Monday, June 20, 2011

Coober Pedy

This was one of the most interesting places we went on the whole trip and that is saying a lot.  Coober Pedy is primarily known for the mining of opals.  About 85% of the world's opal is from this area.  To say this is a unique town is an understatement.  The population is about 3,500 and 60% of the people are European.  This is truly an outback desert town with no grass, extreme heat in the summer, and it has only been since 1985 that there is a reliable water system.  50% of people live in dugout houses underground that stay at a constant temperature year round.  The first thing we did was go on a mine tour.
This mine dates back to 1916.  The shafts were filled in hiding the mine below and it wasn't until 1968 that is was accidently discovered when an underground home extension broke through. 

I'm posing with the mannequin of the first woman miner in the area.

I'm pointing at a picture of a 2 year old boy smoking!  These newspaper clippings were found when the mine was excavated.
This was a very informative and interesting tour with so much to see.  We even saw some real opal seams still embedded in the mine.

Next, we had to add a final "big thing" to our list-the big winch.
This picture is for my mom who hates grammatical errors on signs.
Underneath the "Free Addmission" someone wrote in the dust, "and free spell checks."
I think the only "big thing" less impressive than this was the Big Scotsman.
We also did a lot of shopping for souvenirs throughout the day but didn't buy much.  Our last stop before checking into the B and B was an underground church.
We stayed in a caravan park the first night but the second night we wanted to stay underground so we stayed at the Underground B and B.  Very nice place and very nice hosts.  We had a delicious dinner at a Greek restaurant too.

Km to Coober Pedy: 801
Total Km travelled: 10593

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