
Mr and Mrs Newton’s daughter, Angela, has been helping to run the shop with her parents and said that she would love to involve the schools more with the museum, so students can learn more about the interesting and unique geology of the local area.
Angela also said that, moving forward, there are plans to increase Crystal Kingdom’s social media presence as well as updating the website to accommodate online purchases.
Though the Newtons hope to preserve the museum collection and maintain the history of the museum, they are also planning a facelift, with some renovations aimed at giving Crystal Kingdom a new life as it moves into this exciting new era.
The Newton family have extended their thanks to Nola for helping them to learn the ropes over the last few months and are excited to pass on her wealth of knowledge of our spectacular local geology.