Our Place

History


For thousands of years Aboriginal people walked across this area.

In the desert environment, these people were nomadic hunters and gatherers who travelled constantly in search of food and water supplies as well as to attend traditional ceremonies.
In January 1915, the New Colorado Prospecting Syndicate, consisting of Jim Hutchison and his 14 year old son William, PJ Winch and M McKenzie had unsuccessfully been searching for gold south of Coober Pedy. The men had set up camp and were searching for water when young Willie found pieces of opal on the surface of the ground. This was on the 1st February 1915 and 8 days later the first opal claim was pegged.
Coober Pedy was originally known as the Stuart Range Opal Field, named after John McDouall Stuart, who in 1858 was the first European explorer in the area. In 1920 it was re-named Coober Pedy, an anglicised version of Aboriginal words "kupa piti", commonly assumed to mean "white man in a hole".

 

Experience Coober Pedy

  • Opal Fossils of South Australia; Origin Energy Fossil Gallery stage one
    Called the Opal Fossils of South Australia, the gallery shows the mighty marine reptiles that roamed in the cold ...
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  • The Breakaways
    The Breakaways Reserve lies 32km north of Coober Pedy. It consists of colourful low hills which have broken away ...
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  • Noodling and Mining
    Noodling area open to the public. Check with the Department of Mines & Energy on areas to noodle. If you are ...
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  • BIG4 Stuart Range Outback Tours
    Our air-conditioned Coober Pedy Bus Tours are a hassle free informative introduction to our town and the nearby B...
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  • Oasis Tours
    Oasis Town & Mine Tours  and Sunset Breakaways Tours run daily and are approx. 3 hours, Town & Mine ...
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  • Tom's Working Mine
    Tom's Working Opal Mine has been around since '1988'.  1 hour tour with an experienced tour guid...
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  • Harmony Day Celebration
    Harmony Day is a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home – from the traditional owner...
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  • Coober Pedy Opal Festival
    The Coober Pedy Opal Festival, fondly known as the Opal Festival, is the largest community event in Coober Pedy a...
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  • Coober Pedy Races & Gymkhana
    The Coober Pedy Racing Club was started up in 1969 with the aim of bringing together town and station people &nda...
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  • District Council of Coober Pedy
    The council provides services to the Coober Pedy district...
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  • SUPERMARKET: Miners Store
    Food & General Store...
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  • Coober Pedy Regional Times
    The Coober Pedy Regional Times is a free independent newspaper established in 1982 by the dedicated voluntee...
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  • Attractions
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The opal capital of the world

Around 150 million years ago, Coober Pedy was covered by ocean - and when the water receded, the sandy silica minerals from the seabed flowed into the rocky cracks and cavities and solidified over time into multi-coloured gem-stone - opal. Explore the opal capital!

Travel Information