Coober Pedy

A name derived from indigenous Australian name of kupa-piti.  What the flaming heck does kupa-piti mean, well it means; white man watering hole.  (And I am asking why the bloody hell you said flaming heck.)  Known world-wide as the The Opal Capital Of The World, to me it’s known as ‘Miner’s Hell).

John The Aussie

I’ve been there three times and have seen it all… well that was until they left the damned props of Pitch Black (ya know Riddick?) out there to help with tourism.

Now don’t get me wrong, every tourist of Australia, and every Australian for that matter, should  see Coober Pedy and find one of the few, true meanings of a hard life.  A bloke, his son and a mate discovered opals here in a year that I cannot recall and cannot be bothered researching because ya’ll don’t care and if I tell you too much, you have an excuse not to visit.  After half a century or so, the demand for opals dropped out the ass end nearly closing the place down.  Thanks to one local native lady and a shitload of immigrants the town once again flourished… well as much as a place like this can.  So the legend became of the underground city and the world most coveted opals…

John The Aussie

John The Aussie

Wait… I’m suppose to convince you to visit Coober Pedy.  Your probably wondering why I am trying to convince you to goto the middle of the desert to see the old sets of  Pitch Black, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Salute of the Jugger, Red Planet, & Priscilla; Queen of the Desert.

Look familiar??

John The Aussie

John The Aussie

Many other films have used the landscape and town as scenary or a base for their films.  I was happy to get an ‘insider’ tour of the place from an Uncle whom once lived there for a bit, getting his (and anyone who visited) hands dirty… I remember pocketing opals I found along the ground, being absolutely worthless, but opals seams hidden in rock none the less.  I still have some decent opals lying about, I think only the fire opal was the one I collected from Coober Pedy.

John The Aussie

John The Aussie

Now, if you want to know more about the place here is a link that should cover a two day (in town and drive only) or a weeks worth (with good tours using 4×4’s and experienced miners);

Coober Pedy Things to Do

Why am I talking about Coober Pedy?

1. I’m a miner, it’s a mining town.
2. Coober Pedy got me into rock/stone/gem/ore collecting
3. It’s a place where so much amusement is kept, alongside eye opening lifestyles, techinques, achitecture, attitudes
4. There are dumb miners galore (and of course other dumb proffesionals) – but some just take the cake.
5. Mick Dundee’s inspiration of lives there to this day.  Don’t let him fool you, he can have a decent conversation when he isn’t humoring the tourists, so shout him a beer or three.
6.  The cemetry has a beer keg as a gravestone there… Seriously, the guy died and he has a beer keg as his gravestone, how fucking awesome is that.
7.  There are many ‘hotspots’ close by that are worth checking out.
8. Dude, it’s a town built mainly under the earth!!

John The Aussie

Now if your not the kind to travel and soak in the local tourism… Just stay in a motel / hotel or the caravan park for a night to say you did and move along the flinders range north or south

First Tip:  Follow the tips on the link above…
Second Tip:  Visit in the cooler months
Third Tip: 2x Aerosols will be necessary; anti persperant & fly killer
Fourth Tip: For fuck’s sake, wear protective footwear and sunscreen (even if it is winter)
Fifth Tip:  Never compare the place with other places (in a bad way) without expecting;
a.  A hefty arguement
b. A hefty fist to the face
c. A hefty heave out the door
d. A hefty kick up the ass

~ by John the Aussie on April 7, 2012.

32 Responses to “Coober Pedy”

  1. I saw a documentary on this once, very intrigued with it.

    • Ya know, it just so happen I never seen a documentary on this place. I’ve read a few novels loosely based around Coober Pedy, however.

      Thanks for stopping by John P!

  2. Willie Hutchison 1915, was the guy that discovered the opals 🙂
    Strange coincidence…… I happened to stumble upon Coober Pedy during one of my trawls through the interweb the other day (I found it interesting and read quite a bit about it), are you monitoring my browser…….? If so that thing with the 1 legged dwarf and 3 goats was something I accidentally clicked I…….. Honest!

    • Hutchison has a memorial dedicated to him in Coober Pest also. Can’t remember if it were just a plaque or a statue (local made).

      Re monitoring: the same goes for me stumbling across the dwarf and goats 8 times in the last week. All unintentional… 😛

  3. Love the opals!

  4. Saw this place on a documentary on Discovery(?) a few years back…I tried to talk ex-2 into moving there lol…(I like dry deserts, independent living and those underground rooms kick ass)…So you’ve been out there that rocks(pun) and I am hella jealous you bastard..I mean really f-ass-anyway the post is funny (as usual) enlightening (ditto), and got me all jimmied up too convince Lil Mouse to move there when she wakes up..oh she’ll be so happy…

    • Na na nana naaaa :wicked:

      Some rooms are great with polished rock, whilst some are hewn from the earth and left rougher than my foul language.

      All though appeal to me, I love underground… Bat caves, lava tubes, crevices and just normal caves. Self sufficiency is a skill beyond normal out in the outback desert, any desesrt for that matter.

      Good luck with the move!!

      • Hell I can’t get ‘er to think about movin to the American there is a superb need for highly skilled highly paid masters of librariay science out in Coober Pedy I think I have as much chance movin there as I do findin one of them opal’s in my own backyard

  5. I always wanted to go there..way before I knew about the certain movies being made there, the underground residences look amazing. 🙂

    • They are amazing. The is one house that has very dark tinted windows on its second story (which is ground level). Which looks to be like a villains lair.

      Some of the mines are great too!!

  6. Dear John,
    I’d never heard of the place but I’m intrigued now, I’m going to read up on it some more. Thanks. 🙂
    Love Dotty xxx

  7. Reblogged this on Ely Bob's space and commented:
    I officially have a new travel destination !!!!

  8. Ooh… Shiny…

  9. Great post man! I’ve seen all of the movies you’ve mentioned (save for Salute of the Jugger). Mad Max being my favorite. That was very interesting! If I weren’t such a pussy and afraid to fly; I possibly would plan a trip there. Cheers!

    • You afraid of water too?

      • No. But my wife is afraid of boats.

        But, that’s what the internet and blogs are for. You can show me the wonders that exist outside of my little piece of this planet in your corner of the globe…

      • Damn, I hope neither of you get roadsick.

        I’ll see if I can show you the hidden things around my corner…

      • HA! No… in fact, we are “Road Warriors” (pun intended). I drive everywhere! I love the open road, especially late at night when everyone is all cozy in their beds and I’m tearing up the highways.

        By the way, I live near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania… home of all the excellent George Romero Zombie movies… oh yeah, and other ones like that new Dark Knight movie … heh heh.

  10. […] – Dumb workers blog, […]

  11. […] [Photo source – Coober Pedy – Dumb Workers blog. Walking insomniacs]. […]

  12. It’ s been 40 years since I have been there but still the place calls me back. Loved the people,loved the way of life and miss it. I hope to come back one day soon.

Go on, give us a yarn or two, mate.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: