Opal Capital of the World
The cosmopolitan township offers all the facilities expected in a large country town, including numerous opal shops, restaurants and a variety of accommodation ranging from four star to backpackers and caravan/camping areas. The town is surrounded by a moon like landscape dotted with shafts and mullock heaps from opal mining activities, with opal workings extending for nearly 40km around the town.
The District Council of Coober Pedy estimates the population to be around 3,500. Approximately 60% of the people are European, migrating from southern and eastern Europe after the Second World War. In all, there are more than 45 nationalities represented, which means that Coober Pedy has become one of the most ethnically diverse communities in South Australia, perhaps even Australia.
Although many residents were born in Australia, there is still a strong adherence to the cultural background, norms, values and expectations of each nationality. This gives the town a distinctive ethnic flair.
Industry and Income
Coober Pedy is quickly becoming the regional service centre of Outback South Australia, being the focus for essential services including medical, health, welfare, law and order, education and leisure. At present there are four main industries - opal mining, tourism, primary production and their support services. Coober Pedy is recognised as the largest producer of opal in the world. Together with Andamooka and Mintabie, 85% in quantity of the world’s opal is produced.