Burradoo Journal

By Burradoo

Coober Pedy and the earrings

When I was putting on my opal earrings this morning I thought of Coober Pedy, where they came from. That makes the earrings sound much more impressive than they are. They are very small studs, and they are doublets, made with a thin sliver of opal on a dark backing. When I bought them, I was told not to wear them in a hot shower…
 
Coober Pedy is famous of course for opal mining, and for being a bit weird. It draws people who dream of digging a fortune out of the ground. Opal mining is one of the few forms of mining that can still be profitably done by one hopeful fortune seeker who pegs a claim, sinks a shaft and digs, and the landscape around the town is dotted with small mines.
 
Coober Pedy attracts people who are trying to leave their past behind. There’s a saying that most people in Coober Pedy don’t have a surname, because they don’t want to be found.
 
Coober Pedy is also famous for underground living. The name means 'Whitefella's hole'. Temperatures there soar into the 40s, and underground houses are cooler, and less expensive to heat in winter. Underground hotels and pubs are a big tourist attraction. There are several underground churches: this one is the Serbian Orthodox church of St Elijah the Prophet.

It’s all a big story for my very small earrings.

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