Coober Pedy

Underground opal mining town in South Asutrlai that's so odd they barely had to change anything to film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome here

This is Outback weirdness at its best, an opal mining town 530 miles northwest of Adelaide along the Stuart Highway, an isolated blip in the middle of a dusty lunar landscape ridden with more than 250,000 mine shafts.

Its name supposedly comes from an Aboriginal phrase meaning “white man’s hole-in-the-ground”—appropriate, since searing summer temps of over 120 degrees have forced the human population underground.

Ramshackle entrances are scattered across the surface to the ground, but most the actual structures—from homes to hotels, pubs, and churches—are burrowed into the rock underneath those shacks.

Coober Pedy has such a post-apocalyptic look, it needed little dressing up when they used it to film Mad Max Beyond Thunderdromeand it is stuffed to the shafts with oddball characters among the 2,500 opal-hungry miners hailing from 45 different nations.

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in April 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.