Coober Pedy Turns 100
Start planning your next big trip to the South Australian Outback
and include staying at Coober Pedy.
2015 is the year our town turns 100 years old.
In 1915, the New Colorado Gold Prospecting Syndicate, consisting of a Mr Jim Hutchison, his 14 year old son William, a Mr Winch and a Mr McKenzie had been unsuccessfully prospecting for gold out here in the middle of nowhere, South Australia.
The young lad, Willie had been left in camp to look after their supplies but disobeyed orders and wandered off to search for water around the foothills of a nearby range.
There was a degree of apprehension among the men when he failed to turn up after dark. But a short time later, he strode into camp with a grin on his face.
Over his shoulder was slung a sugar bag full of opal. Now this was a very fortuitous find for the young William - not only did he come across the opal, but he also discovered something equally as precious out here - a supply of good fresh water.
This was on the 1st February 1915 - 8 days later, they pegged the first opal claim.
The catalyst for Coober Pedy's existence had been discovered. Word of the find spread quickly and by the middle of 1916, miners had moved to the area.
Young Willie did not live long enough to see the fruits of his discovery.
He sadly drowned five years later while driving cattle across the Georgina River, on the Birdsville Track.
Stay tuned for more info and updates on the celebrations. It's not that far away!