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

  • The Breakaways
    The Kanku-Breakaways Conservation Park covers almost 15,000 hectares featuring majestic arid scenery. There ar...
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  • 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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  • Underground Living In “Dugouts”
    It is believed that the soldiers who returned from the trenches of France during the First World War introduced t...
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  • Mail Run Tours
    An Outback Experience with a Difference Travel with the mail man delivering the mail to the historic towns of Oo...
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  • Riba's Underground Tours
    An on-site Opal mine tour is the highlight of your stay at Riba's. It is offered every evening for guests an...
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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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  • Coober Pedy Gem Trade Show
    The Coober Pedy Gem Trade Show is a Great Outback Show held in the Opal Capital of the World and provides the opp...
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  • The Great Breakaways Marathon
    The GREAT Breakaways Marathon travels from the Breakaways, along the Dog Fence, down Kempe Road (road to Oodnadat...
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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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  • SERVICE STATION: Shell Roadhouse Coober Pedy
    Shell Roadhouse Coober Pedy. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week...
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  • Coober Pedy Pharmacy
    A friendly local pharmacy located in the city centre for local and visitors convenience. Open weekdays 9am to 5p...
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  • Mike Maylin Construction Pty Ltd
    Contractor and builder...
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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