Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tuesday Voice: Coober Pedy (Part 2)

Looking around the town

By Vic Midyett

[Sequel to "The opal capital of the world"]

We began to explore and found an underground Greek Serbian orthodox church dug out by the Greek community many years ago, probably in the 1950s, and, as we were given to understand, mostly built by Italians. It is still an active church:

    The sanctuary was a good 80 feet below ground level. You can't tell, but this is the main entrance to the sanctuary. It sloped at about a 15° angle for about 80 feet [see below]. On ground level, but still under the hill, were a large dining and social hall and offices. It had been very well thought out.

The sanctuary had a sort of loft at the rear where I took this picture from
You can tell that different size augers were used to bore it out – larger for the highest, smaller for the sides.
    Here is its main sanctuary:

Shot from the sanctuary's slightly below-ground loft
The white spots and the blue tinge were from the lack of light (and spots on my lens). It's not easy to see, but there are figures carved from the wall above the cross.
    I'm guessing it's 80 feet from floor to ceiling. You can see how they had the foresight to use different size augers for design reasons.
    We found the home for sale pictured below. I have no idea of its size, for the only part of it visible was its outside play area, its car port, and its BBQ area. The rest of it was in that hill somewhere:

    We also went to the town's graveyard, for crying out loud, were we found the headstone of someone who must have been quite a character. The stone was an old beer keg that had his name and the message, "Have one on me." Whisky bottles and beer cans were in the cement. The man died at 52, a very common age throughout the cemetery.

Next week: "Down in the mines"

But, in the meantime, here's a video about Coober Pedy for you to watch:

Copyright © 2014 by Vic Midyett


  1. Underground churches!? What is this, the catacombs of the very early days of Christianity? No, modern day Coober Pedy, "the opal capital of the world." Part 2 of a 4-part series by our Australian correspondent. Thanks, Vic!

  2. That was some church Vic. In person it must have been breathtaking. I'm guessing the walk in was much easier than the walk back out.

  3. love this travelogue..i dont have to pack or go on a plane.....how's the food, tho? :-) my main interest in travel

  4. Ha! The food is good. My first meal in Coober Pedy was a beef schnitzel (crumbed), with a creamy garlic gravy. It was delicious and tender. I felt so good after eating it, I could have slapped my mother in law! I wouldn't say that if she was still alive.

  5. Yep Ed, it was breathtaking. I could only imagine the time and effort it took to dig it out.