The HUNTER odyssey to Central Australia
GLENDAMBO - COOBER PEDY
We stopped at this small outpost for a lunch n' coffee break. PS, I saw NO flies at all.. Must have went south for the spring!!
Leaving Glendambo, we started heading north again, so as to make it to Coober Pedy well before night fall.
We made a parking bay stop, for an afternoon "smoko" break, and this is where I saw these exquisite STURT PEA flowers. I had not seen any for many years, so I knew we were getting into the more arid regions now!! I did not really need convincing actually, 'cos look how flat and uneventful the country is!! Coober Pedy, here we come!
Coober Pedy, Now, here is one hell of an interesting township, The people that reside here are a resilient, hardy bunch. Many of these "hopeful" OPAL miners live in "dugouts" which are dwellings carved out of the earth, underground.. Makes a lot of sense to me, as mid summer temperatures creep up to 50 degrees Celsius. The others in the tour had pre-booked to stay at an interesting underground motel in Coober Pedy, so I left them and wandered off to see a friend, and hopefully catch up with a childhood friend that I have not seen for 17 years.
This VERY baron landscape is dotted with piles of overburden, sent to the surface in a desperate man's quest to become filthy rich. Some do hit the big time, but others just have zero luck at all. The opal is a beautiful gem stone, and I can see why there is an attraction to it. You have to be so very careful wandering around this country, Shafts are almost everywhere, and many, many people have come to grief here. It has taken many weeks to find "bodies" when they disappear.
This is the "stuff" people like to find underground
We all stayed for 2 nights in Coober Pedy, I had a chance to see an old Amateur radio mate, David Young, VK5AYD and I also tracked down my friend that I grew up with from Hawker in the Flinders Ranges.
I had not seen David Marron for 17 years, and it was really great to see him again after such a long time. After traversing some pretty rough gravel roads en-route to the "8-Mile" mining area.......................
I got my first FLAT tyre in at least 15 years!!! Note the 2 Jerry cans of petrol in the boot also.
This is at my friend David Marron's opal mine. They sure do it hard these blokes.. No electricity..No running water, and his rain water supply was almost gone as well.
What a very interesting way to live?.. I must admit, I do enjoy all the mod-cons, Technology and light bulbs that life has to offer back home!!!
I took David for a run in my 660, and he was very impressed with the "zippiness" and wheel spins hehehe. He organized for us to head back into Coober Pedy, where I would be able to get a few pictures of the famous Coober Pedy dugout dwellings.
Aussie ingenuity at its best? Just look at the power points they have been chased into the earthen walls!! Maybe some one had imported this idea from overseas... Anyway, the temperature was a nice 23C in here. Very cosy to boot.
After the "dugout tour" we went to leave... Where is my Hunter? lots and lots of cars, machinery, trucks etc all around Coober Pedy. Not much rust in any of these old wrecks.. Seems like the engines just give up, and money must be scarce, so I guess they are just "dumped" in the various miner's front yards. I actually looked around, taking my time in the hope that there were a few Hunters available...maybe even a straight non rusty Hustler... naw... no such luck!!! literally 100's of various makes and models "resting" in the sun here in Coober Pedy, with a diverse population with at least 119 different countries of origin represented!
FAREWELL to Coober Pedy, It is time to head interstate!!
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Pictures taken with a Kodak DC3800 (2.1Mp) digital camera.
Story, Pictures and webpage design compiled by John F. McRae --GOODWOOD-- Sourh Australia JULY 2005