South Australia's best Tourist Attraction 2011
Welcome to the Old Timers Mine, Coober Pedy South Australia, winner of many tourism awards including the South Australia Heritage and Cultural tourism award. A South Australia tourist attraction 850 kilometres north of Adelaide, Coober Pedy weather is a town of great extremes pleasant in the winter and hot in the summer as appose to Adelaide weather. Coober Pedy is situated in the Flinders Rangers and Outback regions.
The Old Timers Mine and Museum opens a window on the fascinating history of opal mining in Coober Pedy, revealing not only the hard physical grind and the occasional bonanza that was mining in the early days, but also an intriguing mystery at the heart of the mine.
The original mine dates back to 1916, but the old miners, whoever they were, concealed its existence by back-filling the shafts. The mystery is why they never returned to dig out the opal that remained. Perhaps they went to the First World War and never came home again. It was not until 1968 that the hidden mine was discovered by Ron Gough when he was digging an extension to his underground home and broke through, exposing three large seams of good quality opal, as well as opalised seashells. These have been retained and can be seen by visitors today.
The museum shows how miners, usually working alone, would dig the shafts and blast holes and winch the dug soil up to the surface, all by hand, with only candles and carbine lamps for illumination. Ron Gough was one of these miners, and it was he who realized the potential for opening the mine as a tourist attraction, his dugout (his family’s underground home) was added, being set up as a display home to show what life was like living underground from the 1920s to the 1990s.