On This Day …

Monday 1st February, 1915

Coober Pedy, 0949-90Coober Pedy is not much to look at. From the air it looks like a dusty desert town plopped in the middle of treeless terrain. Hot days, cold nights. Even on the ground there is not much to entice you.

However, when you look between the deceptively dull surface, there is hidden one of the world’s richest treasures in opal. This beautiful gem was first discovered at Coober Pedy in 1915, by some gold prospectors of course.

iStock_000010673768XSmallAs the opal field grew, the miners, who found the temperature extremes unbearable, began to dig underground homes where the temperature remained constant at around 25C. Thus, the mining town became known as Coober Pedy, derived from the aboriginal words kupa piti, meaning ‘white man in a hole.’

Coober Pedy is now often referred to as the opal capital of the world. Ninety-five percent of the worlds opal production comes from Australia — Coober Pedy and other opal mines.

Have you ever slept in a dugout — I have? Do you own any opal jewelry?

Published in: on 1st February, 2013 at 10:47 am  Comments (2)  
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