He packed up his four-wheel-drive to escape the city rat-race in Melbourne and eventually landed with his family in Winton, in Queensland's central-west.
These days he works as the parks and gardens supervisor at the Winton Shire Council and does his jewellery work at night.
"After hours, that's the time when I can sit at my bench and let my creative mind just wander; that's when I do my best work," he explained.
Mr Parry won the opal category of the Australian Jewellery Design Awards in Sydney in 2010, an achievement that's also put his work and western Queensland boulder opal on the world stage.
He's determined to keep entering the awards and said he won't rest until he's won the overall competition and is named, Australian Jewellery Designer of the year.
The next awards are in 2012 and Mr Parry is already working on his next big creation.
He said that opal is a wonderful product to work with.
"The colours are just vibrant and so electric and almost florescent."
"What I love about the boulder opal from this region is the free form shape.
"So every piece of jewellery I make is unique, the colour, the patterns in the stone, not only the opal itself, but the ironstone," he said.
Winton is boulder-opal country and Mr Parry's dream of owning his own opal mine has also come true with his tree change.
"Since I was a little child I always wanted to own an opal mine.
"I was introduced to opal when I was very young and being a jeweller has accentuated that."
Mr Parry's wife Tracy and daughter Rose also enjoy fossicking for opal, so the mine has become a family getaway spot.
Jewellery by Leon on Facebook
ABC report on Leon
Boulder Opals Australia
ABC web story
World Opal Supplies
Rhondda Scott Boutique Photography
2010 JAA Jewellery Design Awards Showcase
Members of Queensland Boulder Opal Association
Members of JAA Jewellers Association of Australia
ABC Radio interview with Helen Shield