Friday, 11 July 2008

Coober Pedy

We arrived in Coober Pedy on Thursday after a very long drive from Port Augusta where we stayed for one night after leaving Broken Hill. Along the way to Port Augusta we happened on the clean up from a very nasty accident at Olary where a road train carrying 800 sheep of which only 300 survived had overturned when the driver tried to avoid a kangaroo. They were on their way to agistment and were much prized by their owner who had been breeding this particular variety for 5 years. He now has to start again and seemed heartbroken but philosophical as most farmers are, when we heard him interviewed on the ABC Country Hour.
We’re never too sure of where we will end up and peruse all the stops along the way looking for somewhere suitable to stop when we’ve had enough. This time the roadside stops held no appeal at all as the country is very open and barren. When we finally pulled into Coober Pedy we had covered 530k which is more than we usually prefer. Caravan park space was a little difficult again but we found a new park which is great.
Today we thought we would have a look around and probably not see too much as there didn’t appear to be much to see and we have been underground to a mine at Emerald last year. However Coober Pedy is deceptive as so much is located underground including the houses. We went on a tour of the Old Timers Mine which dated back to 1916. The Old Time Miners had filled in the shafts, hiding the mine below and it wasn’t until 1968 that the hidden mine was accidentally discovered when an underground home extension broke through, revealing much precious opal which we were able to see today. When you need more space in your home you set your husband to tunnel out another room and that is what happened here. We were able to see the home which led to the uncovering of the mine and it really is quite comfortable and provides much needed relief from the hot weather they experience here in the summer. When we read about how the early miners struggled here to extract the opal and how the women managed both as miners and homemakers you can only appreciate how tough these early pioneers were and in fact continue to be as it is no easy life here. So our day turned out to be far more interesting than we first thought.
Tomorrow we’re off to Kulgera or thereabouts, just in the Northern Territory getting us every closer to Uluru.
Petrol here $1.779 per litre - not too bad considering the location.
Weather Report – still cold but not quite the icy cold on Broken Hill.
Hope you enjoy the photos of the underground house at the Old Timers Mine at Coober Pedy.


Anonymous said...

Dear Ian & Sue, Well it reads an eventful journey, you lucky couple!! Not like some of us who are due to return to work on Monday, how hard that will be. I have been scouring the patchwork shops Sue, so look out when you get home!! All well here , very cold. Enjoy the trip, I will now pass over to APC. XX Maree PC
greetings I&S
With the cool weather it looks like you need to have a glass or 2 of good fortified wine before you go to bed!. no fires of any significance so far. weather cold with some rain but not enough. sue prhaps you could assist in the building reno's at coober pedy with your trusty sledge hammer. rumor around that Milvan is going to turn the burnt out hotel into the long awaited brothel and that a certain "lady " has decided to withdraw her opposition and take a job as manager of the new business!!! Tony Owen has had a 12 month demotion back to FO2 and is going to be a state based reliever at shepparton. time will tell if this is a good move! hope all goes well on your next leg of your journey have a good day apc

Anonymous said...

Hi you two sorry we didn't catch up before you left I rang and ended up speaking to Katie who I thought was you Sue!! You looked very cold at Broken Hill but I bet we are colder her was only 8 deg on Wednesday all day!!! As much as it looks cold I'm jealous would love to be on the adventure. At least you are heading in the right direction to warm up. Have you created quilts for the water bottles???
Keep posting the Patto's

scanno said...

Hello happy campers,
Thougherly enjoying your diary updates. I don't think I will let Greg read the latest, you know how he loves a good renno job, I just can't see myself living underground I would be dusting all day.
Look forward to the next update
xxo the scannos