“Coober Pedy” is known as the Opal capital of the world. It literally means “waterhole” or “white man’s hole”.
Coober Pedy is composed of two Aboriginal terms, the “Piti” and “Kupaka”. Piti is derived from the Antakirinja word for “hole”, while Kupaka is from the Mutuntjarra word for “white man”. Coober Pedy was chosen, from four anticipated names by a recently created progress committee on June 26 1920.
Coober Pedy is reliant as much on tourism as mining.100,000 tourists call in every year to marvel at what is still considered as the last leading edge of Australia’s natural outback. Due to the heat it is also well known for its unique style of underground living with underground accommodation, museums, churches and of course opals mines.With over 70 opal fields it is the largest opal mining area in the world.
The first Coober Pedy Opal was found in 1915. Not too long after during 1917, the Trans Continental Railway was finished. Most of the soldiers and construction workers from World War 1 came to the Opal fields and established the exceptional technique of living underground in “dugouts”. Used to trenches these ex soldiers built underground to escape the heat.
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