The other three quite enjoyed their mine tour last night. It explained how the opal is formed and about all the methods of mining it – from the small prospector to the large mining companies outside the town. Over 85% of the world’s opals are produced from Coober Pedy so it is big business.
After a lovely quiet night we then drove into the town and while Bruce and Linda did a few other things, Ian and I drove to a couple of the underground churches were were open for display. We had been told the Serbian Church was magnificent, but we were not greatly impressed. It cost $5 each to enter and although it was interesting, it was not worth paying anything to see it. All the other churches in the town are free and we found out later that they tell tourists not to pay at the Serbian Church as they feel they are not fair in charging a fee. Ah well, live and learn. The Catholic Church was much nicer. It was only a small church but there was a lovely feeling of being in a church. On our way out we met up with the parish priest and we had a lovely long talk with him. We had noticed that the church was consecrated in 1984 by the then Bishop of Port Pirie – Frank De Campo. Ian knew this Bishop when he worked in Bendigo in 1974/75 – he was Monsignor De Campo then. So Ian and the local priest were able to chat about him.
We walked around the town a bit but were rather disappointed to see some of the Aboriginal people causing a bit of a ruckus. Only amongst themselves, but still they were rowdy and disruptive. The Police were hanging around just keeping them in check I think. The girl in the local store said they get up to this kind of thing most days. Rather sad really.
Bruce and Linda then drove their van next to ours and we had a quick lunch before heading off from Coober Pedy. Originally, Linda wanted to get to a place called Agnes Creek, but we ended up stopping at a nice little caravan stop at a small place called Marla (100kms short of Agnes Creek). It is a large petrol station/cum restaurant/cum supermarket with parking at the back for vans, campers, plus cabins and motels. Very well set up. This is the first place for days where there is some green grass (actually had sprinklers on some lawns) and there are some nice large gum trees. The scenery for the last few days has been very sparse, very dry, and quite uninviting really,so it was such a delight to find this spot. The roads so far have been magnificent – nice and wide and well bitumenised. There is no need to move over for Road Trains.
Once again we caught up with Jan. and Ian Baulch so the six of us had a nice BBQ tea at our van. We are so lucky to have the BBQ attachment to our van because once again, when trying to use the BBQ facilities provided, they had run out of gas. It was a good night and the only thing that brought us inside was the cold evening air. The days are getting warm, but the evenings are still quite cool. The gum trees above us were full of corellas and the noise was a little deafening until they finally settled down to sleep.
We have seen a few very large cattle trucks pass us – going to Port Augusta maybe. We also saw a large road train (single deck with 2 trailers) which had just horses on it. Can’t imagine where they would be going.
We plan an early start tomorrow morning and then we should be into the Northern Territory around lunchtime.
Love getting comments from family and friends. Nice to know the ‘blog’ is being read.
Love to all, Janese and Ian