Old Timers Mine Coober Pedy

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South Australia's best Tourist Attraction 2011


Welcome to the Old Timers Mine, Coober Pedy South Australia, winner of many tourism awards including tqual01the 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.

oldtimerThe 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.

   There were many setbacks, including, in the 70s, another miner pegging a claim and blasting away, reaching the bedroom before he was stopped by court order. However, delays were eventually windlass2overcome and, with the fortuitous discovery of opal worth $50,000 just when finances were desperate, the Old Timers Mine and Museum began operating on 7th July 1987. Since then it has never looked back. Now it is one of the premier tourist attractions in Coober Pedy, having won many tourist awards for its ingenious self-guided mine tours through this historical mine (with guides written in many languages), the demonstrations of opal mining machinery and the chance for visitors to find their own piece of opal by noodling through the left over mullock heaps. Polished opal and rock specimens and opal jewellery and souvenirs are, of course, on show in the gift shop. What makes this visit to the Old Timers Mine and Museum unique for many people is seeing how miners and their families lived and worked underground.


Coobers Weather



Winner 2008

Winner 2008

Old Timers Mine Contact

Trevor Berry
Old Timers Mine
ABN 60 769 754 688
Berryd Opals
ABN 35 015 925 246
Bus Hrs 61 08 86725555
Aft Hrs 61 08 86723802
PO Box 711 Coober Pedy
South Australia 5723

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