Coober Pedy Accommodation - Coober Pedy, South Australia
Coober Pedy is an opal mining town located in the Outback of South Australia and is recognised as the largest producer of opal in the world. It is situated within the erosional scarp of the Stuart Range which is generally stony and treeless. The town is surrounded by a moonscape like landscape dotted by shafts and mullock heaps from opal mining activities.
Opal was first discovered by Willie Hutchison in 1915. Following this discovery settlement began and has subsequently developed into the modern town of Coober Pedy. By 1916 more opal miners settled and after World War 1 returning soldiers started to drift here and introduced the unusual and unique method of living underground in 'dugouts'. The first opal claim was pegged on the 9th February 1915.
Living conditions were harsh and the environment did not lend itself to easy living. Water and provisions had to be carted great distances and under very trying circumstances Even with the introduction of very large underground water tanks things improved only marginally, the entitlement of water being only 24 gallons per week.
The mining industry at Coober Pedy expanded rapidly during the 1960's. Many European migrants arriving in Australia made their way here to make their fortunes. Today it lays claim to being one of the most ethnic communities in South Australia, indeed Australia, with approximately 45 nationalities being represented was well as a large percentage of Aboriginal people.
Coober Pedy, together with Andamooka and Mintabie, produces over 90% in quantity of the world's opal. During the 60's and 70's opal mining developed as a multi million dollar industry.
Coober Pedy today
Coober Pedy to the ordinary Australian represents opal, underground living, life in a harsh environment, minimal government restrictions, unique landscape, isolation and tourism.
The township of Coober Pedy has underground churches, shops, motels and a hotels, as well as caravan and camping areas. The National Award winning Desert Cave Hotel is a prominent feature in Coober Pedy's main street. Many of the locals (about 50%) prefer to live underground in dugouts where it is cool in summer and warm in winter; several dugouts and mines are open for inspection.
Coober Pedy has an area school that caters for children from pre-school to Year 13. There are many sporting clubs to cater for the many differing interests including swimming, badminton, basketball, football, cricket, 8-ball, soccer, motor club, rifle club and netball. There is also an RSL Club, Lions Club, Italian Club, Croatian Club, Greek Club, and Serbian Club/Hall.
Coober Pedy has a resident doctor and a very modern 40 bed hospital, The Royal Flying Doctor Service is on call for emergencies.
Opal workings now extend for nearly 40 kilometres around the township and local tours are available. Once off the bitumen, roads are rough and dusty, often impassable after heavy rain.
Coober Pedy, South Australia