Coober Pedy Day 2

Breakaways from the Lookout
(Click on the image above to see images Coober Pedy and Breakaways)

With all the repairs done it was time for some exploring around Coober Pedy. I had been here several times before, but Jude had only been here once.

Our first trip was out to the Breakaways, a sort of escarpment out to the east of Coober Pedy. There are some magnificent colours in the landscapes and rock hills out this way and we spent a couple of hours wandering around and taking photos of the place. The Breakaways was the location for some of the Mad Max 3 - Beyond Thunderdome film.

The dog fence is about 9km further out, but having seen it before several times there wasn’t much point in heading out there.  I have included a photo in the slideshow though obtained from Wikipedia Commons so you can see what it looks like. 

An article in Wikipedia describes the Dog Fence or Dingo Fence as; The Dingo Fence or Dog Fence is a pest-exclusion fence that was built in Australia during the 1880s and finished in 1885, to keep dingoes out of the relatively fertile south-east part of the continent (where they had largely been exterminated) and protect the sheep flocks of southern Queensland. It is one of the longest structures in the world. It stretches 5,614 kilometres (3,488 mi)[1] from Jimbour on the Darling Downs near Dalby through thousands of kilometres of arid land ending west of Eyre peninsula on cliffs of the Nullarbor Plain[2] above the Great Australian Bight[3] near Nundroo.[4] It has been partly successful, though dingoes can still be found in parts of the southern states. Although the fence has helped reduce losses of sheep to predators, this has been countered by holes in fences found in the 1990s through which dingo offspring have passed[2] and by increased pasture competition from rabbits and kangaroos."  There is much more information in the article if you follow the link above.

We drove back into town with all the opal mines visible from a fair way out of town. There are any number of different fields and quite a number of blowers were in operation sorting the dust from the rock. The blowers are mounted on old trucks and are loaded up with rocks and dust extracted from the mine. The blower then blasts air over the lot to get rid of all the dust so only the rocks remain and can then be examined for colour of opal.

A lengthy drive around town was next on the agenda. Coober Pedy is quite a large place and somewhat spread out. Many houses are above ground, but the great novelty of the place is the number of underground homes. These have been mines originally that have been converted to living areas. They are quite amazing and rather fascinating. They are always at a constant temperature and so avoid the considerable heat in the summer months. A couple of detractions are that you never see daylight as you are always in the light of the LEDs or fluoros underground. You also never really know what time of day it is as the environment is a constant.  The number of underground houses can make it difficult to get a proper idea of the size of the town and you can't see many of them.  Some do have a front and the rest backs into a hill, but many are rather obscure.

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